What better way to cleanse the palette than a quick tromp into a conceptual rabbit hole? 3D animation shop Aatma Studio has released a concept video showing what they imagine as the iPhone of the future, and… well.. I’m ready to pre-order.
Now, just how much of this is actually feasible with current tech? None of it, really — but a good chunk of it is within the realm of plausibility if we consider said tech’s foreseeable evolution.
The Design: That design looks far thinner than the 8mm barrier that no one has really managed to crack yet (unless we’re counting those which tuck the thick bits into one lumped region, taper the rest, and then base measurements on the thinnest part of the profile — which is kind of cheating.) With that said, the thickest bits of most modern smartphones tend to be the radios and the camera sensors, and these are getting slimmer and slimmer every few months. Just two weeks ago, for example, OmniVision announced an 8-megapixel camera module that comes in at a build height of just 4.4mm..
The Keyboard: Projection keyboards have been done before (IBM patented them in 1992!), but never quite like this. Though they never really seemed to take off, the few projection keyboards that do exist are generally dedicated Bluetooth/USB accessories, as opposed to being integrated into the handset itself. Even as rather clunky, separate components, the projection was one color, red laser-based stuff — nothing like the high-resolution, beautifully scaling board you see here. But these days, we’ve got itty-bitty pico projectors, and folks like Microsoft/PrimeSense dumping millions into IR-based motion tracking. Let those technologies continue to evolve, and we’re probably but a few years from something like the concept keyboard shown here.
The Holographic Projector: As for projecting video into thin air, without any sort of screen to reflect the light… that’s something that’ll probably be stuck in concept videos and the Star Wars Universe until further notice. Damn you, physics! It’s probably for the better, really: while interacting with a floating screen seems futuristic and fun, the absence of any sort of tactility would be a rather miserable user experience.