Apple made the bold move of increasing the size of the iPhone 5 with a larger 4-inch display, an improvement from its predecessor, the smaller iPhone 4s. But additional reporting and rumors suggest Apple could be coming out with an even larger display — as much as 4.7-inches or 5.5-inches diagonally — pushing the already super-sharp display to 401 pixels per inch. That would be one of the highest resolutions on any smartphone ever produced.
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.
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.
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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 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.
iPhones have typically always suffered with one major problem: poor battery life. The more technology each iPhone packs in, the better the battery, but the high-resolution display, the network capabilities, and other features often offset any improvements. For business users particularly, many will want an iPhone that lasts all day without needing to be charged up. Apple will need something more than the 10 hours on 3G talk time to really wow its customers.
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Currently the iPhone comes in three storage capacities: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. Apple broke the mold by dishing out an iPad with 128GB of storage. But we have yet to see a version for the iPhone. Many use their iPhones as portable media devices and want to store vast amounts of music and video content, but are restricted by the storage space.
Samsung brought out eye-tracking technology to help users scroll up and down pages. Apple could take a similar approach with a high-resolution FaceTime camera (more on that in the next slide). The capability already exists loosely in third-party software form, and would be a benefit to heavy email or ebook reading users.
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We've all taken a selfie in our time, no more so than on our iPhones. But the front-facing FaceTime camera is poor at best — particularly in low-light conditions — even if it's the better camera on the market. From selfies to video calling, Apple could set the trend for high-definition video calling if it included a 3- or 4-megapixel camera in the front.
Apple's Lightning connection is faster than most other cables and connectors on the market, allowing a device to perform a full sync in a matter of seconds. But could it be faster? Especially if we see more storage, such as a 128GB iPhone, the connector will have to be significantly faster to keep up-to-speed with our increasing demand for space and content.
iOS 8 will likely land at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) later this year in June, with an expected release date of September in line with when it dishes out its latest iPhone. From group video calling over FaceTime and improved Maps and a bevy of new features, head this way to see what we want from the software update.
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