Is Apple ashamed of the iPhone 6’s protruding camera lens?

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Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 8.18.55 AM
Why is Apple hiding the bump of the iPhone 6 camera lens in profile?

The iPhone 6 is the first iPhone with a camera lens that protrudes slightly instead of being flush with the back of the device. It was a necessary design trade-off, allowing Jony Ive’s team of designers to cram the advanced optics into the iPhone 6 necessary to make it the best smartphone camera ever.

But that doesn’t change the fact that Apple usually likes clean lines in its product designs. And that protruding camera lens, when viewing the iPhone 6 in profile, turns an otherwise clean line into an unsightly bulge. Apple can’t stand that bulge, so the company is going to the unprecedented length of using clever lighting and photography to hide it in its marketing materials.

Blogger Ben Brooks noticed that while Apple is happy to show off the protruding iPhone 6 camera lens in many situations, it fastidiously hides the bulge it creates from view when photographing the iPhone 6 in profile:

In other words with clever lighting and placement Apple hides that bump in profile view where it clearly would ruin the clean line and sleek looks. That doesn’t make the iPhone 6 bad, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. If you are embarassed about the bump then don’t have it, but if you have a bump I think you need to own the bump.

It leaves a bad taste in my mouth, too, because it seems a little dishonest. This isn’t like the hideous bulge of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha’s headphone port. The iPhone 6 camera lens is a well-considered aspect of the device’s design. I’m with Brooks: own that bump, Apple.

Source: Brooks Review

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93 responses to “Is Apple ashamed of the iPhone 6’s protruding camera lens?”

  1. coldfusion167 says:

    “Apple can’t stand that bulge, so the company is going to the unprecedented length of using clever lighting and photography to hide it in its marketing materials.”

    I think you mean Photoshop!

  2. Merckel says:

    Answer: No.

    The current iPod Touch is one of the most appealing designs Apple has produced. The protruding camera lens didn’t alter my opinion then and it doesn’t now with iPhone 6.

    • arrow2010 says:

      The issue isn’t that you like it, it’s about Apple being dishonest with consumers. I can see the FTC getting involved…

      • steve_jobs says:

        while you’re right about the dishonesty, i think we’re being too dramatic with the “ftc getting involved”.
        they didn’t make a positive claim that the camera lens is flush with the body. people can just return their phones if that is a dealbreaker

  3. Tallest Skil says:

    If the title is a yes or no question, the article didn’t need to be written.

  4. Adrayven says:

    Eh? a bump? you kidding me.. a ‘bad taste in your mouth’???? Gimme a break people.. You put on that nice leather case, which is twice as thick, and you won’t even notice it. pffff .. talk about 1st world issue.

  5. I think this is an overstatement. I am betting that Apple simply took the best pictures it could, with no thought to the camera. It does not offend me, nor did it figure in to me pre-ordering the iPhone 6.

  6. manometate says:

    In a word, yes.

  7. stangmatt66 says:

    Why not just leave the device 1mm thicker and not have a bump at all? Apple’s silly quest to be thinner and thinner results in these kinds of compromises.

    • Andrew Jones says:

      If you go back and watch the event, the thickness quoted by Phil Schiller appears to be inclusive of the protruding camera. In that case, this seems to be a conscious design decision and not a “quest for thinness”.

      • ScooterComputer says:

        The 6.9mm and 7.1mm thicknesses stated by Apple do NOT include the camera protrusion. Including the camera bump would put the thickness of the devices close to the iPhone 5 chassis.

        The question I have, practically speaking, is when the iPhone is laid on a flat surface without being in a case, does the camera protrusion being on one side cause the phone to rock when the screen is touched?

      • Jim says:

        Yes it does. A Little. Check Youtube. Watched a Hands-on Video where you could see it.

      • arrow2010 says:

        Not true, those thicknesses are not inclusive of the camera bump.

  8. puralien12 says:

    I don’t care because once I slap a case on my iPhone 6, it won’t matter.

  9. Jhabril_Harris says:

    Doesn’t surprise me, same thing with the new iMac, they show it at a specific angle in marketing pics making it look crazy thin, but realistically still has a bulge on the side.

