iPhone 6 concept (ConceptsPhone 004)

Analysts and high-profile outlets like The Wall Street Journal are expecting not one, but two new iPhones this year, each outfitted with a display significantly larger than the current four-inch iPhone 5/5s/5c. The Japanese magazine Mac Fan claimed in a report last October that the iPhone 6 will be the first phablet on the market optimized for one-hand operation.

A month earlier, analyst Ming Chi-Kuo opined that Apple would want to honor its self-imposed “unwavering principle of one hand use”. But how does one make a five-inch iPhablet optimized for one-hand use? By dropping the side bezels, that’s how…

The Korea Herald writes that next big things from both Samsung and Apple will feature a “bezel-free” screen. Apparently, Apple’s next iPhone is “sporting a bezel-less screen that features a fingerprint scanner”.

Removing the side bezels would involve switching to a new panel technology.

Instead of using four layers, a bezel-free screen would use a single-layered panel. Not only would this allow for a thinner device, but also for clearer images and improved energy efficiency, people in the know told the publication.

Activator + Touch ID

The Korea Hearld report also states that Samsung’s Galaxy S5 – which is up for an announcement at the firm’s Unpacked 5 event at Mobile World Congress next month – will be even slimmer than the S4.

The S5 will also adopt bezel-free appearance and support fingerprint scanning.

An industry source said Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S5 would sport a display without a bezel, or the rim surrounding a screen, and allow users to scan their fingerprints at the bottom of the smartphone screen.

The phone will also eliminate the home button hardware featured on the previous Galaxy models, he said.

The Samsung device will feature fingerprint scanning technology on the bottom left and right sides. Scanning fingerprints on the entire screen will be allegedly available “in the latter half of this year” as Samsung needs more time to work out the technological kinks.

So no iris scanning?

iPhone 6 concept (Federico Ciccarese, teaser 001)

A report this morning from DigiTimes said that Apple’s supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) plans to use its the same eight-inch process to make Touch ID sensors for the next iPhone rather than switch to a more modern twelve-inch fab (as previously reported) as Apple wants to avoid any yield issues with the handset.

Bloomberg wrote last October that the upcoming iPhones have larger displays “with glass that curves downward at the edges”. Contradicting Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal said last month that the new iPhones won’t have curved-screens.

Nokia curved screen Lumia

Should Apple adopt bezel-free design, the edges of the screen could be curved like on the Lumias to allow for easier swiping with less friction.

Apple is also though to tap its new sapphire crystal plant in Mesa, Arizona to build thin 1mm sapphire layers which could be fused to glass cover to allow for a scratch-prone screen that’s virtually unbreakable.

It’s going to be a pretty exciting 2014, don’t you think?