OPPO Find X7 camera design leak could leave you scratching your head

Camera bumps are one of the necessary evils of smartphone design. There’s a hard limit on how small you can make imaging sensors and lenses while also keeping the phone itself thin and light. Sometimes, this situation has resulted in ingenious and beautiful designs, but sometimes the mass of glass and metal protruding from the back of the phone ruins whatever beauty the rest of the design might have. These days, it’s no longer common to see unappealing camera designs, though there are a few rare cases that pop up from time to time. If this leak is true, however, OPPO’s next flagship will come with a rather odd design choice that will surely split camps and get the Internet talking.

Designer: OPPO (via Weibo)

OPPO Find X6 Pro

OPPO Find X5 Pro

To be fair, it’s difficult to design around those cameras that wouldn’t look obnoxious or even unusable. Unless you’re Samsung, which separates each camera into its own little island, the common strategy is to have a single raised structure, often called a “bump,” to visually group the cameras together. Coming up with a pleasing design for that is no walk in the park, but OPPO has had some very good results in that regard.

The OPPO Find X5, for example, used a single piece of ceramic for the back cover as well as the camera so that the bump is more of a gentle slope rather than an abrupt and independent structure. This year’s OPPO Find X6, on the other hand, used a very large circle, but it tried to imitate the aesthetics of a DSLR lens to give it a more familiar appearance. Given these two hits, it’s almost shocking to hear that the brand might be adopting something completely different and opposite to what they achieved.

Leaked hands-on photos of the alleged OPPO Find X7 reveal a gigantic camera bump with a hexagon shape we rarely see on other phones, at least not of late. It seems to have a two-step structure perhaps to give it a bit of a flair, something it definitely needs given this rather unappealing appearance. At this point, however, the device in the photo is most likely a prototype, which means there’s a chance it isn’t the final design. Given the rather raw and rough appearance, that is hopefully the case.

The extra large camera bump could be due to having two periscope-style telephoto cameras, another first in the industry, that would require even more space for the hardware. That speculation isn’t that far off considering how OPPO markets its Find X series as a mobile photographer’s tool. It seems that the rest of the phone’s design will be similar to the OPPO Find X6, especially the curved edge screen which is a dying breed in this new flat age. The OPPO Find X7 is expected to drop sometime in the first quarter of 2024, so there’s plenty of hope that the brand will adopt a more attractive design for that large camera bump.

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Galaxy S24 designs unofficial look reveals familiar faces, subtle changes

We’re nearing the end of the year, which means almost all the new flagship phones for 2023 have already flown the coop. That also means that the Internet is seeing a constant stream of leaks and rumors about next year’s roster, especially the ones that will be ushering in the new year. As per tradition, Samsung will be opening the year with its own definition of a “bang,” with none other than the Galaxy S24 family to pave the way for 2024. But just like any flagship smartphone from any brand any year, this trio has already been leaked to death. The latest addition to that list is a bunch of official-looking unofficial images that uncover what the Galaxy S24 will look like, and it looks like it’s going to be a very flat affair.

Designer: Samsung (via Windows Report)

Galaxy S23 Family

In contrast to its practice a few years ago, Samsung seems to have mellowed down on making big changes to its flagship phones’ designs. The 2021 Galaxy S21 and the Galaxy S22 the year after were almost identical, while this year’s Galaxy S23 still looked slightly similar but ditched the “Contour Camera” bump for a more minimalistic design. It seems that the upcoming Galaxy S24 will continue that trend, preferring refinement over sensational changes in order to establish a stronger brand identity.

This new set of images of the Galaxy S24, Galaxy S24+, and Galaxy S24 Ultra match those rumors. They retain the basic design identity of the current Galaxy S line but have some subtle yet important changes as well. If there’s one word that could describe the Galaxy S24’s design, it would be that it has embraced the flat trend even further.

