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.

The post OnePlus 12 wood texture leak fires off Internet debates on bold design choice first appeared on Yanko Design.

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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New iPhone 15 Pro high-quality renders show the biggest camera bump on an iPhone, plus USB-C

Big changes are coming to the iPhone 15, including what looks like solid-state buttons, a potential titanium frame, and the world’s first Apple-certified USB-C port on an iPhone. Speaking of big changes, that camera bump is probably the thickest I’ve ever seen on an iPhone too. Gone are the days when Apple would try photoshop tricks to conceal the camera bump, and provide the phone’s thickness without the bump just to entice buyers. Given that the camera has now become perhaps the most important component on the iPhone, it’s getting its own real estate in a way that makes the camera really look like a separate entity.

These exclusive renders were made available to 9to5Mac based on what they claim is a credible CAD model from one of the iPhone’s makers. Materials seem speculative at this point, although 9to5Mac claims with a certain degree of surety that we may be looking at a titanium frame for the 15 Pro series (goodbye Bendgate). Other more visible details include the absence of the iconic mute switch over a button that sits flush against the iPhone’s frame, and that sweet, sweet USB-C port.

Designer: 9to5Mac

Inspecting the CAD model has revealed that the camera lens protrusion has more than doubled from the iPhone 14 Pro’s enormous cameras. At this point you could probably snap a MagSafe wallet to the back of your phone and it still wouldn’t protrude as much as the lenses on the 15 Pro’s camera module. The folks at 9to5Mac speculate that the camera will feature an all-new sensor technology that will “capture more light and reduce overexposure or underexposure in certain settings.”

Notably enough, however, the CAD file for the 15 Pro Max actually has a SMALLER camera bump than the 15 Pro. 9to5Mac attributes this to the probability of a new periscope lens system that will only be coming to the higher-end model in the Pro series. I can’t wait to see how Apple justifies this, and what it means for the iPhone 15’s sales. Will people actually spend a couple of hundred bucks more for a sleeker design? My gut definitely thinks so.

The Dynamic Island on the new iPhone 15 series is also rumored to be marginally smaller than the one seen on the 14 Pro from last year. Apple condensed the notch with newer iterations too, so this is no surprise… although rumor also has it that the Dynamic Island will now make its way to all iPhone 15 variants and not just the Pro models.

A deep-dive into the 15 Pro’s camera architecture. You can even see the image stabilizer inside the phone

The biggest change on the iPhone, however, is undoubtedly Apple’s (forced) migration to USB-C. Following EU legislation brought about by the rise in e-waste by Apple not following a set standard, the company is now shifting its iPhone to USB-C, although other Apple products like the AirPods, Magic Mouse, Magic Keyboard, and Magic Trackpad will still retain the Lightning charging connector… for now.

A lot of people are also speculating that this shift to USB-C is going to be met with some form of Apple-style resistance. The iPhone won’t directly be compatible with all USB-C cables, dongles, and accessories. Like with the iPad Pro, only MFi-certified accessories will work as intended with the phone, and even fast-charging cables, adapters, and power bricks will be limited by the phone itself unless they comply with the MFi standards. This effectively means your Android fast charger or GaN fast charger could effectively be rendered useless with the iPhone, which would still charge at the same slow speed.

Although we’re quite a few months away from the iPhone’s release, these renders and rumors help consumers be mentally prepared for what’s to come. After all, a $1200 purchase shouldn’t be a spur-of-the-moment decision, right?

The iPhone 15 is rumored to drop in September, when Apple hosts its iPhone and Apple Watch event. Prior to that, we’re expecting a taste of Apple’s mixed-reality headset (rumored to be called Apple Reality Pro) in June during Apple’s WWDC event.

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Is Apple relaunching the iPod on its 20th Anniversary this year? Here’s why it could be a smart idea…

Four words – Lossless Audio, and Apple Arcade. These four words could just as easily the new iPod’s design brief. The Twitter rumor-mill’s working on overdrive after a few sources claimed that Apple could announce a new iPod this fall. A few designers even went so far as to create renders based on hearsay and leaks, and I’m absolutely here for it. A new iPod could be a pretty nifty product for a variety of reasons. Here are my thoughts.

Only last week Apple announced that lossless audio was coming to Apple Music. With a new iPod, it’ll be like Apple going into the music-streaming war guns-a-blazing. Spotify’s slowly but surely dominated this space, and the new iPod could almost be Apple signaling that it’s taking the music domain pretty seriously. The iPod could drum up major interest the same way the Moto RAZR did – nostalgia is a powerful force. Moreover, the hardware would be no different from the iPhone 5 or the iPhone SE, given that the renders look pretty much exactly like those devices.

