Do We Really Want Thin Phones?

iPhone Thickness(es) (?)

Never mind the iPhone 6S, set to be announced tomorrow; rumours are already circulating about its successor, the iPhone 7—specifically, how thin it’s going to be. There isn’t an exact number, but MacRumors is reporting a range of 6-6.5mm, compared to the current iPhone 6/6 Plus at 6.9/7.1mm.

Here’s the top-rated comment on that post:

I guess that means the camera will stick out even more and battery life will be less than it could be. Both perfectly acceptable trade-offs though as we have all been begging them for thinner phones after all.

I’m going to assume that last part is sarcastic—that is, that nobody has been begging for thinner phones. Am I right?

With current-gen iPhones, the camera bump problem on an otherwise thin device is rather elegantly solved by Apple’s own premium leather case which, obviously, ends up making it not so thin. And that’s perfectly okay. I’ve got a TPU case on my not-so-thin Nexus 6, and the overwhelming majority of phones I see out in the wild have some sort of case on them as well.

David Pierce wrote some wise words about cases for The Verge:

Building a great smartphone is still really hard. Software matters. Durability matters. Camera performance matters. Battery life matters. But in the world we live in, the way your phone looks doesn’t matter. Let’s stop pretending it does.

The very next day The Verge reported on the Oppo R5, a phone so thin that they couldn’t fit a headphone jack on it. ಠ_ಠ

I can only imagine that thinness is a differentiating factor in a carrier or Best Buy display, where slabs of mostly screen would otherwise be identical. I myself would much rather have a bigger battery and flush camera assembly than bragging rights to a svelte (and likely impractical) device. How about you?

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