Ten Ways To Make Your Tiny Home Feel Spacious

Did you know that the average size of a tiny home is just about 400 square feet? Given the current housing market where space often feels like the ultimate luxury, these pint-sized dwellings challenge us to rethink our notions of what makes a home comfortable and inviting. But fear not, spatial wizards and cozy-home enthusiasts! There are myriad tricks to turn your compact castle into an airy oasis. From clever storage solutions to strategic decor choices, this article will guide you through simple yet transformative steps to expand your horizons within limited square footage. Drawing from both professional insights and personal experiences, these methods will give you insights into how to intelligently plan, purchase, and utilize what you have to enhance the quality of your living area.

Minimal Multifunctional Shoe Rack by Teixeira Design Studio

1. Embrace Multifunctional Furniture

In a small space, every piece of furniture should earn its keep. Multifunctional furniture is akin to having a Swiss Army knife in your home; it’s versatile, saves space, and often becomes a conversation starter. For instance, consider a sleek, modern sofa bed that seamlessly transitions from a cozy lounge area during the day to a comfortable sleeping space at night. Or imagine an ottoman that not only provides a perfect perch for your feet but also opens up to reveal hidden storage for blankets or books. These versatile pieces not only save space but also add a layer of functionality that is crucial for living comfortably in a small area. By carefully selecting furniture that multitasks, you can maximize your living area, ensuring that every piece serves more than one purpose.

IMAGO-iter by BESS

2. Maximize Vertical Space

Vertical space is often the most underutilized asset in tiny homes. By shifting the focus upward, you can dramatically alter the perception of your living area. Installing floor-to-ceiling shelving can provide ample storage for books, decorative items, and essentials, drawing the eye upward and making the ceilings appear higher. Wall-mounted desks and fold-away tables offer workspaces that don’t eat into your valuable floor space. Don’t overlook the potential of hanging items; bicycles, pots, pans, and even beds can be suspended from the ceiling or high on walls, doubling as decorative features while saving floor space. This approach not only enhances the functionality of your home but also adds visual interest, creating dynamic levels and layers that invite the eye to roam, thus making the space feel larger and more inviting.

Monarch Tiny Home by The Bunkie Co.

3. Let There Be Light

Light has the power to transform a cramped space into an airy sanctuary. Ensure your windows are unobstructed by heavy curtains or blinds, opting instead for light, sheer fabrics that allow sunlight to permeate the space while still offering privacy. Mirrors strategically placed opposite windows can amplify the amount of natural light entering the room, creating a brighter, airier feel. In areas lacking natural light, consider a well-planned mix of overhead lighting, task lighting, and accent lights to illuminate dark corners and create the illusion of depth. Proper lighting can transform a cramped, gloomy space into a welcoming haven, enhancing both the functionality and the aesthetic appeal of your home.

Elsa Prefab Home by Olive Nest

4. Opt for Light Colors

The color palette you choose has a profound impact on how your space is perceived. Light, neutral colors like white, beige, light gray, and pastels have the power to reflect light, making spaces feel brighter and more open. Painting walls, ceilings, and even floors in these hues can create a cohesive, airy feel, visually expanding the room. These colors serve as a blank canvas, allowing you to inject personality through smaller accent pieces, textiles, and artwork without overwhelming the space. Furthermore, light colors can evoke a sense of calm and cleanliness, essential qualities in a small living environment. While it might be tempting to go bold, remember that dark colors tend to absorb light, making spaces feel smaller and more confined.

Bangkok Micro Apartment by Mae Prachasilcha

5. Declutter Ruthlessly

Clutter is the arch-nemesis of space, both physically and visually. In a tiny home, every item must justify its presence. Adopting a minimalist approach doesn’t mean living without; it means living with only what you truly need, value, and love. Regular decluttering sessions can help maintain a sense of order and spaciousness. This practice isn’t just about physical space; it’s about creating room to breathe and focus on what truly matters. Employing smart storage solutions can help keep essential items out of sight but within reach, reducing surface clutter and maintaining a tidy, open feel. Remember, a clutter-free home is not only easier to clean and maintain but also more peaceful and inviting.

Adraga by Madeiguincho

6. Think Thin

Choosing the right furniture for a tiny space is about balance. Bulky, heavy pieces can quickly overwhelm a room, making it feel cramped and small. Instead, opt for slim, sleek furniture that fits the scale of your space. For example, a delicate, glass coffee table can serve its purpose without visually dominating the room. Similarly, thin-legged chairs and tables maintain functionality while keeping the space looking open and airy. This approach extends to shelving, lamps, and even art frames. The lighter and thinner the profile, the less visual space it occupies. Moreover, furniture that can be easily moved or reconfigured offers flexibility in arranging your living area to suit different needs or activities, further enhancing the utility and spaciousness of your home.

brandburg_studio_2

Brandburg Home & Studio by Modelina Architecture

7. Zone Your Spaces

In a tiny home, it’s not uncommon for one room to serve multiple purposes. Creating distinct zones for sleeping, working, and relaxing can help manage this multiplicity, making your space more organized and functional. Rugs, lighting, and furniture arrangement can all serve as visual cues that delineate different areas without the need for physical barriers, which can make a space feel smaller. For example, a rug can anchor a living area, creating a distinct space for relaxation within a larger room. Similarly, a pendant light over a dining table can define the eating area, setting it apart from the rest of the home. These visual distinctions help organize the space functionally and aesthetically, making it feel more structured and spacious.

This shape-shifting cork furniture transforms to be a lounger, a ...

Shapeshifting Cork Furniture by José Manuel Carvalho Araújo

8. Smart Storage Solutions

Storage is king in small living spaces. Look for innovative storage solutions that maximize unused spaces, such as under the bed or over the doors. Hidden storage, such as under-bed drawers or ottomans with compartments, can keep everyday clutter out of sight. Utilizing the vertical space with high shelves and hooks can free up floor space while keeping essentials accessible. Built-in units, like bookcases or desks, can be customized to fit your space perfectly, offering a seamless look that feels intentional and cohesive. The goal is to have a place for everything, reducing visual clutter and creating a sense of order and spaciousness. When every item has a designated spot, maintaining a tidy and open living environment becomes much easier.

9. Incorporate Reflective Surfaces

Mirrors and other reflective surfaces are magic in tiny spaces. They not only bounce light around a room, making it feel brighter and more open, but they also create the illusion of depth, effectively doubling your space visually. Consider mirrored closet doors or a decorative mirror wall to enhance this effect. The strategic placement of these elements can dramatically alter the perception of your home’s size, transforming a small, enclosed area into a more expansive and inviting space.

