Other Would there be a market for a rugged iPhone model?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by bobob, Jan 11, 2019.


Would you buy a rugged iPhone model?

  1. Yes

    19 vote(s)
  2. No

    33 vote(s)
  1. bobob macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2008
    I've been a longtime fan of rugged point-and-shoot digital cameras, especially for travel - - it's great to be able to take them to the beach for underwater photos and then just rinse the sand off of them under the tap in the sink.

    Here is a list of the specs of one current model (the Olympus TG-4):


    I would love to have an iPhone with the waterproof, crushproof, shockproof, and freezeproof features of this camera.


    Additionally, if it was similar in size to the Olympus TG-4, there'd be room for a much larger camera sensor and lens, as well as a bigger (even removable) battery. The entire back side would be a big beautiful bezel-less iPhone screen.

    Who's in?
  2. cambookpro macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2010
    United Kingdom
    I think this market is adequately provided for by Otterbox, Lifeproof, etc.
  3. niji Contributor


    Feb 9, 2003
    for dustproof and waterproof each new launch of regular iPhone models gets better and better.
    no need to have a separate series.
    however, what could be interesting is for apple to make an iPhone model that doesn't have a camera, and remove other capabilities even, that would allow it to be sold in highly classified workplaces.
  4. AppleHaterLover macrumors 65816

    Jun 15, 2018
    iPhones are not niche devices.

    The capabilities you are suggesting are those of a niche device.
  5. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    I have to agree with this. OP seems to be centering around the camera as a reason to make a "rugged iPhone". While that makes it easier for OP to simply use a phone underwater rather than having to switch to a dedicated camera it's not a feature set everyone might be on board with.

    If this was a market Apple wanted to pursue, they would have already. But they sell a common all around device that is designed to attract most people while offering some light protection for the most common things those people might encounter (such as dropping a phone in a pool).
  6. JPack macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2017
    There's certainly demand but this is a market Apple wouldn't want to grow for obvious reasons.
  7. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA
    a more robust rugged phone would be nice if it has similar features as the top end "normal" model. A rugged Xr would be great.

    However I don't see this as a big enough market. It would have to cost 100 bucks more to cover for the extra technology to make it more rugged. At that point people would go for the better featured "normal" model.
  8. eyeseeyou macrumors 68030

    Feb 4, 2011
    I think there would be a market for a “vlog” centered iPhone that is as rugged as a GoPro.

    Would be a good way to repurpose the iPhone SE guts.
  9. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    Agreed. Apple isn’t going to pursue such a small market.
  10. eyeseeyou macrumors 68030

    Feb 4, 2011
    I don’t know.

    It could be said that Apple turns niche markets into mainstream markets.

    Everyone has wireless earbuds and arguably made touchscreen mobile smart phones mainstream along with tablets.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 11, 2019 ---
    That being said I think there’s a higher ceiling for a “tough” vlogger/content creator based product.
  11. MEJHarrison macrumors 65816

    Feb 2, 2009
    Apple didn't get successful by conning people into buying things they neither want nor need. They've been successful because they make products lots of people want. This doesn't feel like a product a lot of people would want.

    It's also not a new idea that might catch the public by surprise. It's essentially a cell phone with a heavy-duty case on it, except the case is integrated into the phone itself. I would think anyone in the market for a rugged phone would have already gone the route of just getting a rugged case.

    This doesn't feel like a niche market that Apple could turn around. It's simply a niche market that will stay that way. In my opinion of course.
  12. scottcampbell macrumors regular

    Aug 7, 2017
  13. eyeseeyou macrumors 68030

    Feb 4, 2011
    I’d argue that most of what Apple made popular were in product categories that people thought nobody wanted.

    I have pretty much every Apple product they’ve put out and if I’m being honest they weren’t the first company to put out the type of product Apple has. Apple just made it usable and applied historically amazing marketing.

    “Think different”

    That being said a rugged phone that took marketing notes from GoPro and help from influencers and content creators would be interesting to me.
  14. MEJHarrison macrumors 65816

    Feb 2, 2009
    I don't doubt that it would interest you. It would interest others as well. I just don't believe that group is anywhere near large enough to make it worth Apple's time and effort.

    I'm quite familiar with Apple introducing products the public didn't even know they wanted. But that's not a case here. It's a cell phone and a case combined. They're available today separately. I don't believe combining those two ideas creates a new thing unique enough to be anything more than just a phone with integrated case. That's not a magical new device, it's a phone with a case that can't be removed. It would be amusing however since you just know some knuckleheads would probably turn around and put a case on it.

