The new look of the Apple iPhone 5 might resemble the fourth- and fifth-generation iPod nano more than the current crop of iPhones and iPods.

DigiTimes is reporting that Apple has been buying new glass cutting machines - about 200-300 of them. Citing anonymous sources the site says the machines must first demonstrate that they can produce the curved glass in bulk. The makers of the screens have been wary of buying the machines themselves because of the cost involved.

Some other touch screen phones use curved glass screens, notably Samsung's Nexus S. Samsung has said the reason is to make holding the phone more comfortable.

The fourth generation iPod Nano was introduced in 2008. Since then the new iPod Nano has gone back to a flat-screen design, and the iPod Touch, which was first rolled out in 2007, has been designed to resemble the iPhone, with a flat display. From the beginning, iPhones were designed with flat displays, so a move to a curved form factor would be something of a departure for the Cupertino-based Apple - or perhaps a return to design roots.

Apple has not yet revealed any details of the new iPhone 5 design. The iPhone 5 is likely to be released next year, if the usual schedule of releases holds, though there has been some speculation that Apple might alter that for the new model.