The iPhone 6 remains in the shadows. But a new concept video imagines it without a home button and sporting SG3-like dimensions. If Samsung continues to succeed in the smartphone wars, could Apple go in this direction?
Samsung has made headlines recently, with new market data suggesting that they are winning the smartphone wars against Apple, having sold more smartphones in 2012 than Apple. This new revelation has led financial tech analysts to postulate that Cupertino may in fact release an iPhone in 2013 in multiple screen sizes — or even an “iPhone mini” — in a bid to match the market segmentation of Samsung’s own smarthones.
That theory, of course, remains to be seen: Apple is already offering three iPhone models, and with the 5S, may even offer 4 for a time, while iPhone 4 inventories are drawn down. Does Apple need to offer even more iPhone models with different display sizes and specs? That remains to be seen.
However, if Samsung manages to pull away from Apple in 2013, perhaps the iPhone 6 could feature a new display size and form factor that is decidedly more Android pastiche than its current look. A new concept video, depicting an iPhone 6 with a wider, SG3-like screen and no home button, seems to evoke this idea.
App Advice weighs in on this iPhone 6 concept thusly:
“. . . let’s focus on the hardware design. Ciccarese claims that it’s based on the shape of the new iPod nano. And it does look like the new iPod nano, but only to a certain extent. Frankly, it looks more like a metallic Nokia Lumia. Nokia should probably prepare their ace litigators already, on the off chance that Apple went with this design.”
It’s true that the design looks more like an Android smartphone than an iPhone — a design aesthetic that has existed in the rumor mills for years now. Graphic designers continue to imagine future iPhones with Android-like designs, and Apple continues to work around the quintessential iPhone template.
There are no proposed specs attached to this iPhone 6 concept video, so it’s hard to tell what the screen dimensions or aspect ratio is of this proposed iPhone 6. However, from the looks of it, if Apple were to adopt a similar design, it would be a capitulation on their competing display design featured on the iPhone 5. Clearly, Apple is seeking to differentiate themselves from Samsung and other Android smartphones. By 2014, if the iPhone 6 looks like this, it will mean that Apple has further faltered in the smartphone marketplace.
It’s also worth noting that this iPhone 6 design once again does away with the hardware-based home button. apparently, “the screen displays a combination of elements from iOS and OS X. [Designer] Ciccarese calls this iOSX.” I do not see how the lack of a hardware home button is reconciled on the screen. Again, this design is light on detail or specs. What are we going to have to do, plug in a mouse?
Personally, I’ve moved away from expecting Apple to remove the home button. The removal of the home button and a bezel-less edge have long been part of imagining an iPhone with an edge-to-edge screen. Apple, however, has not been too concerned with this type of design — either in patents or in their recent iPhone iterations. I think it is more of a designer’s pipe dream than a reality. And in the end, the only benefit of the home button is to make way for more display. Apple may believe that the cons outweigh the pros in getting rid of the iPhone’s iconic home button.
We should never be too cynical when it comes to concept videos: just as science fiction helps fuel science fact, consumer-based tech concepts undoubtedly filters down into future designs — even if only indirectly. But I think that this iPhone 6 concept design is probably way off the mark.
By Michael Nace