I know, it’s almost a blasphemous headline, and I can feel the comments system bracing itself for impact even before anyone has read a word of my arguments. Especially as Apple has engaged in lengthy lawsuits against Samsung for copying its own features.
But while Apple doesn’t blindly copy, it does learn from other companies, and it does so all the time. Indeed, you could say it’s one of the key things that sets Apple apart in the tech world: it doesn’t scrabble to be first to market with new technology. Apple instead sits back and watches, looks at what other companies do and then figures out how to create a better version.
Touch ID is a classic example. Fingerprint readers have been around forever in laptops, and Motorola put one into a smartphone – the Atrix – way back in 2011. But early fingerprint readers were inconvenient, requiring you to scroll your finger across them, and unreliable. Apple waited until it could do the job properly.
So what are some of the things Android manufacturers have done that I think Apple could usefully learn from … ?
iPhones are expensive devices, and while home insurance or AppleCare+ can lessen the financial pain, there’s also the hassle factor of getting a phone repaired or replaced. No matter how careful we may be with our phones, spills and drops in water can happen.
Apple’s latest iPhones are surprisingly water-resistant, but there’s a big difference between water-resistant and waterproof. It would be great to see a fully waterproof iPhone 7.
Sony led the way with waterproofing phones, working for a long time on varying levels of water-resistance before launching the first fully waterproof phone, the Xperia Z, back in 2013. The phone could even be used underwater, its advertising showing someone using it to take photos while swimming with their family.
Sony has admittedly cut back on the level of waterproofing offered in its latest model, likely for cost reasons, but other manufacturers also offer completely waterproof phones. Samsung, for example, launched its fully waterproof Galaxy S4 Active, also in 2013.
Still on the topic of protection, Apple has steadily increased the strength of the glass used in its iPhones, but they still can and do break. Motorola last week announced the DROID Turbo 2, whose headline feature is what the company claims is a completely shatterproof display. We’ll have to wait to discover whether the claim is true, of course, but it’s not a statement the company will have made lightly.
Now, you can of course argue that it’s not in Apple’s financial interests to make iPhones waterproof and shatterproof: a decent chunk of income is generated by replacing damaged or destroyed devices. But Tim Cook has said on a number of occasions that Apple tries to do the right thing even if it comes at a financial cost – citing accessibility functions and environmental friendliness as examples.
Similarly, you could argue that those who want to protect their phones can buy a case. But it’s always struck me as crazy that Apple goes to enormous lengths to make sleek, slim phones and then the first thing almost everyone I know does is hide it away inside a case. Making the phone itself more robust has to be a better way to go.
The speakers in the iPhone are reasonably impressive, but there are Android handsets with better ones.
Play a movie on an iPhone 6s and an HTC One M9, with its BoomSound and Dolby Audio features, and there’s just no comparison. Both the 24-bit audio and the front-facing speaker make a huge difference. And HTC isn’t really in a position to object to Apple borrowing a feature …
The new Moto phones, too, manage to fit in front-facing speakers without needing much space beneath the screen to do it – the Moto X Style/Pure being a prime example.
When Apple was first working on the iPhone, Steve Jobs was insistent that nothing should detract from the display. He wanted as few buttons and switches as possible. It was, he argued, all about the screen.
It was also an aim Apple had with the Watch, going to a great deal of trouble to achieve such a deep black in the display that it blends invisibly into the surrounds, giving it a bezel-less appearance.
Apple pulled off another optical illusion with the iPhone 6. By making the edges rounded, falling away from the display, it makes the bezel look thinner than it really is, because your eye sees the edge of the black glass and kind of ignores the fact there’s some aluminum sticking out beyond it. In reality, the total bezel thickness is very similar to the iPhone 5.
Look at the above photo of an iPhone 6s next to the Sharp Aquos Crystal 2 and tell me you aren’t just a little bit jealous of those insanely-thin bezels? And that’s just a mid-range Android phone from last year – you can pick one up now for less than a hundred bucks. (I’m almost tempted to get one as a spare phone …)
Depending on how you hold your phone, you could argue that ultra-thin bezels would result in accidental touches, but the size phones are now, I think most people cup them in their hands rather than wrap their fingers around them, so I’m not convinced this would be an issue.
Finally, if there’s one iPhone complaint I hear about the iPhone above all else it’s the battery-life. Apple’s argument about this is two-fold. First, the company aims to find the optimum balance of battery-life versus slimness. Second, iPhones have lower power needs than Android phones because the integration of hardware and software makes them so much more efficient.
All the same, over 90% of you told us that you want better battery-life – and 60% of you would accept a slightly thicker phone as the price of getting it. And it’s not like you’re alone in that.
