I’m always on the lookout for a good iPhone concept. Not because I necessarily think there’s a chance Apple will end up making them, but more because I love seeing what graphic designers imagine to be possible. Some are so out-there, featuring folding screens and laser projection keyboards, whereas others like Martin Hajek’s realistic digital renders are more in tune with what we expect Apple to release.
This latest one from Gonçalo and João Madureira has some drool-worthy features and specs, but ultimately is nothing more than a tech nerd’s fantasy.
Now that we’ve teased you with an awesome, futuristic phone pumped full of amazing specs, it’s time to deconstruct and explain why Apple won’t make this the next iPhone.
1. Touch ID
Having just launched the iPhone 5s with the new Touch ID sensor, Apple was forced to change the design of the home button. It has a metal ring around the outside, and no icon in the center. As you can see in the concept, the little app icon is back in the center. It says there’s an “all new” touch home button. In essence, it’s a touch sensitive part of the iPhone, which still somehow – magically – has a fingerprint sensor built in. First – Apple won’t depart from the current Touch ID sensor design and engineering after just one year. Second – I’m pretty sure it’s technically impossible to have a fingerprint sensor underneath what looks like just an extended part of the display on the bottom edge.
Firstly – Entirely edge to edge from side to side and top to bottom is insane. Really, really cool, but again probably impossible. If you look at the top and bottom sections of the front panel (normally reserved for FaceTime, earpiece, home button etc.) you’ll notice it’s showing the wallpaper underneath a translucent layer, which seems to be making a virtual version of the frame currently on the iPhone 5/5s. I just can’t see how you’d be able to have a display cover the entire surface of the front. More importantly, the engineering challenges of placing an earpiece, camera, home button and proximity/ambient light sensors within the surface of an LCD display don’t even bear thinking about. These “Smart Edges” look awesome, but are – from an engineering point of view – currently impossible.
And then we get on to the seemingly less trivial problem of resolution: 1080 x 1920. Full HD displays on smartphones already exist. On a 4.6-inch panel like this, it’d push the pixel density up to 450ppi. That’s 124 pixels per inch more than the iPhone 5/5s. And for what? Past a certain density (thought to be around 300ppi) our eyes aren’t going to be able to tell the difference.
And then there are the developers to think about. Although iOS isn’t fragmentation-free, Apple does what it can to push the platform forward without upsetting too many customers using older/smaller devices. By making only two size iPhone screens currently, developers only need to consider two options. What’s more, iPhone 4/4s/5/5s all have the same number of pixels across the width of the screen. The extra pixels on the iPhone 5 and 5s are vertical. This meant devs only needed to change one aspect of the apps to make them fit the longer display. I cannot imagine Apple ever increasing both vertical and horizontal pixels to meet the “standard” HD format on a device that’s so small. Not only is it a pointless exercise in spec-boasting, it screws the developers and makes their work much harder.
Lastly on the display front: More pixels means more power. More power means bigger battery. Bigger battery means bigger phone. But, this phone is thinner than the iPhone 5/5s and measures in the same dimensions height and width wise.
I have to admit, the concept is really cool. And if you look at it from the perspective of the “schoolboy tech dream” that it is, you’ll be happy. The only reason I ever want to pick anything apart is that I know that there are people out there who look at concepts and – for whatever reason – think that this is the iPhone 6. It isn’t. It’s a fun concept where the designers have gone “all-in” on specs and desired features. It’s not meant to be a realistic representation of what Cupertino’s engineers will announce next year. So, whatever you do, don’t think it is. Just enjoy it for being a cool design with lots of specs we’ll never see on the iPhone. At least, not in the next couple of years.
Check out the Behance gallery for a breakdown of all features