This is especially true with the Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24+, which now have nearly flat edges with chamfered corners where the front and glass back cover meet the frame. You can be sure that there will be a lot of criticism about Samsung copying Apple yet again, but it’s actually surprising it took this long to do that. In the meantime, a lot of other smartphone brands have already adopted this flat look, so it’s not like Samsung needs to be singled out.

The more important flat change, however, is with the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s screen which ditched the curved edge or “Infinity Edge” design of yesteryears. As mentioned before, this isn’t just a visual change, because it lets owners exploit all the screen space available, down to the last pixel at the edges. It’s a more usable design, especially for a smartphone that uses a stylus. Of course, all of these are still unofficial, but given all the “confirmation” we’re seeing on the Internet, it’s almost as good as gold. The Galaxy S24 lineup is expected to be announced on January 17th, 2024, though even that date isn’t official.

Galaxy S23 Family

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iPhone 16 Action Button could open up new features, available on all models

Although it might not be as prominent as Touch ID, the notch, or the more recent Dynamic Island, the physical mute switch has become one of the most loved features of the iPhone right from day one. It is one of those small features that proved just how attentive Apple was to the little details that significantly improved the lives of their customers. After more than a decade in service, that switch was eventually replaced by the Action button in the iPhone 15 Pro models this year, but of course, that isn’t the end of the story. According to sources, next year’s iPhones will have an even more talented Action Button and best of all, it will be available on all models right off the bat.

Designer: Apple (via MacRumors)

The physical mute switch delivered peace of mind by letting iPhone users switch from ring to silent mode and vice-versa with a literal flick of a switch, saving you from stress and embarrassment in times when your phone shouldn’t be audible. Presuming you know what the current sound mode is, you don’t even need to look at the switch’s position to push it. You can do it while your iPhone is still in your pocket, and no one will be the wiser.

There might be some fans who are sad to it go, but that switch has ascended to become a button. It can now do more than just switch to silent mode since it can be mapped to some actions, hence its name. Apple had some ambitious plans for the Action Button, but the lack of time meant it had to make do with a simple physical button and limit it to the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. But now that the cat is out of the bag, it is free to push forward with its original plans.

Although nothing’s set in stone yet, Apple might change the Action Button from a mechanical button to a capacitive one with force sensitivity. This is similar to the technology used in the previous Touch ID home button as well as the Force Touch trackpad on MacBooks. This revamped Action Button would be able to distinguish between a simple press, a long press, and a hard press, so you’d be able to assign at least two actions to the same button (long press is set to switching between ring and silent by default).

The exact implementation details are, of course, still up in the air, but it would be a very big improvement over the current basic implementation. Even better, those same sources claim that this new Action Button will make its way to all iPhone 16 models, both the standard and Pro models, so there wouldn’t be a need for envious buyers. Again, all of these are still unofficial, so Apple could still pull the plug from the plan if it doesn’t deem the feature to be ready by the time it locks down the iPhone 16 features next year.

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Galaxy Z Fold 6, Z Flip 6 foldable phones might finally fix pain points

Foldable phones are getting more common these days, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have room for improvement. Whether it’s the larger book-type foldable or the stylish clamshell flip phone, there are still lingering concerns in terms of design and durability. Admittedly, there have been quite a few major improvements over the years thanks to increased competition in this market segment. Although it was a pioneer, it almost seemed that Samsung had been stagnating instead, sticking too close to safe designs. That changed with the Galaxy Z Flip 5 this year and it will keep changing for next year’s generation that are expected to introduce new screens that address some of those complaints.

Designer: Samsung (via Ross Young)

It’s not really that puzzling that Samsung decided to focus on improving the durability and reliability of its foldable phones over fancy features. After all, those are the biggest concerns buyers have when trying to sink their teeth into such an expensive investment. But four years after it first launched the Galaxy Fold, the basic design of this foldable phone hasn’t changed. In fact, one of the biggest complaints is how the external Cover Screen is too narrow, making it awkward and even difficult to use the phone as a regular phone when folded close.

