This iPhone case gives your smartphone the Apple Mac Pro ‘cheesegrater’ texture

“Never knock an idea until you actually try it.”

My opinion on the 2019 Mac Pro has aged pretty well, I’d say. Sure, my reaction (which came just moments after the design was released) may have been premature, and so were the memes that followed the debut of the ‘cheesegrater Mac’… but even now, 2 years down the line, it feels slightly cathartic to know that my opinion hasn’t really changed – the 2019 Mac Pro still looks visibly odd and sort of gets my skin crawling.

Recently though, the media discovered a patent for an iPhone that used the ‘cheesegrater’ texture for efficient cooling or thermal transmission, and let’s just say, people weren’t happy. Some even legitimately debunked it as an April Fool’s Prank from Apple. My thoughts on the matter weren’t any different – it sounds like a terrible idea, but I thought the best thing to do would be to really give Apple the benefit of the doubt and MAKE a cheesegrater iPhone just so I have something to visually judge it by.

Presenting, the ‘Cheesegrater’ Case for the iPhone 12 Pro. Made from a TPE bumper and a machined aluminum backplate, the case puts the familiar cheesegrater texture on the back of the iPhone to help it cool more efficiently (well at least in theory). In theory, it’s also perfectly suited to mince cloves of garlic or grate some Parmigiano Reggiano.

Now that we have a (sort of) clear vision of what the cheesegrater texture would look like on an iPhone, let’s objectively and subjectively judge this. For starters, it just looks like a really bad idea. Objectively speaking, a textured metal body would most certainly trap dirt, dust, pieces of lint, aside from also preventing the phone from wirelessly charging. The current textured metal plate is 1mm thick, and for any sort of texture, you’d need 3D depth which adds unnecessary thickness to the phone – something Apple probably won’t want to do. Subjectively speaking, the texture looks worse on the iPhone than on the Mac Pro (although it may also be my execution). Apple’s patent file states “the components of the electronic device may be designed to provide a unique and pleasing look and feel for a user”, a purpose that gets defeated when even Digital Trends calls it “Apple’s worst-ever design idea”. Moreover, at that scale, the texture could actually be used as a garlic press or a microplane for grating hard cheeses, which makes it difficult to take seriously when the texture is on a $1200 flagship smartphone. Let’s not even get into the ‘trypophobia’ angle.

My opinions aside, it seems like a weird idea for Apple to take such an extreme route for “enhanced levels of heat removal”. What exactly is the iPhone doing that it would even need desktop-grade heat removal? Is Apple going all-in on AR, or is it looking to put more powerful Apple-built silicone chips in their new iPhones? We’ll never really know. All we can say with a certain degree of confidence is that a ‘Cheesegrater’ iPhone isn’t really a great idea…

If you really want to make your own ‘Cheesegrater’ iPhone case, you can download the 3D files by clicking here.

Designer/Visualizer: Sarang Sheth

The iPhone 12 MagSafe charger gets an old-fashioned touch with Grovemade’s wooden charging stand

The iPhone user certainly has an archetype, doesn’t it? I’m thinking of someone with AirPods in their ears, Starbucks coffee in one hand, Tesla keys in the other. However, that archetype only speaks to a small subset of iPhone users. There is, however, a certain sect of iPhone users who share an affinity for the old-fashioned touch. I’m talking wooden desk, wooden pen-stand, hand-carved wicker chair. Grovemade‘s products clearly cater to that latter category of people.

I wouldn’t outright call Grovemade old-fashioned, but rather I’d say their work is a confluence of sensibilities and materials. Primarily relying on wood and metal to craft their products, Grovemade’s designs boast of an old-world charm that’s also intertwined with modern minimalism. Take for instance the Wood MagSafe Stand, available in both Walnut and Maple variants. The stand, which sports a wooden halo mounted on a steel base, allows you to slip your iPhone MagSafe wireless charger in, routing the cable from the bottom. It then gives your iPhone 12 a nice, wooden armchair to hang out on, letting you rest it in either landscape or portrait while it charges. Paired perfectly with any of Grovemade’s other wooden tabletop accessories, and probably a nice glass of barrel-aged whiskey

Designer: Grovemade

Breathtaking iPhone FOLD concept transforms from a regular smartphone into an iPad Mini

The internet is filled with rumors that Apple’s been working on a folding iPhone, and patents even show that Apple’s experimented with different layouts… but if there’s one thing that I’ve learned about Apple, they only debut products that fit perfectly into their ecosystem, and they spend years on product development in the pursuit of perfection; even though it can sometimes mean competitors beat them to the punch. With that being said, the iPhone Fold concept by Svyatoslav Alexandrov makes a compelling case for a folding smartphone. Here’s why.

From a strict ecosystem perspective, the iPhone Fold helps Apple develop one product that fits into two categories – the wildly popular smartphone category, and the sort-of dead mini-tablet category. With the iPhone Fold, Apple could easily discontinue the iPad Mini and focus on the higher-end, pro-grade tablet devices. The folding phone would then absorb the features of the iPad Mini, giving you a device that’s quite literally the best of both worlds.

