The unveiling of Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone Pro Max on Sept. 10 triggered an unlikely and unwelcome (for Apple) backlash because of what looks like an innocent product feature: three cameras, grouped together like a triangle. The triple camera is supposed to enable better-quality photos and videos. But in addition, people suffering from a condition called trypophobia – fear of clusters of holes – have responded to the new design with dismay and even revulsion. Some scientists believe trypophobia, which is experienced by about 16 percent of people, originally developed as a survival mechanism, either to steer people away from infectious diseases (for a trypophobe, clustered holes may resemble decaying flesh) or dangerous organisms. Whether the phone-buying public will include enough trypophobes to influence Apple’s design going forward remains to be seen. But Apple can take some comfort in the fact they are not the only organization that has triggered a public backlash over problematic design issues. In fact, Apple has plenty of company, going back many decades.

The Ford Edsel crashes

One of the most famous product bombs occurred in 1957, with the launch of the Ford Edsel. As with many product flops, poor design was not the sole cause, but design certainly played a big role. In 1954, Ford realized that they needed to address the needs of customers upgrading from the lower end of the car market. The car giant poured $250 million into market research as they planned a new middle-market vehicle, the Edsel. The problem? When the Edsel was being developed, big cars with chrome and fins were still “in.” By the time the Edsel debuted, customer tastes had shifted to different styles of cars. Moreover, while Ford was successful in its goal of creating a car that was aesthetically different from anything on the market, it neglected to take into account what customers thought might be aesthetically pleasing. The Edsel was different, all right. And the prevailing sentiment was that it was ugly. By November 1959, Ford had lost about $350 million on its Edsel and discontinued production.

The Vdara Hotel shoots a death ray

Contemporary examples of design missteps also abound. In Las Vegas, the opening of the Vdara Hotel in 2009 happened with plenty of fanfare. Here was a new kind of Las Vegas hotel, one that catered to not to gamblers but to those looking to relax and pamper themselves. It lacked a casino and instead offered luxurious spas and a gorgeous pool. But unfortunately, vacationers discovered something else: hanging out at the pool felt like sitting beneath a magnifying glass, with the sun’s rays scorching the pool area. The problem: the curved glass of the 57-story hotel reflects what guests call the “Vdara death ray” when the sun strikes the glass at a particular angle. As the ray moves across the pool area during the day, temperatures increase by about 20 degrees. Since the hotel’s construction, guests have complained that they have sustained severe sunburns while staying there. In 2010, for example, Chicago attorney Bill Pintas reported that not only did he receive burns on his head, but that a plastic bag next to him actually melted. It’s worth noting that the hotel did come up with a fix: installing giant umbrellas over the pool deck to protect guests. Sometimes the answer to design problem is to create a product workaround.

Google Glass: Not ready for prime time

Sometimes the answer to a problematic design rollout may be to find a different audience, as Google has done for its augmented reality headwear, Google Glass. Shunned by consumers in 2014, the smart glasses flopped with their initial audience for a number of reasons, one of which was product design. As Business 2 Community pointed out in 2016, “Google Glass’ design somehow looked awkward and very unattractive. The product looked . . . as if it [was] still in its prototype stage.” This failure is especially noteworthy because it underscores a fundamental problem that “mixed realities” such as augmented reality and virtual reality have: one of the big reasons these technologies have not caught on more is that they require people to wear dorky headsets. People do not want to be forced to wear things that make them feel uncomfortable. Google’s response has been to reintroduce their product to a business audience including surgeons, factory workers, and engineers. Whether the reboot succeeds remains to be seen, but this version of the smart glasses, which facilitate a small display of augmented reality content floating toward the top of users’ line of sight, do feature an improved design. They look a little like the goggles you might wear in science class.

A tempest in a teapot

And sometimes the best response to design backlash is . . . to ride things out. The so-called Hitler teapot created a social media backlash for JC Penney in 2013 because its design resembled Adolf Hitler. JC Penney’s response was to take the criticisms and concerns in stride, replying good-naturedly to complaints, but not escalating the situation. Their tweets underlined the fact that any resemblance to Hitler was unintentional, and even injected a little humor: “If we designed it to look like something, we would have gone with a snowman or something fun. :)”

What should Apple do?

