iPhone 5 With A Tapered “Teardrop” Design – Don’t Count On It

New iPhone 5

So far we’ve heard conflicting reports about next generation iPhone’s form factor. According to some reports, next generation iPhone will be completely redesigned and will look more like iPod Touch 4G rather than iPhone 4.

While, some reports claim that fifth generation iPhone will come with improved specifications such as faster processor, 8-megapixel camera etc. just like iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, but won’t feature an all-new design and will look like iPhone 4.

With less than four days to go, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber – uber-famous Apple blogger has chimed in with his thoughts. He begins by saying that he doesn’t know what the next generation iPhone will look like, but writes that his views are based on good old-fashioned speculation and design thinking.

Something about this design seems wrong to me. The proportions seem off. Wouldn’t a teardrop body feel weirdly unbalanced when held horizontally? Look at MacRumors’s mockup of this purported design. It strikes me as ungainly that the “forehead” is smaller than the “chin” on the front face. On all previous iPhones the forehead and chin are the same size, which makes the iPhone look “right” no matter how it’s oriented. This iPhone seems like something that would only look right or feel right when held in portrait. [..]

[..] Symmetry is a hallmark of Apple’s iOS devices to date. They look right in any orientation. In terms of weight and thickness, they feel balanced when held in either orientation. These things are true of all existing iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads.

The MacBook Air is symmetric despite its teardrop shape because it has only one orientation. A teardrop iPhone, when held in landscape, would be thicker (and presumably heavier) on one side than the other. That seems wrong to me. Not shockingly wrong, but wrong nonetheless. The iPhone is not as orientation-agnostic as the iPad — the iPhone homescreen and multitasking tray, for example, are portrait-only. But still, all previous models look and feel right when held in landscape.

Consider, for example, how many iPhone games are played in landscape and use the accelerometer for control (e.g. almost all driving games). Seems to me that games like those would suffer on an unbalanced asymmetric iPhone.

He’s also skeptical about the possibility of Apple introducing iPhone 5 with a larger 4-inch screen:

And color me skeptical about a bigger display. If it goes to 4-inches diagonal, but the pixel count remains the same, won’t the pixels-per-inch resolution drop beneath Apple’s own threshold to qualify as a “retina display”? I mean, a 4-inch 960 × 640 display would still be plenty dense and should look good, but Apple tends to make things smaller, not bigger.

He concludes with his trademark Magic 8-Ball Answers your questions:

Q: Will Apple announce at least one new iPhone next week?


Q: Will they release two new iPhones?


Q: If — if — there are two new iPhones, and one of them looks like the iPhone 4, is it certain that the iPhone 4-esque one is the low-end model?


Q: Is there a new iPhone with a tapered “teardrop” design?


Q: Is there a new iPhone with a new form factor, neither like the iPhone 4 nor “teardrop”, which Apple has managed to keep completely secret?


Until now, we’ve been hoping that Apple will launch a redesigned iPhone 5 and surveys also indicate that most of the mobile phone users want a redesigned iPhone 5 rather than iPhone 4S that will look like iPhone 4, but Gruber has raised some valid concerns with the teardrop design for an iPhone.

What do you think? Please share your views in the comments section below.

[via Daring Fireball]