10. Open Floor Plan

If possible, adopting an open floor plan can make a tiny home feel much larger. Removing non-structural walls to create a single, unified space allows for greater flexibility in how the area is used and perceived. An open plan enhances the flow of natural light and movement, creating a sense of freedom and spaciousness. For those unable to make structural changes, furniture placement and visual tricks, like consistent flooring or color schemes, can help create a cohesive, open feel. The open floor plan not only makes the space more adaptable to different uses but also fosters a sense of connection and interaction, making your tiny home feel like a much larger, integrated space.

Living in a tiny home requires creativity, discipline, and a keen sense of what truly matters. By implementing these strategies, you can create a space that feels open, comfortable, and uniquely yours. The constraints of a small living area encourage us to think differently about space, challenging us to live more thoughtfully and efficiently. And remember, the size of your home doesn’t define its potential. With a bit of creativity and effort, even the tiniest of homes can be transformed into spacious, serene havens.

Creating a spacious and inviting atmosphere in a tiny home is both an art and a science, requiring a blend of practical solutions and creative thinking. The journey to maximizing your small space can be incredibly rewarding, offering lessons in simplicity, efficiency, and the importance of truly loving the things you choose to surround yourself with. So embrace the challenge, and revel in the opportunity to turn your tiny home into a spacious retreat that reflects your personal style and meets your unique needs. After all, a home, regardless of its size, is a sanctuary—a place to create memories, find comfort, and express who you are.

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Apple’s Big Mistake with the iPhone 16 Series is Focusing TOO MUCH on the Camera

When Jobs took the stage to announce the iPhone back in 2007, he used three terms to describe the revolutionary device – a widescreen iPod with touch controls; a revolutionary mobile phone; and a breakthrough Internet communications device. However, ever since the iPhone 7 introduced a dual-lens main camera system on the phone, the Apple team has sort of obsessed with making sure the iPhone has a great camera first, and phone-adjacent features later. Almost like a handheld camera with an App Store, the iPhones now are just a shadow of what they could be. No foldable technology, no AI-based enhanced features, and not even a damn-near decent voice assistant. In fact, it took Apple YEARS to get 5G to their iPhones. Apple spends nearly 30-40% of each iPhone keynote talking about the camera and screen, and now rumors are indicating that the iPhone 16 will introduce a dedicated ‘capture’ button that lets you click photos like you would with a professional camera. The problem with this is that it’s diluting the very definition of a smartphone… and I feel like it might be deliberate.

Earlier this week, leaks showed a new hardware feature coming to the iPhone – a Capture Button that would sit on the top right corner of your phone if you held it in landscape mode. Surprising as it is, considering Apple has been trying to go buttonless and portless for a while now, the Capture Button seems like an odd addition to a phone. Not a single other smartphone has a camera shutter button. In fact, the de facto position is to turn your volume button into a capture button while the camera is running… so what’s driving Apple to add YET ANOTHER button to their phone, following the addition of the Action Button last year?

Leaked images of iPhone dummies used for case designs

Last month, I pointed out that the iPhone 16 is just going to be one of those boring phones worth missing, and this Capture Button seems to reinforce that fact. Every 3 years, Apple launches a ‘boring’ iPhone with a minor design upgrade just to keep things moving before a radical change and it’s been 2 years since the Dynamic Island, so this is probably Apple’s boring year. But why a Capture Button? Nobody said we needed it, not a single Android competitor has a Capture Button, heck if anything we’d appreciate bringing the 3.5mm audio jack back. So why is Apple going ahead with this hardware change?

There are two ways to look at it. The first is a simpler explanation – Apple’s run out of ideas. This is just one of those years where Apple pushes out something so it can tick that annual release box and make a few sales before something bigger and better in 2025. It’s a theory that holds merit given that the iPhone 8 was the ‘boring’ phone for the iPhone X, the iPhone 13 hardly had any extra features (unless you count Cinematic Mode as a game-changing upgrade) before the iPhone 14 ushered in the Dynamic Island. This basically means it’s business as usual and 2024 is just going to be a boring year for iPhones… but there’s yet another explanation.

Close-up of the purported Capture Button

The second explanation is a little more layered and vague, considering there’s no concrete proof to the fact. The explanation is that Apple’s pretty much resigning the iPhone to its fate – the camera. With the Vision Pro becoming Apple’s new breakthrough device, the iPhone will eventually take second place, quite like the iPod did 12 years ago. There are multiple rumors that Apple’s building a cheaper Vision headset (without the ‘Pro’ title) for the mass market to immerse in spatial computing… and when that happens, the iPhone won’t be anything except for a glorified photography device. It still doesn’t explain why Apple’s adding a Capture Button to their phone, given that people already use the volume button to capture photos… but that’s the vague part, because we really don’t ever know what’s going on inside the heads of Tim Cook and the Apple team until and unless they tell us. But as far as the iPhone 16 goes, I’d recommend you give it a miss unless you were long due for a smartphone upgrade.

Renders by Sarang Sheth

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The iPhone 16 might just be a snoozefest… History tells us why.

Historically, every three years, the iPhone’s design gets a ‘boring’ upgrade. Do you remember the iPhone 8 or the iPhone 13’s most exciting features? Neither do I.

The iPhone X and 11 had radical new designs with the notch, the iPhone 12 introduced 5G and MagSafe… but after two consecutive years of exciting features, the iPhone 13 barely had anything worth talking about (unless you consider ‘Cinematic Mode’ to be a game-changing feature). Skip to the next year and the iPhone 14 Pro had the Dynamic Island and Satellite Connectivity. The iPhone 15 had the Action Button, the USB-C port, and a titanium construction. All indications show that the upcoming iPhone 16 won’t really dazzle much. Aside from a few hardware upgrades and perhaps one or two extra camera features (probably tied to the Vision Pro), there isn’t any thrilling rumor regarding the upcoming iPhone 16’s design. Not that there needs to be – Apple’s entitled to taking a short break every few years and just focusing on fine-tuning the product rather than wowing people. If you’re thinking of upgrading to the 16 this year, I’d probably give it a miss and go for the 15 instead. The iPad, on the other hand, is due for a BIG refresh with rumors of a glass-back, MagSafe, and perhaps some more camera upgrades to support the Vision Pro.

The rumor mill for the latest iPhone often begins around a year prior to its release. Once a model of the iPhone launches, analysts and experts begin speculating what the next year’s model could look like. Speculations turn into rumors by January. Rumors turn into leaks by April or May. And renders emerge online by July or August, approximately a month before Apple announces its newest iPhone. So far, the rumors have been rather underwhelming at best, with some minor upgrades being touted for the iPhone 16.

