What the iPhone of the future might look like

What the iPhone of the future might look like

Summary: Lifelike renders based on patents filed by Apple and the ever effusive rumor mill give us a clue as to what a future iPhone — perhaps the iPhone 6 or 7 — might look like.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Apple, iPhone
23

Having a stab at predicting what Apple will do with its flagship iPhone product is a favorite pastime among pundits. However, most people's predictions are little more than ideas pulled out of the air. But by taking a closer look at what Apple has done in the past, and the patents that the company has filed, we can make far more educated guesses.

Nickolay Lamm from MyVoucherCodes.co.uk has come up with two possible designs for a future iPhone. The first of these renders is based on rumors that Apple could swap out the metal on the back of the existing iPhone for a translucent plastic.

(Credit: Nickolay Lamm)

"A lot of us are so used to using our smartphones that we forget about what's inside them," Lamm told ZDNet in an email. "The iMac was made translucent so that it would seem less 'alien' and more personal, compared to other options which all looked like gray boxes. Apple can incorporate the same idea into the iPhone."

The translucent plastic would also allow Apple to easily — and cheaply — introduce a splash of color to its iPhone line.

(Credit: Nickolay Lamm)

Lamm has also taken an Apple patent filing for an iPhone made of curved glass and turned this into a realistic render.

Here's the image from the patent:

And here's the render:

(Credit: Nickolay Lamm)

"When I first saw the new iPhone patent," wrote Lamm, "it looked too futuristic and I wasn't sure how it would compare against the form factor of the iPhone 5. After making the concept, the patent looks much more feasible and it is something that may be possible for the iPhone 6 or 7."

It is, of course, worth bearing in mind that both of these designs are speculative, and are not based on anything official from Apple. Nonetheless, they are interesting designs, and a new take on the now oh-so familiar iPhone design.

Topics: Apple, iPhone

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

23 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Curved glass is a useability nightmare

    hold it in your hand and with that same hands thumb try to use the buttons on the other side of the phone. Good luck with that Apple.
    Oknarf
    • The shape reminds me of that Speed Stick Deodorant

      Apple's always thinking outside the box, so who knows?
      William Farrel
      • Dual use maybe?

        In a hurry, just a quick wipe under the underarm. LOL!
        jgoode@...
      • A 2-in-1 phone + deodorant stick

        At least if the phone is not good, one can always use the deodorant stick feature.
        tknnguyen
  • Apple does not design down.

    It leverages its supply chain planning to reduce costs of the current model when it is ready to launch a newer model. Apple needs to maintain its premium positioning. Even cheaper materials has a higher upfront cost with sourcing ramp up and development. Because the fresh cycle is only one year, Apple is better off lowering the price of the iPhone 5 to hit the price point rather than invest in the development in a new model. They also have to replace the iPhone 5 with a more premium model, expending more resources, time and cost to do so.
    flyguy29
  • How do you hold it?

    Probably I have to suspend it in some magnetic field to make phone calls.
    Owllll1net
    • Go for it

      Meanwhile I'll use my hands to hold it just like any other phone.
      athynz
  • When are we going to see an article titled:

    "What the Samsung phone of the future might look like"?
    Or "What the Windows phone of the future might look like"?
    Oh, I forgot. They will look like the iPhone---only a couple of years later. And they will be bigger, of course.
    Userama
    • Yeah because the 920 looks so much like an iphone now. Riiiiiight.

      Apple is far behind WP devices in both hardware and software. They need to catch up on both before they have anything else anyone will need to catch up to them on.
      Johnny Vegas
  • Dear God in Heaven...

    If the iPhone looks anything like the abomination in that second rendering, I'll be in line to buy one on the first day so I can take it out to the farm and unload a couple of magazines of premium 5.56 NATO rounds on it. What a ridiculously preposterous and embarrassingly idiotic concept that is. I'm sure Apple just patented all that crap so that some other company couldn't do it, but that doesn't even look usable. It looks incredibly uncomfortable, fragile and finicky. I can just see the accidental presses, dropping and screw-ups possible with that design...

    I don't even know what to say. If Apple has anything like this on their roster, then I want to know about it because I'll be migrating away from iAnything.

    Gross.
    heymatthew
  • Familiar Shape

    The shape (although probably not the size) is remarkably like the 4th generation iPod that I use :)
    Jimmy S
  • What the iPhone of the future might look like

    I would hope these renders will be nothing like the future iphones. If they are then its a pretty poor design. Every time you pick up the phone you'll be touching the screen and launching apps you don't want to launch or calling people you don't want to talk to.
    Loverock-Davidson
  • I am looking for software evolution...

    Not form factor. I will not buy a new iPhone just because the form factor is cool. I need real changes in iOS and additional connectivity and storage options.
    jgoode@...
    • Apple won huge suits...

      Apple won huge suits against it's competitors for form factor, if it wasn't a major concern or a major selling point for many in the field (Steve Jobs was famous for this) then there would have been no need for the suits as they would not have won. I think that form factor is important to many people.
      CSB123
  • apple iphone of the future

    Don't worry guys it will look like the iPhone 4-5, as apple innovations died with jobs... and even jobs was using Newton GUI for iPhone 1... almost 20 years on and it worked for iPhone users..
    truffle123
  • MAYBEEEeeee. . . .

    Sure it's this way ??? __ ()
    Could be this way ??? __ )(
    .
    Might even look like a flattened EGG.
    KEEP GUESSING.
    If a webpage can look curved or roundish, then this design has a sporting chance.
    But I doubt it.
    .
    fm-usa
  • () __ might have a chance, "IF"

    There's a VERY SLIM CHANCE this design might make it. __ ()
    IF it opens like this,
    (|
    (|
    .
    "Double your pleasure, double your fun, DoubleScreen-DoubleScreen will be the one."
    . . . sing it baby!!!
    .
    fm-usa
  • Non-sense patents

    What is so special about curved surface? This is not the first curved surface ever designed on Earth. It is obvious that phone surfaces are to be either flat or curved and smooth. I believe that Apple are applying patents for the sack of getting them to sue others. This is no innovation behind. And when you look at the display technology these days, displays can now be bent. While I would not surprise patent office would be so stupid to issue Apple the patent, it should not apply in the first place.
    laman
  • wait til the iPhone 6

    Just wait til the bigger screen iPhone comes out Samsuck will have nothing going for it
    Hoggy866
    • So...

      So Apple copying Samstrong to bigger and curved screens (Something Samsung already showed off, working, not just a drawing), and according to you, Samsung will have "Nothing" going for it? Your post clearly shows Apple is following now, and is no longer the leader.

      I hope you're right, competition is good for the consumer. Apple needs to innovate. Even the diehards are beginning to grumble.
      ahmazin