According to industry sources, the Galaxy Z Fold 6 will have a wider Cover Screen to resolve this issue. An exact figure wasn’t given, but any additional width would be an improvement to the current design and put it on the same page as its rivals. Of course, this would translate to a change in the aspect ratio of the internal main display, which might end up looking more squarish than before.

The Galaxy Z Flip 6 is also getting a bigger Cover Screen, one that spans 3.9 inches diagonally versus the current 3.4 inches. This is being compared to the 4.0-inch iPhone 5s and iPhone SE (2016), which are the last small iPhones that Apple made. In theory, that means there will be more space for content, which opens the door for more apps as well.

Of course, that isn’t always the case in practice, because the screen aspect ratio and shape won’t be the same as an iPhone. And just like the Galaxy Z Flip 5 now, the kinds of apps that you can use on that external screen are very limited. There are no signs that Samsung will open up its Cover Screen to more apps the way the Motorola Razr does, so the impact of this change could be very minimal in the end.

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OnePlus 12 design revealed with a very familiar face, no wood grains in sight

Without much fanfare, OnePlus revealed the design that would mark its newest flagship, the OnePlus 12. While that two-digit number proves it’s no longer a young upstart, the brand is famed for outside-the-box thinking when it comes to design and materials. That’s not to say it always comes out with guns blazing, and zeal sometimes has to be tempered with practicality. Take for example the upcoming OnePlus 12 which is now officially confirmed to be using pretty much the exact same design as its predecessor. While that might not make for a sensational launch, it does give a sense of familiarity and stability. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of an earlier wooden grain shell, which could probably dampen a few excited expectations.

Designer: OnePlus

At this point, it might be difficult to pinpoint which company really started this camera design trend, but OnePlus has been doing some rather interesting experiments in the past years. In order to make the usual camera bump a little more interesting visually, the OnePlus 10 last year adopted a rather unique style where the camera’s raised bump actually continued and curved off to the side. This year’s OnePlus 11 mixed that up with the circular camera island design that made the phone look like it was wearing a monocle or an eyepatch.

The OnePlus 12 uses this exact same design with one small but important change. There are four sensors now, though one is most likely an RGB or 3D Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor, so the flash had to move out of the enclosure, giving the camera a more symmetric appearance. Other than that, there are no big visible changes, which means that OnePlus is able to preserve its brand identity for one more generation. Admittedly, the design doesn’t appeal to everyone, but it’s hard to deny that it’s a distinctive one.

What OnePlus has officially revealed so far, however, doesn’t yet include the earlier leaked “wood grain shell,” which could either be a new variant or an official protective case. Instead, the OnePlus 12 will come in three colors with subtly different textures despite all being made from glass. White is compared to silk, black is likened to ceramic, while the green variant seems to be trying to pull off another marble-like aesthetic.

OnePlus hasn’t yet completely spilled all the beans regarding its upcoming flagship, so it’s a little too early to say if that’s all there is to it. Of course, in terms of hardware, it will have the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor to lead the way, and its photography roster is expected to include a 50MP main camera and a 64MP telephoto shooter with 3x optical zoom. The OnePlus 12 is scheduled to be officially announced in China next week, but a global date is expected on December 15.

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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra flat screen design will improve the S Pen experience

Samsung has quite a large number of smartphone models in the market, but few have reached notable fame more than the Galaxy Note series. And yes, that includes the one that burst into flames. Although that brand of stylus-bearing smartphones has officially been retired, its spirit lives on in the “Ultra” model of Samsung’s Galaxy S flagship. Call it by any other name, these devices were designed with one unique feature that very few phones have to date: an active stylus for scribbling notes and even making art. That said, there is perhaps some irony that these phones’ screens aren’t designed to take full advantage of that feature, at least in some edge cases, literally. That might finally change with the Galaxy S24 Ultra next year which will be ditching a rather old design convention to hopefully give the S Pen an edge, pun intended.

