What should be in next iPhone?

Jan Šablatura
7 min readSep 6, 2015


Over years a mobile phones evolved from simple device to very complex ecosystems that can remotely control our world.

Why not to go further?

Hydrophobic coating.

Although many iPhone users are always trying to treat their devices gracefully, to conserve them at the best possible state, there are some situations when it’s very hard to do. When it’s raining or when you go running, it’s very hard to evade humidity or dust that can be harmful for device.

It would be awesome to have next iPhone shielded by hydrophobic coating used in last Apple Watch. At least partially, so users won’t need to be frightened that much anymore. Apple already have patent and technology for that and it’s already been successfully used.

→ So users won’t need to be frightened about their priceless devices anymore.

USB C. Last connector.

One cable to connect them all. Although construction of new type C connector is more delicate than nowadays Apple’s widespread Lighting connector, it’s a future. It can deliver up to 100W in it’s current form while it’s power reversible, so your iPad could charge your Mac. It can also offer full DisplayPort functionality.

New USB type C is a future. Just imagine to have it everywhere. Printscreen from apple.com.

One amazing port with incredible portability. It is inevitable that it will be included in all Apple devices, because it wouldn’t make any sense to not to do so — to have only one port everywhere. And when the time comes, just remove all connectors and reach towards wireless future.

→ Just remove all connectors and reach towards wireless future.

Protruding not allowed.

Mobile phones as well as other devices gets thicker and lighter. It’s evolution and it’s also inevitable. When you accustom your lighter thicker device, it’s very painful to get back to your previous brick. Problem starts when there are mobile parts that are very hard or nearly impossible to shrink, like for example camera is. Apple in his last generation mobile device must’ve solved this problem by protruding camera. But that’s not a sustainable solution, it needs to go away. Apple is well known for its design, and protruding things does not fit this vision.

One way how to handle problem with protrusion is by Apple’s patent “digital camera with light splitter”, which could, as it seems, actually let next iPhone to be thicker and also help create even more accurate photos. Two birds with one stone.

→ Protruding things does not fit Apple’s vision.

No visible antenna bands.

Since iPhone 4 problems with some people losing cellular signal, Apple always had to add to all of its aluminum models some parts that mustn’t block radio waves. At latest models, iPhone 6, there are two strips of plastic that run across the back of the device. That’s because that’s where the phone’s antenna resides — without that radio waves wouldn’t be able to get through iPhone’s metal exterior to receive and send signals.

Future phone → no antenna bands, no protruding parts

But that could and should change, Apple just published new patent application that describes a new composite metal material that is very hard to distinguish from anodized metal and that can let radio frequencies to pass through.

This whole idea can give new iPhone whole new look — it would feel like made from one part, like for example plastic iPhone 5c feels.

→ Make it feel like it’s made from one part. Make it Apple-like.

Touch ID display integration.

Apple shown continued interest in embedding Touch ID fingerprint sensors into touchscreen displays. Future iPhones and iPads could move Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor from the device’s home button to the display itself, which could allow a more dynamic way to authenticate user, without him/her even knowing it. There is a patent from year 2005 and never-ending rumors are materializing the idea, making it more real.

→ Allow a more dynamic way to authenticate user, without even knowing it.

Plot twist: Touch ID gestures?

With bigger screens comes new problems. One, most visible in iPhone 6 plus, is that it’s very hard to reach top of the phone’s display when you have smaller hands. Apple comes with solution named “reachability”, but that just slows things down and it feels weird to use that kind of hack to control phone at all. Jailbreak community showed how actually Touch ID is precise and that it is possible to use it with different than vendor programmed events. With quicker Touch ID processing it would be possible to make gestures like swipe with it. And what kind of relief it would be to get rid of swipes connected with display edges, like control center, back or notification center that are sometimes accidentally clicked, which annoys mostly in games or in full screen applications.

Sound Mixer.

With sound notifications comes another problem. Imagine a situation when you go running, your Spotify is playing in your headphones or better one — you’re Skype calling. But also, because you love to measure your running performance, you’ve got Runkeeper running as well and because you’re absolutely lost, you’re using your navigation application with voice commands (Google Maps for example).

There often comes a situation when navigation plays its voice commands over Runkeeper informational resume, or even worse — all three sound sources play at once. But human brain isn’t able to listen and understand to three voice streams at once. In next iOS there should be implemented Sound Mixer that will solve this. Sound notifications should be sorted and played consecutively, each sound information after another. Doesn’t really matter if last item will be played as last or would stop first item playing (LIFO or FIFO strategy). The point is that it’s much better to actually hear information with delay than not hear it at all because there were two playing at once.

→ Do not ever play three sounds at once. Like ever.

Better orientation change.

Orientation change on iPad is awesome. It just feels right. But on iPhones it really need some improvements. In next iOS 9, it would be possible to change side switch button from silent/loud mode to enable/disable auto-lock. I look forward to that feature and I would prefer to use it on side rather than by control center. But actually it’s not sustainable solution. Orientation change should be automatic and there shouldn’t be any orientation lock anymore. It should just work like a magic.

I’ve sent a few ideas about this to Apple months ago. It was maybe just crazy imagination how to improve it, because there is possibility I’m lacking some knowledge they have. I proposed a few solutions, firstly to start auto lock learning by its mistakes — so when you try third time to position your device some way, but it does again a mistake, so you have to switch lock on, that should be an identifier for “hey iPhone, learn what you did wrong and don’t ever do that again”. Also I’ve proposed an idea that iOS could check with front camera your eyes, nose and lips position towards the device each time you change orientation. At the moment we have effective algorithms that can check it instantly and very efficiently just from one picture. It could be very helpful for user to not ever need orientation lock in future again.

→ Do not ever make me re-rotate device again. Like ever.

Spectrometer / colorimeter.

This is where it gets more sci-fi, but with a few compromises it still probable. Apple always loved to add new sensors for its devices, started with accelerometer and gyroscope and in last iPhone ended with barometer to measure stairs climbed. There is a one technology that could be awesome to have in mobile phones and that’s spectrometer, a device that can find out a chemical compound of object in front of you.

There is actually a really handy patent waiting to be used in mobile devices, a compact spectrometer based on diffraction which has also a near-production name, G-Freshnel.

Spectrometer can also work as colorimeter, which could help to achieve better camera pictures. Not talking about crazy opportunities for app developers. Always wanted to have a handy device that can find out what kind of object it shot on camera? Ever thought if that is a stone, plastic or fossil? There could be app for that.

→ Ever thought if that is a stone, plastic or fossil? There could be app for that.

Simple laser digital thermometer.

Another sci-fi like idea, but again with some simplification and compromises possible to create and include sensor like that in next iPhone. Thermometer could be used for medical or practical purposes. There could be app that will find out if you have fever or an app that will tell you if that’s right temperature for your awesome Yerba Mate. There are sensors small and simple enough to include in next mobile device, like Melexis for example.

→ There could be app that will find out if you have fever.

Over years mobile devices evolved from simple machines that could do only one specific thing into very complex ecosystems that are covering wide areas we ever dreamt few years before. iPhone is a shining example. It evolved into device that can remotely control our world.

Why not to go further?