So far, outlets like MacRumors haven’t specified any ‘game-changing’ new features for the iPhone 16. Sure, you have a chipset upgrade every year and the 16 Pro will run Apple’s latest A18 Bionic chip. Cameras get upgraded too, and there’s speculation that the Ultrawide camera could get a 48MP bump this year. The new iPhone 16 series will apparently have larger displays (so maybe smaller bezels), better 5G, WiFi 7 capabilities, and a new stacked battery architecture for better battery life. Visibly, the iPhone 16 might have a different camera layout, defaulting to the original vertical orientation seen with the iPhone 11 and 12 (although the bump around them may be capsule-shaped instead of square like older models). There’s also speculation about a new physical ‘capture’ button for clicking photos or recording videos… although all indications show that this might just be one of those rumors that end up staying a rumor. Apple’s famously trying to move away from buttons and ports, so adding an extra button to the new phone just doesn’t sound like something the company would do. Moreover, the volume buttons already work as capture buttons when the camera app’s active… so a dedicated capture button feels rather redundant.

The iPhone 16 Pro might see some extremely small incremental changes, with barely any visible differences. The rendering below shows a possible iPhone 16 Pro with a design that’s indistinguishable from last year’s 15 Pro model. Apple will almost certainly stick to titanium for the Pro series, potentially with newer colors to help differentiate them from last year’s models.

All eyes, however, are on Apple’s software development team this year. The company famously canceled its rumored Apple Car project, moving the entire Project Titan team to work for the in-house AI development department. Analysts like Ming-Chi Kuo speculate that Apple might announce AI-based features like a next-gen Siri powered by Apple’s own LLM, or other generative AI capabilities. These announcements, however, may just come with the iOS 18 debut during WWDC in June. To push the latest iPhone series, Apple may also limit these AI features only to the iPhone 16 range, forcing consumers to make the upgrade. However, until these speculations are confirmed, the iPhone 16 may just be worth a miss this year.

Images via MacRumors

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10 Things To Consider Before Planning To Study Design Abroad

We’re finally at a point where design as an occupation holds the same mental weight as medicine, engineering, or law. The past two decades have seen a rapid rise in ‘design’ and ‘design thinking’ becoming permanent parts of the professional vocabulary, and with that, there’s a steady rise in the demand for designers. The educational setup, however, is still taking time to catch up to the industry’s need for designers, which is why even today there are still just a handful of institutions that command the design education space. A lot of them are in the global west, undoubtedly, but the global east is picking up pace too, offering young designers and aspirants the ability to travel to a whole variety of countries to study and specialize in design. If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re either thinking of studying design abroad, or you’ve already studied design abroad… or you’re just design-curious.

The allure of studying design abroad is undeniable—new experiences, exposure to international design perspectives, and the promise of personal growth. However, before your dreams take flight across borders, there are critical considerations that can make or break your educational journey. From cultural nuances and the constant evolution of design requirements to financial planning and accreditation standards, venturing into foreign territories for a design education requires meticulous preparation. My objective here is not just to guide you through practical steps but also to present you with a wealth of options when it comes to planning your career trajectory.

1. Evaluate the Worth of Studying Design Abroad

The decision to study design abroad is more than a question of education; it’s an exploration into cultural diversity and global perspectives. Exposure to different design philosophies, techniques, and cultural aesthetics can significantly enrich a designer’s creative arsenal. International programs often boast cutting-edge technology and facilities, alongside faculty who are leaders in their fields. However, this comes at a cost, both financially and emotionally, as you step away from the familiar comforts of home. It’s essential to balance these factors against your personal and professional goals. Does the international exposure align with your career aspirations? Can the unique experiences and skills acquired abroad offer you a distinctive edge in the competitive design industry? These are questions only you can answer, making this initial evaluation a cornerstone of your decision-making process.

2. Choose the Right College or Program

Choosing the right institution is a multifaceted decision encompassing several critical factors. Reputation is often the first consideration, but digging deeper into the curriculum offered, faculty expertise, and the strength of the alumni network can provide greater insight into the program’s value. The program’s location can also significantly influence your learning experience, offering unique cultural and design opportunities. Accreditation ensures that the education you receive meets global standards, essential for your future employability. Lastly, consider the program’s connections to the design industry, including internship and employment opportunities post-graduation. Each of these factors plays a crucial role in not just shaping your educational experience but also in laying a solid foundation for your future career in design.

3. Future-Proof Your Education: Choose Programs with Potential

The design industry is continually evolving, driven by advances in technology and shifts in societal needs. Future-proofing your education means choosing programs that not only provide a solid foundation in traditional design principles but also incorporate emerging fields such as UX/UI design, sustainable design, or digital media. Programs that emphasize adaptability, critical thinking, and innovation prepare students to navigate the rapidly changing landscape of the design industry. Look for curriculums that blend theoretical knowledge with practical application, offering opportunities to work on real-world projects and collaborate with industry professionals. This approach not only enhances learning but also ensures that students graduate with a portfolio that showcases their skills in addressing contemporary design challenges.

4. The Merits of Studying Design in Your Own Country

While international study offers unique advantages, considering the merits of studying in your own country is equally important. Cultural relevance in design can be a significant factor, especially if you intend to work within your local market post-graduation. Studying domestically can also be more cost-effective, reducing the need for international travel and living expenses. Moreover, local education systems are often well-aligned with the country’s specific design industry needs, providing relevant networking opportunities and internships. However, this doesn’t preclude international opportunities; many domestic programs offer exchange or study abroad options, allowing students to gain international exposure without committing to a full degree program overseas.

5. Job Opportunities: Local vs. Global Market Readiness

The design job market is incredibly diverse – design itself doesn’t have a standalone industry, it instead builds on the capabilities of other industries, whether it’s medical, consumer-goods, architecture, city planning, etc. Understanding the demand for specific design skills in your target market—whether local or international—is crucial. Programs that offer robust internship and placement services can significantly enhance your employability by providing practical experience and industry contacts. Networking, both in-person and online, can open doors to job opportunities not advertised publicly. However, international students should also consider a few things before planning on studying abroad. Aside from mere market readiness or a burgeoning need for your skill-sets, it’s important to evaluate the future from a social, economical, and even political lens. Looming sociopolitical unrest could lead to disruptions in your studies/work, low-skill work could be replaced by AI, a weak economy could easily affect job availability.

6. The Financial Aspect: Weigh Costs Against Benefits

The financial implications of studying design abroad are a major consideration. Tuition fees for international students can be substantial, and when combined with the cost of living, travel, and materials, the total expense can be daunting. Exploring scholarship opportunities, financial aid, and part-time work options can help mitigate these costs. It’s essential to conduct a cost-benefit analysis, considering the potential return on investment in terms of career opportunities and salary prospects. Ask yourself – “Will my salary grow proportionate to how much I’m investing in my career?” While the initial financial outlay may be significant, the long-term benefits of an international design education can outweigh the costs for many students.