    Hopefully I'm wrong and Apple sees a market here. But I wouldn't count on it.
  15. jagolden macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2002
    I think there’d be a market for one.
    The caveats I see is the size of the rugged casing.
    As it is I’ve finally moved away from those massive Defender series. It feels so good to have a slimmer case that offers good protection. Maybe not as much as a Defender for all-around protection, but from drops or accidental pressure squeeze which are what I need.

    Also, can anyone imagine what Apple would charge for a "rugged" phone? I figure $2,000 easily.

    Fully waterproof would be nice for inclement weather use. Underwater use would be so limited in depth/lack of coloration as to be useless. Decent underwater photography requires a powerful, external flash unit.
  16. mikehalloran macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    Exactly. You want more rugged? They have cases for that.
    As interesting an idea as that is (very)... Does anyone make a dumb phone with no camera and no ability to use messaging apps? Messaging of any kind is just as big a security issue except without pictures.

    If truly dumb phones are being made—and I don't know one way or the other—why would Apple need to make one?
    --- Post Merged, Jan 11, 2019 ---
    I know someone with ... I'd better not say other than that he/she is in one of the government agencies you'd expect to come up in conversations like this. If that Agency doesn't see the need, I can't imagine a market exists.

    Especially when extremely rugged cases already exist.
  17. eyeseeyou macrumors 68030

    Feb 4, 2011
    It wouldn’t be just about features and functionality it would be about solving the problems with the existing product and an enjoyable user experience.

    Bringing it back to gopro they’re the only one who does not need an external case to be waterproof.

    What if Apple came up with a way to make a rugged phone without it being bulky? What would that look like?
  18. cnev3 macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2012
    Creating too many devices is what lead Apple to the brink of brankruptcy. Apples been at their best when doing a small amount of products well, which they’re starting to stray from. Apples selling 7 different iPhone models currently.
  19. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2008
    Zurich, Switzerland
    I actually looked at Android rugged phones and they basically all suck in the sense that none has a recent Android. Those Caterpillar phones come with Android 6 apparently.

    The market for these devices is incredibly small. Same for ruggedized notebooks. That's why the cost even more than MacBookPros but with specs from two or three years ago.

    There wasn't even enough volume for an iPhone SE successor, sad enough.
  20. mikehalloran macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    Last year, before Apple announced they would stop publishing this data, they released sales stats for Q1. In January, out of 18M iPhones, only 5,400 had headphone jacks — that was the SE, 6S and 6S Plus combined. That's .03%.

    Apple is still making those three for the Indian and Asian markets. This explains why there are none in the Refurb Store as is usual for discontinued models like the 7 and 7 Plus of which there are plenty.

    BTW, if there was an iPhone the size of the SE that did not use pinch-zoom to frame a shot, I would have bought it in a second. Pictures in the dual-lens cameras can be framed one-handed while, in the single-lens, you need two hands including the XR.
  21. darksithpro, Jan 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019

    darksithpro macrumors 6502a

    Oct 27, 2016

    First thing I thought of when I read the OPs thread where those rugged Caterpillar phones that have the FLIR in them. Like you said, they use lower end SOCs and outdated Android versions, low res screen. But they're built like tanks, and have huge batteries and the ability for electricians to see hot and cold areas using thermal. If you would put on the biggest and bulkiest Otter-box IMO it would offer similar protection, minus the FLIR.
  22. msp3 macrumors regular

    May 9, 2015
    No. Construction firms are price sensitive after all and will substitute to lagdroid if the price makes sense (different industry but case in point: Target). And if you really wanted something like that the iPhone accessory market already serves that need very well
  23. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Jul 12, 2016
    I don’t think there would be a need for a rugged iPhone, that doesn’t sound something like Apple would be interested in doing. Apple is all about aesthetics with their iPhones, with stainless bands, glass backs, etc. As others have already mentioned, there are plenty of options on the market that offer significant protection against impact and damage.
  24. RodDavies macrumors regular


    Sep 7, 2014
    Don't think so. WE'RE all too vain to want to be seen with anything but beautiful, machined glass icons of (our) success!!!
  25. GrumpyMom macrumors 604


    Sep 11, 2014
    I don't know if there is a market for it but I would definitely be interested. Rugged cases have often been reported on reviews to block reception or wireless charging or be less protective than advertised.

    As a mom and now great aunt to a new bunch of youngsters who will be needing phones in a few years I would like to see something like a rugged SE option. It could be made out of tough plastic. I don't think it will ever happen, though. Jony I've went down that unapologetically plastic route before and it didn't work out for Apple very well.

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