  10. mike says:

    or maybe apple recognizes that ppl slap a case on their phones and having a protruding camera makes sure that case doesn’t hinder it when taking pictures..

  11. philips9179 says:

    ok, so the thing might not sit flush on the desk and rock, and in time the camera might look worn, but i really don’t understand why they couldn’t make the whole iPhone thicker to start off with, i mean what are we talking (2mm) thicker, does it really matter. i hope in the future i will still be able to pick it off my desk, and not have to slide it off my desk because its too god damn thin too pick up

  12. JDSoCal says:

    You idiots need to get a life. Criticizing Cindy Crawford’s mole. It’s the most advanced camera ever on a phone.

    • Jeff Daly says:

      Says who? OIS has been on phones for a couple of years now. So has f2.0 aperture. The algorithms haven’t been real world tested. Let’s hold off on granting the championship belt until the thing actually enters the arena.

      To their defense, OIS takes up room. I’ve never minded the bump on my Lumia and the images make it worth it, anyway. I think you iPhoneographers will appreciate OIS a LOT more than you’ll think about a little bump. Seriously.

      • tHoj101 says:

        The iPhone 6 doesn’t have optical image stabilization, and yet the camera still protrudes.

      • Rich W says:

        Your comment would make more sense if it weren’t for the difference in thickness of the two iPhone 6 models. The iPhone 6 body is 6.9 mm in depth and has no optical image stabilization. The iPhone 6 Plus body is 7.1 mm in depth and has optical image stabilization. They could have made the iPhone 6 thicker and not have had the protruding camera, but that would be a bigger difference in design between the two models than the visually insignificant difference in thickness. And making the iPhone 6 Plus thicker to have a flush camera was obviously not the design they preferred, so the thinner iPhone 6 with a protruding camera was necessary to maintain design consistency.

      • tHoj101 says:

        Calm your tits, Rich. I was just pointing out a misunderstanding. Reading between the lines was unnecessary.

      • Rich W says:

        I’m perfectly calm. It seems like you’re the one that needs to calm down.

        There is no reading between the lines on your statement. You made an accurate statement, but it didn’t clarify the difference between the two models. You may have known that difference, but I’m sure a great many don’t know that yet. And that’s why I commented. I wasn’t trying to blast you, so there’s no need for trash talking.

      • tHoj101 says:

        You ‘clarified’ my statement by offering your opinion as to why the 6 has a protruding lens. Thank you?

      • Rich W says:

        I wasn’t trying to clarify your statement. I was just adding to it. If you want to call that clarifying, fine. But I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful or criticize your statement. Like I said, your statement is a fact. But most of my comment wasn’t opinion. The difference in the cameras and thicknesses are facts. What I said about design consistency can probably be called opinion, but I think it’s pretty accurate.

        Edit: I realize I was first to use the word ‘clarify’, but I wasn’t trying to correct your statement with clarification. I was trying to add to it.

      • Catweazel says:

        Rich, calm down man. You are wrecking my buzz.

      • Rich W says:

        Queue the trolls.

    • arrow2010 says:

      *cough* Lumia 1020 *cough*

    • deepen915 says:

      My Galaxy S5 with a 16MP ISOCELL lens and 0.2sec autofocus says otherwise..

  13. Andrew says:

    I was curious why they didn’t either A) just keep the case the same thickness to account for the camera (and maybe give it even MORE battery life) or B) give the case a slight wedge shape, getting thinner at the bottom if they were really that upset about it. If they can do it with laptops, why not phones?

    Though a commenter below has a sane answer — most people will put cases on them anyway, so who cares?

    • SDR97 says:

      I agree — the protruding lens doesn’t bother me (I don’t think), but it wasn’t a *necessary* design tradeoff. They could’ve kept the case the exact same thickness as the iPhone 5 (or increased it slightly if necessary) and literally nobody would have complained. Especially if they filled that extra interior space entirely with battery for extra life, the #1 request of iPhone owners.