Designer: Samsung (via David Martin)

Once upon a time, smartphone screens whose edges curved to the side were regarded as a sign of premium and stylish design. There was indeed a hint of elegance, not to mention manufacturing excellence, at seeing the screen disappear to edges, not unlike an infinity pool. It was also a visual trick to make at least the side bezels disappear, though in reality they’ve just been pushed down nearer to the frame. Today, however, that design seems to be showing its age and the trend is leaning more towards completely flat screens and edges.

On stylus-enabled smartphones like the Galaxy Note line and the more recent Galaxy S Ultra models, those curved edges are more liabilities than assets. Technically, a part of the screen “falls off” the edges and can’t be reached by the S Pen without sliding off. Depending on the app, that might be precious screen real estate wasted, and there have been awkward moments when the tip just slips off and ruins your momentum.

According to recently leaked photos, the Galaxy S24 Ultra next year will finally address one of the pain points of avid S Pen users. The screen seems to be completely flat on all sides this time around, which means that owners will have access to the full width of the screen. This design actually benefits all types of content since there will be no interface elements or images that will look distorted at the edges.

The rest of the phone, however, will retain the design from this year’s Galaxy S23 Ultra, at least based on those same photos. That meant it would still have curved left and right edges, while the top and bottom are completely flat. There’s also no change in the camera design, though the hardware is, of course, expected to see some upgrades. This goes in line with leaks last month that the Galaxy S24 series will take a more iterative approach to its design, largely keeping the same aesthetic while slapping flatter screens on top.

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Apple’s iPhone Processors Turned into Collectible Art: This $69 Desk Accessory is the Perfect Tech Gift

Capturing over a decade’s worth of chip evolution, GRID Studio’s Apple A Series frame comes with real iPhone Processors going back as early as 2010, encased in a svelte acrylic sheet. As a part of the company’s larger Black Friday sale, the frame is now available at 50% off for just $69.

Some people are tech nerds, others are history buffs – GRID Studio’s products cater to both. The company turns old iconic products into nostalgia-inducing wall art, recycling devices like older iPhones, BlackBerries, MacBooks, Nokias, and even Nintendo gadgets into framed masterpieces. The products are sourced, disassembled, and turned into glorious tech collages complete with labels to help you appreciate the effort and sheer artistry gone into engineering and assembling some of your favorite products. While a lot of their framed artworks are designed to be large, wall-hung numbers, this particular one is a perfect tiny tabletop accessory. The Apple A Series Mobile Processors frame from GRID Studio comes with eleven authentic processors taken from Apple’s iPhone product line dating back to 2010. Each frame has a timeline going all the way from the A4 chip (used in the iPhone 4 as well as the iPod Touch) to the A14 Bionic which made its appearance in the iPhone 12 Series.

Designer: GRID Studio

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The journey starts with the A4 chip, which was the first time Apple designed its own chip for the iPhone. This was still in the Steve Jobs era when he envisioned Apple eventually building every single component in-house. Up until then, Apple’s iPhones were using Samsung-made ARM processors, so the reveal of the A4 really took the world by storm. At 45 nanometers, it’s really no match for the 3nm chips seen in today’s iPhones but it was still industry-leading back in 2010.

The frame’s timeline captures over a decade’s worth of Apple silicon evolution, culminating in the A14 Bionic which had a 5 nanometer architecture, 6 cores, and 4 GPUs. Each frame features actual authentic processor chips, encased in a stunning clear acrylic sheet that’s compact enough to sit on any tabletop.

The frame measures 7.68 inches across, 4.9 inches tall, and stands on 2 metal legs. Its tiny form factor (and rather attractive $69 price tag) makes it a perfect gift for a tech buff or nerd who tends to own the latest tech products. It’s a rather creative gift idea for people who can be a little difficult to gift for, and is sure to be a proud part of their workspace for years to come!