The iPhone 6s has a 1715mAh battery in a device measuring 138x67x6.9mm. The Samsung Galaxy S6 is very slightly longer and wider, though a touch thinner, at 143x70x6.8mm. Yet in that tiny bit of extra space it accommodates a 2250mAh battery. I suspect that’s a size hit many would be willing to take for 30% longer battery-life.
So, are my views blasphemy, or do they have some merit? As ever, let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Top image: iPhone 7 concept by Martin Hajek
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.
Get over the bevel thing. It looks good and that’s about it. Holding th phone and I end up with accidental touch. Fuck that. Form over function
You do realize they have algorithms in the touch screen that realize if you’re holding it like that, and won’t accept an “accidental” touch right? I also believe the new iPad pro has palm rejection when using the stylus — same deal.
if the android phones have this “accidental” touch algorithm enabled they do a really terrible job, having used the note 5 and the newer samsung s6 edge i can confirm the lack of bezel results in accidental touches daily, i’m assuming people just get used to the horrible experience.
for me it’s not the side bezels that need to shrink on the iphone, i would much prefer them to work on the top and bottom bezels. it’s crazy how much smaller a note 5 is than the iphone 6s plus considering the note 5 has a .2 inch larger screen and is able to hide a stylus.
I have a note 5 and never have accidental touches.
I agree with the thinner bevel, especially along the top and bottom
To me left and right side bezel are more important to shrink, as that is what we are wrapping our hand around and prevents us from further.
The bottom bezel is important, not only for the home button, but also where it situates the keyboard when you’re holding the phone. If it wasn’t there, the keyboard would sit much lower and be a little awkward to type on. Not saying it can’t lose a little bit, but there is more to it than just just look.
Reaching further! Messed up in my original post…
Am I the only one who thinks the Aquos Crystal 2 looks like something out of the 80s? It really is very ugly. I’m an iPhone guy and most Androids aren’t great looking but there are some really sleek ones, like the HTC M7/8. But this one just looks really ugly.
The Note 5 looks way better than any iPhone could hope for.
That’s because it is! It looks like half a phone. To me, bezels help actually focus our eyes to the screen, as the black portion is blocking out the surrounding environment.
Not to say they couldn’t shrink a bit, but to remove completely is not a good move.
Tech out of the 80s is way prettier than that. It’s impressive, but not a pretty device.
I agree with this, perhaps get rid of the forehead and chin of the device, but the side bezels are fine. I can’t stand it now, when I hold the device in my right hand and the palm area of my thumb is barely touching the bezel/screen and I try to pinch and zoom and it won’t work and I’m why!! Then I realize why, there are three areas of contact. Making the bezels thinner on the sides will only make this worse. I’d rather have a shorter device with more screen.
Thinner bezels are a bad idea, for two main reasons.
First, your brain needs visual separation between what it’s looking at on your screen and what’s in the background. Taking the bezel away induces fatigue due to increased cognitive load, whether or not you actively realize it. This is why Apple’s displays all feature prominent bezels; even in the days of CRT displays, it was best practice to leave a half inch of black space around the image on the screen.
Second, that space is necessary for cases to be able to protect the front of the phone, while still allowing the user to perform gestures around the edge of the screen (e.g. swipe from the left edge to go back, or drag an icon on your Home screen to another page). Even with Apple’s own svelte iPhone cases, these gestures are difficult on an iPhone 6s. They’re even harder to pull off with an Otterbox, and if you reduced the bezel, it would be impossible.
With an understanding of the actual functional importance of the bezel, and having consideration for persons with motor or cognitive impairments, you start to realize that the initial *wow* factor of an edge-to-edge screen just isn’t worth the hit to user experience.
All of that is absolutely absurd and factually incorrect.
Do you have a scientific study to support your claims? I’m especially curious about your first reasoning.
It’s not just “a scientific study”- his claims are surely based in theory of the special sense of vision and they’re not altogether factually incorrect therefore not absurd either.
From what my neuroscience studies tells me two neuron types, cones and rods decode colour and shade respectively. They’re embedded in the fovea (concentrated perception area) of the retina with each handling light waves differently depending on their given task.
I think it’s fair to say a bezel thickness that can contrast inside to outside a screen would help with detection and processing. Though I don’t know the fatigue rates it us a real thing when it comes to all neurons. We don’t call it fatigue but I still get what he means, I think. Try to stare at a solid black square on a white screen for 1 minute then just look at a white screen, you’ll see something unexpected. That’s neural fatigue.
Not fatigue in the my eyes feel tired way but neurons do need to depolarise (reset) before they can accurately detect stimuli again.
Our eyes have to process many competing things in our visual field so I can see the bezel helpful in attention and processing by creating contrast especially if looking at things at these of a bezel-less screen.
Edit: …at the edges of…
Bezel, not bevel. A bevel is like a chamfered edged.