7. Learning Vs. Earning – Upskilling Amidst Work

The debate between pursuing further studies and entering the workforce directly presents a compelling consideration: the possibility of learning while earning. This approach champions the idea of upskilling within the context of a job, where theoretical knowledge meets practical application. It’s a strategy that not only keeps the financial wheels turning but also enriches a designer’s skill set and experience in real-world settings. It allows aspiring designers to avoid the substantial financial and time investments typically associated with studying abroad, without sacrificing the advancement of their skills and careers. You build a skill set while building your savings – it’s a win-win.

8. Legal Considerations and Work Rights for International Students

Understanding the legal framework of your host country is essential for international students. This includes visa requirements, work rights during and after your studies, and potential pathways to permanent residency or employment. Regulations vary widely between countries, so it’s important to research thoroughly and plan accordingly. Many countries offer post-study work visas that allow graduates to remain in the country and gain valuable work experience, enhancing their career prospects.

9. Building a Global Network: Long-Term Career Advantages

One of the most significant benefits of studying design abroad is the opportunity to build a global network. Connections with fellow students, faculty, and industry professionals can provide invaluable support and opportunities throughout your career. These relationships can lead to collaborative projects, job offers, and partnerships. Actively engaging in your institution’s alumni network, attending industry events, and participating in design competitions can help you build and maintain these critical connections.

10. Reflection: Is Further Studies in Design Worthwhile?

Finally, reflecting on the value of further studies in design is crucial. While formal education can provide a strong foundation, the design industry also values experience, portfolio strength, and creativity. Consider whether your career goals are best served by further academic study or by gaining practical experience through internships, freelance projects, or starting your own design venture. For many, a combination of both education and practical experience offers the best path to a successful career in design.

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Some Apple Vision Pros are cracking down the center. To understand why, look at the shape of the KitKat bar.

Feel free to call it the “Spatial KitKat Hypothesis”…

The Apple Vision Pro wasn’t designed to bend, but when you’ve got two straps pulling on the massive headset from either side with a human head in the middle acting as a wedge of sorts, the headset’s bound to feel some stress at its weakest point. Theoretically, that weakest point lies at the nose bridge, or the narrowest part of the Vision Pro’s design. If you imagine the Vision Pro to be a massive KitKat, or a Toblerone, or any bar of chocolate for that matter, it’s usually the narrowest part that’s designed to snap, resulting in a perfectly broken piece of chocolate. The problem here, however, is that this particular ‘chocolate’ is a cutting-edge spatial computer that costs upwards of $3500.

It seems like Apple products don’t really have great luck when it comes to structural soundness. If you remember exactly 10 years ago, #BendGate was plaguing the 2014 iPhone 6, a scandal that arose after people found their iPhones bending in their pockets when they sat down. Sure, Apple worked hard to fix the iPhone 6’s flimsy design (in part because people were just walking into Apple Stores and folding iPhones in half), but #bendgate still lives on in infamy, especially through its latest avatar, or what people are calling #CrackGate. Multiple users are reporting that the Vision Pro’s glass is cracking almost perfectly down the center, for no apparent reason. The crack runs almost perfectly symmetrically, going from the nose upwards, causing an extremely visible fault line right down the center. While it doesn’t seem to affect the Vision Pro’s actual functionality, it’s just like getting a scratch right down the side of your Lamborghini, emotionally gut-wrenching.

The reason, however, isn’t really clear (in part because Apple hasn’t officially addressed the issue or offered repairs), but multiple users have their own theories. Some sleuths noticed that the crack almost always emerges right near the LiDAR sensor, causing speculations that the invisible light from the sensor may be weakening the glass. Others claim it’s a heat-related issue, caused by the fact that most people don’t turn their Vision Pros off after using it for the day, causing it to heat up and the aluminum frame to expand, cracking the glass. The latter theory makes much more sense than the former, but there’s yet another issue that could just contribute to the glass’ structural weakness, and its most simple explanation lies in the shape of a KitKat bar.

Unless you’re an absolute psychopath who chomps right into the KitKat bar, chances are you follow the protocol of breaking it down its linear ridge, creating individual KitKat fingers that you can easily eat. The bar’s practically designed for this interaction, allowing you to snap off individual ‘batons’ that you can either share or eat on your own. The physics behind this design is as simple as it gets. The individual fingers are connected by a small valley of chocolate, which can easily be snapped with little pressure. The reason the KitKat always breaks at this ridge is because it’s easily the most vulnerable part of the chocolate bar. Similarly, the Vision Pro has the same problem. The ‘nose bridge’ on the front is where the Vision Pro’s glass panel is at its narrowest. Apply enough stress to the area and chances are, just like a KitKat bar, it’ll break there first.

Heat could be a contributing factor to this structural weakness, but let’s not forget, the Vision Pro comes with a headband that’s secured to its sides. Wear the Vision Pro on your face, and the headbands tug on the headset from the left and right, while your face being the solid mass it is, applies forward pressure. The rest of the Vision Pro is made from Aluminum, a material famous for being able to bend easily (no points for guessing what the iPhone 6 was made of), but glass – especially curved and hardened glass like the one on the front of the Vision Pro – isn’t really susceptible to bending. The result? A crack at its weakest point, caused by people wearing the headset too tight, coupled with the obvious heat issues because people don’t turn their Vision Pro off every night.

There are two solutions to this problem – the first comes from MKBHD and a bunch of other tech experts, who recommend turning the Vision Pro off after use and disconnecting the battery pack every night so the headset doesn’t keep running and heat up. The second solution is much more obvious, and is an indication of Apple’s hubris. In the pursuit of creating ‘the greatest spatial device ever seen’, Apple’s premium choice of materials is biting them in their backside. The Vision Pro’s aluminum structure is notoriously heavy, causing neck fatigue for people wearing it for long hours… but more importantly, the use of glass on the front seemed highly unnecessary. A well-polished plastic facade on the front would have worked just as fine, even if it didn’t line up with Apple’s ‘luxury’ image. It would have been stronger, easier to produce, and would probably have helped Apple cut costs and boost profits – to the benefit of the consumer. Instead, Apple’s being predictably silent while multiple users are fuming at the prospect of having a difficult-to-ignore crack on their rather expensive $3500 headset.

The post Some Apple Vision Pros are cracking down the center. To understand why, look at the shape of the KitKat bar. first appeared on Yanko Design.

This Ridiculously Simple Trick Can Transform Your Good Designs Into Great Designs

“A great design can’t be great if it doesn’t end up reaching its audience”

If people aren’t sharing/talking about your design, then it’s failed its first basic step: creating an impact. Most designers are so enamored (in a good way, obviously) with the idea of creation that they forget the next logical step – ensuring that the design reaches as many people as it can. The one secret you need to know, whether you’re a designer, a creator, a maker, a studio, or even a company looking to get eyeballs on your work… is to make your design project easy to share with others. The way you do it is simple – create a Press Kit.