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OnePlus 12 wood texture leak fires off Internet debates on bold design choice

Although it seems to have become a bit quieter and more business-minded of late, OnePlus was a brand that boasted bucking trends both in the way it designed phones and how it conducted its business. The first OnePlus phone, for example, sported a removable back cover and cover designs that included uncommon materials like sandstone and wood. More recent OnePlus designs have become less daring and more conventional, though the company does offer unique variations or accessories from time to time. Such a time might be coming later this year with the new OnePlus 12, which might don a wooden back yet again, whether as an integrated rear panel or an aftermarket accessory.

Designer: OnePlus (via Digital Chat Station)

The OnePlus One was quite the rebellious teen when it launched back in 2014. It carried flagship specs but dangled a price tag that sounded too good to be true. It brought back removable batteries and back covers that you could swap to your heart’s delight. The latter was an important detail that appealed to a style-conscious market, a market that tends to make things go viral on the Internet, which is probably what helped make OnePlus an overnight sensation. Those days are long gone, but the company might be making a throwback soon, depending on how you interpret this latest leak.

According to a reliable tipster, the OnePlus 12 will feature a “classic wood grain shell,” a phrase taken from an auto-translation of the original text. The image below shows proof of that, complete with all the unevenness and imperfections that give wood its natural beauty. Naturally, with only one part of the phone’s back shown, the revelation sparks plenty of discussions and speculations on what that “shell” really means.

On the one hand, it could be a completely new variant that uses wood or “faux wood” as the material for the OnePlus 12’s back panel. This is a possibility if you consider that OnePlus no longer makes its back covers removable, just like every other smartphone in the market today. On the other hand, it could simply be a special edition of protective cases, though it would seem to be extra slim if that were the case (no pun intended).

What makes the guessing game a bit more complicated is that OnePlus has actually done all of those over the course of its history. The OnePlus One, for example, was notable for its SwitchStyle covers that included bamboo, walnut, and sandstone textures. More recently, it launched a limited “Marble Odyssey” edition of the OnePlus 11 5G that employed 3D microcrystalline rocks to achieve the unique look and feel of marble. Suffice it to say, OnePlus is at least still keen on pushing the boundaries of materials, textures, and designs that give its smartphones more personality than your average handset.

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iPhone 16 Pro punch-hole camera cutout is still possible but 2025 is more likely

Ever since the iPhone X in 2017, Apple has stayed faithful to the notch despite numerous criticisms. Last year, however, it finally changed direction for the first time while still staying away from the dominant “punch-hole camera” design of most smartphones today. The Dynamic Island, which is unsurprisingly now being copied by other brands, presented a unique and interesting way to hide the presence of front sensors like the Face ID camera while still making that area usable and, well, dynamic. There are, however, whispers that Apple will soon go all-in on the prevalent design trend and will implement its first punch-hole design on the iPhone 16 Pro next year, though chances of that happening in 2025 might be a bit more realistic.

Designer: Apple (via Majin Bu)

Although the smartphone industry seems to have settled on what is described as punch-hole or hole-punch cutouts, the debates have never really stopped on what is the better design. The old iPhone notch, in addition to being seen as stale, also took up too much precious screen real estate that could otherwise be used to display things. The smaller circle does minimize the footprint but still leaves a lot of room for improvement in terms of elegance and functionality. The Dynamic Island introduced last year is Apple’s creative and ingenious solution to combine the best of both worlds, but it seems that even design-conscious isn’t done changing things.

According to rumors, Apple is already testing a punch-hole design that could make its way as early as next year’s iPhone 16 Pro. The insider tip even shows a render with a rather large hole at the top of an iPhone’s display. The cutout is noticeably larger than most punch-holes on Android phones that have been trying to make that design less conspicuous. There’s a good reason for that, which is the same reason Apple couldn’t completely abandon the notch and why it created the Dynamic Island design. Face ID hardware is more than just a simple front-facing camera, and Apple will need to make room for those sensors in such a constrained space.

