The original iPhone debuted in 2007 and not much has changed since. Every smartphone of note copied everything about Apple’s iconic design. Big display, rounded corners, big batter, and a few buttons; or, put another way– bumps.
Even my iPhone XS Max has more than a few bumps. There are the sound volume bumps on the left side, right below the Ringer bump switch, which is opposite the Power bump on the left side. The bottom of new iPhones have speaker and microphone holes, and a Lightning connector and that helps to identify which end is bottom and which is top.
Any more bumps? Yes.
There is the camera bump; larger on iPhone XS and XS Max than iPhone XR, but a bump nevertheless. Apparently smartphone cameras still are thicker than smartphone designers want cases to be.
What’s coming in the future? iPhones without bumps and buttons, and if display technology continues down the same road, there won’t even be a visible bezel on the side.
In a few years we could end up with iPhones that have no visible buttons or bumps and be what former Apple design chief Jonny Ive probably envisioned. A bumpless, buttonless iPhone with a case on the back and a display on the front.
How would you power on an iPhone without a button?
Some engineers somewhere are working on that and I don’t doubt it will show up in the future. After all, iPhones already do wireless charging, and Face ID is much akin to a radar system so maybe all that’s needed to power on future buttonless and bumpless iPhones is a glance and a wink.
No bumps, no buttons. Is that a good thing?
After all, I can tell which side of my iPhone is up or down or facing me by the buttons and bumps. My case has an opening on the bottom to allow for Lightning cables to connect. There is no button on the top, so, well, that’s the top. The iPhone’s camera is on the back and that little bump– or, indentation with a case– tells me when side is facing forward and away.
Bumps and buttons are built-in communication methods to help us orient our iPhones in darkness so taking them completely away could be disorienting.
I’m all in favor of know which end is up.