So what should Apple do about the trypophobia controversy? Apple is certainly not going to stop production of the iPhone 11 as Ford eventually did with the Edsel, and a product redesign seems highly unlikely. It’s possible that even had Apple tested the iPhone 11 widely before launch and uncovered a problem with trypophobia suffers, Apple would have simply gone through with the launch as-is anyway. It’s one thing for a portion of the population to feel uncomfortable when they look at a cluster of holes – it’s quite another for a consumer to switch to another brand over the matter. It’s likely that Apple will do what JCPenney did: ride out the storm and let the performance of the product, not its appearance, build its reputation. 

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Reputation where he and his teams are integrating location-based marketing with reputation management and customer experience. Adam contributes regularly to publications such as Search Engine Land, participates in Moz’s Local Search Ranking Factors survey, and regularly speaks at search marketing events such as Search Marketing Expo (SMX) West and State of Search as well as industry-specific events such as HIMSS. Follow him on Twitter @phixed.


And then there was Pro.

A transformative triple‑camera system that adds tons of capability without complexity. An unprecedented leap in battery life. And a mind‑blowing chip that doubles down on machine learning and pushes the boundaries of what a smartphone can do. Welcome to the first iPhone powerful enough to be called Pro.

Pre-order starting at 5:00 a.m. PDT on 9.13.

From $24.95/mo. or $599 with trade-in.*

See iPhone 11 Pro in AR

Expanded field of view.

iPhone 11 Pro lets you zoom from the Telephoto all the way out to the new Ultra Wide camera, for an impressive 4x optical zoom range.

Elegant, immersive interface.

We leveraged the wider field of view to let you see what’s happening outside the image frame — and simply tap to capture it. And there’s almost nothing between you and your subject except a new, Pro camera font. So you’re always fully immersed in the scene.

When we set out to design a pro-level camera system, we wanted the three cameras to work together seamlessly as one.

The fundamental challenge: Even though we used the same color system across all three sensors, different camera modules vary in terms of color and sensitivity. To allow for that, our engineers precisely calibrate each camera individually for things like white balance and exposure. Then they push it even further, pairing the three cameras and calibrating them again for module to module alignment.

Those calibrations are applied to every image you capture — in real time. It’s like taking raw images from three different cameras and processing them to achieve a consistent look and color. Except it happens in a split second. Getting those details right, on the fly, as you switch from Telephoto to Wide to Ultra Wide, takes the kind of computational power only A13 Bionic provides.

We also wanted each of the cameras to be accessible with a single tap, all the time. No matter whether you’re shooting photos, portraits, videos, time lapse, or slo-mo. And we were determined to have beautifully smooth transitions from one camera to the next.

All this took intense collaboration between the sensor team, the camera software team, and the chip team. The result is a shooting experience unlike any other.

A13 Bionic
for real-time processing

Audio zoom
to match audio with video framing

4x more scene
with Ultra Wide

Boom, you’re a film editor.

iOS 13 lets you edit videos just like you edit photos. Rotate, crop, auto-enhance, add filters, and more.

4K video

Shoot it. Flip it. Zoom it. Crop it. Cut it. Light it. Tweak it. Love it.

iPhone 11 Pro lets you capture videos that are beautifully true to life, with greater detail and smoother motion. Epic processing power means it can shoot 4K video with extended dynamic range and cinematic video stabilization — all at 60 fps. You get more creative control, too, with four times more scene and powerful new editing tools to play with.

The highest‑quality video in any smartphone

A13 Bionic
for real-time processing

Audio zoom
to match audio with video framing

4x more scene
with Ultra Wide

Boom, you’re a film editor.

iOS 13 lets you edit videos just like you edit photos. Rotate, crop, auto-enhance, add filters, and more.

Ultra Wide

Take it alllllll in.

When you just can’t squeeze everything into the frame, zoom out. Because the new Ultra Wide camera captures four times more scene than ever. It’s like stepping back — way back — without taking a step. Bring on those mountain ranges, soaring cathedrals, and iconic skylines.

Ultra Wide creates an artful perspective when you’re in close — a pro technique that’s fun to experiment with.

