A Bezel-less iPhone 8 Will Change How Photos Look


| Analysis

Page 3 – (Not) Modest Proposals for iPhone 8 Photos and Details Matter

I propose two alternatives. In an act of hubris, I created basic mockups of what I think the iPhone 8 photos should look like. Example 1 shows photos and videos displayed full screen. In Example 2, there are simulated borders on the top and bottom, to match how photos and videos are displayed on current iPhones. The pink borders represent the edge of the physical screen.

Image of iPhone 8 mockup showing how 16:9 photos should be displayed. With borders or full screen.

Full screen versus borders for 16:9 photos

They should be minimal, with a perfectly symmetrical notch-less screen. In both examples, photos are displayed in the 16:9 ratio. The downside is that they look like the Samsung Galaxy S8—a good looking phone in my opinion, but one that Apple isn’t likely to copy.

The upside is that screenshots, photos, and videos are all captured and displayed in the 16:9 format. Personally, I think I prefer the 4:3 ratio, simply because there is more room on the sides for the subject. Photos in the 16:9 ratio seem cramped when you shoot in Portrait Mode. But I’m willing to make this sacrifice if it means that photos don’t look tiny on a longer screen.

It’s a tough choice.

On one hand, I favor Example 1. The reasoning is simple: As I said, those pink top and bottom borders are just a reference for where the screen ends and the bezels begin. In reality, those areas are black. Example 2 looks exactly like an iPhone 7, just with thinner bezels. But with full screen photos that emphasize the curved edges of the screen, you know you’re holding a new iPhone, which is the whole point.

On the other hand, I favor Example 2. The reasoning is again simple: I’m an amateur photographer and I can’t abide having the edges of my photos cut off. When I’m editing, I need to see every single millimeter of the photo.

Image of how full screen apps could look like on an iPhone 8.

How full screen apps could look on an iPhone 8

Additionally, if the iPhone 8 was like Example 1, every user interface would be curved and full screen. Designers might have to rethink their apps to make sure the curves aren’t covering up anything important. Entire websites in Safari would be curved, and Apple would change how the entire internet is presented. You can see examples of the curved interfaces above.

In iOS 10, Apple introduced certain curved elements, such as the Control Center, share sheet and other UI dialogs. I bet they would look nice on a curved display, where the UI curves match perfectly with the screen curves. Was this a sign of things to come? Will we see more curves in iOS 11? If so, that will be a big hint of what to expect for iPhone 8.

Details Matter

One of the reasons I stay in the Apple ecosystem is because the company cares about the small details. I spent hours agonizing over these mockups, and I realized that bezels and borders are more important than I first thought. Apple’s designers and engineers spend even more time on things like this because they know details matter.

In contrast, Android manufacturers tend to throw everything at the wall to see what sticks. I don’t say this to disparage, but I used to be an Android user and I’ve seen first hand how little the competition cares about the details.

Regardless of which aspect ratio the iPhone 8 will use, I’m confident Apple will build something great. More importantly, all this stuff has me excited about Apple’s upcoming products.

3 Comments Add a comment

  1. Andrew Orr

    I just came up with another iPhone 8 alternative. In addition to the status bar at the top of the UI, put a blank one at the bottom. Only they would be curved, meaning designers wouldn’t have to worry about curving their own UIs. Maybe Apple could even have the bars automatically match the color of each app, giving the illusion of a completely full screen.

  2. Scott B in DC

    How about we “Just Say No” to narrow pictures and turn the phone on its side to take real pictures!

    Geez… I hate all these narrow (-minded) pictures. You can almost get vertigo when they show them on television!

  3. Lee Dronick

    I would like to see the camera be able change digitally between portrait and landscape so that it wouldn’t matter how we held the phone. It is far easier to take a photo or video one handed with the phone in portrait mode. The problem with that is critics complain about portrait orientated videos.

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