Mobile phone design is at an exhausting stage. The enthusiasm for the iPhone 16 bezels is proof of that

Gone are the days when every year there was a surprise with the design of the phone. Xiaomi, Samsung, OPPO… Every flagship they launched in the market (barring one leak) was a real secret It had a positive part and another not very pleasant: buying a new product was synonymous with a ground-breaking design, but if the design differences were significant, the previous model could seem completely obsolete.

This is something that has happened to Samsung over the years: an S22 looks, today, completely current. An S21 or an S20… not so much. In contrast, only most experts can tell the back of an iPhone 15 Pro and an iPhone 13 Pro apart, with the camera size as the only differentiating factor.

I’m not hiding: I thought that there was room for some changes in the design in 2025. And since the iPhone 12 (except for the dynamic island, bezels and camera shape), iPhones have been identical for four generations. Rumors point to an iPhone 16 Pro with thinner bezels, and that’s clear evidence that design has taken a backseat. This isn’t just an Apple thing, it’s a problem that shakes the entire industry.

Mobile design
Mobile design

Other 2024 ranges vs other 2023 ranges.

Here you can see a fairly clear photograph of the current state of design in the high range: manufacturers They don’t want to take the slightest risk. This opens many doors for them: reuse of components, no risk of introducing a new design that doesn’t catch on perfectly, savings on research and development costs, etc. Furthermore, by maintaining a consistent design line, brand identity can be strengthened, which is essential in such a competitive market.

Conversely, from a consumer perspective, a significant change in design has historically been a justification for increasing the price of a new model. Without a clear aesthetic evolution, manufacturers may have difficulty justifying the jump from one generation to another.

Advances in technology and functionality also play an important role in this phenomenon. In recent years, improvements have focused more on internal performance, camera quality, and battery efficiency, aspects that don’t require a complete overhaul of the device.

However, there are still market niches where aesthetic innovations continue to be an important factor. Folding phones, for example, introduced a breath of fresh air to the industry. Brands like Samsung are exploring new territories with the Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip lines that combine technological advances with radical changes in design. These devices represent an attempt to meet both technological innovation and demand Aesthetic and layout differences.

In conclusion, the smartphone industry is at a crossroads. While conservative design techniques have allowed manufacturers to reduce risk and cost, it has also created challenges in terms of perceived innovation and consumer motivation. For now, the way forward seems to come from a mix of consistency and limited experimentation in very specific formats.

Picture | BDtechsupport

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