In the months leading up to the introduction of the iPhone 6 last September, Moscow-based luxury modified iPhone company Feld & Volk shared a wealth of information about the device, starting with high-quality photos and video of a rough rear shell and moving on to individual components like the embedded Apple logo and protruding rear camera.

Later on, the company was able to obtain nearly all of the parts for the iPhone 6, including the logic board that revealed such details as an NFC chip, Qualcomm LTE modem, and a base 16 GB storage option.


Feld & Volk's iPhone 6 built from parts shown booting to "Connect to iTunes" screen

Eventually, Feld & Volk was even able to build a working device from the parts, supporting theories the device would include a 1334 x 750 display, which were ultimately proven correct.

Many MacRumors readers are anxiously awaiting part leaks from the next-generation "iPhone 6s" expected to debut around the usual September timeframe, and while the device is expected to be visually nearly identical to the current models given Apple's pattern of iPhone designs, there will undoubtedly be some improvements and other changes any upcoming part leaks will help us identify.

Ahead of those part leaks, we spoke with Feld & Volk's Alexander Volkov about his background, the company's history and products, and the difficulties in offering luxury products built around Apple's designs.

Feld & Volk originated in 2007 following the launch of the original iPhone, when Volkov and a classmate set up a lab at the Moscow Institute of Electronics and Mathematics where the pair was studying electronic engineering.

Born out of efforts to illuminate the Apple logo on the device, the pair launched Feld & Volk as an independent company in 2008 following the debut of the iPhone 3G, with an intent to build customized versions of the device.

Feld & Volk's efforts were aided by a partnership with Russian fashion designer Denis Simachev, whose bold prints led to the creation of the SimaPhone 3G and subsequent generations. As Volkov notes, the SimaPhone 3G with its illuminated Apple logo, 18K gold-plated buttons, and unique design variations quickly became popular with celebrities and other high-profile figures in the country.


Original SimaPhone 3G from 2008

We then varied the line; different models of SimaPhone had diverse combinations of colors with amazing visual effects, which took us nearly 6 months to develop. This was the sophisticated message of personalized design and function that I wanted to convey. [...]

It became the desired product for a wide variety of discerning people from business professionals to football and hockey stars, fashion and show business celebrities, politicians, and even former the president of Russia and current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Feld & Volk has carried through with variations of the SimaPhone for each new iPhone model, and the company now has 32 full-time employees in engineering, design, and production to build the highly customized devices.


iPhone 5s customized for former NHL and Russian Olympic team goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin with Ferrari logo and lighted jersey number

Throughout the process, Volkov and his team emphasize individuality while remaining true to the functionality and feel created by Apple, seeking to strike a balance that will appeal to luxury customers willing to spend thousands of dollars on a device.

From day one, I was determined to establish the principles we believe and follow them till now. We are aiming not to transform the genius shape of perfect Apple devices, but to offer the unique sense of individuality to a device used by millions of people around the world. It is an exclusive masterpiece that we offer to our customers while retaining the functionality of the original Apple product. I am obsessed with maintaining this goal through a very careful combination of the materials used to transmit a unique sensation of the well-known, but absolutely new device.

The latest version of the SimaPhone is based on the iPhone 6 and uses an anodized titanium back panel inlaid with Simachev's trademark Khokhloma Russian folk prints and covered by a 5-inch sapphire sheet. The iPhone frame and buttons are plated with 24K gold, and the Apple logo is illuminated.


SimaPhone 6

In recent months, Feld & Volk has expanded its iPhone 6 collection with the same basic design but using new materials such as wood and carbon fiber. Most standard models are priced in the $4000 range, although individually customized devices can run much higher depending on materials.

Volkov points out that "time always plays against us" with the phones, as his company needs to invest heavily in bringing its modified iPhones to market quickly even as Apple is already moving toward the next generation.

You only have one year to:

1) Buy iPhones, which are sold at the maximum prices at the launch of each new model.
2) Develop technological platforms and axioms of the new design for our devices on the basis of which we will modify the device. This can take up to six months.
3) Supply our partners with the phone, inform the public about its release.
4) Sell the device.
5) Get paid.

This urgency is what has led Volkov to aggressively seek access to pre-production parts such as those leaked from the iPhone 6, with the company using the parts it obtains to get a head start on designing its own modifications.

Feld & Volk's success in the luxury iPhone modification market has drawn the attention of fashion retailers in Russia and beyond, with one of the more notable partnerships being with Colette, the same Parisian boutique where Apple held the first public viewing of the Apple Watch last September just weeks after it was unveiled in a media event. Colette is also one of a handful of high-end retailers selling the Apple Watch in their stores.

Volkov and his team are no doubt working through their connections to try to learn about the "iPhone 6s" ahead of its debut expected just three months from now. We certainly expect parts from the upcoming devices will begin leaking in the near future as is typical, ramping up over the next several months heading into the launch. As is true of most "s" generations given the design similarities to the previous generation, the difficulty will come in distinguishing parts intended for the new devices from the current ones.

Top Rated Comments

mw360 Avatar
75 months ago
Yay, for bribery, theft and industrial espionage.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
anomie Avatar
75 months ago
Ugly. Looks like you cannot buy good taste with money.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr Fusion Avatar
75 months ago
Ugly. Looks like you cannot buy good taste with money.
They need to break the staleness and predicability of only releasing a new exterior design every other year. When I saw the 6's design, I knew it would be at least two years before I would consider a new iPhone. Some people obviously like it, but for me the only way it looks good is if you put a case over it.