  14. Len Williams says:

    Yikes, John! Thou speakest in overblown hyperbole! Really, isn’t your disgust, embarrassment and “bad taste in your mouth” just a tad bit out of proportion to the situation? This article reads like the product of an Apple troll and not a long time reporter of CoM. You sound like you’re trying to stir up trouble, discontent and foment in the ranks. What up?

    • TeeJay1100 says:

      How is he a troll because he criticizes Apple? You guys are something else.
      So when someone says something that you disagree with they are a troll or starting up trouble? Stop being an Apple puppet.

    • arrow2010 says:

      The Reality Distortion Field is strong with this one.

  15. jonathanober says:

    If it leaves a ‘bad taste in your mouth’ you should probably not eat your phone.

  16. William D says:

    Incidentally, speaking of the camera.. Ive been looking but not found them: are there any (official) iPhone 6/6 Plus photo output samples ? Usually the Apple website has a few uncompressed etc photos to gawp at. I sense that the “S” versions NEXT year they will make a much bigger deal of camera tech.

    • Ahmad Abdullatif says:

      what expect du of r Modellen the next year on kamera Fronten?

      til Remix is looking forward MIG Utrolig much.

      Remix tænker also på Remix Springer iPhone 6 and Venter the next year.

      hopes not the only will with good functions to great model plus next year as the makes years foreksmpel Biller Optik stabilation

  17. Nanisani says:

    It’s not visible because of perspective. The side shots are showing the edge opposite from the lens side, taking into account the laws of perspective, the protrusion of the lens is naturally not visible. It’s not being “hidden” at all.

  18. ObiWan1976 says:

    I’m not making any excuses here, but that is NOT a “bulge”. A bulge is what one of the old Droids had (Max or Razr maybe?) where the phone was crazy thin until a curve towards the top where the actual body of the phone became 2 to 3 times thicker. This is a “ring” around the lens cover, nothing more. The body of the phone does not have any bulge. That being said, it is unfortunate they couldn’t fit the lens cover flush with the body of the phone, but at this thickness and current smartphone camera technology, I’m 100% sure that if it were possible, by anyone, Apple would have done it.

  19. Jeff Daly says:

    *best iPhone camera. I doubt it will top the Lumia 1020. It does sound like it might be approaching the Lumia 920.

  20. JK says:

    The protruding camera is really a blight on an otherwise beautiful design. I can’t imagine the circumstances that led to it being left that way.

  21. Aannddyy says:

    “Bad taste in your mouth”? I don’t think you’re holding the phone correctly.

  22. Ajax says:

    i hope it’s not easy to scratch.

  23. Jurassic says:

    “And that protruding camera lens, when viewing the iPhone 6 in profile, turns an otherwise clean line into an unsightly bulge.”

    “Unsightly bulge”???

    Seriously???

    That “bulge” (if you can stretch the meaning of the word) is much less than 1 millimeter in height, and the circle is only about 6 millimeters in diameter.

    If you are an insect, those dimensions could be considered a “bulge”… otherwise you are making a mountain out of a molehill (literally!).

    (͡° ͜ʖ°)

  24. bobthenob says:

    Why not make the whole phone that much thicker and expand the battery that tiny bit more?

  25. digitaldumdum says:

    Oh man, get over it!

  26. Michael Superczynski says:

    “Oh, the humanity!”

  27. Ganesh Raam says:

    This article explains a typical first world problem! :P

  28. chromeronin says:

    I don’t like it on the ipod, and I was really hoping they’d fix it for the iphone. 8(.

  29. chromeronin says:

    Ever dated a beautiful girl with a small mole? I’m sure I’ll get over it.

  30. Cajas says:

    Steve Jobs would never have let the iPhone camera come out like that, just saying.

  31. Alex Blaha says:

    My only concern is that if it sits flat on a surface.

    • Nick_Germ says:

      that is a real concern i don’t use a case so if i set the phone on its back, is all of the phone resting on the lens? Is the lens sapphire glass?

