How Apple could embrace iPhone 8’s rumored notch in the status bar

With Apple's high-end iPhone 8 rumored to feature a notch in the middle of the iOS status bar at the top of its seamless screen, Max Rudberg has come up with some thought-provoking mockups that highlight how the Cupertino firm could own that pesky break in the OLED display.

His mockups are also full of smart ideas regarding potential changes to the iOS user interface on iPhone 8 that would afford a much more convenient bottom-oriented navigation.

This iPhone 8 mockup is believed to feature Apple’s final design

The design of iPhone 8 has seemingly been finalized and BGR has now obtained the first photos of a poorly built iPhone 8 mockup which it says is “believed to feature Apple’s final design.” It was likely built using claimed schematics that were leaked from Asian factories in the past few weeks. Some of these schematics have been debunked as fake so take BGR's report with a few pinches of salt.

The cheap-looking mockup appears to suggests that Apple has managed to integrate a Touch ID sensor into the display assembly because there isn't any indication of a fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone.

Assuming the mockup does in fact approximates iPhone 8's design closely, iPhone 8 should feature a full-screen face and a “glass sandwich” design where it would have 2.5D glass panels on the front and back that curve slightly at their edges, sandwiched between a polished stainless steel frame that's rounded as well.

At the bottom, we still see Lightning I/O rather than USB-C.

The Mute switch and the Volume Up and Down buttons are on the left side of the device. The Power button and a SIM tray are on the right side. The Power button does not appear to be elongated like with some earlier mockups.

A 3.5mm headphone jack is nowhere to be seen.

The back of the mockup shows a vertically aligned dual-camera system with an LED flash and a microphone built directly into an oversized bump. Even if this mockup has been built to closely match genuine iPhone 8 manufacturing drawings, there's no telling if it represents the actual device that Apple is expected to ship come this fall.

The Cupertino giant is said to be testing nearly a dozen iPhone prototypes.

Aside from iPhone 8, Apple should release the iterative iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus smartphones with screens based on the traditional LCD technology.

All 2017 iPhones should feature wireless charging, according to analysts.

To help with the wireless charging feature, iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus are expected to switch from the aluminum rear side to the back made from glass.

What do you think, guys?

Is Apple trolling us all? Could this particular iPhone 8 mockup represent the real deal?

Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Design student imagines simplified navigation and gamified experience for Apple Music

After he got turned down for a dream internship at Apple, Northwestern University design student Jason Yuan took matters into his own hands, deciding to teach Apple a thing or two about good user interface design. The result of his endeavor: beautiful mockups of a completely overhauled user interface for Apple Music.

Yuan explains in a post on Medium that the current Apple Music design is not well-suited for people without massive music libraries who prefer to listen to curated playlists.

On creating the mockups:

At first, I was frustrated — Northwestern University doesn’t offer any sort of undergraduate graphic design program, so whatever growth they were looking for would have to be self taught. But as soon as I came to this realization, I became inspired to embark on what became a a three-month long journey to the holy grail — the iOS app that Apple Music deserves.

For me, this was an opportunity to really dig my teeth into UX research and design, an excuse to spend way too much time on Sketch and Principle, a reason to bore everyone around me with my notebook of crudely drawn wireframes.

He says his Apple Music redesign effort was informed by qualitative user research, Apple’s official Design Principles and his own designer intuition.

He imagined what a video-centric experience on Apple Music could look like.

As you know, the Cupertino firm is gearing up to launch its first original shows on the service. According to Yuan, videos would be served via a new Watch tab, with a Daily Stream feature pushing exclusive video content to Apple Music members based on their preferences.

Apple is also underestimating the power of gamification, the student said.

“I have come to understand that, through a gamified experience, the user is able to establish an immediate connection to the music they discover,” he added.

His proposed My Sampler feature would replace the current New Music Mix playlists.

Here's an excerpt from Yuan's post:

It was born out of the understanding that users who are picky about what goes into their library would also be more reluctant to sit through an entire playlist full of new music. A better experience would be presenting snippets—or samples—of curations that gives the user just enough information to decide whether or not to add it into their library and weekly playlist.

Upon entering a Sampler section, the user would be presented with a series of artist headshots that corresponded to a curated song. After tapping and holding, the system would play a 15-second preview of each song from the album. The user could swipe up to reject the song or swipe down to add it to their library.

Once the user has finished sampling, their selections could be used by the system to create a New Music Mix that the user can listen to. “I chose to use gestural interaction so that users can use the Sampler even if they’re not looking at the screen,” he writes.

In Yuan's view, Apple should focus on integrating existing social media with Apple Music instead of trying to push yet another one on its already overburdened consumers.

“Truth is, I didn’t see any data from my research that would justify keeping the Connect feed in the app as is,” he said. “Users were more interested in connecting with friends and family through music (a la Spotify) instead of with artists through a watered-down Twitter.”

After making it through the first seed, Yuan was selected for an interview with Apple.

Unfortunately, they turned him down.

Though his work was OK, Apple told him it preferred candidates with more growth and training. Yuan eventually completed his internship at Sony Music, where he learned that a brand’s visual presence in a streaming service “must be recognizable yet invisible at the same time.”

