Smartphones

The next iPhone will likely have a huge camera bump—but do we even care?

People are outraged

iPhone Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

By clicking one of our links you're supporting our labs and our independence, as we may earn a small share of revenue. Recommendations are separate from any business incentives.

Every year I look forward to September. Not just because it's my birthday month (hello, 28!) but also because I know it means a new iPhone (yes, I'm an Apple junkie and no, I'm not ashamed).

And, just as they do every year around this time, the rumors and speculation about what this year's model will look like are starting to heat up. The big controversy of 2019? The alleged camera bump that will protrude from the back of the iPhone.

And the theory that the iPhone 11 will in fact have an even larger bump than the iPhone X could be true, according to Slashleaks. The site shared CAD renderings (which are essentially production mock-ups) of the new phone, bump and all. And people are fired up about it, vehemently urging Apple to rethink its design.

But before we pick a side, we have questions. Like namely, do we even care at all? Our Exec Editor—and resident smartphone guru—TJ Donegan weighs in on the issue below.

What is the bump for?

The square bump will house three lenses for the new iPhone's camera. Currently, the iPhone X just has two lenses (standard and telephoto). The third lens that's going to be added to form the triangular arrangement on the back of the phone is a super-wide lens for landscape or group photos.

Why is the bump so big?

Essentially, the individual pieces that Apple is using to create its new and improved camera aren't small enough to fit flush inside the current iPhone body. So Apple had to choose between either making the entire phone thicker or simply adding a bump until they can shrink the parts more.

"There needs to be some distance between the lens and the image sensor, and if you want the overall phone to be thinner than that, you're going to have a bump," Donegan explains.

Will a better camera make up for the bump?

Phones
Credit: PeopleImages/Getty Images

The iPhone isn't going away anytime soon...

According to Donegan, absolutely. "Phones continue to get better year after year, and camera quality has improved in particular," he says. "Even if you find the bump annoying, you're hardly going to notice after a few days, whereas the improved picture quality is going to be something you enjoy for the life of the phone."

However, Donegan still believes a thicker phone (rather than a bump) would've been ideal. "If I designed phones, I'd certainly just opt for a slightly thicker phone so there was no bump," he explains, adding that "the extra bit of space would allow for slightly larger battery as well, which would help solve another major issue people tend to have with their phone."

Are people really going to not buy the new iPhone because of the bump?

No, because Apple is Apple. "It absolutely doesn't matter, though I will say the bump on the rumored iPhone 11 is much more noticeable than before," Donegan says. "Then again, it's the iPhone, so I'm sure we'll see five other phones with an identical-looking bump before the year is up and it'll all be normal by next year." Let the countdown to September begin...