Apple's appalling iPhone 6 camera compromise

Apple is typically a company that puts an enormous amount of meticulous thought into the aesthetics of its products, which makes this iPhone 6 design blunder even harder to understand.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Apple is a company renowned for making products that are not only functional, but also beautiful. When you buy an apple product you're buying something that's been crafted as opposed to being cobbled together. Overseeing design at Apple is Jony Ive, the London-born designer who has worked up the ranks at the company since 1992 to take the post of senior vice president of design.

Given Apple's design heritage, and Ive's customarily well-calibrated eye, I have to wonder how this carbuncle came to adorn the iPhone 6.

iPhone 6
Image: Apple

I'm talking about the protrusion from the otherwise sleek exterior of the iPhone 6 to accommodate the camera lens, something that from this point on I will call the "camera nubbin."

It's clear why the "camera nubbin" exists. Apple wanted to shave a fraction of a millimeter off the thickness of the iPhone, but at the same time wanted to upgrade the camera. But it seems that Apple could make the iPhone thinner than it could make the camera module, so shoehorned the oversized module inside the otherwise svelte iPhone.

This is ugly. Really ugly. Not only that, but I can already see it making the iPhone 6 hard to use on a hard surface without some sort of case because without that it won't lie flat. Not only that, but it puts the camera's lens right out in front, ready to take knocks and such.

Forget about putting the iPhone down on a table to tap away.

I understand that "thin and light" is important to Apple, but this seems to have taken the concept of a compromise to crazy heights. Rather than having that ugly, annoying "camera nubbin," why not make the iPhone fractionally thicker, and use that space to give the handset an even bigger battery? Or if the battery would have added too much weight, just leave it empty. Sheesh, fill it with helium for all I care, just do something better than make an already small dimension even smaller, but then have to whack a pustule on it.

I understand why Apple wanted to fit a better camera into the iPhone 6 – the shots I've seen from it so far look spectacular – but I don't understand why it needed to be bolted on in such a Frankenstein manner.

iPhone 6
Image: Apple

Update at 7am BST: It's been suggested that this could be related to an Apple patent for "bayonet attachment mechanisms" to attach lenses to the camera. While this may be the case – we'll have to wait and see – it's still a very ugly solution to solve a problem affecting a very small number of iPhone users. 

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