Skip to main content

Google designer believes the Pixel 4’s camera design is more iconic than Apple’s

Pixel Design Sketches Max Yoshimoto
Max Yoshimoto, director of Industrial Design on the Consumer Hardware team at Google. Google

When Apple unveiled its latest phones — the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max — the design caused a bit of a stir. Namely, the camera design invoked several people’s trypophobia, which is a fear of clusters of holes. Now that Google’s Pixel 4 has finally been unveiled with a similar camera module, the Pixel phone’s designer shared a few of his thoughts about Apple’s approach.

Unlike previous iPhones, the cameras aren’t neatly packaged into a vertical module on the iPhone 11 Pro models. Because there are now three cameras, they’re placed in a triangular fashion in a squarish, transparent module and no effort has been made to mask them. Instead, they easily stick out from the back of the iPhone, so everyone knows exactly what phone you have.

Speaking to Digital Trends about the Pixel 4’s design process, Max Yoshimoto, director of Industrial Design on the Consumer Hardware team at Google, said he understood what Apple’s designers were trying to put behind the shape of the camera module.

Pixel Design Sketches

“You know it’s clear what they did as a designer; I understand what they’re trying to put behind that shape,” he said. “Do I think ours is more simple and more iconic? Yeah, I do. I mean I know I’m supposed to say that, but I kind of really believe that too.”

Google’s Pixel 4 has a similar square camera module that houses two cameras — a first for Google — but the company has opted to mask the lenses a little by applying a black filter over the module. This way, your eye focuses on the shape of the “Pixel square,” as Yoshimoto calls it, and it adds strong contrast to the backdrop of the white or orange Pixel models.

It’s not the only spot of contrast on the Pixel 4 — there’s a black band outlining the edges of the phone, which makes the rear design more pronounced, especially on the white and orange versions more so than the black. Google’s using glossy glass on the black Pixel 4, whereas it’s opting for matte glass on the other options. Matte glass is a new addition on the latest iPhone as well, allowing for a smudge-free experience.

Whether the iPhone’s camera design or the Pixel square is more iconic is purely subjective, but these remain the most exciting phones of the year. You can read more about how Google designed the Pixel 4 in our exclusive interview, where the designers talk about the new changes as well as alternatives that could have been.

Editors' Recommendations

Julian Chokkattu
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Julian is the mobile and wearables editor at Digital Trends, covering smartphones, fitness trackers, smartwatches, and more…
Is the iPhone 15 Pro Max camera as good as Apple says? I found out
The Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro seen from the back.

Apple iPhone 14 Pro (left) and iPhone 15 Pro Max Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The iPhone 15 Pro Max has the best camera on an iPhone ever. At least, that’s how Apple made it sound during the launch event, so is it true? To rightfully claim this title, it doesn’t need to beat the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra or any other Android phone; it needs to beat the iPhone 14 Pro. Until very recently, it had the best camera on an iPhone ever.

Read more
The Google Pixel 8’s AI photo features are amazing — and a little scary
Someone holding up the pink Google Pixel 8, while also wearing a pink shirt.

When you get the Google Pixel 8 or Google Pixel 8 Pro in your hands, it’s going to be tempting to dive right in and change the photos you take with it using the spectacular new AI tools that come with it.

These features are insane, as it will suddenly be possible to create your “perfect” photo after the fact, and with almost no effort outside of tapping on the screen. It’s an exciting new world, but it’s one that needs to be approached — and enjoyed —with a great deal of caution.
An amazing AI photo toolkit

Read more
Everything Google launched at its big fall event: Pixel 8 and 8 Pro, Pixel Watch, more
Made by Google logo at an event venue.

The speculation and leaks are over, and the new devices have been officially revealed. The Made By Google event for October 2023 has left us with three amazing new devices and one incredible feat of software engineering that's sure to be the talk of all smartphone and technology lovers for the next few months. Yes, while the Google Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Pro, and Pixel Watch 2 may have been the hardware stars of the show, it's the Best Take mode that really took our breath away.

Google Pixel 8 Event in 11 Minutes

Read more