Why did the iPhone go back to having a “square design”?


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Why did the iPhone go back to having a “square design”?

There’s no denying that the design of the iPhone has always been very iconic, so anyone can recognize Apple devices from a distance. The brand has managed to create a very unique concept for its cell phones, but with some controversies over the years. So why did it come back with the more “square” design seen on the iPhone 4 and 5?

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A design change is not always very easy to understand. There may be numerous reasons or even market requirements behind each change. Even so, it is not a move that can be taken lightly, especially when we talk about one of the most influential companies in the segment.

In this way, we will discuss a little about the reasons for changing a design and what may have led the Cupertino manufacturer to assume this “new visual identity”.

Understanding a little about design

Talking about design or creation is not always an easy task. This is because it involves several factors, many of which are subjective, that is, each person will interpret according to their experiences and values.

That said, an unplanned and unsubstantiated change can generate a lot of criticism and bring the opposite effect to what was intended. To avoid this, many companies, before taking on new faces and visual identities, try to do a lot of market research.

They raise prototypes and suggestions, which are then presented to an audience to get an idea of ​​what the reception will be like. Thus, the company can try to combine the creative part with the acquired insights, in order to integrate the two needs.

In addition, the design — even more so of products that are tied to status and purchasing power — has to take into account how users will feel when having this “new” look in their hands.

In this sense, Apple manages to create trends and engage a very loyal community, due to the entire ecosystem it has created. Since it has a very strong recognition in the market.

Unwelcome changes

If we remember the time of the iPhone 6 launch, we can also remember that we didn’t have a very smooth transition in terms of design. The iPhone 5 was well established with the square appearance, and its successor was suffering several controversies in the debut.

We all remember the “first foldable cell phone from Apple”, the problem is that it could fold only once and never again. Much has been made of the flimsy construction of the iPhone 6, in addition to the move to a rounder footprint, especially around the edges.

The iPhone 6 didn’t like much when it arrived (Image: Handout/Apple)

This already showed how the design seen in previous generations was very pleasing to consumers. So it wouldn’t be strange for Apple to have relied on that to relive that era.

We can also remember the iPhone 4, one of the biggest successes of the manufacturer, which launched this trend. It managed to garner a lot of fans and also attracted a lot of attention from critics.

The need for new air for the iPhone

Even so, we cannot deny that the iPhone continued to be a sales success throughout the 2010s. However, we could also see that towards the end of the decade, it began to feel the weight of “age”.

It was necessary to bring new air to the model, but without scaring the already consolidated base of consumers. And why not bring in an already known design? In addition to “agitating” the market again, it could also rescue some lost fans.

In this way, the iPhone 12 brought a restyling of what we saw in the iPhone 4 and 5. With straight edges, but that brought a lot of sophistication to those who took a closer look.

Another point that may justify this change to the square design is the organization of the hardware components. In a straighter housing, it is possible to have more space to accommodate a larger battery, for example.

The iPhone 12 revived the design seen on the iPhone 4 and 5 (Image: Canaltech)

In addition, you have a different way of doing maintenance, and a square design can be more interesting to make opening and closing the device easier.

Another justification, perhaps a little more speculative, is the tribute to the 10th anniversary of Steve Jobs’ death, which took place in 2011. Thus, it may have been Apple’s strategy to remember the company’s milestone and its late CEO.

Finally, we can hypothesize that, in terms of ergonomics, the square design favors a firmer grip in the hand. Even to lift the device from flat surfaces, it is also a facilitator.

So, we have several possibilities as to why we had the return of the square design to the iPhone. It could be just a move to revitalize the model or it could be several other reasons, not even mentioned here.

The main thing is that we should not underestimate the importance of studying and understanding what consumers are looking for when creating or renewing a product.

It is always important to take these points into account when doing these small studies to understand manufacturers’ strategies and actions.

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