Secondly, the new iPod has the ability to become Apple’s gateway device for a variety of iOS features (and probably even MagSafe, who knows). Kids could use it for listening to music, but could also potentially use the iMessage service on it. The iPod could leverage the power of Apple Arcade too, becoming a very affordable device that parents would buy for their kids in a heartbeat, tying them into the Apple ecosystem at an early age. The iPod has always been an impulse purchase (as opposed to the iPhone)… reissuing the gadget on its 20th anniversary absolutely makes a world of sense!!

Image Credits: Steve Moser, AppleLe257, and Apple_Tomorrow

Is this the new Apple Watch Series 7? First-look renders show a flat-edge design inspired by the iPhone 12

I was today years old when I learned that the Apple Watch is the most popular watch in the world, overtaking Rolex to gain that title. Anyway, now that we have that tidbit aside, famed tech-leaker Jon Prosser is alleging that the world’s most popular watch is getting a redesign. Currently in its 6th series, the Apple Watch has seen only two major redesigns (with the second arguably boasting of a screen with thinner bezels) but it seems like the Cupertino-giant has giant plans for the 7th edition of its popular smartwatch… and it involves homogenizing its design to fit in with the iPhone and iPad’s form language.

The rumor-mill of a new Apple Watch started back in 2020 when prominent Apple Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo hinted that a new design was in the works and could drop as soon as 2021. Now that we’re well into the year 2021, Prosser’s collaborated with Ian Zelbo to bring rumors and leaks to life in the form of pretty life-like renders. The renders are based on real images and CAD-file screenshots supplied to Prosser by his network of sources. In order to protect the sources yet still share the designs with everyone, Prosser and Ian created these renders to show us exactly what they saw, and it seems like Apple is really beginning to streamline their design language. The ‘magical slab of glass’ analogy seemed to work really well for the iPad and its flat-edge design language finally carried onto the iPhone 12 last year and the iMac this year. According to the renders, the Apple Watch is getting a similar design upgrade with flat sides as opposed to the rounded ones, giving its screen a larger-than-life presence with minimal bezel interference.

It’s worth noting that these renders do come with some caveats. For starters, they’re literally just renders. Prosser couldn’t get his hands on a spec sheet, so we don’t have any idea what’s on the inside of the watch and if there are any new sensors or features. In fact, the watches go by codenames in the supply line too, so for all we know, this might not necessarily even be the Apple Watch Series 7 but rather an incredibly early look at Series 8! One thing that definitely stands out is the Watch 7’s new color-schemes, especially that rather soothing moss green color that doesn’t just exist on the strap, it’s present on the anodized metal body too (iMac 2021 much?) I wonder if Apple’s planning on releasing an iPhone 12-style purple variant too.

Image Credits: Jon Prosser and Ian Zelbo

Apple is expected to release the new 2021 iMac with 5 color options, just like the iPad Air

It’s been two years since Apple’s high-end computing department really saw a new release (we’re talking about the polarizing ‘cheesegrater’ Mac Pro from 2019). Reliable leaker Jon Prosser, however, has some news on this front. While Apple hasn’t really announced any March event, Prosser believes the company will launch a smaller Mac Pro, and will upgrade the 24-inch iMac series… with color options.

The colored iMacs are really a hat-tip to the candy-colored iMac G3 series from back in 2008. According to Prosser, who collaborated with Concept Creator over the following images, the 2021 iMacs are likely to come in 5 colors – black, white, green, blue, and rose gold… just like the 2020 iPad Air. The colors will be much more subtle than the iMac G3’s, but they provide an interesting dynamic to the aluminum-clad all-in-one computers.

When viewed from the front, the new iMacs tend to resemble the iPad too, with the bezel treatment. Unlike previous iMacs that came with a massive chin under the screen that sported the Apple logo, the new iMacs will have much more uniform bezels. It isn’t really apparent if they’ll also come with FaceID — although given they’ll be used indoors, in settings where masks aren’t really required, Apple could just as easily integrate the FaceID modules right into the design. Speculators also say that these new iMacs could be powered by Apple Silicon, making them not just a visual upgrade, but a performance upgrade as well!

Designers: Jon Prosser & Concept Creator

Xiaomi patents indicate they are working on a smartphone with a sliding display

It seems like flexible displays have finally found their place in the smartphone world. Folding phones haven’t been their best application (because folding screens leave a crease behind, and result in thicker phones), but sliding/rolling displays seem to be an interesting approach that allows phones to have larger screens in smaller, thinner bodies. LG, Oppo, and TCL have all indicated they’re working on smartphones with rollable scroll-inspired displays, and according to a new patent discovered by LetsGoDigital, Xiaomi seems to be working on a rollable display smartphone too.

