In recent years, led by Samsung, major mobile phone manufacturers have been working hard to study folding screen mobile phones, and are committed to promoting the development of smart phones. To this day, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Honor, OPPO and vivo have all launched their own folding screen products to make up for their own vacancies in this field, but the actual harvest is not so ideal. DSCC data shows that in 2021, the global shipments of folding screen mobile phones will only be 7.9 million units, which is almost negligible compared with the sales of 1.35 billion smartphones. Even if it will increase this year, the market share is still extremely low, and the forecast given by CINNO Research is 15.69 million units.
The reason for the slow growth of folding screen mobile phones is that on the one hand, the price is too expensive, and the product durability is not guaranteed too high. Once damaged, the maintenance fee may be sky-high. On the other hand, the practicability of the folding screen is really not high, and the improvement of the consumer experience is not particularly significant. It is difficult to have a solid selling point that can attract everyone.Mobile phone manufacturers are looking forward to better and better folding screen mobile phones, but consumers are not very interested in this, but are more interested in another type of mobile phone, that is, “holeless mobile phones”. Back then, when vivo and Meizu showed their concept phones without holes, they attracted the attention of countless netizens.
(Source: vivo official)
Although there are rumors on the Internet that Apple is developing a folding screen mobile phone, it has not made any major moves. On the contrary, some actions in recent years seem to imply that Apple is deliberately promoting the development of the iPhone in the direction of non-porous. The 3.5mm headphone jack on the fuselage was canceled for the first time in the iPhone 7, and the physical SIM card slot was canceled in the US version of the iPhone 14 this year.Recently, Tianfeng International analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also broke the news that the iPhone 15 may cancel the physical buttons on the fuselage, and the volume button and power button will be changed to solid button design. If the news is true, then we seem to be a huge step closer to a completely holeless iPhone.
The coveted holeless phone
Guo Mingji posted that the latest survey results show that the volume keys and power keys of the two high-end models of the iPhone 15 may be designed with solid-state buttons, not the current physical buttons that can be pressed. However, Apple will add Taptic Engines vibration motors on the left and right sides to provide feedback, allowing users to get the same feeling as pressing a physical button. This design is very similar to the solid Home button on the iPhone 7 and should bring a whole new experience to consumers. Ming-Chi Kuo also predicts that high-end Android phones may follow this design in the future, which is conducive to the development of the vibration motor industry.
Apple’s use of solid buttons to replace physical buttons is certainly not a whim. It must be well thought out and has its own planning and layout. Combined with a series of previous actions, it is not difficult to guess that Apple is preparing to cancel the various openings on the phone body step by step. , and finally create an iPhone with no openings and an all-in-one design.
Xiaolei believes that in Apple’s eyes, the importance of non-porous mobile phones may be higher than that of folding screens. The absence of openings in the fuselage means that the protection and durability of the mobile phone will be improved, and the folding screen is full of too many uncertainties, which is contrary to improving the durability of the mobile phone and does not conform to the development direction of Apple over the years. Moreover, many of Apple’s innovations show that it is gradually achieving the goal of non-porous mobile phones, and it began to lay out as early as 2016, which is much earlier than the folding screen. Therefore, we can boldly predict that the future of the non-porous iPhone will definitely come, which may be more attractive than the folding iPhone.
In fact, as early as 2019, vivo implemented a non-porous design on its second-generation APEX concept machine. The product is equipped with full-screen sound technology, dual-sensing hidden buttons and magnetic charging interface, etc., the power button, volume button, charging interface and speakers of the body are all removed, and there are no extra openings in the body. In the second year, vivo APEX 2020 went a step further in the non-porous design, equipped with a waterfall screen with a super curvature to eliminate the black borders on the left and right sides of the screen. And it is also equipped with 60W wireless fast charging, which completely removes the magnetic interface on the back of the fuselage, making the whole machine more seamless. Meizu Zero is also an amazing phone without holes. The screen sound, virtual buttons, eSIM card and wireless charging technology make it possible to see reality without openings in the fuselage.
