Dude STOP BENDING IT!
Dude STOP BENDING IT!
When it comes to smartphones, thin is in. But it should be of interest to product designers that as ubiquitous as these skinny devices are becoming—Apple sold 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Pluses over the weekend, for chrissakes—there really are some basic design problems with smartphones that haven't been totally covered.
Here's what's been in the news: Responding to reports that the iPhone 6 Plus can be bent out of shape when carried in a pants pocket—even a front pocket—while sitting, Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy posted a video of his iPhone 6 Plus Bend Test. The results weren't pretty, as the image atop this entry attests, and his video quickly racked up millions of hits.
Cult of Mac, however, was quick to point out that this structural flaw is not new to the iPhone 6 Plus, nor Apple in particular. In CoM's "The Shocking History of Bent Smartphones," they round up examples across manufacturers and models:
So here's the issue: We either want thin phones with large screens, or designers are pushing them on us, yet the slimness combined with broadness (i.e. increased leverage) has a major drawback for a subset of users. In your opinion, where does the fix lie—on the design side, or the user side?Design Side
D1. Try to maintain the same thinness while using stronger materials. Sure, we could go NASA and carbon nanotubes, but who could afford the resultant product?
D2. Use the same materials but make the phones thicker. What percentage of people would buy thicker phones? Isn't there a skinny-phone arms race?
D3. Introduce a new, convenient method of on-the-go smartphone storage that precludes the problem of stress. A lot of people a lot smarter than me would have to work on this one.
U1. It is the user's responsibility to buy a protective case that precludes the problem. Few of us buy a new pair of sunglasses without also buying a protective case for them. Ought this understanding be automatic for smartphones?
U2. The user should coddle the device. Going again with the sunglasses analogy, we tend to handle an expensive pair of wraparounds more gingerly than say, our keychain.
U3. The user should devise an off-the-body way to transport a smartphone. It made sense to slip Star-Tacs in our pockets. Have the form factor of smartphones now reached the point where we ought switch to bags?
Of course, there will be a subset of readers who will think "Well, this has never happened to me, so this isn't a problem at all." But we're curious to see what suggestions the more enlightened among you have.