Position yourself below your subject for shots that feel powerful and heroic.

In tight spaces, Ultra Wide is like taking a step back to capture more of your surroundings.

Position yourself below your subject for shots that feel powerful and heroic.

With a wider canvas, you can capture more expansive scenes than ever before.

In tight spaces, Ultra Wide is like taking a step back to capture more of your surroundings.

The 120-degree field of view makes Ultra Wide ideal for landscape photography.

Night mode

High tech meets low light.

From dimly lit restaurants to moonlit beaches, the new Night mode uses intelligent software and A13 Bionic to deliver low‑light shots never before possible on iPhone. And it all happens automatically. You can also experiment with manual controls to dial in even more detail and less noise.

Night mode off

Night mode on

Getting great shots in low light is one of photography’s perpetual challenges. The shutter needs to stay open longer, which can lead to blur. Then there’s the tricky task of keeping detail in the shadows without overexposing lighter areas. And making sure colors stay natural-looking.

With iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, a new Wide camera sensor works with intelligent software and A13 Bionic to let you do what was never possible on iPhone: get beautiful, detailed images in drastically lower light.

Night mode comes on automatically when needed — say, in a candlelit restaurant. When you tap the shutter, the camera takes multiple images while optical image stabilization steadies the lens.

Then the camera software goes to work. It aligns images to correct for movement. It discards the sections with too much blur and fuses sharper ones. It adjusts contrast so everything stays in balance. It fine-tunes colors so they look natural. Then it intelligently de-noises and enhances details to produce the final image.

It all adds up to night shots that stand apart — with more detail, less noise, and an authentic sense of time and place.

Smart HDR

And you thought your photos couldn’t get any better.

Next-generation Smart HDR uses advanced algorithms to finesse highlight and shadow detail in your image. And now it leverages machine learning to recognize faces in your shot and intelligently relight them. That means iPhone 11 Pro can automatically fine-tune detail in both the subject and the background. Even some DSLR cameras can’t do that.

Pro display

Super Retina XDR. A sharp contrast from everything else.

The Super Retina XDR display boasts not one but two new peaks of brightness and understands when to use them. It hits up to 800 nits when you’re out in the sun — great for shooting and making selects on the go — and up to 1200 nits when you’re viewing extreme dynamic range content. It’s like having a Pro Display XDR on your iPhone.

The brightest, sharpest iPhone display ever

Up to
800 nits
for better viewing in sunlight

Up to
1200 nits
for HDR photos and HDR10 movies

contrast ratio

Custom OLED

with consistent color and brightness, even in the corners.

Wide color gamut

with systemwide color management for incredible color accuracy.

True Tone

matches the white balance of the room to make things easier on your eyes.

Haptic Touch

lets you do things faster, like take selfies without launching the Camera app.

Tap or raise to wake

means your iPhone is always ready in an instant.

Night Shift

can shift your display to the warmer end of the spectrum every night.

More efficient

by up to 15%, contributing to our largest‑ever leap in battery life.

True blacks

that look especially amazing with Dark Mode in iOS 13.

The new Super Retina XDR display is our best display ever in an iPhone. Not only is it brighter and smarter, it’s also up to 15 percent more power efficient.

How did we improve performance and efficiency at the same time? Since each pixel emits its own light, the display can turn off individual pixels to produce true blacks. On the flip side, we improved communication between the display driver and the display, used a more efficient OLED material, and optimized the panel design to reach two new record levels of brightness — one in sunlight and one while viewing HDR photos and movies.

So if you’re at home watching a thriller with a fireball exploding against the night sky, the Super Retina XDR display intelligently illuminates the fireball-related pixels up to 1200 nits, while the pixels around it stay deep black. This ability to identify the brightest parts of the display and drive them to a higher peak brightness helps iPhone 11 Pro deliver a stunning picture like you’d see on our Pro Display XDR.

And because the display is more efficient, it contributes to longer battery life. Buying you some extra time to enjoy those special features.

64-bit Fusion

Performance cores process complex tasks faster than ever, while custom efficiency cores handle everyday tasks — helping to deliver a huge leap in battery life.

