Ever since the iPhone 6 “dummies” surfaced I have been an unsatisfied Apple watcher. Sources tell me that some of these dummies have actually been supplied to case makers by Apple itself, in violation of its past practices (and perhaps common sense?) My colleague Gordon Kelly wrote last week that Apple, “has given out dummy units and they are popping up everywhere.” One particular detail of these maquettes has struck me as off, and yet few commentators have called it out as odd. Finally, yesterday, Japanese tech blog Nikkei seems to have substantiated what I have been thinking.
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Virtually all of the dummies that have been presented in the press as “leaks” are based on a schematic that showed cutouts in the frame that supposedly make room for the new antenna setup in the iPhone 6. In the mockups that have been circulating, these channels are represented as thick white or black strips that emphasize the shape of the top and bottom “bumpers” on the backside of the device. For another smartphone company (Samsung, perhaps?) I could imagine this as a legitimate design decision. But for Jony Ive with his diamond cut chamfered edges? Never!
This detail has seemed to me like the incorrect plot detail dropped into the Classics Illustrated comic books from the 40s through the 60s. Also known as Classic Comics, these pulp representations of great works of literature, from Ivanhoe to Huckleberry Finn, always threw in a ringer so the teacher could tell who had actually read the book. Perhaps some of these dummies do come from Apple, but like the Classic Comic version of the iPhone 6, have included the antenna detail as a red herring.
9to5Mac reports on a translation of the Japanese report, which it says, “hones in on the antenna design (which has been critiqued by some readers) specifically. It says that the final iPhone 6 may not feature the ‘stripes’ at all, claiming that these simply mark out an area for glass materials to replace the aluminum frame, just like the iPhone 5s. Another possibility is that the stripe appearance is still present, but the stripes will be made out of attractive highly-polished glass.” New leaks have shown front plates with curved edges of a much more convincing level of finish than shown by the “dummies.” It is easy to imagine these front plates going with an iPod Touch-like gently curved back plate.
What makes me so convinced that the final iPhone 6 design will not have these egregious bumpers? Just look at the lodestone of all of Jony Ives’ designs, Dieter Rams of Braun. If you look through a large collection of images of Rams’ products, you will be hard pressed to find a single line as coarse and inelegant as the purported iPhone 6 antenna detail. A set of two parallel lines for rhythm, perhaps, but the curved edge as well? Nope! Never! Nie!
So I predict that the next set of leaks will be actual back plates, perhaps with the rumored logo cutout, that will not have these exaggerated antenna affordances. You heard it here first!
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