The problem with thin cases and mobile devices

It would be unfair to claim that the cases for the new iPhones are bending in users pockets, but there is a growing thread online that shows exactly that happening. Many people are pointing to the aluminum material they are using to make the case thin as the problem. The cases aren’t bending after heavy or long use; they are bending within hours of coming out of the box.

Why aren’t the thinner cases working?

If you remember the last time Apple used aluminum cases with their mobile products you remember how popular it was at first, and then what a disaster it proved for the company. While people loved the lightweight and slim design that it allowed for their MacBook, all of them seemed to have the same problem with connecting to Wi-Fi. It turned out that the case itself was blocking the ability of the antenna to connect by restricting its access to the Wi-Fi. Now, Apple is bringing back the same problematic case material to devices that most people use with Wi-Fi too. This can’t end well.

The changing role of mobile technology in life

One of the problems that tech analysts have identified is that the case material chosen for the new iPhone might be showing that Apple has lost touch with their market.  Aluminum cases work when you use a rigid case to protect the phone, but that implies that the user is viewing their device as something separate from themselves. Today’s users don’t see mobile phones as accessories or even helping devices, they are integral parts of their personality and identity. More and more phones are put into pockets in the same way that a wallet or keys are tucked away. This change in how people view and treat their devices is something that Apple has dropped the ball on recognizing.

Creating options

Creating options for designers that allow them to meet the need of consumers for thin and lightweight devices, while also delivering a product that can realistically withstand the stress of how it is going to be used is going to require innovation. A hybrid case with titanium supports and aluminum panels may be what is needed to make the next iPhone a success. Given that their last fix for a frame problem was to issue a new case, don’t expect to see a hybrid frame any time soon.

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