However, a concept machine is a concept machine after all, and it has not been mass-produced for many years.Although vivo has applied some of the technology of the concept machine to the mass-produced fuselage, such as the vivo NEX3, which is equipped with a waterfall screen, hidden buttons, etc., it has not cut off many interfaces on the fuselage, and the product is far from consumers’ expectations. far. At the same time, the waterfall screen also brought many false touch problems, resulting in the product not getting much response in the end. This loss also seems to have stopped vivo from continuing to explore in this area, so that the new generation of APEX concept machines are not seen now. The Meizu Zero is even farther away from us, and it is hard to say whether we can wait until Meizu 19 next year.
(Source: Meizu official)
Non-porous mobile phones are indeed perfect and sci-fi, but they are indeed a bit bold and radical now, and many technologies cannot support the normal use of non-porous mobile phones in daily life. The mobile phone cannot be plugged in for charging, and the lack of physical buttons is too far from everyone’s traditional usage habits, and may not be accepted by most people. However, from the perspective of the development of mobile phone technology, non-porous mobile phones do have great potential for development, and may become another development direction that is different from folding screens. Once the relevant technology continues to mature, the hole-free mobile phone should not be too far away from us.
How far is it from the realization of truly non-porous mobile phones
If you want to completely eliminate the many openings on the phone, the main problems that need to be solved are the following: the power button and volume button on both sides of the fuselage, the SIM card slot, the bottom charging port and speaker, and the earpiece above the screen. At present, there are indeed some technologies that allow mobile phones to be used normally after removing these interfaces, but after all, there are certain defects, and it is difficult to popularize them.
(Source: vivo official)
For example, the power button and volume button of the fuselage, vivo NEX3 and Huawei Mate30 Pro already have solutions. They can all be adjusted by exhaling the virtual volume control bar through the side waterfall screen, but the process is a little more troublesome. The design of virtual buttons + vibration motor adopted by Meizu may be similar to the solution that will be used on Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro. By pressing a specific position on the side of the fuselage, you can get the same control feel as the physical buttons. This solution seems to be more in line with everyone’s habits.
It is very simple to remove the physical buttons, but one problem that must be considered is that the virtual buttons are all controlled by the system. Once the phone crashes, it means that you cannot control the phone at all, and you cannot even force shutdown and restart by long pressing the power button. .Moreover, virtual buttons will also increase the probability of false touches, which is still not as reassuring as physical buttons. Therefore, even though there are many ways to remove the physical buttons, no manufacturer is willing to do so. After all, it is really difficult for the public to accept and get used to this. Maybe it depends on whether Apple has such influence.
It is easier to remove the SIM card slot and use the eSIM card directly. However, at present, the domestic eSIM technology has not been well developed and popularized. Everyone has long been accustomed to physical cards, and it is quite convenient to change cards or mobile phones. Even if major operators want to promote the development of eSIM cards, it is indeed difficult. There are also alternatives for charging interfaces, speakers and openings. Wireless charging can solve the problem of fast charging of mobile phones, and screen sound technology allows mobile phones to still have the ability to sound without speakers.
However, these two technologies also have major limitations. The sound of the screen is produced by the vibration of the screen. The sound effect and the speaker are definitely incomparable, and this will also cause great damage to the life of the screen, and the cost is indeed a bit high. 50W wireless charging can indeed meet everyone’s charging needs to a certain extent, but compared with 150W and 200W wired charging, the speed is still too slow.Nowadays, major manufacturers are desperately trying to use wired fast charging. Obviously, it is impossible to cut off the charging interface. Moreover, without the Type-C interface, it is inconvenient to connect the mobile phone to a computer and other devices or to transfer large files, which will still cause trouble for daily use.
(Source: vivo official)
It is not difficult to achieve non-porous mobile phones at this stage, but such a mobile phone will be very limited, and even difficult to use normally in some scenarios, which may be the reason why mobile phone manufacturers have not explored this aspect. But to be honest, compared with folding screen mobile phones, holeless mobile phones may be more desirable and practical. Android manufacturers have the strength to create non-porous mobile phones, but it is difficult to lead their popularization and development. Perhaps it is really necessary to use Apple’s influence to promote the industry step by step in the direction of non-porous. Which one are you looking forward to more, a foldable iPhone or a holeless iPhone?