A Press Kit or a Media Kit is basically a kit/page/folder that contains high-resolution images, videos, GIFs of your design, and a written document describing your project in detail. It’s the basic raw material for journalists, bloggers, PR teams, marketers, and content creators to help them promote and broadcast your work. When people talk about your work, people notice your work. It’s that simple.

How To Make A Press Kit?

You know how a picture’s worth a thousand words? The press kit is quite literally those thousand words. Instead of leaving your work up to everyone’s interpretation, a Press Kit helps people understand your work so that they can then share it with others. It’s pretty much routine in the media world to have a press kit before writing about any project – the press kit (also known as the media kit) has three important aspects to it: Words, Images, and Videos. Every article you read online (or even offline), every social media post, every reel or TikTok is made up of these three things – Words, Images, and Videos. These three aspects are firmly within your control when you’re the creator, whether it’s a piece of furniture, an app, an electric vehicle, or any product/service/experience. Building a press kit to go with your creation is a great way of helping shape that narrative.

So how do you build a press kit? Simply collect all the information related to your project and present it in text form. On the side, also give people the option to view/download/share high-resolution images and videos regarding your project. You could compile all of these into a compressed folder (a .zip attachment in your email), or make them available via cloud storage or even directly on your website. The latter is a great way to track how many people access the press kit, giving you a unique metric to measure reach.

What To Include In Your Press Kit?

There are three aspects to a press kit – Words, Images, and Videos. The quantity and the emphasis on these three mediums is entirely up to you, but it’s essential to include a combination of all three aspects in your kit. The ‘Words’ element of the press kit is referred to as a press release, it contains all the information people need to know about your project. Hypothetically, you explain the background, the process/intent, the end result, the features, the human context, and other details like pricing and availability. Press releases also end with a note on the creator, giving media personnel a background on you so that they can use it to craft their narrative.

The words or text form the backbone of your press release, but arguably, the images and videos are what grab the attention of people in the first place. Your press kit needs to have great, high-resolution images to attract viewers, and preferably even a video to help people see your product in action, or get a sense of your product’s usage/features/background. The images need to be high-resolution for a variety of reasons – for starters, it just makes sense to not have blurry images in your press kit. Media outlets hate publishing bad-quality images because it reflects directly on their brand. Besides, sometimes a journalist/writer will crop a part of your image to focus on an element, so having good-quality images definitely goes a long way. Besides, search engines prioritize articles with great-quality media, so you want to make the best of that algorithm.

Tips And Tricks For Improving Your Existing Press Kit

As an ex-designer who’s been in the design+tech blogging world for nearly a decade, I think it’s time I share a few tips and tricks to help you build a stellar press kit.

Aspect Ratios – The Not-So-Secret Way To Easily Improve Your Kit

Ten years ago, this wouldn’t have mattered so much, but we’re now in an age of multiple aspect ratios. For years, landscape images and videos were the gold standard, but given the dawn of social media, a lot has changed. Landscape images and videos are still an absolute necessity, but they’re now a form of ‘legacy’ media. Portrait or vertical images and videos dominate apps like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube Shorts, which people spend most of their time on, and if you want to play it safe, the Square image reigns supreme, working well everywhere, from print to online use, and even on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter (X), Pinterest, and Instagram. Make sure your press kit contains images of all aspect ratios, making it easy for everyone from journalists to influencers to broadcast and share.

Always consider multiple aspect ratios for your press kit so that your work can be viewed on multiple devices

The Human Context

This may sound simple, but nothing makes a product more relatable/understood than actually showing it being used by a human. Flashy renders only go so far – if you’re designing for humans, you should show humans in your media too. An image or a video of a human using your product demonstrates a few things – it shows scale, so people know how big/small your product is, but it also acts as a proof of concept, showing that your product is real, and not a digital rendering.

The ‘Hero’ Image

Books have covers, movies have posters, YouTube videos have thumbnails, and press kits have hero images. The hero image is an image that highlights your product while also creating curiosity or awe. It could be an image at a dramatic angle (especially for cars), showing your product in a dynamic view. Conversely, if your product is best demonstrated through actual usage, a photo of your product in use could be the hero image. It’s vital to make your product the most important subject of your image, so that it’s the first thing people see as they’re scrolling through the internet. Try to play with blurry backgrounds, vibrant images, or somewhat sensationalized imagery to help your hero image stand out. It’s important to remember, your hero image is about the hero – your product. Make your product big and visible, be clear, and try not to clutter your image with too much detail. Hint, if your product needs to be opened to show its functionality (like a folding knife), make sure you consider that too. This hero image will play a vital role for media organizations, allowing them to use it as cover photos, thumbnails, etc. A good hero image can sometimes completely transform your press kit, bringing more eyeballs to your work.

This photo of Motorola’s Bending Phone shows the power of ‘Human Context’ and ‘Hero Image’. It’s eye-catching yet explanatory, showing how the phone bends around your wrist.

The Text – More Is Always Better

Popular consensus will have you believe that with text, you have to be brief, to the point, and engaging. That’s true for almost all forms of writing, but not so much for press releases. Your press release is technically research material, so it NEEDS to be as detailed as possible. Include as much of your process in it, share all your findings (if a writer is viewing your press kit, chances are they’re definitely planning on writing about your project, so don’t worry about driving them away). Good writers love a lot of context because it gives them enough material to choose from. Pepper your release with interesting quotes that the writer can attribute to you as well, it helps get you visibility along with your work.

Get Yourself Visibility Along With Your Work

The press kit may be for your project, but ultimately, you want some of that spotlight on yourself too. Make sure the press release has an “About Me” section at the bottom. Add links to your website and social media that blogs/articles can use to tag/hyperlink you in their written material… and provide an email ID and phone number at the bottom to help writers get in touch with you just in case they want an interview. A press kit should elevate your design as well as your own profile so that people remember you when you launch your next project. Makes sense, right?

How To Distribute Your Press Kit?

Once you’re done building the press kit, this is honestly the easiest part. The press kit can be made available in a variety of ways – through emails. Most creators proactively share their work with people from the media, and personally, as a journalist, nothing feels better than to have good projects land right in my lap! You can reach out to prospective writers/reviewers/influencers via email or on social media with a .zip file or a link to DropBox, Google Drive, or any cloud storage. A great practice is to just have your press kit right at the bottom of your project page too, allowing journalists to quickly download the assets they need to write about your work. If you want to go a step further, embedding tracking into your outreach or your kits can help you understand how many people have viewed your message, checked the press kit, etc. Ideally, you also want to set up a Google alert with your or your project’s name on it so that you can find out when your work’s been shared online… and when that does happen, be sure to reach out to the author and thank them for sharing your work! It helps build a relationship because they’re sure to remember you when you reach out with your next project!

