How the iPhone 8’s larger screen may work

I have seen many mock-ups lately that imagine iOS 11 and the iPhone 8. They stem from rumours that the iPhone will have the same physical dimensions, but will have a larger screen in it. For this to be possible, the bezel has to shrink. Therefore, most of the mock-ups I’ve seen have the bezel cluttered with new buttons and notifications. Given that Apple just added the Touch Bar to the MacBook, and how Apple seems to pass UI/UX advnacements so well between iOS and macOS, it’s not an ill-conceived guess.

However, the clutter of these extra buttons and widgets makes them look a little un-Apple. That’s OK, Apple usually has a way of succeeding where others failed, even with the same idea. But the ergonomics of putting usable UI elements further up, down or around a phone’s surface is also an issue. Remember, the iPhone 5 was the phone Apple said was the perfect ergonomic size. They somewhat stubbornly released their 4.7" and 5.5" phones due to market changes. Will Apple make yet another ergonomic trade-off and make this situation even worse for the good (and bad) small-handed people of this world?

This led me to imagine another may to make use of this screen space.

Here, the screen’s usable boundry is about the same, but UI elements that are in front of the home screen-level pane of graphics can break those bounds. This gives a basic 3D effect, like how some new action movies will have objects that “break out” of the letter-box. This becomes another tool for conveying depth in iOS 7–11’s design.

This also has implications for certain apps, especially games. Games can be made with their normal, 4.7" play area, nothing added or removed. But certain sprites, models or particle effects in the game can be allowed to break past the artificial bounds. Objects like projectiles (lasers, cannon balls, upset birds) are allowed to be rendered past the normal scene and overtop the letter-box, giving a sense of depth as they fly in and out of the play area.

This slight variation also imagines making the bounds of the screen a little more ambiguous using a gradient affect. It didn’t illustrate the “pop-out” idea as well as the other image above.

Even though these are very quick mock-ups that I didn’t bother to put the time and battery metres in, I also have another idea to that end: should Apple remove the battery indicator? Think about it:

  • OLED screens and 10nm CPUs could give the iPhone a substantial boost in battery life.
  • Wireless charging could mean our phones are charing almost all the time, without actively plugging them in.

So what do you think? Would this be a waste of potential or a meaningful upgrade to the presentation?

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