Apple iPhone: seven things we would like to see in future devices

From more storage to a foldable smartphone, there are a lot of features yet to make an appearance on the tech company's flagship device

The iPhone 13 is expected to be the last Apple device to use a notch on its front display. AP
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Apple is preparing to unveil the next iteration of its flagship iPhone on September 7, and we have heard all about the rumoured features and new designs.

The series, which is expected to be called iPhone 14, will feature four devices and some design updates.

As we wait for the official launch to find out what exactly the new devices offer, here are seven things we would like to see in future iPhones.

Solar charging

Apple has been heavily promoting its sustainability agenda, and part of that strategy is removing charging blocks and EarPod headsets from iPhone boxes in recent years. Why not step it up a notch with solar charging?

Admittedly, there could be limited use for this, depending on which part of the world you live in and also whether you are able to sit somewhere under the sun and let your iPhone be exposed to it.

Unless, of course, Apple is able to build some technology around it that would detect the sun's rays even while one is walking — that would be particularly beneficial in a place such as the UAE.

However, there is also the issue of whether or not the device could overheat, and how the feature would work if the phone has a protective casing, so a lot of safety nets and other considerations will need to be in place for solar charging to work.

Unbreakable glass

The current generation of iPhones uses scratch-resistant ceramic with oleophobic coating (oil repellent, in simple terms), and the devices are quite durable.

However, they are still prone to damage, especially if scratched from a bad angle and, worse, dropped from a significant height.

An iPhone with unbreakable glass can address these issues, but that would definitely mean a bump-up in costs. Although those with slippery hands might not mind paying an additional amount to keep their devices scratch-free and safe.

Foldable version

This one has been in the rumour mill for several years now, and when Samsung and Huawei first released their foldables, the original Fold and Mate X, in 2019, the focus naturally went to Apple as speculation mounted on its plans for its own foldable device.

Apple has filed patents for devices with foldable displays, as reported by data tracking website Patently Apple. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, a reliable source when it comes to insider news at Apple, has also suggested that the company may be working on a foldable iPad.

There are concepts of foldable iPhones doing the rounds, but nothing official has been said on the matter so far. It won't be surprising to see Apple take its time for this feature while the company addresses the perceived flaws of foldable smartphones currently on the market.

Additional storage

So far, the largest internal storage on an iPhone is one terabyte, which was first used in last year's iPhone 13, and meant to address the needs of users who find a 512 gigabyte version inadequate for their needs.

However, 1TB may not be enough for a certain set of users, given how heavily they rely on their iPhones for activities such as filmmaking, which requires extensive storage.

Samsung was able to put in 1.5TB of storage in 2020's Galaxy S20 Ultra but that was a combination of 512GB of internal and 1TB of expandable memory. If Apple were to upgrade its storage further, it certainly is not expected to use a memory card.

Under-display camera

We are expecting the iPhone 14 to come with a pill-and-hole camera system on its display (goodbye, notch), which seems to be a signal that Apple will inevitably have an iPhone with an under-display camera soon.

The reason that Apple went for a notch, starting with the iPhone X, was to house the complicated hardware it used for its Face ID technology.

Now that it seems apparent that Apple has been able to cram it down to the pill and hole, it may be a signal that the company is closer to releasing a device with an under-display option.

The return of the fingerprint scanner

When the iPhone X was unveiled, fans of Touch ID were disappointed as it removed the convenience of having to unlock the device and approve transactions with a touch of their finger.

Some even argued that a fingerprint ID should be an option, much is the case with the rest of the competition.

Apple did keep Touch ID alive in its iPhone SE series but that is an entry-level device. Users would still want Touch ID back on high-end iPhones, and given its present build, probably the only way is to incorporate it under the display.

It is highly unlikely Apple would mess up the iPhone's famous rear design with a fingerprint sensor — unless it is buried underneath and coated so that it is unrecognisable.

Port-less iPhone

Truly wireless smartphones? This may be the ultimate culmination of these devices — for this era, at least, as we really don't know what the future holds, given how fast technology can advance.

Traditionally, four functions — audio, charging, SIM and data transfer — require ports or slots on a smartphone.

The first two have already been addressed by Bluetooth and wireless technology, and electronic SIMs are already a thing; we can do away with expandable memory with larger internal storage.

The last, however, could be the trickiest. While it is true that data transfer is achievable thought bluetooth, near-field communication and Wi-Fi — Microsoft, for example, has the faster Wi-Fi Direct on Windows 10 — there are still issues of speed, which holds back wireless charging too, and connection reliability.

These are both crucial factors when backing up huge amounts of data from an old iPhone and copying it on to a new device.

Another advantage of a port-less smartphone, at least in theory, is that it could make a device completely water and dust-proof, since there would be no more openings. Maybe Apple is developing something along these lines behind closed doors at its Park headquarters.

Updated: August 31, 2022, 4:30 AM
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