“The current crop of leaks around Apple’s upcoming iPhone 7 have a number of shared features, but one thread that runs through all of them is the contribution each choice makes towards Apple’s quest to make the next iPhone the thinnest iPhone ever,” Ewan Spence writes for Forbes. “Apple is utterly devoted to creating not just a thin smartphone, but the thinnest smartphone physically possible.”

No doubt the engineering and the design will be reflected as providing ‘a thin experience that only Apple can achieve’ when the iPhone 7 is presented (presumably in September), but is it an experience that consumers actually want?” Spence asks. “Or is it one that they put up with because the other benefits of iOS outweigh the crippling nature of an anorexic device?”

“Going thinner requires continued evolution of the material science behind the smartphone, which is admirable and useful, but requires more exotic materials and techniques, increasing the cost,” Spence writes. “Going thin also reduces the internal volume inside the chassis for every component that is needed in a modern smartphone. Less volume has a direct impact on the battery, with smaller and smaller capacities being placed inside the iPhone.”

“What’s the one flaw that everyone points out, from reviewers to consumers? It’s not ‘this phone is too big’ it’s ‘the battery life is poor,'” Spence writes. “Perhaps the iPhone 7 will use the reduced component size to put in a bigger battery? We can dream, but they’ve never done this before so why would they change now?”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: At Apple, as has obviously been the case for many, many years, thin is in.

The law of diminishing returns can also be applied to industrial design. Apple’s eternal quest for thinness eventually runs into issues such as bulging camera assemblies, battery capacity, strength (breakability), etc. – is Apple’s quest for thinness now bordering on the quixotic? Is it “you can never be too thin” or is it “thin enough is thin enough?”

BTW, such thin devices would require an extraordinarily strong casing material in order to hold their form through everyday use (perhaps why Apple has continued working on Liquidmetal all these years). “I estimate that Apple will likely spend on the order of $300 million to $500 million — and three to five years — to mature the technology before it can used in large scale,” Dr. Atakan Peker, one of the Caltech researchers who invented Liquidmetal, said back in May 2012.

That said, as we wrote back in January:

Would you trade iPhone thinness for crazy battery life?

Apple is fairly obsessed with thinness.

iPhone models’ depth (thickness) and weight:
• Original iPhone:s 11.6 mm (0.46 in), 135 g (4.8 oz)
• iPhone 3G: 12.3 mm (0.48 in), 133 g (4.7 oz)
• iPhone 4: 9.3 mm (0.37 in), 137 g (4.8 oz)
• iPhone 5: 7.6 mm (0.30 in), 112 g (3.95 oz)
• iPhone 6 Plus: 7.67 mm (0.302 in), 172 g (6.1 oz)
• iPhone 6: 6.9 mm (0.27 in), 129 g (4.6 oz)

We just pulled an original iPhone out of a drawer. It does not feel insanely thick. It feels as nice in the hand as it always did – and the weight’s just fine, too. (The display is a little small, to say the least.)

We have a simple question: Would you opt for a thicker (and heavier, of course) iPhone if it gave you significantly (double or more) battery life?

Open thread: What’d be wrong with slightly thicker iPhone with more battery life and a flush camera assembly? – December 21, 2015
‘iPhone 7’ leak points to extremely thin design – December 4, 2015
The question is not if Apple will axe the 3.5mm headphone jack, but when – December 1, 2015
Apple rumored to replace 3.5mm headphone jack on iPhone 7 with all-in-one Lightning connector – November 30, 2015
Why Apple may axe the 3.5mm headphone jack – June 20, 2014
Apple may be poised to kill off the 3.5mm headphone jack – June 7, 2014
Apple may ditch analog 3.5mm headphone jack for Lightning to make thinner devices – June 6, 2014

Two new Liquidmetal patent applications cover every current Apple product, plus vehicle panels – October 29, 2015
U.S Patent office reveals four Apple patent applications involving Liquidmetal – October 22, 2015
No Home button? Liquidmetal body? What can we expect from next year’s Apple iPhone 7? – October 19, 2015
New Apple patents show continuing work on Liquidmetal – August 11, 2015
The Turing Phone is not made out of Liquidmetal – July 15, 2015
Why does Apple keep extending their partnership with Liquidmetal? – June 25, 2015
Apple extends Liquidmetal exclusivity deal through February 2016 – June 23, 2015
Two new Liquidmetal patent filings from Apple revealed; list watch and jewelry among potential uses – April 23, 2015
Liquidmetal’s Apple alliance yet to bear fruit – September 30, 2014
Apple’s new Liquidmetal-related patent sparks speculation – July 7, 2014
Apple patents method for embedding sapphire displays in LiquidMetal device chassis – May 27, 2014
Liquidmetal-Visser agreement paves the way for more rapid adoption of amorphous metal manufacturing – May 21, 2014
Apple extends Liquidmetal exclusivity deal through February 2015 – May 21, 2014