Open thread: What’d be wrong with slightly thicker iPhone with more battery life and a flush camera assembly?

From the “just asking” file: “What’d be wrong with slightly thicker iPhone with more battery life and a flush camera assembly?”

Yes, we know Apple thinks thinness sets iPhone apart from all other so-called smartphones (actually, it’s the operating system, the software and the ecosystem), but the iPhone 6/Plus and iPhone 6s/Plus are simply too thin to house their camera assembly.

iPhone 6s is 0.28 inch (7.1 mm) thin. Samsung’s Galaxy S6 is 0.27 inch (6.8 mm). The “thicker” iPhone 6s easily outsells the thinner Galaxy S6. Obviously, at this point, the selling point of “thinness” is overrated.

iPhone 6 and 6s have battery life issues for heavy iPhone users (hint: get an Apple Watch. You’ll use your iPhone less and the battery will easily outlast even the longest day).

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?

So, is it “you can never be too thin” or is it “thin enough is thin enough?”

48 Comments

    1. WHY oh WHY do people do this ??

      Do people want a slightly thicker iPhone with increased battery life, a flush camera, and a stronger case???

      THEN BUY a Morphie or Anker and get your hearts desire. No issue!
      I just do not understand how people just seem to want to bitch about stuff. No matter how good something is, they just got to have it different!!!
      Also add people to my “crazy list” that think Apple should sell cheap and BOGO and race to the bottom like the also ran companies.

      Now, I totally understand wanting something different, I would like to see a BT mouse for the iPad, but I am not going to rant and rave about how Apple is doomed unless they kiss my butt and sell something like this…. right now..

      But most of the intelligent commenters here say just that. Great product, wish it had…. purple flashing lights. LOL or what ever, but not the DOOM is required approach.

      OK, rant over, everyone have a great holiday and a very prosperous (Apple share value skyrocketing) year. 🙂

      1. (saw your clarification postscript)

        What I really see with this topic is that the perception is that “Too Many” other design considerations are getting compromised in the pursuit of stuff like “THIN!” which is much more of an ego-stroking exercise for the hardware designer than something that customers are clamoring for.

        Pragmatically, devices became “thin enough” back in 1999 with the release of the Palm Vx … that PDA was 10mm before the case cover (roughly 12mm with). And it didn’t have problems with getting bent, etc.

      2. Eldernorm, According to Jony Ive, there was a poll a couple years back that had 60% of iPhone users preferring a thicker phone with better battery life over a thinner one. Personally I don’t want to have to buy a battery case that would add FAR more bulk than if the phone had a bigger battery built in.

        1. mpias3785, I totally understand your point. Do you want 30% more life, 60% more life, 120% more life??? How many models does Apple make to adjust for everyones specific desires??

          Its like in restaurants where they add less salt than some would like, cause you can add as much as you want, but its really hard to take it out, if they use too much.

          So, my point is,
          add a case for protection.. if you like
          add a battery for longer life…. if you like
          add an external camera lens for more ability…..if you like.

          But if Apple adds those things, the phone gets bigger and you cannot take them out.

          PS, I bought 2 extra chargers, one for car and one for work. When I drive in, I can charge my phone topping it off.
          When I am at work, if I need I can charge my phone.
          Funny how I am NEVER running low on charge at the end of the day. Maybe I do not need a bigger battery.

          Just saying,

          1. MDN:(hint: get an Apple Watch. You’ll use your iPhone less and the battery will easily outlast even the longest day).

            Um… if you’re gonna spend $600 for longer battery life, why don’t you just get another phone? Then you can switch at 1pm when your battery is dead.

            I can’t speak for the rest of the phone ecosystem, but Apple’s battery is insufficient for its task.

            Yes, make the phone thicker if you have to. Otherwise, I bet you could save a few kWh by making the touchID sensor less responsive (people have complained about it being too fast). Or ditching “Hey Siri” eavesdropping. Or a hundred other ways.

            Nobody but nobody is asking for a thinner phone.

          2. My problem is more with the protruding camera lens. The iPhone itself is beautiful to behold-but I don’t like resting it on its back (having the lens as a contact point). The alternative is face down (on the glass). Seems to me that it makes a lot of sense to have a thicker phone (or thinner camera is that is actually possible) so that lens is flush or even slightly recessed so you can set the phone on its back.
            And yes, I know, I can put a case on (I did) but isn’t it sad to cover up all of Jony’s hard work? Longer battery life wouldn’t suck either 😉

            1. Really? I recall the howls of horror and derision at the antenna lines when the first photos of the 6 were leaked! Ugliest iPhone to date. I had a case all ready so I would only have to look at it for the time it took to get it out of the box and into the case.

              Jony seems to be getting crazy in his old age.