Even if Apple does change to a punch-hole camera design, expect it to be unlike what you see on Android phones so far. We could see a redesigned Dynamic Island implemented for this kind of cutout that takes advantage of the smaller space. Or we could see Apple completely revise iOS 18 to have a different interface now that there’s more room for icons and whatnot up there.

That said, even the tipster admits that there is a bigger chance that this design change will happen with the iPhone 17 series in 2025 instead. All that depends on what the company decides in March next year when it finally decides on the iPhone 16 design. Truth be told, there is very little reason for Apple to make another change so soon, with Dynamic Island still in its infancy. After all, Apple isn’t one to simply jump on trends, so it might be a while before we see it changing its direction again.

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The 2024 iPhone SE could get a Big Redesign with a Camera Notch, FaceID, and USB-C

It’s been nearly 2 years since Apple refreshed their budget iPhone SE and analysts are predicting that the company will launch a completely refreshed 4th Gen iPhone SE in the year 2024. The budget iPhone SE hasn’t just been a hot favorite for people looking for affordable iPhones for themselves or their children (it makes a great first phone), it’s been incredibly beneficial for Apple too, as the company has used this opportunity to flex its recycling chops, using chassis elements, components, and hardware from previous iPhones to build new low-end models. Up until now, the iPhone SE has still rocked some of Apple’s older design elements, like the curved edges, thick bezels, and even the archaic TouchID fingerprint reader that disappeared entirely in 2018. Designer 4RMD believes, however, that the upcoming iPhone SE will finally see a design upgrade in the form of a flat-edge form factor, a camera notch with FaceID, an action button (instead of the mute slider), and who knows… maybe even MagSafe! Rumored for a 2024 reveal, the 4th Gen iPhone SE could also be Apple’s first ‘Carbon Neutral‘ smartphone.

Designer: 4RMD

According to 4RMD’s renders (and that gorgeous Apple-inspired trailer video above), the 2024 iPhone SE will finally merge seamlessly into Apple’s product offering by looking like a part of their cutting-edge phone lineup. This means a bigger, more responsive 6.1-inch OLED display (with a FaceID camera notch on the front) covered by Apple’s Ceramic Shield glass. The phone’s showcased in 3 classic colors – black, white, and Product RED.

The phone is also powered by Apple’s A16 Bionic Chip, which was debuted just months ago inside the iPhone 15 series. It seems like processor overkill given the budget-status of the phone, but then again, the A16 is great at hardware rendering, which would make the 2024 iPhone SE a stellar gaming phone and a perfect pick for parents looking to gift their kids a low-cost iPhone. The presence of the A16 chip would pretty much gut Apple’s iPhone 13 and 14 sales, though.

Given its budget status, it still comes with a single-shooter primary camera that’s been upgraded to 48MP. The ultrawide lens also shoots Macro, supports Night Mode, and is even capable of capturing Cinematic videos.

However, 4RMD’s concept iPhone SE does tend to shoot for optimism with a few specs and details that strike one as ambitious. For starters, he touts an Action Button, which I doubt Apple would carry over to the budget iPhone this quickly. There’s even a mention of transitioning to USB-C, which I don’t see Apple doing this year for their budget phones (Apple could just restrict sales in the EU regarding lightning port concerns, given that the SE range isn’t their money-maker).

What the video doesn’t highlight is any of Apple’s safety features like car crash detection, or even the presence of wireless charging and MagSafe. If the past is any indication, this phone won’t come with a charger in the box, so having wireless charging capabilities will still be a heaven-sent for most buyers. The 4th Gen iPhone SE is due to drop in 2024, although whether it launches with Apple’s refreshed iPads in March, or with the iPhone 16 in October is anybody’s guess.

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