Remember, if nobody’s talking about your work, it’s failed its first step – creating an impact. A press kit makes it easy to generate that buzz so that people flock to your work and share it with others.

The post This Ridiculously Simple Trick Can Transform Your Good Designs Into Great Designs first appeared on Yanko Design.

LEAKED: Apple’s Notch Explorations Show What We Could Have Gotten Instead Of The Dynamic Island

In the six full years that it took to transition from the notch to the dynamic island, I’m sure the Apple team was hard at work figuring out what the next logical step would be. Under-screen cameras had their caveats (camera quality would suffer), and bezels were an absolute no-go. The iPad could get away with a notch built into its relatively thin bezels, but the same bezel thickness couldn’t be carried forward to the significantly smaller iPhone. Then in 2022, Apple revealed the successor to the notch, a more detached notch that they called the Dynamic Island. Its benefit? That it could shapeshift into different shapes and sizes depending on notifications, resulting in a notch that didn’t feel like a compromise.

But information obtained by the folks at MacRumors provides a rare peek behind the curtain of Apple’s design process, and more importantly, what we COULD have gotten instead of the dynamic island. The concepts range from acceptable to downright absurd, with some proposing two notches instead of one! Here’s a look at the 6-year worth of brainstorming at Apple’s design offices before they transitioned from the notch to their now ubiquitous Dynamic Island.

The notch made its first appearance in 2017 with the iPhone X, a commemorative phone to mark the product line’s 10-year anniversary. It soon became a meme, and then a standard fixture for iPhones moving forward, but needless to say, Apple wanted to find a better solution. The first solution was in the form of an extra notch to make the existing notch look more appealing. Visible in the image above (left), this notch would effectively be your control center, but would disappear when not in use. Let’s be objectively clear, I’m glad Apple didn’t implement this because it’s downright hideous. It creates a uniquely displeasing screen shape (even if temporarily), and is an ergonomic nightmare for left-handed people. The second alternative was to black out parts of the screen entirely to hide the notch (top right) – a feature that looked much more acceptable visually, but was a step back for Apple’s zero bezel effort. It, however, would translate to battery savings because the top part of the screen on either side of the notch would remain black for most of the time.

Finally, the company arrived at the dynamic island, but struggled with finding the right way to make it ‘dynamic’. Initial explorations would show dot-shaped icons emerging from the island when in use, while others showed the island transforming into a large block when increasing or decreasing the volume before returning to its original size. This pretty much put Apple on the right track, but they weren’t there yet. Another concept showed the entire island turning into your control center (I somewhat like this if I’m being absolutely candid), while one concept gave the island a second skin in the form of a colored window.

Finally, Apple figured out how to have the island dynamically transform into widgets based on apps and processes, offering something much more elegant than the concepts shown here. However, that’s the nature of the design process, whether you’re a small startup or a trillion-dollar company. You try, ideate, evaluate, fail, and go back to the drawing board over and over till you find something that works… even if it takes six damn years. In hindsight, I’m glad they took that long. I’d take a dynamic island any day over that godawful secondary side notch!

Image Credits: MacRumours

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Ten Things They Don’t Tell You About Tiny Homes

Gawthorne’s Hut in New South Wales, Australia

Living in a tiny home is often romanticized as a minimalist and eco-friendly lifestyle, offering freedom from the burdens of excessive possessions and the financial strain of traditional homeownership. However, as someone who has journeyed down the tiny home path, I’ve come to realize there are many layers to this lifestyle choice that aren’t immediately apparent. Here’s an intimate look at ten things they don’t tell you about tiny homes, drawn from personal experiences and those of fellow tiny home dwellers.

Zen House in Hainburg an der Donau, Austria

1. Space Management Challenges

One of the first realities to hit was the constant battle with space. Every inch matters in a tiny home, requiring a level of organization and decluttering discipline I was unprepared for. Unlike traditional homes where you can have ‘junk drawers’ or closets filled with forgotten items, tiny living forces you to evaluate every possession for its utility and necessity. I’ve spent countless hours finding multifunctional furniture and devising storage solutions that keep my space functional yet not claustrophobic. It’s a never-ending puzzle that demands creativity and patience.

Elsa Prefab Home by Olive Nest

2. Zoning and Legal Hurdles

When I first entertained the idea of tiny home living, I was blissfully unaware of the zoning and legal hurdles that lay ahead. Finding a spot to park or build your tiny home can be a bureaucratic nightmare. Many regions have strict zoning laws that don’t accommodate tiny houses, especially if you’re looking to live off-grid or in a non-traditional community. Navigating these regulations required a lot of research, calls to local authorities, and sometimes, compromises on location and lifestyle that I hadn’t anticipated.

IMAGO-iter by BESS

3. Utility Connections Can Be Complicated

The vision of a quaint tiny home tucked away in nature often overlooks the practicalities of connecting to water, electricity, and sewage. In my case, securing a reliable power source was a challenge, leading me to explore solar panels and composting toilets as alternatives. These solutions, while sustainable, come with their own set of challenges and maintenance requirements. It’s a trade-off between the idyllic off-grid life and the convenience of modern utilities.

La Casa Nueva by Jag Studio

4. Weather Vulnerabilities

Tiny homes, particularly those on wheels, can be surprisingly vulnerable to extreme weather. I’ve weathered storms that left me questioning the stability of my tiny abode, as high winds rattled the windows and rain tested the waterproofing. It’s a stark reminder that what you gain in quaintness and mobility, you may sacrifice in security and protection against the elements. Ensuring your tiny home is built to withstand local weather conditions is crucial but can be an oversight during the planning phase.

Seroro by Smaller Architects

5. Limited Privacy

Living in such close quarters has tested my relationships in ways I didn’t expect. The lack of privacy means that every phone call, argument, and moment of frustration is shared space. It’s taught me the value of communication and setting boundaries, but it’s also a reminder that tiny living isn’t just a physical downsizing but an emotional adjustment to constant proximity with your housemates.

The DW by Modern Shed

6. Resale Value Uncertainties

The financial aspect of tiny home living can be misleading. While the initial investment is often lower than buying a traditional home, the resale market for tiny homes is still evolving. Unlike traditional homes, which typically appreciate over time, tiny homes can depreciate, much like vehicles. This realization made me reconsider tiny living as a long-term investment and more of a lifestyle choice with financial implications worth weighing.

Ohariu by First Light Studio & Build Tiny

7. Insurance and Financing Hurdles

Securing financing and insurance for a tiny home has been one of the more frustrating aspects of the process. Many financial institutions and insurance companies don’t know how to categorize tiny homes, leading to higher interest rates or insurance premiums, if you can find coverage at all. It’s a landscape that’s slowly changing as tiny homes gain popularity, but it’s a consideration that can significantly impact your budget and peace of mind.

