The iOSphere quivered with the knowledge that we are just months away from being able to caress Apple's first curved display, which will appear in the iPhone 6. This sure and certain knowledge is due to the fact that Apple just received a patent for a curved display.

Technically, it's a patent for a way to form a curved display. But let's not quibble with Innovation, please.

Also this week: bold predictions about when iPhone 6 will be announced, which when analyzed suggest that a bit more timidity is in order; and amazement greets recycled rumors that Samsung will continue to make A8 chips for the iPhone 6.

You read it here second.

iPhone 6 will have a curved display because Apple just patented one

The iOSphere's fascination with curved screens remains one of those inexplicable geek obsessions that instantly become Conventional Wisdom in spite of Common Sense.

AppleInsider's Mikey Campbell apparently was among the first to see a new U.S. patent award to Apple, posted about. 

Campbell correctly described that patent as being for a "manufacturing technique." In the words of the patent itself, it is for "A method of forming a curved touch surface." But plenty of people interpreted this as being a patent for a "curved screen." You can find Patent number 8,603,574 online, filled with fascinating details, most of which none of the posters (including this one) can explain, such as "Drive signals can be transmitted through the drive electrodes, resulting in signal (mutual) capacitances between the drive and sense electrodes at the intersection (touch pixels) of the drive electrodes and the sense electrodes."

Rumors about curved screens for Apple devices have been circulating and recirculating for ... well, it seems like forever. Sometimes it's a display that curves outward (convex) or inward (concave); sometimes, it's a display with edges that curve the edges of the phone. None of these rumors really bother to explain why a curved screen of any type -- for a phone or tablet would be a breakthrough in the mobile user experience.

But CNET's Jessica Dolcourt has a review of one of the few curved screen phones on the market today: the Samsung Galaxy Round. It's a convex screen in a curved body

"I was surprised at how much I liked the feel of the Round's curvy dimensions, which make it the most comfortable phone that's ever cupped my ear, hand, and pockets," she writes. So what does the curve add to the mobile experience?

The Round is a "bit more comfortable to carry, and sit on, in jeans," and it's a "sturdier platform for holding the phone." The curve changes the way light reaches the eye in such a way, she says, that it "helps make [screen] reflections less distracting."

That's it. Tight jeans wearers, take note.

Campbell admits, at the end of his post, that "It is unclear if Apple will use the above-described method in a consumer product, though curved displays seem to be en vogue at the moment." The en-vogueness consists entirely of the Galaxy Round, and the recently unveiled LG G Flex.

iPhone 6 will be released before the end of 2014

At Valuewalk, Vikas Shukla boldly goes where no one has gone before. 

"Apple Inc. hasn't officially announced the release date (or anything for that matter) of the iPhone 6," he confesses. But. "Rumors and media reports suggest that an iPhone 6 with a larger screen could hit the market by the end of 2014."

This is like saying "Rumors and media reports suggest that the final two teams in Super Bowl XLVIII will be decided before February 2014."

There's more!

"Apple Inc.'s next smartphone is expected to be the best smartphone ever made, nothing less," Shukla declares.

And there's more, because "some analysts" are more optimistic that we won't have to wait until the very last day of 2014 to get our hands on the Best Smartphone Ever Made. "Some analysts believe that the Cupertino-based tech giant could bring the iPhone 6 sooner," Shukla says.

Sooner than Dec. 31, 2014. If that isn't a great 2013 Christmas present, what is?

iPhone 6 will be announced in June 2014....or fall of 2014

Like nature, the iOSphere abhors a vacuum. International Business Times steps up and steps into it.

For those who might not be familiar with Apple's iPhone history, IBT's Karla Danica Figuerres offers some context. "There are not much official information about the iPhone 6 just yet, but generally Apple releases its iPhones for two years and delivers a couple of specs boosts in the second year - which is the iPhone 5s now," she explains. "With that information, the iPhone 6 will be a total revamp from its predecessor and it might be the best smartphone ever made."

The Rollup isn't sure her opening statement actually rises to the level of "information" as the term is generally understood. "There is not much official information about the next U.S. Presidential election, but generally, one occurs every four years, so there's a good chance another will be held in 2016."

But it's enough information for Figuerres. She deduces an urgent message for customers. "The release date and the price are two of the most important reasons why customers should wait for the next generation iPhone," she counsels.

So please, please all you millions and millions of people worldwide who are buying iPhone 5C and 5S ... stop already!