Be sure to check out Yuan's post on Medium for additional mockups and his thoughts on how Apple Music could be rethought from a user experience standpoint, including an enhanced For You section and more.

How do you like Yuan's user interface ideas for Apple Music?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.

These renders conceptualize all-glass iPhone 8 with stainless steel frame

Last year, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo speculated that nearly a dozen iPhone prototypes Apple's been testing in its labs probably include an iPhone 8 prototype with iPhone 4/4s-like design using chemically hardened curved glass on both its front and back.

To give you a visual idea of what an all-glass iPhone might look and possibly feel like, we're showcasing conceptual renderings created by artist Steel Drake. His work is a great attempt at visualizing a future OLED-based iPhone with the glass sandwich design held together by the stainless steel edges.

3D model of iPhone 8 casing based on likely fake schematics depicts rear mounted Touch ID

A pair of purported iPhone 8 design drawings that “leaked” recently depict Apple's upcoming flagship as having a vertical dual-camera layout and a rear-mounted Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Today, these alleged schematics received a cool CAD treatment, courtesy of Instagram user bro.king. He went about creating a 3D model of a future iPhone with a rear-mounted Touch ID sensor, based on supposed technical drawings, and this is what he came up with.

This cool iOS 11 concept would bring more power to your iPhone’s Lock screen

Various iPhone 8 and iOS 11 concepts have been proliferating lately, with app developer Matt Birchler jumping on the bandwagon with mockups of his own. We're liking some of the smart ideas presented in his batch of thoughtfully done renderings that envision a much more useful Lock screen on iOS 11.

Going beyond simple things like checking the date and time, launching the camera, accessing your favorite widgets and seeing notifications that have arrived since your last unlock, Birchler is proposing a Lock screen with Apple Watch-like complications, user-selectable app shortcuts, alert bundles, smart notifications that could be augmented further with optional location information and so forth.

Check out beautiful mockups imagining augmented reality Siri on iPhone 8

iPhone 8 could enable augmented reality features via a next-generation FaceTime camera outfitted with a bespoke PrimeSense chip for depth sensing, 3D scanning, advanced facial recognition and more.

The upcoming Apple flagship may also introduce enhanced Siri capabilities that may or may not benefit from built-in augmented reality support.

Designer Gábor Balogh has created some gorgeous mockups imagining an augmented reality Siri on an edge-to-edge iPhone.

Concept: bezel-less iPhone 8 with wraparound AMOLED screen and Dark Mode

Following a concept video from Polish blog My Apple imagining what a system-wide Dark Mode in iOS 11 (along with a few other sought-after rumored features) might look like, user interface designer Vianney le Masne has taken it upon himself to put together some great-looking mockups depicting how iPhone 8's rumored OLED screen and the handset's bezel-less design could be leveraged to implement Dark Mode across iOS and in apps.

“With Dark Mode in iOS for the next iPhone, 2017 could be all about killing the four sides of your screen and making it all about your thumb,” said le Masne.

iOS 11 concept imagines Dark Mode, Split View on iPhone, FaceTime group calling & more

Unused resources for a dark theme in apps like Messages and Settings were discovered previously in iOS 10 code, fueling speculation that Apple could be laying the groundwork for a full Dark Mode in iOS 11 to coincide with an upcoming iPhone 8 release. A dark interface should help iPhone 8 conserve power because the organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display technology illuminates the individual pixels and doesn't require a power-hungry backlight.

Polish blog My Apple has put together a stunning video concept that attempts to imagine what a system-wide Dark Mode and some other sought-after rumored features of iOS 11 might look like.

iPhone 8 concept imagines rumored “function area” replacing Touch ID and Home button

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, along with other analysts, told clients that iPhone 8 would most likely feature a 5.8-inch OLED screen with an active display area of 5.1 inches.

It's now becoming clear that Apple's upcoming handset will probably adopt an almost bezel-less full-screen front face design by ditching the physical Home and Touch ID button.

Its function would be supplanted by a set of dynamic virtual controls sitting in a new “function area” at the bottom of the display. That, in turn, would allow for a range of time-saving shortcuts without degrading the experience, as evidenced in a batch of nicely done renderings created by a MacRumors Forum member “deuxani”.

How about Jet Black AirPods?

If it hadn't been for the new gloss and matte black color options, this year's iPhone 7 refresh would have admittedly been underwhelming as most buyers are not eager to buy the same basic handset design for three years in a row. Which begs the question of Jet Black AirPods you've been dreaming about.

Colors are important and no matter how you look at it, black-clad AirPods would perfectly compliment the superior sheen of Jet Black iPhone 7. Well, earlier this month Dutch artist Martin Hajek took it upon himself to imagine what a pair of AirPods done in black would look like.

New iPhone 7 mockup shows blue finish, Smart Connector and other features

An earlier report from Japanese blog Macotakara alleged that the next iPhone might bring out a new deep blue color option, later described as being closer to a “dark Space Black,” similar to that used for the Space Black stainless stell Apple Watch.

Be that as it may, a new video from Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy shows off an iPhone 7 mockup with kind of blue-ish, purple-ish tone to it. It’s “a very unusual color for Apple and it doesn’t exist anywhere else in the product line,” says Hilsenteger.