Lola by Mariah Hoffman

8. Customization Costs

The allure of customizing a tiny home to perfectly suit your needs is strong, but so is the price tag that often comes with it. Specialized compact appliances, custom-built furniture, and the need to maximize every square inch can add up. My tiny home, which started as a budget-friendly project, quickly escalated in cost as I sought to make the space livable and reflective of my personality. It’s a cautionary tale of how ‘small’ doesn’t always mean ‘cheap.’

Kvivik Igloo by Ole Vanggaard and Kári Thomsen

9. Isolation

One of the more subtle aspects of tiny home living that caught me off guard was the sense of isolation. This wasn’t just about physical space but also the emotional distance it can create. Living in a tiny home often means positioning yourself away from conventional neighborhoods and, by extension, the daily interactions that come with community living. I found myself missing the casual conversations with neighbors, the spontaneous visits from friends, and the sense of being part of a larger community. This isolation isn’t always a downside, as it offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. However, it also requires a concerted effort to maintain social connections and seek out community engagement. The tiny home lifestyle has pushed me to be more intentional about my social life, planning gatherings in communal spaces and participating in local events whenever possible. It’s a reminder that while our homes might be small, our need for connection and community is as vast as ever.

Mina by Baluchon

10. Lifestyle Limitations

Finally, the most profound realization has been acknowledging the lifestyle limitations that come with tiny home living. Hosting dinner parties, indulging in large-scale hobbies, or simply having a separate workspace within your home requires creativity and compromise. It’s a lifestyle that demands minimalism not just in your possessions but in your expectations and social habits.

Natura by The Tiny Housing Co.

Tiny home living is not just a choice of housing but a commitment to a lifestyle that challenges conventional norms and personal comfort zones. It’s a journey filled with surprises, some delightful and others daunting. Yet, for all its challenges, tiny-living has taught me the value of simplicity, the beauty of sustainability, and the importance of community. It’s not a lifestyle for everyone, but for those willing to navigate its complexities, it offers a unique path to redefining what ‘home’ means.

Reflecting on my tiny home adventure, it’s clear that the journey is as much about internal discovery as it is about external simplification. It’s a lifestyle choice that demands resilience, flexibility, and frankly, even a sense of humor. After all, when you’re living in a space no bigger than some people’s closets, you learn not to take life too seriously. Whether you’re contemplating a tiny home or simply curious about the lifestyle, remember that the biggest challenges often come in the smallest packages… but also, the smallest homes sometimes have the biggest hearts.

Nido by Robin Falck

The post Ten Things They Don’t Tell You About Tiny Homes first appeared on Yanko Design.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 Design: What We Know So Far

Foldable phones are one of the more curious members of the mobile tech market. They seem like an answer looking for a problem, though some consider them as something they never knew they needed until they laid hands on one. It’s not exactly a stable market either, but that’s stopping Samsung from pushing out new models every year. 2024 won’t be any different, but the Galaxy Z Fold 6 might be, at least in some ways. Unlike its early days, Samsung seems to be content to move more slowly this time, letting its designs simmer longer even while its hardware grows by leaps and bounds. That’s especially true for its next foldable based on unofficial information, but that also paints a very mixed picture that could leave Samsung playing catch up in the very market it created.

Designer: Samsung

Thin and Square

While foldable phones over great flexibility, they come at the cost of not only complexity and price but also ergonomics. These devices are practically two narrow smartphones joined together, so their combined thickness when folded is also twice that of regular smartphones. The most basic solution would be to make the device thinner, but like with regular smartphones, you’re bound to hit the limits of how thin you can go without compromising durability or safety.

Pushing those boundaries has been one of the biggest obsessions that foldable phone makers have, and it seems that Samsung is joining the fray this year. According to the latest leak, the Galaxy Z Fold 6 will be 11mm thick only when folded shut, a significant diet compared to the 13.4mm thickness of the current Galaxy Z Fold 5. That would make the unfolded form only about 5.5mm thick, which is crazy thin even by regular tablet standards. If true, that hopefully won’t come with compromises to the phone’s structural integrity and battery life.

The profile isn’t the only thing expected to change in the Galaxy Z Fold 6. The external Cover Screen is also tipped to be a bit wider this time around, more in line with the standard aspect ratios of non-foldable phones. In theory, this would make it less awkward to use it as a regular phone when folded, but that also means that the unfolded aspect ratio will be more square than any Galaxy Z Fold before it.

S Pen No Home

Making the Galaxy Z Fold 6 thinner is going to be a dream come true for some fans, but it will also probably disappoint a certain group because of the consequences of that change. If you make a phone thinner, you either have to shrink or reduce the size of other components, for example, the battery, or spread them around wider. Either way, it’s going to be a cramped space inside, which leaves no room for an S Pen silo yet again.

Although the Galaxy Z Fold series has supported Samsung’s Wacom-powered stylus since 2021, the S Pen never really had a proper home inside the device itself. Contrast this with the Galaxy S Ultra series that, inheriting the Galaxy Note spirit, came with an S Pen as part of the package. There might be debates on the ergonomics of such a thin stick, but owners at least had the option of not buying two extra accessories just for that writing and drawing experience.

Yes, two accessories, because you’re likely to buy a compatible case if you’ll be investing in an S Pen Fold Edition. There really is no other convenient alternative to making sure that you don’t lose the stylus in your pocket, bag, or anywhere else. Unfortunately, designs for these cases feel more like works in progress and it seems it will continue to be the case for another iteration.

Camera Shy

The biggest disappointment, however, might come from the Galaxy Z Fold 6’s cameras. The latest word is that the upcoming foldable will sport a 50MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide shooter, and a 10MP telephoto camera on its back. The external front camera will be a 10MP selfie shooter while the internal front-facing camera has a 4MP under-display sensor.

Those are very much the same cameras used in the Galaxy Z Fold 4 from 2022, and although we don’t know yet of any hardware or software tweaks that Samsung will make, they’re still disappointing to hear. This is one area where the brand is being left in its competitors’ dust and where the product doesn’t feel deserving of its premium price tag. Some might actually forgive Samsung for putting a large camera bump on the phone’s back compared to reusing the same cameras for the third year in a row.

Of course, all of these are still unofficial information, so we might be pleasantly surprised by a more noteworthy Galaxy Z Fold 6 in August. Given the trends, though, that doesn’t seem to be likely, as Samsung is taking a more iterative approach to design with its large foldables. Maybe it doesn’t feel the heat from its rivals that don’t have the same market reach as the tech giant, but it’s also very close to stagnating and killing off the very trend that it started.

