This iPhone Pro concept is the perfect bridge between the smartphone and the professional tablet

Now that Jony Ive is no longer running Apple’s design team (he’s off their website too), a folding iPhone may just be a possibility. Here’s what Seong Jun Park believes it should look like. Park’s flexible iPhone manifests itself as an intersection between a phone and a tablet (like most folding phones), but the advantage Apple has over its competition is its complete dominance in the tablet sector. The iPhone Pro neatly goes from a regular smartphone (with a notch) to a 4:3 screen tablet (with a slightly offset notch). It comes with not one, but two hinges that separate the AMOLED screen into three parts with outward facing screens, and a slight cantilever at one end that allows the rear camera to not be covered (not the most elegant of solutions, but then again it lets you have a screen right beside the powerful triple-lens rear-view camera.

To facilitate folding, the iPhone Pro ditches the glass back for the padded fabric used in the iPad’s smart cases. I’d guess that the fabric still retains the iPhone Pro’s ability to wirelessly charge. The iPhone Pro’s biggest sell (apart from the 3-part screen, obviously) is its Pro suffix, which, with the large screen can only mean one thing… Apple Pencil support! The phone comes with the ability to dock and charge your Apple Pencil, even using it on the iPhone’s vast tablet-esque screen to quite literally get the best of both worlds. Plus, with a screen that big, Apple TV+ would probably just come to life, right??

Designer: Seong Jun Park

This innovative smartphone case lets you text without even touching the screen

Designed by product engineer Dougie Mann, the TypeCase is a remarkable win for inclusive design! The smartphone case comes with a keyboard built right into its rim and relies on a “chord system” to generate text, where a certain combination of button-pushes results in a letter being typed out on the smartphone screen. This allows you to literally text while holding your phone in one hand, making it easy for special-needs cases as well as for people who often find themselves needing to text with one hand occupied.

The case reintroduces the familiar feeling of tactile feedback while typing, as a gestural keyboard around the rim of the screen works as an input device. The TypeCase comes with four buttons on one side and one on the other, corresponding to the positions of your fingers and thumb when you’re holding the device. The initial learning curve would be memorizing the individual ‘chord’ gestures required to type out certain letters and words, but Mann’s demo shows how easy it is to proceed once you get the hang of it. The case connects to your phone via Bluetooth, while the buttons on its rim are raised for ease-of-use for people with visual or motor impairment. Once the user is familiar with the chord-system, the TypeCase brings back the old and cherished feeling of being able to confidently type out full sentences without even looking at the screen. What’s not there to love?!

Designer: Dougie Mann

We all could use an unbreakable Tesla Cyberphone

Riding the wave of memes are also some pretty neat looking conceptual designs based on Tesla’s ‘polarizing’ Cybertruck design. LEGO enthusiast BrickinNick made a pretty cool replica of the truck out of LEGO bricks, and our favorite Jonas Daehnert, better known as the Phone Designer, put together a conceptual phone styled on the angular pickup truck.

Meet the Cyberphone… an indestructible mobile with a 7-inch screen and nifty stainless steel finish. Flip the phone over and it begins really looking like its inspiration. An angled design with a windscreen-esque black glass on the upper half, and a slatted lower half resembling the truck’s vaulted bed. Under the ‘windshield’ lies a triple camera setup, but what really has my eye is the nifty strip-light on the top, modeled after the Cybertruck’s headlights, that I assume works either as a flash or a notification light. Plus, extra points to the designer for rendering out this beauty on a marble surface, paying a hat-tip to the Cybertruck’s marble interiors.

Don’t expect this smartphone to bend… or blend.

Designer: Jonas Daehnert

Weird Design News: Pablo Escobar’s brother designed a ‘secure’ folding smartphone

Everything about this product is just bizarre but completely true. Escobar’s legacy now spans beyond just being arguably the world’s most famous drug lord….it also includes futuristic smartphones. Meet the Pablo Escobar Fold 1, a surreal folding smartphone with an outward screen created on the lines of the Huawei Mate X. It’s designed to be more durable and more secure than traditional smartphones, with an internal memory of up to 512Gb, and a price tag starting at just $349. Created by Robert Escobar, the brother of Pablo Escobar, the PE Fold 1 may just be the strangest smartphone you could own and the most absurd ecosystem you could be a part of.

The Pablo Escobar Fold 1 comes with a golden-colored body, not surprising given Escobar’s opulent history. It runs on Android, features a single folding AMOLED display, comes with a 4,000 mAh and sports a dual-camera on its inner bezel, near the screen with 16MP and 20MP shooters. The phone comes with a Dual-SIM setup, and features a fingerprint sensor (although I’m not entirely sure where). Designed to be a robust, durable folding phone, the PE Fold 1 ditches the glass front for a specialized plastic that Roberto Escobar says is very difficult to break. This makes the PE Fold 1 much stronger than the other folding phones out there, especially the Galaxy Fold, which has had its share of bad press. The phone runs securely, assures Escobar, with absolutely no data being sold to any government. Makes sense, for someone who lives on the fringes of conventional society, and outside the realm of the law.

