4 of 11Image
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.
A faster 64-bit A7X processor
A new processor is all but inevitable in the next iPhone. Despite the never-ending legal spat between Samsung and Apple, it's still likely that its main rival in the smartphone space will produce the next-generation chip — even if Apple is slowly attempting to move to in-house chips. Expect improvements to the M7 coprocessor, and additional 64-bit chip features.