Has it really only been six years since
) debuted the original iPhone?
Since 2007, the world has been blindsided by a wealth of
revolutions and innovations in tech, especially in the mobile
field, rendering the pre-iPhone world as antiquated as a sparkly
animated gif on a MySpace profile. And yet, compare the original,
Mark I iPhone with the iPhone 5S from this year, and the
similarities transcend this past half-decade of extensive hardware
reconstruction. Same basic shape (aside from a longer screen), same
home button at the bottom (aside from a fingerprint sensor), same
overall look (aside from a gold trim).
While most, if not all, of this year's best phones bear virtually
no similarities to the best phones from 2007, the iPhone 5S feels
almost like a throwback to the days of MySpace.
Apple is no stranger to being criticized for its vice-like grip on
a design formula, but many find the consistency with the iPhone's
construction to be a testament of what Apple got right the first
time around. After all, you didn't have to look far to see the
influence it had on the rest of the market.
) began dipping their toes in different hardware schemes -- some of
which, like larger screens, proved to be a hit with users -- the
classic iPhone design began looking more and more like it was being
out-innovated. Even last year when the iPhone 5 was unveiled with
an elongated screen, which is arguably the biggest change Apple's
smartphone line has ever undergone, many users greeted it with a
"been there, done that" attitude.
So, not unlike the overhaul Cupertino gave iOS this year, Apple is
long overdue to rethink where the iPhone fits in the future of
hardware design. Yes, the iPhone 5S is a solidly constructed
device, but given the leaps and bounds other manufacturers have
made with their own designs, the line could afford a new look.
And sure enough, a recent report by Bloomberg says Apple may in
fact be looking into a
serious hardware changeup
for its iPhone line.
First up, while Android users are now toting and enjoying screens
upwards of and surpassing five inches, Apple is considering a
similar expansion for the iPhone. The company is rumored to be
working on 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens for iPhone prototypes,
which would shatter the 3.5-inch screen dimensions from the
pre-iPhone 5 days. And although an iPhone with a display larger
than four inches has been in the rumor mill for years, it may be
high time for the company to finally cater to users who'd rather
not squint when using their phones.
Apple is also rumored to be developing pressure sensitivity in an
upcoming iPhone, which could easily change the way we interact with
our phones. Whereas BlackBerry failed to spark a tactile screen
revolution with the BlackBerry Storm in 2008, Apple could incite a
groundswell of demand for devices that measure how hard you're
pressing down on the screen. Everything from basic UI functionality
to gaming controls could be overhauled. If Apple implements this
successfully, it would be an unequivocal (and literal)
But while screen size and sensitivity would prove to be minor
updates to design line, a curved screen would finally break away
from the classic look of the iPhone. Bloomberg reports that Apple
is prototyping an iPhone with an apparent convex screen that
"curves downward at the edges."
(OTCMKTS:SSNLF) and LG have already introduced devices with curved
screens: the Galaxy Round and G Flex, respectively. However, both
sport a concave curve -- the Galaxy Round along the vertical axis,
and the G Flex along the horizontal -- supposedly to better fit the
contours of a user's cheek, though neither radically departs from
the basic functionality of a flat screen.
Ostensibly, Apple wouldn't introduce a convexly shaped screen just
to slightly alter the scope of a user's perspective. If
implemented, a convex screen would likely change how users interact
with their device -- perhaps by notifications running along the
edge of the screen that can be viewed from the side or sensors that
note where your fingers are resting as you hold the device. As a
jumping-off point, a convex screen may offer Apple an abundance of
Of course, with every Apple rumor, the likelihood of implementation
is slim. Even if Cupertino is running a curved, 5.5-inch iPhone
through its R&D hurdles, the device may very well never see the
light of day. However, its existing iPhone line is admittedly
suffering from stagnation in the looks department. If Apple wants
to shatter its reputation for remaining safe and complacent in a
rapidly changing landscape as of late, it needs to update and
modify not just what's under the hood, but also the hood itself.
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