The PE Fold 1, believe it or not, is Escobar’s answer to Apple, who he believes steals from common users by selling highly-priced phones with massive profit margins. Aside from launching the PE Fold 1, an affordable and secure alternative to most smartphones, Escobar’s also filing a $30 billion class-action lawsuit against the company for scamming its users by taking their money and data. Well, I guess it’s good to see billionaire who’s concerned about the welfare of us common-folk. The Pablo Escobar Fold 1 is limited to an initial run of 100,000 phones and comes unlocked with support for all carriers across the world… and free international shipping.

Designer: Roberto Escobar

With 5 lenses and 108 megapixels, the Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro has the best camera on a smartphone

When the company’s not releasing suspiciously familiar-looking smartwatches, they’re launching phones with cameras with such otherworldly specifications, they throw the competition in the dust. Slated for a release on the 11th of November (Singles Day in China) alongside the Mi Watch, this is the Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro. It has more cameras than you could imagine, with one of them clocking out at a dizzying 108 megapixels. It’s no wonder the phone’s achieved its ranking of 121 on the DxOMark camera testing chart, tied at first place with the Huawei Mate 30 Pro.

Xiaomi’s latest beast of a smartphone comes with not two, not three, not even four, but FIVE lenses just on the back. The 108MP wide-angle lens lets you capture more of your environment in unprecedented detail, while a portrait lens, a telephoto hybrid zoom lens, an ultra-wide lens, and a one-of-a-kind macro lens gives you the power to capture practically every aspect of the world in the way you want. And it has a 32MP front-facing camera for good measure! The front-facing camera sits within a drop-shaped notch on an otherwise pristine AMOLED FHD+ screen that comes with a built-in under-display optical fingerprint sensor.

Xiaomi’s “absolutely bonkers” camera setup comes as a partnership with Samsung. Each individual lens has its own specific use-case, which means the CC9 Pro relies less on algorithmic prowess and more on just being able to physically do what the Pixel and the iPhone do with software. The 5-lens camera setup is also capable of 4K recording at 30 fps and slo-mo at 960 fps with a resolution 720p. All that at a price of just near $400… not bad, I’d say.

And as a colossal FU to the entire world, the 5-camera, 108-megapixel smartphone still manages to pack a good old 3.5mm audio jack!

Designer: Xiaomi

Hot Take: Just enlarge the camera bump and turn the smartphone into a handycam already…

This piece isn’t really about the camera in the article, but is rather a point I’m trying to make through this camera concept that popped up while I was searching the internet for content. Just to satisfy your own curiosity, this is the Girls Night Out camera, created by Youmeus Design as a commissioned work for Lumix in 2011, when the smartphones were thicc enough to not have those godawful camera bulges.

Fast-forward to today, present-day-2019. Phones are getting thinner, but cameras larger. The result, an unsightly hump on the top of almost every smartphone you see today. The hump’s only actual credit is that it clicks some remarkable pictures… it is, otherwise, a visual and physical weak-point in smartphone design. But camera bulges aren’t going anywhere, are they, so what’s really stopping us from adding a few more millimeters to them and turning them into full-blown photography tools with large lenses, large sensors, and the ability to be physically great cameras, rather than being computationally great ones?

The concept below is literally a handycam from 2011, but if you take a second to look at the second-last image, it almost feels like a smartphone with one of those Pictar Pro or Moment-style accessories. So here’s my hot take… why not just make a bump that isn’t too large (anything less than half an inch is great), and add the lens on the edge of the phone, like a handycam. Have yourself a swiveling screen for easy filming purposes and you’ve got yourself a phone that is admittedly thick, but would ostensibly have the most amazing camera on it. The entire bump could be utilized to add a hefty stabilization unit, and the fact that you’ve got the lens on an edge, rather than a surface, means you can literally turn that cylindrical bump into a lens with incredible telephoto capabilities. Not to mention a thicker phone would also allow you to have a thicker battery. Not saying the format would be a sureshot crowd-favorite, but hey, anything’s better than those ridiculous flexible display phones, am I right? I mean, if you’re going to add millimeters to a smartphone, at least give it a great camera!

Designer: Youmeus Design

This gorgeous leather wallet-case for the iPhone 11 Pro was built with 360° drop protection

As much as Tim Apple says that the iPhone 11 Pro has the toughest glass on any smartphone, it isn’t what I call world-proof yet. Chances are, you’re still going to spring for a $70 case to give your $1200 phone a second layer of protection… and the Nomad Rugged Folio’s honestly left a pretty good first impression on me.

