Working off of Apple patents, a graphic designer has imagined the iPhone 6 with a few of the long-rumored features that never materialized on the 5.
Remember way back — like a year-and-a-half ago — when the iPhone rumor mill was rife with wild ideas and concepts? You’ll recall that over on the iPhone 5 News Blog, we speculated on smart bezels, pico projectors, and the dropping of the iconic home button for something more futuristic. In the end, the iPhone 5, while offering a form factor overhaul, didn’t dramatically upgrade the user experience from a hardware prospective, save for the longer display — a feature that Apple has marketed not only as more screen real estate, but also an improvement to one-handed gesturing while holding the iPhone vertically.
The possibilities for new, next-generation hardware for the iPhone 6 are still a possibility, though — especially since most of the ideas have already been done on Android devices. After all, we know that Apple is not necessarily the first tech company to try something. Usually they take an idea and make it better.
Thanks to a new set of iPhone 6 renderings, we can now get a glimpse of what some of these hardware advancements could look like on the new iPhone form factor.
The renderings come by way of InventHelp‘s Nickolay Lamm and Matteo Gianni, a graphic designer and iPhone enthusiast. Rather than simply letting his imagination run wild, Lamm and Gianni purportedly worked from actual Apple patents, trying to reverse-engineer (or would it be “forward-engineer?”) a smart bezel, soft keys, and a pico projector onto a decidedly iPhone 5-looking iPhone 6.
According to ExpertReviews:
“Some features, however, are more likely than others: the suggestion that Apple’s iOS platform will get integrated augmented reality functionality, dubbed ‘Transparent Mode,’ seems more than believable, but the suggestion that the iPhone 6 will feature a hybrid LCD and E Ink display, capable of being viewed in full sunlight and boosting battery life considerably, seems less so given how recent the company’s patent on the matter is.
Other suggested product features include a ‘smart bezel’ which moves controls to the edge of the screen, meaning it’s possible to use the phone without obscuring the display with your fingers, and an integral projector – a feature already making its way to rival devices.”
This so-called “transparent mode” goes unexplained in the ExpertReviews article, but basically it would involve the iPhone’s ability to be held up to an object and create a transparent effect, adding information and engagement opportunities to the user. Like this:
I find it interesting that this technology is seen as more doable for the iPhone 6 than a hybrid display that features e-ink capabilities (another old-rumored feature for the iPhone 5, by the way). But if Apple is looking to really revolutionize their user experience via iOS 7, something like this would certainly do the job.
What I am more interested in is the “smart bezel,” soft keys, and pico projector. The notion of giving the iPhone more touch surfaces to interact with has always seemed like a good idea, and I’ve seen other renderings which move the home button to one or both of the sides of the iPhone so that, with only one hand, you could use your thumb to get back to home. Some scoffed at that idea, but Apple’s recent television commercial that touts the elongated screen of the iPhone 5 as an improvement for one-handed vertical use only further supports the notion that reconfiguring buttons and touch surfaces could be on tap for the iPhone 6.
With a smart bezel, the user could use their thumb to scroll the screen, change volume, and perform other scrolling/sliding tasks.
The other possible feature — the pico projector — has already been tried on Android devices without much luck. To me, however, the pico projector could be a good fit for Apple culture — their gambit into the business sector, for presentations, as well as the hipster class, staging rogue, impromptu, guerrilla film tests of grainy indie movies in Central Park. Am I taking this too far? Probably. But if Cupertino can figure out a way to fit in the projector without getting in the way of, say, NFC, I think it’s possible. Maybe even look for some camera/projector hybrid down the line, so that engineers get two for the price of one.
As a postscript, I’d be curious to hear what readers think of this iPhone 6′s form factor? By and large, it looks like a rehashing of the iPhone 5. Assuming that all of these newfangled hardware pieces won’t show up on the refreshed iPhone 5S, how would you feel if the iPhone 6 — the iPhone that will be released sometime in 2014 — looked like this? Would it be an epic fail for you?
By Michael Nace