Fastest CPU
in a smartphone

The CPU’s two performance cores are up to 20% faster and use up to 40% less power. And its four efficiency cores are up to 20% faster and use up to 25% less power.

Fastest GPU
in a smartphone

The Apple‑designed GPU is up to 20% faster and uses up to 30% less power. Perfect for high‑performance gaming and the latest AR experiences.



for advanced machine learning

The 8‑core, Apple‑designed Neural Engine is up to 20% faster and uses up to 15% less power. It’s a driving force behind the triple‑camera system, Face ID, AR apps, and more.





Two new machine learning accelerators on the CPU run matrix math computations up to six times faster, allowing the CPU to perform over one trillion operations per second.


ML 3

for machine learning in apps

To help developers leverage the machine learning power of A13 Bionic, Core ML 3 works with the Machine Learning Controller to automatically direct tasks to the CPU, GPU, or Neural Engine.

We built A13 Bionic to deliver unparalleled speed and advanced machine learning. It’s what allows iPhone 11 Pro to power through processor-intensive tasks. Shooting 4K video at 60 fps in extended dynamic range, for instance, is like a firehose of information hitting the video encoder at once. Processing it would be a challenge for most chips. But A13 rips right through it.

Think of video as a series of frames. Thanks to incredibly fast camera sensors, iPhone 11 Pro is able to produce 120 frames per second, alternating between standard exposure and short exposure frames.

The image signal processor and video encoders analyze each of those frames in the moment to capture as much detail as possible. To take it even further, the Neural Engine uses real-time machine learning to optimize the different components of the scene. For example, it might relight the person in the foreground, while reducing noise and enhancing color in the sky. It all happens instantly and automatically.

Producing the highest-quality video in a smartphone isn’t easy. But thanks to the superpowerful A13 Bionic, you’d never know it.

Up to
4 more hrs
of battery life with iPhone 11 Pro1

Up to
5 more hrs
of battery life with iPhone 11 Pro Max1

Up to
50% charge
in around 30 minutes with fast charge2

Delivering up to five more hours of battery life isn’t just about building a better battery.1 It’s about making the entire system work together. That means engineering everything — the battery, the chip, the display, the software — to give you more performance with greater efficiency.

The Super Retina XDR display is up to 15 percent more power efficient than the display in iPhone Xs. iOS 13 takes advantage of the custom-built performance controller to route tasks throughout the chip in the most efficient way possible. And A13 Bionic leverages four custom high-efficiency cores for everyday tasks.

Another important piece of the puzzle is the Apple-designed power management unit (PMU). Think of the PMU as an orchestra, and A13 Bionic as its conductor. The chip tells the PMU exactly where and when to distribute power across iPhone, and the PMU delivers it with expert precision. The result? Increased performance only when it’s needed, which helps to preserve power.

All because we don’t want you to worry about battery life.

Precision milled
from a single sheet of glass

Dual ion-exchange
process for added strength

Precision milled
from a single sheet of glass

Dual ion-exchange
process for added strength



water resistant to a depth of 4 meters for up to 30 minutes3

Spill resistant
for common liquids like coffee, tea, and soda

Dust resistant
thanks to precision‑fitted seals

Can you be more precise? Yes.

Can you be more precise? Yes.

The new Apple‑designed U1 chip uses Ultra Wideband technology for spatial awareness — allowing iPhone 11 Pro to precisely locate other U1‑equipped Apple devices. It’s like adding another sense to iPhone, and it’s going to lead to amazing new capabilities.

With U1 and iOS 13, you can point your iPhone toward someone else’s, and AirDrop will prioritize that device so you can share files faster.4 And that’s just the beginning.

Face ID is now 30 percent faster.

It works from farther away. At more angles, too. And it’s still the most secure facial authentication in a smartphone.

Privacy is built in.

Everything about iPhone is engineered to protect your privacy. Face ID data doesn’t leave your iPhone and is never backed up to iCloud or anywhere else. Maps tells you where you’re going without telling anyone where you are. Every iMessage you send is encrypted end‑to‑end. And the list goes on.