The conceptual Xiaomi phone uses the sliding mechanism and flexible display to its advantage. The design comes with virtually no bezel on the front, and the display cascades off the base (like a waterfall), transitioning to the back and turning into a secondary display that works with the main camera. Upon command (either through a voice command or a tap on the screen), the front of the phone slides downwards and reveals the front-facing camera setup on the top. It includes the selfie camera, as well as an ambient light sensor, a distance sensor, and a dot projector. The receiver is also hidden behind the slider display.

This dual-screen dual-camera opens the Xiaomi slider concept up to quite a few use-cases. The larger screen on the front can be used for selfies, facial-unlock, and even video conferencing, while the smaller screen on the back can act as a viewfinder for more elaborate group photos, videos, etc. For visualization purposes, the sliding concept contains the quad-camera module from the Mi10 Pro.

Designer/Visualizer: Sarang Sheth in partnership with LetsGoDigital

This concept was first published on LetsGoDigital. Click here to view the original piece.

Samsung is rumored to be working on a dual-hinge folding Galaxy smartphone with a sliding keyboard!

Based on a patent filed in mid-2018 at the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), which was uncovered only recently by the fine folks at LetsGoDigital, Samsung is reported to be working on a folding smartphone with a dual-hinge and a slide-out keyboard that bridges the gap between phone and laptop, but most importantly, fulfills the ‘Z’ element of the Z Fold product-line. LetsGoDigital has christened this the Galaxy Z Fold 3, and here’s what visualizations of the rumored product look like! Scroll down for a detailed look.

It’s safe to say that Samsung would eventually stumble across a dual-hinge folding phone. They’ve experimented with single-hinge phones in both vertical and horizontal formats, and it’s only natural that the company would make one with an even larger screen and with two hinges to rival Xiaomi’s efforts in this department. Meet the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 concept… It actually folds in the shape of the letter Z, and comes with one singular screen that cascades from the inside to the out, unlike previous folding models that had a dedicated external display and a folding internal one. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 works out the hinges in a way that allows you to use only the outer part of the display when in closed-mode, and the entire screen when completely opened.

When opened, the dual-hinge format gives the smartphone multiple ways to orient it. You could potentially open it out completely, turning it into a tablet, or use it in one of many shapes, allowing the phone’s flexible body to work as a stand. The most standout feature of this concept is its ability to be used as a real laptop. While earlier iterations of the Galaxy Fold phones explored the potential laptop format, none are as convenient as the Galaxy Z Fold 3, which comes with its own dedicated slide-out keyboard.

The two images below show the two different orientations for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 to be used in laptop mode. Version 1 gives you a compact device with the slide-out keyboard, and the ability to use the hole-punch front-facing camera for video-calls, while version 2 opens out into a more expansive device, allowing you to access two separate screens for multitasking. One part of the screen faces away from you, giving you the potential to even present to a client.

While the dual-hinge 3-part flexible OLED display is clearly the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s most defining feature, the slide-out keyboard really gives it meaning. Just like the Galaxy Note series comes with a stylus that clearly outlines what the product is meant to be used for, the slide-out keyboard on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 helps it bridge the gap between phone and laptop. There’s no clear information in the patent as to whether the keyboard is a dynamic display or a static one, so the concept opts for the latter, but comes outfitted with everything you’d need to get work done, from a full QWERTY keyboard to a Numpad, and even a voice-command button that lets you dictate to the phone when you don’t want to type.

The phone’s dual-hinge, three-part setup definitely results in an overall device that’s on the thicker side, but it still tries to stay within an inch in thickness, making it relatively pocket-friendly and roughly as thick as most bifold wallets. Where it lacks in sleekness, it makes up for in functionality by being your all-in-one smartphone/tablet/laptop hybrid. Like every Galaxy phone, the Z Fold 3 too sports a USB-C charging hub, and we wouldn’t be surprised if this phone was 5G capable too. A single front-facing camera sits on the screen in the hole-punch format, while the back features a 3-lens setup, similar to the Galaxy Z Fold 2 (See Below).

The product’s been visualized in Rose Gold, although it would probably come in a range of colors catering to Samsung’s catalog. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a conceptual product based on patented files by Samsung. It’s been visualized as a collaborative effort between LetsGoDigital and Sarang Sheth and isn’t affiliated with the Samsung brand in any way.

Designer/Visualizer: Sarang Sheth in partnership with LetsGoDigital

This concept was first published on LetsGoDigital. Click here to view the original piece.