The Apple Fantasy Prototyping League (AFPL!) is out in full force for the iPhone 6—make that the iPhone Air. Along with a Samsung-style 5-inch screen, many design concepts have been focusing on extreme thinness as an important selling point of the next iPhone.
For a reality check, above is an image of the title="digital trends on vivo x3">Vivo X3, and Android phone available in China, that is currently the world’s thinnest smartphone at 5.75mm. What the pictures don’t show is that the X3 is quite heavy for a paper-thin phone at 150 grams, compared to the iPhone 5S at 112 grams. Two recent design concepts set their micrometers much tighter, at 4.5mm and a laughable 3mm (at the thick end!)
The more reasonable (but still daunting) prototype is from an American iPhone accessory company based south of Cleveland called Fuse Chicken. They are clearly trying to get some attention for their products (I had never heard of the Une Bobine iPhone charger before) but their design is pretty well done. One interesting concession the Fuse Chicken concept makes to how this thinness would be achieved is to forgo the physical home button in favor of a touch gesture area at the bottom of the phone. This idea has been well-imagined by Italian designer Fabrizio Bianchi in his edgeless iPhone 6 concept (see image below.) Touch gestures could be used for a variety of functions that currently require physical buttons. Still, to get from the iPhone 5S’s current 7.6mm thickness down to Fuse Chicken’s projected 4.5mm is quite a reach, even for Jony Ive’s crew of emaciators!
In the realm of pure fantasy is the concept from the Italian digital studio called SET solution. At 1.5mm at the top and 3mm at the bottom and weighing just 70 grams, the SET “solution” is implausible and impractical. The only way I could see something that thin working for users (even if it were physically possible) is if the material was flexible as well so it could slip easily into a pocket without poking in funny ways. And if you could make a phone that thin, could it be foldable? That would really deliver a difference, to have a phablet-sized that folded in half for easy stowage. I will look for that one next from the AFPL.
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