According to a Bloomberg report, Apple is currently working on two experimental new features which may eventually find their way onto iPhones and iPads.

Curved screens

We’ve seen curved screens before, haven’t we? Well, yes – but not quite like this.

While Samsung’s “Infinity display” wraps around the sides of a device, Apple is instead working on an OLED screen that curves inwards at the middle, creating a subtle arc from top to bottom.

It’s not entirely clear what the purpose of this would be, but we suspect it would at the very least increase optimal viewing angles and reduce unwanted reflections.

Touchless gestures

Now, this is an interesting one. The concept of “touchless” gestures means that the user could interact with the interface by moving their finger above the screen, or hovering above a button instead of pressing it.

This would provide a secondary input method, and could be used in a similar way to Apple’s existing 3D Touch technology, which senses how hard the user presses on the screen. This could open up iPhones and iPads to more complex interactions typically found on desktop computers.

Where other companies have dabbled in “air gestures” in the past, these have tended to use the camera or bezel-mounted sensors to track sweeping hand gestures for things like turning pages. Apple’s approach would presumably involve high-fidelity gestures at a much closer range, as its technology is said to be built into the screen itself.

When could we see this?

Potentially, never! Apple is super secretive about this kind of thing, and even if it is developing both of these features it’s no guarantee that they will make it to a final design.

It’s reported that wed likely be looking at a minimum of two years before either of these features see the light of day, and it could be even longer for iPad, which typically gets handed down new features from flagship iPhones a year or two later.

That said, these are exciting developments and it’s good to see Apple experimenting with some new interactions that could act as major differentiators as smartphones increasingly become harder to tell apart.