The last quality looking design (antenna issues aside) was the 4. Since then, iPhone looks like it's being engineered to look as "flat" and cheap as possible. The 7 will probably remove the rubber lines and simply be a single milled block of al-you-minium, completing the transformation to become as minimalist as possible.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Romf Avatar
75 months ago
Leaking parts is a sure fire way to get Apple to cooperate in the future with access to new models before release. <face palm>
I don't think there is any way to get that
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thewebb Avatar
75 months ago
They need to break the staleness and predicability of only releasing a new exterior design every other year. When I saw the 6's design, I knew it would be at least two years before I would consider a new iPhone. Some people obviously like it, but for me the only way it looks good is if you put a case over it.

The last quality looking design (antenna issues aside) was the 4. Since then, iPhone looks like it's being engineered to look as "flat" and cheap as possible. The 7 will probably remove the rubber lines and simply be a single milled block of al-you-minium, completing the transformation to become as minimalist as possible.
Sure if you believe the iPhone 7 will be engineered to have no cell reception
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macs4nw Avatar
75 months ago
With such impressive accuracy, you've gotta wonder who their sources are.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

imac pro featured black

Apple Confirms iMac Pro Will Be Discontinued When Supplies Run Out, Recommends 27-Inch iMac

Saturday March 6, 2021 7:33 am PST by
Apple on late Friday evening added a "while supplies last" notice to its iMac Pro product page worldwide, and removed all upgrade options for the computer, leaving only the standard configuration available to order for now. We've since confirmed with Apple that when supplies run out, the iMac Pro will no longer be available whatsoever. Apple says the latest 27-inch iMac introduced in August...

Apple Watch Series 7 to Gain Breakthrough New Health Feature

Friday March 5, 2021 5:34 am PST by
Apple is reportedly planning to bring a new, first-of-its-kind health technology to the Apple Watch Series 7, in what could be a breakthrough for managing conditions such as diabetes more easily. According to a recent report from ETNews, the Apple Watch Series 7 will feature blood glucose monitoring via a non-invasive optical sensor. Measuring blood glucose levels, also known as blood...
Top Stories 48

Top Stories: iPhone 13 Leaks, OLED iPads and Macs, New AirTags Evidence

Saturday March 6, 2021 6:00 am PST by
iPhone rumors are heating up, with noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo this week releasing a wide-ranging report outlining his expectations for the iPhone lineup over the next three years. This week also saw rumors about OLED displays potentially coming to iPad and Mac starting next year, increasing signs of AirTags functionality in iOS 14.5 betas, and more, so check out all of the details below! i...
apple products refurbished store banner

Class Action Lawsuit Over Apple Providing Refurbished Replacement Devices Proceeding to Trial in August

Friday March 5, 2021 9:53 am PST by
Initially filed in 2016, a class action lawsuit that accuses Apple of violating the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act, Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, and other U.S. laws by providing customers with refurbished replacement devices is set to proceed to trial August 16, according to a notice this week from law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. Apple's repair terms and conditions state that,...
Oled iPads and MackBook Pro

OLED 10.9-Inch iPad Rumored for Early 2022, 12.9-Inch iPad Pro and 16-Inch MacBook Pro Could Follow

Thursday March 4, 2021 8:37 pm PST by
Earlier today, DigiTimes shared a preview of an upcoming report claiming that Apple is working on both iPad and Mac notebook models with OLED displays that could launch starting in 2022. The full report from DigiTimes is now available, and it includes several new alleged details about Apple's plans. According to the report, the first of these devices to adopt an OLED display is likely to be...
iPhone 13 Notch Feature2

iPhone 13 Rumor Recap: Smaller Notch, Larger Batteries, 120Hz for Pro Models, Improved 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, and More

Friday March 5, 2021 8:20 am PST by
While we are likely at least six months away from Apple unveiling the so-called iPhone 13 lineup, rumors about the devices are starting to accumulate, so we've put together this recap of everything that is expected so far. The upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will consist of the same four models and the same screen sizes as the iPhone 12 lineup, according to reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo,...
imac pro while supplies last

iMac Pro No Longer Custom Configurable, Available 'While Supplies Last'

Friday March 5, 2021 10:14 pm PST by
Apple appears to be on the verge of discontinuing the iMac Pro, with the store page for the high-end all-in-one Mac including a "While supplies last" tagline and only the base model with no custom configurations available for purchase. The iMac Pro launched in December 2017, and while there have been a few tweaks to the available configurations over the years, it has received no substantial...
hlh030121feafutureoffitness012 1614286673

A Look Inside Apple's 23,000 Square-Foot Fitness+ Studio

Friday March 5, 2021 10:59 am PST by
Apple Fitness+, the latest service to join the Apple family, integrates tightly with the Apple Watch to offer a comprehensive and growing selection of workout and exercise videos made by a team of professional trainers. Apple Fitness+ Studio (via Men's Health) Apple curates and records all of the videos at a location in Santa Monica, California, and each video features a similar background...

What's on Your iPhone Home Screen?

Thursday March 4, 2021 10:31 am PST by
Over on our YouTube channel, MacRumors videographer Dan has a new video up where he shares his Home Screen, wallpaper, and all of his current favorite widgets. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Check out Dan's video to see his setup, and then comment below and show us your own Home Screens. It's always fun to see other peoples' Home Screens, and with widgets and...
microsoft edge vertical tabs

Microsoft Edge 89 Brings Vertical Tabs and New History View

Friday March 5, 2021 4:06 am PST by
Microsoft has officially released version 89 of its popular Chromium-based Edge browser, bringing its long-trialed vertical tabs feature to Mac for the first time. Vertical tabs are intended to make more efficient use of screen space, and should prove a welcome addition for users browsing on 16:9 ratio displays in particular. Users can click vertical tabs to switch between them and...