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A stronger, sapphire crystal-based glass
Later iterations of the iPhone came with a glass front and back panel. The iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s onwards landed with a metal backing — the iPhone 5c came with a plastic shell. But the fragility of the glass display, although still stronger than regular glass, would still shatter if dropped from a height. Reports point to a sapphire-based screen that would be one of the strongest materials used on a phone's display to date. It's further proof that while accidents happen, Apple knows it.
A lighter, stronger Liquidmetal case
For generations, iPhones have been dogged with scratches and bumps from pocket car keys, loose change, and the like. A new Apple-owned patent could point to the iPhone and iPad maker using the super-strong amorphous alloy in its smartphone designs. The metal is highly scratch resistant, while still extremely light and easy to manufacture with.
Image via CNET
NFC capabilities for wireless payments
Almost every major smartphone has near-field communications (NFC) technology, which allows users to tap their phone against a reader to pay for products of low value. Apple has yet to embrace NFC, likely due to the metal housing of the iPhone's case. In adding the feature, it would improve its in-built and under-used Passbook software with wireless payments.