New iPhone models have introduced many mobile computing innovations—will the iPhone 8 extend this tradition? Here are the features Erik Eckel hopes to see in Apple's next smartphone.
Each new iPhone release packs its own sense of drama and potential, and the iPhone 8 is no different. Many observers are speculating about what the iPhone 8 should include, and I'm weighing in with my list of the features I'd like to see in Apple's next version of its smartphone. All of the features on my iPhone 8 wish list would be a boon for business users.
SEE: Download: Apple's first employee: The remarkable odyssey of Bill Fernandez (TechRepublic)
1: Fast charging
Many pundits note the iPhone 8 will include wireless charging. That's all fine and good. Ultimately, what I—and surely hundreds of thousands of other peripatetic mobile workers—prefer is that the iPhone charge quickly when opportunities to charge the phone present themselves. Commuting 25 minutes by car? Wouldn't it be great if you could pick up a full charge during that commute?
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2: Hardened glass
Everyone drops their phones. When you stop to think that many smartphones over the life of a typical two-year service contract can cost upward of $2,400 (including corresponding service charges), the thought's enough to make even the strongest of characters squeamish.
I used to think users were to blame when they dropped and broke their phone while getting into their car, boarding a plane, or paying for coffee, but in the 21st century humans should be able to construct a proper smartphone whose screen doesn't shatter when the device is dropped. I'd like to see such a feature in the iPhone 8. ZDNet contributing writer Adrian Kingsley-Hughes seems to concur, suggesting "... a seriously toughened display such as that found on the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 would do fine."
SEE: Discover the Corning plant where Gorilla Glass was developed (TechRepublic)
3: Edge-to-edge display
I'd like to see an edge-to-edge display on the next iPhone if for no other reason than to quiet the haters with whom I occasionally engage in iOS vs. Android arguments. The edge-to-edge displays on many Samsung phones are elegant and attractive; and if we're serious for a moment, the added display real estate enables additional functionality, interaction, and customization.
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4: Integrated Touch ID
The iPhone's current Touch ID button, while a convenient method of quickly unlocking the device, requires a degree of accuracy that can prove challenging when fumbling with keys, removing the phone from a pocket, unlocking the phone while walking or climbing stairs, etc. That level of accuracy won't necessarily be required if Apple does what many observers are predicting and moves to using a Touch ID button that's baked into the display, which could theoretically enable unlocking the phone by placing one's thumb within a wider physical space. Then again, it's possible the Touch ID sensor might be integrated within the display but still require precise thumb placement. Only time will tell.
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5: Better battery life
This isn't a knock on the iPhone 7's battery life, or even the power capacities of earlier model iPhones—Apple's engineers have done a good job of baking impressive battery life into its devices.
Depending upon my usage, there are occasions when I can go 36 or even 40 hours between charges on an iPhone 7. On other occasions, though, I sometimes need to recharge the phone more than once a day.
Today's professionals and mobile workers always expect improved battery life, whether that's a fair expectation or not. Rumors that Apple may be using a flexible plastic OLED display, which could require less power due to not needing backlighting and support for multiple display driving frequencies, could be good news on this front.
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6: More camera megapixels
Although the iPhone 7 boasts high-quality 12MP cameras supporting f/1.8 apertures, just as consumers expect better battery life, they have also begun to expect improved cameras. Apple will likely continue appeasing the masses. Regular point-and-shoot cameras packing 20MP are routinely available for less than $125. I'll be surprised if the iPhone 8 doesn't include at least a 16MP camera, though a 20MP camera would be better, especially if designers can include portrait mode within the non-Plus models, too.
7: Faster performance
Users expect each new iPhone to offer faster performance—no one wants to upgrade to a slower performing device. The new iPhone 8 is predicted by many to include a faster new 10-nanometer A11 CPU.
Current iPhone 7 models use Apple's A10 Fusion chip that includes an embedded M10 motion coprocessor. Count on the iPhone 8 to pack the faster CPU and be Apple's fastest iPhone yet.
SEE: iPhone: Best and worst features of the past 10 years (TechRepublic)
8: Water resistance
A waterproof iPhone model would be nice. Everyone worries (if not, they should) when caught in a downpour with their iPhone 6 or earlier model or when briefly setting an iPhone 6 or earlier model in pooled water. Of course, some users invest in high-quality cases, which provide advanced water protection, and the iPhone 7 added true water resistance to the platform. But having an iPhone that you could accidentally get wet, either in a rainstorm or by brief submersion, such as when you forget it's in your pocket at the beach, would be a pleasant upgrade.
9: A 3.5mm headphone jack
Apple eliminated the 3.5mm audio jack in the iPhone 7. The 3.5mm audio jack is the world's standard for connecting headphones; Apple designers, instead, expect you to carry a separate Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter cable everywhere you go, or opt for Bluetooth-connected earbuds. It would be nice to see Apple correct this oversight with the re-introduction of the 3.5mm audio jack in iPhone 8 models, but don't hold your breath—I don't think it's going to happen.
SEE: What to expect from the iPhone 8 (CBS News)
What's on your iPhone 8 wish list?
Apple has so frequently changed the way people use technology that expectations are understandably lofty for each launch, and yet, such expectations become difficult to continually fulfill. Share your iPhone 8 features wish list in the discussion.
- iPhone 8: Everything we know about the launch date, specs and price (CNET)
- iPhone 8: Everything we think we know (ZDNet)
- This is what the iPhone 8 will (probably) look like (ZDNet)
- Six features the iPhone 8 needs to stay ahead of Android (ZDNet)
- iPhone 8 will have wireless charging, reveals Apple supplier (ZDNet)
- 10 years supporting Apple's iconic iPhone: An IT consultant's reflections (TechRepublic)
- iPhone turns 10: Why it's still the smartphone to beat (TechRepublic)
- Gallery: The iPhone's journey to its 10-year anniversary (TechRepublic)
- Gallery: The evolution of the cell phone (TechRepublic)
- iOS 11: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)