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What is a Handheld Gaming PC? The Design and Importance of Ultra-Portable Computing

If you’ve been keeping tabs on the tech industry in the past year or so, you’re bound to come across a new and probably alien breed of computers making rounds over the Internet. Whether or not you’re a gamer, it’s almost impossible not to at least see a glimpse of the likes of the hulking Steam Deck or the shapeshifting Lenovo Legion GO. These portable computers that are larger than smartphones but significantly smaller than laptops are popping up in places you least expect, and sometimes in designs you never imagined. They might sound like a passing fad, especially given how few there are from the major PC manufacturers, but these handheld gaming PCs actually play a crucial role in promoting a healthy and exciting future for an ailing PC market.

Designer: Lenovo

Small WINs, Picking Up Steam

Designer: GPD

It might come as a surprise to some, but Valve’s Steam Deck is, technically speaking, not the first handheld gaming computer to launch in modern times. Even before Nintendo launched its monumental Switch console, a small manufacturer from China was already testing the waters of this very niche market. Game Pocket Devices or GPD started out with Android gaming handhelds but it took a big gamble with its first Windows product, the GPD WIN, in 2015. The clamshell design and mediocre specs of the literally pocketable computer made it feel more like a toy than an actual gaming device, but it laid the groundwork for that brand’s future foray into this nascent space.

Designer: Nintendo

And then the Nintendo Switch was born, rekindling the dreams of many gamers to be able to play anywhere they want and, more importantly, in any mode they desire. Unlike the Nintendo DS or the PlayStation Vita, the Switch supported multiple ways of playing thanks to its detachable Joy-Cons and docked mode, virtually combining handheld and home consoles in a single device. That said, the appeal only worked if you had Nintendo-exclusive titles you actually wanted to play, and so the desire to bring that same design and experience to other gaming platforms, particularly PCs, was born.

Designer: Valve

Although smaller manufacturers like GPD, AYANEO, and ONE Netbook, just to name a few, quickly jumped on the Nintendo Switch fever, it wouldn’t be until Valve joined the fray that people would start to take the idea of a handheld gaming PC more seriously. For gamers, especially PC gamers, the promise of being able to sit down (or stay standing up) anywhere and launch their favorite title was almost too good to be true. Truth be told, the Steam Deck’s success and popularity was almost like a miracle. The hardware was almost too mediocre, the design was large and chunky, and the Linux-based Steam OS was unfamiliar to the majority of Windows PC gamers. And yet two years later, the Steam Deck is still a household name that has many fans clamoring for a 2nd-gen upgrade.

Now we have a handful of handheld gaming PCs from different brands and different designs, with more coming in the months ahead. Their compact forms and relatively lightweight designs definitely endear them to gamers, but these users aren’t the only ones who benefit from this budding device category. In fact, the entire PC industry could stand to benefit from this wave, presuming other key players join the game long enough to make it matter.

Pushing the Boundaries

The most immediate impact that these handheld computers had on the rest of the PC industry was an increased focus on mobile processors, that is, the processors used for laptops. Of course, gaming laptops have existed for years now, but these portable yet bulky computers have always had the advantage of better and equally large cooling systems. Gaming handhelds, however, don’t have that luxury, so both silicon manufacturers and hardware designers have had to come up with ways to optimize performance while keeping thermals low. And what’s good for handhelds is naturally good for laptops that need to be slim and petite. The result: extra thin gaming laptops that almost don’t look like they’re gaming laptops.

Designer: ASUS

A bit indirectly, it is also pushing competitors to further outdo each other. The Steam Deck uses a custom AMD processor which placed the chipmaker on the map, making it the preferred brand for all these gaming handhelds. It is only with the announcement of the MSI Claw A1M that Intel’s name even popped up, daring to enter a field where it has generally lagged behind without the help of graphics chips from AMD or NVIDIA. Early reviews don’t seem to favor Intel’s first attempt, but the pressure will help rouse the giant to pick up the slack and push its Arc graphics to the limits.

Designer: MSI

Whatever the brand or even the hardware, handheld gaming PCs are really challenging the status quo when it comes to balancing performance, power consumption, and heat generation. The compact form factor imposes many limitations while also focusing on the essentials. Any innovation born from this space will also help drive the development of larger computers like laptops and tablets, paving the way for slim, light, and efficient computers in the future.

Design Exploration

Handheld PCs also redefine the image of what a computer looks like. Most people can only imagine desktop towers, laptops, or even tablets, taking for granted that the term “computer” actually refers to a very wide range of devices and designs. In this particular case, it is introducing the idea of a computer that you can hold in your hand and use even without sitting down, pretty much like the pocketable computers we call “smartphones.”

Designer: Lenovo

But even within the handheld gaming PC market, we’re also seeing a variety of designs being explored as companies try to search for the perfect answer if one does exist. The design sported by the Steam Deck and ASUS ROG Ally is, of course, the most known, but the Switch-inspired Lenovo Legion GO and OneXPlayer X1 are also pushing the envelope of that form factor. And then there’s AYANEO’s numerous designs that are seemingly throwing everything at the wall to see which one sticks. It’s definitely an exciting time for designers to envision different ways to deliver a compact and portable computer, and hopefully, that train won’t be stopping anytime soon.

Designer: AYANEO

Niche Market, New Targets

Of course, handheld gaming PCs are being made with gamers in mind, but they aren’t the only ones that can benefit from this form factor, at least not in the long run. Just like with gaming laptops, they have enough power to support almost any other computing need, from office work to system administration to even content creation. There is even a subclass of these handheld computers that are specifically designed to quickly connect to servers and other computers via ports that may seem archaic by today’s consumer standards.

Designer: GPD

Designer: ONE Netbook

Yes, you will probably need to connect some peripherals if you need to get some serious work done, but there are already people doing that anyway with their tablets and even their phones. These handheld PCs offer almost the same flexibility as laptops but with the added advantage of being able to use them in cramped spaces, including while standing up (if the design includes a more or less convenient keyboard). There’s definitely a lot of room and opportunity for innovation in this space to address more use cases beyond gaming, and handheld gaming PCs could very well be the start of a new design revolution in the PC industry.

Missed Opportunities

All that potential will be for naught if this handheld gaming PC trend fizzles out quickly. Although they’re still making a big splash, it’s not yet a stable market, much less a profitable one. PC manufacturers are also extremely cautious about jumping into the fray. It took two years after the Steam Deck before the first major PC brand jumped on board, and even then we’re still missing the likes of the Acer Predator, Dell Alienware, and Razer. Admittedly, it’s a risky business proposition and not as easy as, say, producing a smartphone, but without the presence of these big brands, the young market will die out sooner rather than later. That would definitely be a tragedy given how these handheld PCs have the potential to reinvigorate a PC market that has long been regarded to be dwindling, especially as desktops become almost as niche as these portable gaming computers.

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