Apple has an iPhone design problem it’s getting harder to solve

“Apple made waves in 2016 when it decided to get rid of the iPhone’s headphone jack, and again in 2017, when it announced the iPhone X would have a virtual home button,” Tonya Riley writes for CNBC. “Apple is reclaiming as much of the iPhone exterior as it can, so what could be next on the mechanical chopping block? That is becoming a more difficult question to answer: Apple is running out of iPhone surface real estate to repurpose.”

MacDailyNews Take: Beyond Jony’s inelegant kludge, of course.

“A small notch in the screen still exists in order for the company to pack in the phone’s top earpiece speaker and the camera and sensors needed for Apple’s Face ID, a feature that’s expected to soon expand to Apple’s other products including the iPad.. the almost bezel-less design initially faced some criticism from app and mobile designers,” Riley writes. “‘They’re running out of things to drop,’ said Gene Munster, a veteran tech analyst and managing partner at Loup Ventures.”

“With a company as secretive as Apple, it’s hard to tell how close to market the technology needed to make something like an all-screen device is,” Riley writes. “Patents filed by the company, dozens of which will never make it to market, hardly guarantee any future design plans.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The next major design change will be meaningfully curved displays (beyond the silly gimmicks we’ve seen to date) and, perhaps, foldable designs as well.

Apple reportedly prepping game-changing technologies and features for future iPhones – April 6, 2018
Apple working on touchless gesture control and curved displays for future iPhones – April 4, 2018
Apple prepping Micro-LED displays for Apple Watch and Smartglasses for 2019, sources say – April 3, 2018


  1. Design wise how about the iPad then, at the moment the Ipads are similar (albeit larger) then iPhones, will iPads carry on with the same current designs if iPhones gets curved or other radical designs?

  2. Total agreement here. I think the beancounters at Apple are just buying whatever screens Samsung gives them, the designers at Apple haven’t shown any external innovation for years.

    Apple has shown itself incapable of learning from mistakes. Apple leadership only counts unit sales as a measure of success, not usability or user delight. Not only was the loss of a phone jack a mistake, they also blew the location of the power button on several generations of iPhone — putting it directly opposite the volume button sucks. Both could have been easily avoided with a more ergonomic design with curved back for greater internal volume — see the 3GS.

    The notch is arguably even more annoying to developers as it is to users who want to see full screen apps without the Ive notch kludge. Increased fragmentation of screen resolution and aspect ratio makes no sense.

  3. Won’t all smartphones eventually have the same problem of running out of real estate to re-purpose? Does it even matter as long as consumers can still operate their smartphones without effort. Apple can still improve the iPhone’s internal hardware. I’d be most interested in a huge leap of battery life if it’s possible. I personally don’t see the need for this bezel-less craze, so I must be well out of the loop. If anything, I’d want a smartphone less vulnerable to damage from drops and if bezels help, then keep them.

    1. Sony’s Xperia ZX2, in my opinion, is a more attractive design with bezels and design symmetry. Curved back, flat screen front.

      Sony has also stepped up to USB-C, which is something Apple’s beancounters are loath to do, even though it would simplify user’s lives.

      It’s obvious that Apple is all about profits, and therefore losing its edge in design and software quality.

  4. Curved iPhones. I’ve never heard such tosh. Curved edges maybe copying shamdung. But that’s it. Remember that craze for curved led TVs three years ago. Yep. Mostly gone now. Meaningfully curved. Embarrassing yourselves there MDN.

  5. Apple’s goal is Simplify. If they could have photons arrange themselves in the air without hardware, they’d do it.

    In their view, the hardware is a barrier between the OS and the user. Try want to minimize that barrier as much as possible, while building different enclosures to house the OS.

  6. Apple is developing a phone so thin – as thin as a piece of paper, as pliable, and unbreakable – so that it can be rolled up on a stick and stuck in your pocket. Make that two sticks such as when the King’s rep. read the king’s decrees in villages. And the iThin can still be scrollable. No internally moving parts. Yeah, baby! I can imagine that it will be released in ten years. Only Apple.

    1. Hey, maybe Jony Ive could make them into a pair of elegant chopsticks. I bet that woould boost sales in China! Apple innovation at its most sparkling! Nobody else makes a smartphone that you can eat with!

      t’s easy to make fun of Apple’s relentless pursuit of thinness. We tend to forget that the entire electronics industry has pursued miniaturisation for fifty years. The progression from lumbering mainframes to mobile computing devices is one example. Moore’s Law is another.

  7. If there ever comes a time when the front facing camera goes ‘hidden’ it seems to be that would be really creepy since it would also mean that devices could be created where you would never usually expect a camera to be present (e.g. eyewear, shirt buttons, jewelry, mirrors, etc.)

  8. The notch is temporary. In a few years time when the tech is vastly superior to what it is today, all those sensors will be buried in the screen somewhere somehow.

    Apple is aiming for a true slab of glass. Can’t wait.

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