Built with Horween leather on both the front and back, this folio case is relatively meaty, thanks to the thick TPE bumper running around its sides that protects it from 6ft drops, no matter what angle the iPhone falls at. The case comes with a lip around the camera bump too, so you’re never left with a crack or a scratch around your camera lens, while at the same time, the folio case’s compatibility with wireless chargers means you don’t need to take your iPhone out of its cover every time you want to charge it. The front flap comes with a microfiber inner lining to keep your phone’s display scratch-free, while letting you carry up to 6 cards too. The case prolongs the life of your smartphone, keeping it as good as new, while the Horween leather on the other hand develops a unique patina over time, giving your phone its own individual persona!

Designer: Nomad

Google Pixel 4 XL: Worth The Hype?

We’ve reached a point in the evolution of smartphones where everything has started to look the same. Gone are the days when each manufacturer would have its own trademark style and layout. With very few exceptions, every single new smartphone that hits the market in the here and now is a big, black, touchscreen slab with a little notch near the top for cameras, and buttons down the side. It’s a trend that started with the early iPhones, after which everyone seemed to decide that Apple had arrived at the optimum smartphone design, and everyone else just followed suit. Despite…

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The Symbus Q wirelessly charges, provides extra ports, connects devices, and fits into your pocket

The Moshi Symbus Q is a literal two-bird-one-stone scenario, with the added benefit of the stone being a stylish rectangle that’s compact enough to fit right into your backpack. The Moshi Symbus Q provides you with a way to wirelessly charge your smartphone (even through rugged cases) while giving your laptop extra ports to work with, namely a 4K HDMI, Ethernet, and 2x USB 3.0 ports. Additionally, it comes with a USB Type-C input that supplies it with power, and a USB Type-C output that you can plug into your laptop to fast-charge it too.

The Symbus Q does a couple of useful things and does it well. Its advanced Q-coil technology allows it to wirelessly charge your smartphone through cases as much as 5mm thick (so you could charge your phone through a Pop-socket). The wireless charging surface is a plush fabric that cushions your phone without scratching it, paired with a non-slip pattern printed on it that holds your phone in place. The rest of the Symbus Q is a nifty aluminum body that looks great alongside your laptop, while ultimately dissipating heat to remain cool as it juggles all its activities, whether it’s the ability to give your laptop an external 4K display, or super-fast 1000mbps speeds via a wired internet connection, or just the ability to plug your USB drives into your Type-C laptop or ultrabook. A perfect multitasking metallic cuboid for the multitasking professional.

Designer: Moshi

Forget expanding phones, Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha’s successor folds to quarter of its size!

Foldable phones are taking over the globe. Or will take over the globe…in the foreseeable future. The release of the Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha led it to become the talk around town, although people did have some mixed emotions regarding it. With the original display occupying 180.6% of the body area, and with it becoming the world’s first smartphone with a 108MP camera, there were some who wondered was such a design even practical? And with a $2830 price tag, the imminent question arose ‘Is it just too expensive?’. However, for the ones who transformed into avid fans, they decided to take the matter of the Mi Mix Alpha’s successor into their own hands! Batyrkhan Bayaliev, a designer from Kyrgyzstan introduced a foldable or rather ‘expandable’ concept, the Mi Mix Alpha P. The P stands for pocket, phone, panorama, and papyrus. It exhibits a smartphone concept with a flexible folding screen form factor, which quite amusingly resembles a scroll! Codenamed ‘Papyrus’, it is able to expand beyond the original display size of the Mi Mix Alpha, owing to two scroll-like mechanisms on its sides. This axle allows Papyrus to occupy various sizes, varying from the size of a small TV remote to a medium-sized tablet.

Designer: Batyrkhan Bayaliev

Though it is much narrower compared to the original Mi Mix Alpha, Papyrus has three versatile modes; compact, standard and (wide) tablet. In the compact mode, it completely collapses to occupy a folded position, looking much like a chain of lego blocks or a chocolate bar! In the standard format, it expands further (like a scroll) to reveal the three-lens camera with high resolution on the back. And on giving a final tug to the sides, the scroll mechanisms on the axle allow the OLED screen to expand to a tablet of 7-8 inches or even more.

Although the Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha P is still an extension of the designer’s imagination, we cannot help but wonder how such an innovative design would impact the market and the masses. Flexible and modular, it seems like the sort of product that could make the best of any situation or to be more accurate, any size.

However, the question does arise, ‘How feasible is such a design?’. Is carrying a smartphone shaped like a chain of lego bricks the most convenient option? While the standard mode is great for clicking high-resolution pictures, and the wide tablet form perfect for streaming Netflix and watching a couple of movies, how ergonomic is the compact mode? In fact, the compact mode resembles a Nokia 7820, and though the sturdiness of a Nokia is unbeatable, the feasibility of such a design in say a year’s time (or even now) is highly debatable. Ingenious as it may be, is a foldable phone with three expandable modes really the necessity of the moment or could it with a little refinement and a makeover like the one the Samsung Galaxy Fold went through, become the future of smartphones?