  32. Mykeljon says:

    Give it a rest!!! I have come to the conclusion that, in spite of its name, this is an anti-Apple website. If it leaves a bad taste in your mouth, then stop sucking on the phone. Go back to sucking your thumb! It’s a beautiful looking phone with a top quality camera. If it protrudes a little, who really gives a damn. Next time you write about an Apple product, try to find something intelligent to say. “Apple can’t stand that bulge”??? They built the damn phone that way. Suck it up!

  33. Hugh Haiker says:

    Af if we don’t immediately stick our phones in a case that would obscure such a small feature anyhow. Why is this a story?

  34. Kr00 says:

    99% of people use phone covers anyway, so it won’t be an issue. I can’t remember with any of my phones when I’ve had them out of the cover for more than a few minutes.

  35. Chris says:

    My sons iPod touch is over 2 years old and has a protruding camera….

  36. TeeJay1100 says:

    Could just be that apple thinks this design isn’t their best work. Why hide it? Marketing magicians!!

  37. Brandon Franklin says:

    I know I’m a minority but I actually like it(so far) I do wish it slid into the device when not in use like a camera but that has more to do with my love of transformers more than an aesthetic issue.

  38. Nello says:

    actually that bump is a blessing in disguise! If you happen to use a cover, the great majority does usually have the hole for the optics that is barely bigger than the lens itself. What is the problem? The light (and especially if you use the flash) will bounce on the material that will then reflect a halo on the lens.

    With the protruding lens, this problem might not happen as the lens might be more leveled to the cases and therefore the halo effect will be minimized.

  39. KamilG225 says:

    I don’t care if it has a bump or not, but I do agree that hiding it becomes dishonest. It’s the same as when they announced the updated iMacs by angling them in a way to make them look as if the entire display was that thin across the back. I get trying to make yourself look good, but trying to fool people isn’t the way to do it.

  40. Alex says:

    Most people will buy cases and this will be a non issue. Get over it.

    • Yolle says:

      Then what’s the point of making it so thin? The bezels are too fat, the phone is too wide for a 4.7″ screen, the camera protrudes and those ugly lines make me puke. I’m waiting for 6s, hopefully they’ll fix all that.

  41. Eyemahsource says:

    The point being entirely missed in this thread: the protrusion will facilitate attaching supplementary lenses without requiring a specialized case. Not saying this was necessarily deliberate on Apple’s part, but lens manufacturers will take advantage. Promise.

  42. mahadragon says:

    This is the first iPhone that Jobs was not directly involved in creating. Jobs would never have allowed that lens to stick out. He would have shouted and kicked his desk until he got his way. That’s not how the Cookster works (or Ive for that matter). Those guys are too nice.

  43. Shaun G says:

    I really don’t like the protruding camera. It spoils the whole design IMHO. However I can hide it by putting my iPhone 6 into a case so that’s what I’ll do. I did the same with my current 5s as I found it uncomfortable to hold. I guess Apple probably factored into their design equations the fact that most people put their iPhone into a case.

  44. Moody Caplan says:

    really the best smartphone camera ever?

  45. Guest says:

    Before iPhone 6:

  46. Guest says:

    Before the iPhone 6…

  47. Darude - Sandstorm says:

    See the iPod Touch page… do you see a bump?

  48. Steve says:

    Apple will get plenty of backlash when people drop the phone on the exposed camera an bbreak it after 2nd drop

  49. Marc-André Jutras says:

    They could have designed that “bump” to better fit the design of the phone.

  50. qwerty says:

    It’s called ‘perspective’ and ofcourse it’s about good taste to compose a photo. If it was isometric graphic, perhaps you’ll see the ‘bump’ :)

  51. jaffa99 says:

    The camera bump isn’t unique to Apple but it’s not ideal. Given their past battery issues Apple should have dropped the thickness obsession, made the phone thicker, eliminated the bump and used the extra space for a larger battery. No-one would have cared, many of the ultra-thin phones are actually awkward to hold anyway.

    if the iphone6 battery isn’t a substantial improvement (and even Apples figures say the 6- isn’t) they’re going to be ridiculed.

  52. Guest says:

    That thing PLUS those disgusting lines on the back are each equally offensive. Poo poo on Tim Cook .. The man clearly has no class … And I say that as a fan and aficionado.

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