Anyway, what about the date?

According to Figuerres, Apple is "a little bit behind the curve in terms of [smartphone] specs" so "the iPhone 6 needs to assert itself again into being the provider of premier smartphones....Given that, the iPhone 6 release date may come sooner as analysts think Apple will shorten its upgrade cycle and will release the iPhone 6 in June 2014," she explains.

Except for the analysts from Citi Research who think Apple will announce an iPad Maxi, with a 12.9-inch display, by that date instead. "Based on their discussions, the iPhone 6 is likely to maintain its late-September launch," Figuerres says, without bothering to explain why. On the other hand. "On the other hand, the iPhone 6 might be released during the Worldwide Developers Conference which Apple hosts every summer," she explains.

So iPhone 6 likely could be announced in June 2014 at WWDC. Or it likely could be announced in September 2014. But we know it will be announced sometime "mainly because a new iPhone is released every year."

There's no arguing that.

iPhone 6 will have an A8 chip from Samsung after all

For no discernable reason, this rumor is being resurrected, almost unchanged from its appearance barely two months ago.

The rumor repeaters seem amazed if not stunned that Samsung, the longtime, almost exclusive source for Apple's A series processors and much else that goes into iPhones and iPads, is "still" going to be a source in 2014 for the iPhone 6.

The primary driver for the rumor is the Certain Conviction, unsupported by any real evidence, that because Apple and Samsung compete in smartphones, and therefore hate each other's guts, Apple must be trying to dispense with all the other Samsung business units that produce display panels, memory, processors, and more.

Oddly, there never seems to be a version of this rumor wherein Samsung hates Apple so much that it's trying to drop Apple as a customer and instead find other device makers that will buy millions of its chips, displays, and other components.

To Ubergizmo's Tyler Lee, it's all self-evident. 

"With Samsung and Apple at each other's throats over alleged patent infringements, with both sides taking swings at each other, it is hardly a surprise that their business relationship has suffered," he declares, not bothering to cite any evidence whatsoever that their business relationship has suffered in the slightest.

"While it has not been confirmed," Lee continues, "it has been often rumored that Apple is looking to distance themselves from Samsung to reduce their reliance on the South Korean tech giant, but according to recent rumors, it seems that despite Apple's attempts to phase Samsung out of their production, Samsung is reportedly going to be involved with the production of the A8 chipset which is rumored to make an appearance in the iPhone 6."

Does it have to be pointed out that there is simply nothing as in "nothing" to this "analysis?" The only factual part of Lee's sentence is that "it has not been confirmed."

Taiwan's TSMC reportedly, according to a Wall Street Journal story, signed a deal with Apple in summer 2013 to supply 20-nanometer A series chips...at some point in the future. The story cited a range of unnamed, executive-level sources (including some former executives at Apple), at various supply chain companies and TSMC. The real point of the article was about how tightly Apple and Samsung are bound together. Even from the standpoint of managing supply chain risk through multi-sourcing, unwinding that bond's threads, and finding reliable sources for high quality alternatives, is a time-consuming process.

The Journal notes that Apple began looking for additional flash memory suppliers, other than Samsung, in 2008; that it started talking to TSMC in 2010. The first Samsung Galaxy S smartphone was announced in May 2010 and released a month later.

Lee claims the rumors claim that Samsung will have 30 percent to 40 percent of the A8 production, with TSMC responsible for the rest. Take that with a grain of silicon.

"While Cupertino has involved Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) into the manufacturing of its A-series processors, there is clear evidence that Samsung will be deeply involved in production of the A8 chip for the iPhone 6," says Michael Nace, editor of the iPhone6NewsBlog.

Apart from other rumors, the only "clear evidence" he cites is an unlinked reference to a Korean newspaper story (picked up in posts like this one from The Verge), which cited unnamed industry sources who claimed that Apple plans to shift 60 percent to 70 percent of A8 processing to TSMC, leaving, if you do the math, 30 percent to 40 percent with Samsung.

"Samsung is definitely being phased out," Nace concludes confidently. But that depends on what one means by "phased out." There's little evidence that Apple is primarily focused on shutting down its multiple component relationships with Samsung. It may well be adjusting those, seeking to both improve and develop other component sources. Even if Apple does shift a majority of A8 chip production to TSMC, Samsung could still be a main, even a primary, source for other A series chips, and other components, in the future.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnwwEmail: john_cox@nww.com

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