Even though it’s not the perfect representation of this year’s Apple flagship, it gives a pretty good idea of what we can expect in September.
We are only a couple of weeks away from the iPhone 11’s big event, and - as it’s customary in every year – we get more and more information about this year’s Apple flagship phone. We can be almost certain regarding the 2019 model’s look and functions, and even though that the latter will only be unveiled on the Steve Jobs Theatre’s main stage in September, the leaks and rumors give us a pretty solid understanding of how the phones are going to look like. Why is that? Well, it has multiple reasons.
First, the fans publish 3D models and render images of the phones made by themselves, showcasing what they think how the current year’s iPhones are going to look – in relations to the trends and popular design elements of the phones on sale at the time. This is the least trustworthy source of information of course, because a standalone designer will do their work subjectively, regardless if they want it or not. The early, fan-made models thus mainly represent what their creator wants and thinks, instead of the truth (which is of course unknown at the time). After that, the ocean of rumors and leaks come in: these can be analyses, sneaky photos from one of the factiories or even whole technical drawings that the people of the internet somehow managed to acquire. These usually prove to be more reliable sources than the fanbase, but there’s still a significant chance for errors. The spy photos usually come from some pretty sketchy sources, and it’s always possible that the leakers can only get an older version of the phone’s plans and drawings. After that, comes the final phase of the phone’s before-release life cicle, when all the engineering is done, and the factories are already on full throttle so Apple has a nice and large stock in September for the big iPhone-craze. In this last phase, we can be 99% certain how the new iPhones are going to look. And all that certainty can be attributed to one thing: dummy models. Dummy models are the newest iPhones’ phisical manifestation, without the brainpower: a single piece of plastic, which’s dimensions match the new iPhone’s dimensions exactly. Their purpose? Helping case making companies, who can start designing and manufacturing their new cases and accessories based on these dummys, so when the iPhones drop, even the very first customers are able to dress their fresh and crisp new phones up with some protection.
But after that, they have a secondary purpose. They provide top-notch quality info for the fans about the new model’s looks, and this is also the case this year: we got some cases and dummy models from our friends over at Pitaka, so we can show you what you can expect in September, at the unveiling of the new iPhone in the Steve Jobs Theater.
The dummy models of the iPhone 11 (up) and the iPhone 11 Max (down)
Well... It is exactly what we have dreaded the whole year. The huge camera bump at the back of the phone housing not one, not two, but three lenses. There’s no problem with the fact that the new iPhones will have three cameras, I’m not saying that – I’m only saying that the way Apple’s engineers implemented those three cameras is a bit questionable, to say the least. Both the smaller and the bigger version will be equipped with a bulge twice the size of the former, two-lens generations of iPhone. This can be clearly seen when looking at the cases:
iPhone 11 Max case at the left, iPhone XS case in the middle and iPhone 11 case at the right
Even the smaller iPhone 11 has the same sized camera bump, which leads to the speculation that the phones probably won’t have any differences besides their screens – the same situation as the previous generation’s iPhone XS and XS Max. Good news is that the housing of the cameras is actually so enermous that the phones don’t even rock a little bit, when laid down on a flat surface (even though only a small percentage of people use their phones without cases, so the vast majority of users won’t be able to have this ’feature’). I also noticed an interesting difference between the small and the larger dummy: in the Max model, the cameras have additional circular lens on top of them inside the housing, while the 11’s cameras are just sitting there naked under the bump’s covering layer of glass. I’m talking about this:
We can’t really know if this design element will be featured on the finished product, and it’s also a mystery for me what purpose do the extra layers of glass serve, besides the obvious distinguishing factor. Of course, this can be a nice feature for some of the more pompous users, who’ve been in trouble for the last year or so, because their incredibly expensive iPhone XS Max models could be easily mistaken for some ordinary iPhone XS.
