While the courtroom strategies in Apple vs. Samsung have been unusually entertaining, perhaps the most noteworthy developments (at least to us tech bloggers) have come from Cupertino’s continual disclosure of old, unreleased iPhone designs.
The latest such design is especially noteworthy in my eyes, as it’s precisely the one I thought would launch last year as the iPhone 5.
Well, for starters, Apple did buy a boatload of pricey glass carvers back in early 2011. Plus, a curved backside is ergonomically and practically superior to the current iPhone’s flat form factor. Such an iPhone — think thinner 3GS — is more comfortable to hold and easier to pick up (that’s why the iPad’s edges are tapered). And it’s got the look.
But alas, it was not to be. In a telling deposition, former Apple designer Douglas Satzger explains why the design was abandoned (via Network World):
The technology in shaping the glass, the cost relative to shaping the glass at the time, and some of the design features of this specific shape were not liked. …
The technology at the time had a lot to do with it. The qualities of the glass at the time had a lot to do with it. These are models — I’m trying to remember a time frame — that were before gorilla glass and before a lot of the other factors.
Of course, those “other factors” exist now, so maybe we’ll see a curved, glass-backed iPhone make it to market sometime down the line.
Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?