The iPhone Fold concept designed by Svyatoslav Alexandrov (for the YouTube channel ConceptsiPhone) comes in the familiar Galaxy Fold format, with a primary 6.3-inch screen on the outside, and a larger, 8-inch folding screen on the inside. It ditches FaceID for the reliable TouchID, and turns the entire primary display into a fingerprint sensor – so you can unlock your phone simply by swiping up. The lack of FaceID means a significantly smaller notch with just one front-facing camera for selfies. The back, however, comes with the iPhone 12 Pro’s entire camera setup, featuring wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto lenses, along with a flash and a LiDAR scanner. Open the iPhone up and it transforms into a squarish iPad Mini that’s designed to be perfectly portable. While the concept doesn’t say much about whether this device supports the Apple Pencil, I’d like to think it does, and designer Svyatoslav Alexandrov does mention that the concept is MagSafe capable and 5G ready, which already makes it a pretty good iPad replacement, all things considered.

Multiple sources say that Apple already is working on a folding phone and patents show that the company is researching hinge-details and even folding batteries. However, until folding phones really prove to be a smartphone category that’s here to stay, I suspect Apple’s experimentations will never really see the light of day. It’s fun though, to speculate how a folding iPhone can fit well into Apple’s ecosystem by reviving one product line (the iPhone), and retiring another (the iPad Mini)!

Designer: Svyatoslav Alexandrov for ConceptsiPhone

With its avant-garde design + 108MP camera, the Xiaomi Mi 11 directly challenges the iPhone 12 Pro

Xiaomi was smart to center its smartphone innovation around the camera. Sure, the Mi 11 is the first phone to come with a Snapdragon 888 SoC, but the chipset isn’t as important as what it actually powers… an Android phone designed to be a cinematic behemoth that takes on the iPhone 12 Pro.

For long, the biggest comparison between Android and iOS devices has been the camera… specifically the still camera. Video has hands-down been Apple’s secret sauce all along, but the Mi 11 brings the fight to Apple with its 108MP Wide-Angle camera with optical image stabilization, a 13MP ultra-wide camera, 5MP ‘telemacro’ camera, and an incredible AI that works behind the scenes to make the Mi 11’s videos, as Xiaomi likes to say, ‘cinematic’. The AI powers the Mi 11’s low-light mode which can take underexposed videos and enhance them in realtime with a RAW-level AI. The AI even brings features like Magic Zoom (or the iconic Dolly Zoom effect seen in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo), along with Time Freeze and Freeze-Frame Videos, Time Lapse, along with a variety of cinematic filters that make your videos mimic the effect of being recorded using a professional setup, and an AI Erase 2.0 feature that lets you remove unwanted objects from your video.

As remarkable as Xiaomi touts its camera setup to be, it’s the screen that reinforces this. The Mi 11’s WQHD+ set 13 new records and received an A+ rating from DisplayMate. HDR10+ video recording and 10-bit color representation make everything you shoot look much more vivid, and color-accurate. With Super Resolution Technology, Xiaomi claims it can upscale older videos too, doubling their resolution to make pixelated videos clearer than before. The cherry on the cake is the speaker on the flagship smartphone, which comes powered by Harman Kardon, a partnership that helps enhance the acoustics of the dual speakers, providing exquisite and crisp high-end sound quality. This makes everything from video recording to video playback an experience that’s quite literally a class apart.

The flagship phone also comes with a flagship-worthy design. The Quad-curved display on the front allows the bezels to fade away into the background, creating an immersive experience that’s reinforced by Corning’s Gorilla® Glass Victus™. The back features 3D glass too, and is available in 3 standard colors, as well as a Xiaomi Signature rippled glass edition that explores light, shadow, and pearlescent reflections in an absolutely new way. The phone comes with WiFi 6 and support for 5G. It even packs 55W wired turbo-charging, 50W wireless turbo-charging, and 10W reverse wireless charging on the back, and an in-screen fingerprint sensor on the front that even functions as a heart-rate monitor… a first of its kind!

What really stands out is how the Mi 11 embodies everything that an iPhone-rivalling Android phone should be. It has a laser-like focus on on championing video with hardware as well as a powerful AI, but also nails other aspects with that gorgeous quad-curved WQHD+ screen, the Snapdragon 888 SoC, a rich speaker courtesy Harman Kardon, powerful wired AND wireless charging, support for 5G, and a heart-rate monitor integrated right into the smartphone… all wrapped in a sleek, curved, drop-dead gorgeous design that’s drop-resistant too, thanks to the Gorilla Glass Victus. Pre-orders for the Mi 11 begin on February 26 (followed by full-scale availability in March) with a base price of €749 ($903).

Designer: Xiaomi

Apple warns against putting an iPhone 12 too close to your pacemaker

You probably don’t need someone to tell you that magnets and life-saving medical devices don’t mix, but Apple wants to make that patently clear. MacRumors has learned that Apple recently updated a support document to warn against keeping the iPhone 1...

The Galaxy S21 vs. the iPhone 12 Pro and the Google Pixel 5

With Mobile World Congress pushed back to the summer it seems Samsung wasn’t content to wait to unveil its new Galaxy phones, announcing them today in a virtual Galaxy Unpacked event. This year we’re looking at three models once again, with the S21 s...

Apple releases iOS 14.2.1 to fix bugs on iPhone 12 devices

If you have an iPhone 12, you might want to update your firmware iOS 14.2.1. The latest version of iOS is rolling out, though it’s only available for iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 mini. According to Apple’s release notes,...

Apple’s iPhone 12 Studio lets you ‘try’ MagSafe accessory combos

Apple’s mobile accessory universe expanded considerably with the launch of the iPhone 12 line and MagSafe, and it’s accordingly ready to treat those add-ons more like fashion items. MacRumors notes that Apple has launched a (currently mobile-only) iP...