      3. Couldn’t agree more.
        Perhaps it’s time for this:…
        http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2015/0042870.html
        …technology to be rolled out? It would mean a much better camera – with zoom!…but in an even thinner phone body.
        Just pointing out where we are heading. In which case * ‘scuse the pun – everyone gets to win. I get an even thinner phone with a better camera and the biggerbattery_toids get a battery case and phone no thicker than the 6s plus a better camera.
        It’s bizzarely odd that folks don’t see how new tech comes from all directions that make the previous generation’s limitations disappear.
        But then folk gotta moan.

  1. There is nothing wrong either way. Grips one direction or the other is anal. It’ just a feature of the phone. Maybe the iPhone 7 will be different. Apple has 800 employees working on the next camera. But as you know, 800 employees could be 8 people working on 100 cameras, with the best one making the cut. Who knows. But I say, lets just leave it alone.

    1. Apple sells so many phones, they could add one more model without creating confusion (and fix the 16GB problem too)

      – 6S models: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 128GB + thicker battery
      – 6S+ models: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 128GB + thicker battery

      Charge $50 extra for the bigger battery. This would even raise average selling price and margins.

      1. Remember when everyone argued about screen sizes? The solution was that different people WANT different things, so Apple just needed to offer the options.

        Same with thin vs. battery life. I personally like the thin, but Apple should give Phone Warriors’ their ideal phone too.

    1. I’m guessing that the people posting here constitute a small fraction of iPhone customers. If iPhone sales dropped and people were flocking to some other phone that was thicker and heavier but has 24 hour battery life then Apple would follow suit.

      From the diagnostics gathered from iPhones Apple has a pretty good idea how often batteries are drained. They also have a reasonable idea about how phone thickness affects sales. With billions at stake you have to think they have considered this.

      Personally, I’d like to see a number of things in hardware and software from Apple but with a demographic of one I’m not holding my breath.

      1. If any other company made an IOS phone with a bigger battery I’d give that company my business. However I am tied into the ecosystem with my mac, watch, apple tv, etc. So the fact that people aren’t leaving to android over an insufficient battery is almost irrelevant. Instead people are living with the annoyance of needing to buy an external battery or charging their phones throughout the day.

      2. One does need to be cautious in analysis of diagnosis data.

        For example, when customers start adding chargers to their car, their desk, etc, it is because they’re not satisfied with battery life performance from just an overnight charge, and the diagnosis tools need to be able to sift this out and alert to the analyst that said altered behavior pattern indicating a very real deficiency … whereas a sloppy analysis could be merely that the “% charged” data seemed to say that everthing’s fine because the battery never got below N% … while ignoring that the device spent 2/3rds of the day constantly tethered to power.

    2. 1mm will yield 1000 mah increase…? The engineers at Apple have been through all of this already and they make their choices on size, etc. Funny thing, I knew a guy who made a cell phone holder and battery power with a home made 3 D cell brick. He said it lasted him for 3 months.

      1. One 14500 (AA sized Li-Ion) can put out 8-900 mAh @ 3.7V. The volume of that sized cylinder is about 0.77cc. Now that includes the closed end tube plus the protection circuit and the positive cap so let’s drop 0.1cc to 0.67cc. Now spread that over the ares of the 6s battery (I couldn’t find the dimensions of that battery of that battery) and I’m sure it would be significantly less than 1 mm.

  2. Yes! Still say the iPhone 5s was the best form factor, but if it was the 4s thickness, it would be perfect for us average-size-handed citizenry. Think of the battery life possible with that volume…

  3. I don’t want a thicker IPhone but I don’t want it to get any thinner. I emailed Tim Cook two weeks ago that more battery life is far more important than a thinner IPhone. The current one fits very comfortably in my hand and my hands are not large.

  4. Well the main thing wrong is slightly thicker over MILLIONS of phones leads to a greater volume and higher shipping costs. So, do you make a product thicker and heavier “just ’cause?”

    Thinner/lighter YET with the same 10 hour battery life forces Apple to come up with new solutions to old problems. Some of Apple’s patents could yield a greatly improved camera in a much thinner profile. We wouldn’t be seeing it if it wasn’t for a drive to be as thin as physics will allow. It’s also driving improvements to both battery capacity and energy efficiency.

    So, if telling your teams to make thinner devices forces entire new ways of thinking of things, then that’s what I want to see… Just as long as I still get a full days use 🙂

  5. I own the 6S plus and would love thinner and lighter. I am hoping for a phone that is (at least mostly) display only and thinner. The camera ca protrude, that is fine. Though I like the screen size, the phone is too heavy and too thick for comfortable use. My wife feels similarly about her 6S. Thinner and lighter is better.

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