According to the rumors, the third lens will be a wide-angle sensor, and its feature will be Apple’s entry to the club of the phonemakers with triple lens products. But besides that, the outside of the phone is almost identical to last years models. There’s still a big ol’ notch on the front side of the device without any embedded selfie camera sor crazy mechanisms, the antenna bands and assimetrical speakers are also here, and the headphone jack still didn’t get revived (which is not a big surprise considering that even Samsung, the biggest advocate for the port dropped it, but this is a different story, about which you can read here). The dimesions of the phones also remained identical to last years devices, the dummys also measure in at the same 143,6 x 70,9 x 7,7 millimeters as the iPhone XS did (which is 157,5 x 77,4 x 7,7 millimeters for the XS Max). But you shouldn’t forget that these are only dummys crafted for casemaker, who only need their physical dimensions for the cases, so the cosmetical parts could be (and I think definitely are) wrong. The most apparent is the Apple logo, which has been placed conveniently at the middle of the phone by its creator - and I’m 99.9% certain that the final model will have its logo in the usual place, at the upper side of the phone.
Let’s also talk about the cases. The Pitaka MagCases are made out of the same aramid material that we have seen on the iPhone X and iPhone XS cases made by the company, and besides being stylish and protective, they tell us some more about this year’s iPhones. Some sources have been playing around with the fact that Apple’s going to redesing the mute switch on the side of the phone, which would’ve moved from its vertical alignment to a horizontal one – but as it can be seen on the cases, the cutout hasn’t changed, which suggests that Apple actually didn’t do anything to the poor mute switch. The second interesting detail can be found at the bottom: the size and shape of the port’s cutout also hasn’t changed, which means that no, Apple still didn’t use USB-C in this year’s iPhones. We’ve pretty much already known this, but hope dies last, and we shouldn’t forget that the company’s Pro lineup has already moved to the Type-C port (MacBook, iPad), so them dropping the Lightning is pretty much only a matter of time. Talking about the cases, the good folks at Pitaka are ready for the next big rush when the new iPhones start to ship, so if you plan to get one of Apple’s 2019 flagships, you definitely should get some protection from them – you can do that by visiting this link. We’ve already tested their products, and they never disappointed. Furthermore, if you purchase an accessory from their store with the code PITAKA10%OFF, you get 10% off your final price, so use it while you still can!
Of course the camera won’t be the iPhone 11’s only new feature. There’s a significant chance of it having bilateral charging (meaning they’ll be able to charge other devices wirelessly from their backs), and they’ll definitely feature stronger internal hardware, bigger batteries and some new, previously unheard of quirks and functions. And the cameras... Well, it’s 99% certain that they’ll look like this. I’m aware of the fact that pretty much nobody likes the new design – this is the first time even I think that the iPhone’s going to look ugly – but we have to get used to this. It’s the same procedure over and over again: Apple starts pushing a really controversial design that the people hate at first, then more and more of them starts liking it at the launch of the phone, and a couple of years later people start calling the same design ’the most beautiful iPhone ever’. This was the case with the iPhone 6 and the panic over it going larger than ordinary, than with the 7 Plus and its horizontal double cameras (which has pretty much become a staple part in most modern phones), and then with the X and its vertical cameras and display notch, which can also be seen on every other phone from the last two years. The company knows and understands its enormous influence over the market, and they also know that they can’t really make a bad move. A lot of phonemakers will follow them (almost no matter what they do), and the users will get used to their designs and solutions anyway, if they see them enough – what a surprise, you can already find an unpleasant, but still familiar design element on the Google Pixel 4’s renders.
One thing is sure: the new iPhone is always distinguishable. If you’re at least a little bit familiar with phones, you’ll definitely recognise it if somebody uses a new iPhone at the other side of the room. Apple’s a master at changing their products just enough that this important marketing element stays prominent. This was the case in the past, it’ll be the case in the future, and in the present we have an ugly little duckling of an iPhone. We’ll get used to it, won’t we?
What do you think of the new iPhone designs and how Apple keeps changing the look of their products for the sake of distinctness? Share your thoughts with us here in the comments or on Facebook!
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