The problem with Apple’s product
As with many other design projects, we start with identifying an area for improvement. With the iPhone stand that Apple offer, I think it’s just way too flimsy and lightweight. My iPhone 6S has a recommended retail price of £539. A stand is like it’s home. A place for it to live when I’m not using it. Presenting it upright. Tall and proud. For an object costing more than half a grand, this ‘home’ better convey quality.
In many instances, weight can convey quality – but in this case it may also improve usability.
One thing I found with the Apple stand was that, due to it being so lightweight, you can’t just pick your phone straight out without pushing the stand down to the table with your other hand. Unlike the phone, this isn’t very elegant. It ‘sticks’ and you have to break it away.
Existing iPhone stand by Apple. Plastic. Lightweight.
It ‘sticks’ when you lift it out.
My (heavy) iPhone stand design
I decided to design and make a stand to solve the issue. I used Aluminium and Corian, which is a very dense material by DuPont with a high quality, smooth finish. It’s stain resistant, hard-wearing and any scratches can be buffed out easily so it looks great for a long time. See below:
No complex surfaces. Simple rounded rectangle, like the iPhone itself.
iPhone stand CAD model in SolidWorks.
Drawings before heading to the workshop.
Final part before finishing with wet & dry.
Final product. Aluminium base with Corian upper.
Heavy. Quality. Improved usability.
Design: a re-iterative process
Design isn’t linear. It’s re-iterative. This is Version 1. My first bash at an iPhone stand (designed in a day, remember!).
After making this first model and evaluating the design, I made some more notes and observations for potential improvements:
- Home Button – I use it at work and it sits next to my keyboard. The phone can sit deep within the slot in the top, meaning that it can be quite difficult to press the Home button when in the stand. If I want to check the time, I can just hit the Power button on the side – but better access to the Home button is one area that could be explored.
- Landscape Orientation – This doesn’t happen often because I use the stand at work, but if I wanted to watch a video with the phone held landscape, this can’t be done in my current design because of the slot in the top surface. The slot means it can only be held in portrait orientation. If the slot ran all the way to the edge, it could hold a phone in landscape (but it would disturb the form).
- Thickness – I wanted the stand to be substantial. Or as I would say, ‘beefy’. However, for Version 2 I would spend time looking to reduce the thickness slightly whilst still possessing the weight required to easily lift the iPhone out.
So, those are my immediate thoughts since making the model. If you have any attributes or features that you would add or find important from your own use of these products, then drop a message below. Better still, if you’ve designed and made your own stand – Tweet me over a photo @nick_chubb.