Every year when Apple announces its latest iPhone, iPad, or any other device, it will often compare it to the previous generation of that device. Usually, the company will briefly discuss the improvements made to the new generation, such as the spec upgrades in memory, processor, battery, and other aspects that make using the device a much more enjoyable experience. However, one area where almost all companies spend too much time and energy catching attention is in the thickness (or rather thinness) of the devices. We always hear stats like “20% thinner than last year’s model” or “world’s thinnest smartphone” attached to the announcements on devices. We get it, thickness is a selling point, but at this point, is it really relevant?
This hadn’t been a huge consideration for me with previous leaks of the iPhone 6. At first the thin models were seeming to just be a concept creator’s dream. Because, sure, having an iPhone being even thinner would be cool, right? However, earlier there was a leak regarding a case for the “iPhone 6” that showed that the device could be as thin as the current iPod Touch. Yeah, this is a great idea, but my concern is at what point will this stop being a focal point of manufacturers? Now, while some will still want the thinnest device possible, I would still argue that at some point, it doesn’t really matter. The current generation of devices are already incredibly thin (compare an iPhone 5 to something like an old school Blackberry and you’ll see my point). What’s the point of them being thinner?
Instead, if these companies have the ability to make the same power in a smaller form factor, why not make the device more powerful? Add more advanced and powerful components, and sacrifice some of the thinness of the device for functionality. Plus, most people will likely put a case on their device, adding thickness anyway.
While I love thin devices, I still think that I’d rather sacrifice a few millimeters for a more powerful device that is less likely to be obsolete (spec-wise) in just a year. By adding more powerful components, it makes devices more likely to be able to last longer. In addition, a little thickness to the device also makes it stronger and feel more sturdy in the hand. If a device is too thin, it seems like it could just snap in half, and at a certain point, it probably could fairly easily.
I’m not saying that there shouldn’t ever be a thinner device than a current iPhone, but I am saying that it needs to stop being a priority for companies. It shouldn’t be a focus of the design of the device. Instead they should choose the best components for the inner workings of the phone, and then design the case around those components. Plus, if an iPhone 5s/5c is too thick to fit in your pockets, your pants are probably too tight anyways.
What do you think? Do you think thinness should be a priority, or do you think that companies should work on adding more powerful components in a still reasonably thin device? Leave your comments below, and let us know what you think!