Learn more about our approach to privacy

Excellent trade‑in value. Good taste pays off.

iPhone 11 Pro is designed to last, so it holds its value longer. Should you ever decide to part with it, you can use that value toward your next iPhone. With Apple Trade In, we’ll find your phone a new home — the best form of recycling there is. And when it finally reaches the end of its lifespan, we’ll use a sophisticated disassembly robot to recycle every bit of it we can.

Even more stuff to geek out on.

Dolby Atmos.

Sound moves around you in 3D space, so you feel like you’re inside the action.

Spatial audio.

Creates a more immersive, theater‑like surround sound experience.

Audio Sharing.

Connect two sets of AirPods or Beats headphones at once.5

Fast charge.

In a hurry? Charge up to 50% in around 30 minutes with the included 18W adapter.

Wireless charging.

Just place iPhone 11 Pro on any Qi‑certified charger.6

Faster Wi‑Fi speeds.

Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax) lets you download content up to 38% faster.

Up to 30 LTE bands.

Gigabit-class LTE for the most extensive roaming worldwide.7

Dual SIM with eSIM support.

Add a second line. Or even a local data plan abroad.8

Use AR to see iPhone 11 Pro.

Open this page using Safari on your iPhone or iPad.

View in AR

Explore iPhone accessories.


Apple logo

(Image credit: Apple)

Invites to Apple’s next major launch event, which will see the unveiling of the iPhone 11, have recently been distributed. Save 10 September in your diaries Apple fans, because this is the date of the special event, which will take place at The Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino.

But rather than everyone focussing their attention on what might be on the cards for the shiny new iPhone 11, it’s the event invite that’s got everyone talking. An (obviously) minimal design, the invitation design simple features a beautiful new colourful version of the iconic Apple logo and a witty one-liner reading “by innovation only”. There have been rumours that Apple might bring back its rainbow logo, so is this a tease of an imminent redesign? (We can’t help but hope so!)

Twitter is rife with speculation, with some suggesting the new logo design features the different colours the iPhone 11 will be available in. Whatever it means, given that the iPhone is already a popular tool with creatives – it’s a regular in our best camera phones round-up – the unveiling of a shiny new version promises to be an exciting event. 

Apple logo

Will you be there?

(Image credit: Apple)

As for the iPhone 11, this is expected to arrive in three flavours. These will likely be the standard iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max. We’ve already got an idea what the iPhone 11 could look like, but how about its technical capabilities?

According to Tech Crunch, these models are rumoured to feature a triple camera array with an ultra-wide lens. Could this supersede the iPhone XS camera? The iPhone 11 is also suggested to boast a new A13 chip, and wireless power sharing.

The invite comes days after Microsoft sent press invites for its Surface event. And just like the Apple invite, it featured a unique logo that excited interest with the press. We’ll have to wait until 2 October to see if Microsoft launches a dual-screen Surface device though.

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When the iPhone arrived in 2007, it was generations beyond any consumer technology on the market. Compared to the bulky, plasticky Blackberry, this aluminum and glass touchscreen smartphone was sheer alien technology. It took about five years for competitors to release decent iPhone alternatives, and Apple would go on to become the world’s most valuable company in the iPhone’s wake.

But what if Apple had somehow released the iPhone in the 1984, instead of, say, the original Macintosh? Or in the 1990s, instead of Jony Ive’s Bondi Blue iMac?

Thanks to the designer who goes by the name Future Punk, now we know. Future Punk, who is known for their portfolio of ’80s-inspired design, created a short commercial selling retro iPhones from each era. The ad, spotted by Boing Boing, is made out of what appears to be a combination of found footage and 3D rendering.

The Macintosh iPhone features Apple’s unmistakable Snow White design language, a tiny CRT screen, and a dial pad made from keyboard keys. The ’90s version features the semi-translucent, candy-colored shells of the old iMacs, with a set of matching keys that look something like an old Nokia.

Of course, this work is beyond speculative fiction. These iPhones simply never could have existed. Processing hardware wasn’t nearly sophisticated enough, or miniaturized enough, back then to make these designs possible. That said, by mapping old design languages onto the ubiquitous, spartan iPhone we all know, the video makes for an excellent reminder that Apple used to be a far more expressive company in its industrial design. And perhaps it will be one day again.