Other than that, great article :)
Well, from the ones mentioned I only agree with battery life however that’s a problem of all smartphones these days.
No it’s not.
Wow, GREAT article. Waterproofing should be top on their list, but I doubt it will ever happen. I would also hope for wireless charging and the ability to do a turbo charge, but I doubt those will ever happen either. The other thing I really love is the edge to edge display on the Sammy S6 edge, but I could live with thinner bevels.
Waterproofing should be second to last on the list of priorities from these things. Bezels > battery > shatter resistance > water resistance > speaker quality.
Wireless charging is currently useless on a phone, and will be until it can charge from at least a meter away from the power supply. I don’t know why people like the idea of the gimmick that it currently is. Do you never use your phone while it’s charging? Laying your phone on a mat or specific spot, only means that it cannot be used while it’s charging. Then you have people that say it should include both the ability to be charged like that, and by lightning. Too bad they don’t understand that it would take up more of the valuable internal space to include both. Moreover, wireless charging is very slow compared to lightning, and you’re talking about turbo charging too.
Turbo charging isn’t good for battery longevity. Hence why the Apple Pencil and Apple Magic Mouse only use it for a small percentage of the battery capacity. Apple Pencil gets 30min on a 15sec charge, but it takes much longer to fully charge it. The mouse gets 9hrs on a 2min charge, but it takes much longer to fully charge it.
I know a lot of people who buy wireless charging cases for their phones – they don’t think it’s gimmicky — I know I would love it. I hate having to put the cable in every single time — This has even cost me about 4 different lightning cables — since they were poor quality cables, they all broke, just from being inserted / removed (I’ve never had a micro USB cable break, ever…). Yes it’s slow, which makes it perfect for overnight charging; are you really going to use your phone while you sleep? Also when I do have to check messages at night or if I wake up to a text or something, it’s such a pain to have to unplug the phone every single time and then remember to plug it back in before I doze off again. Also waterproofing — that would save all the people who have accidents with their phones a TON of time and money. I believe the Galaxy S4 had full waterproofing on the universal model — my co-workers loved that. The iPhone 6S is a step in the right direction though; it is light years better than previous generations in terms of water resistance; which shows (me anyways) that it is a big issue and that’s why Apple did something about it.
Wireless charging isn’t good. However, I am hoping that the Smart Connector is or will be good enough to replace lightning in the future. With lightning you are using considerable internal space and you have to plug it into it. With the Smart Connector, there would be much less internal space used I think, and its magnetically connected so it would just snap onto it. It would need to be a relatively strong magnetic attraction so you wouldn’t be knocking it off easily when using it while it’s charging.
Yeah, it wasn’t oversight that I didn’t include wireless charging on my hit-list – I’ll write a separate opinion piece on that.
Wireless charging isn’t useless. That’s your opinion. I for one think its extremely convenient, coming from a nexus 5 and Galaxy S6. It is slow, but not as slow as you may think. Plus again, its more for convenience than “let me hurry up and charge before I leave out the house”. For example, my wireless charger sits on my night stand. Its perfect for overnight while I sleep charging because it won’t overcharge; it cuts off when the battery hits 100%. Also, fast charging wireless chargers are hitting the market. Samsung just released a little after the Note 5 and GS6 Edge +. I WISH my iPhone 6s had wireless charging.
It’s not just my opinion. Apple won’t bring it to the iPhone, they’re aware of its uselessness and compromising factors. I admit that it would be cool if it had absolutely no compromise to have it in addition to lightning, but it certainly does.
Wireless charging – no thank you…
This would only work IF you have many areas around your house, out and about, and at friends houses, had charging bases…otherwise you would still need a cable to charge your device…
Trust me – when i had the iphone 5 i got a wireless charging case and a base unit – the only place could charge it wirelessly was on that base… none of my friends had one, my work place didnt, no-where had them…you then wonder “is it really wireless” – between your phone and base it is, but you still have to find a suitable location for the base that still needs to be near a plug socket…
Basically – for wireless charging to be affective in your home you would need many charging bases in convenient locations (by the bed, by your chair in the living room, in the kitchen, in the car etc) then apply this to your friends and families homes, then have charging bases in restaurants etc – it becomes highly unrealistic and in truth you still end up tethered to the placement of the dock severally limiting you to where you can charge — even if you carry a portable battery around, you still have to charge via the able…
Wireless charging is a huge gimmick and limits you more than just using a cable and plug — if you want freedom to charge anywhere, just use a portable battery.
+1 on Ryan’s comment, I’m sure it’s ‘bezel’ also.
LOL how did I miss that, I typed “bevel” in my comment O_O Now I feel stupid.
Waterproof – not a good idea. Will make the phone bigger because of the added waterproofing components.
Shatterproof glass – no such thing
Better speakers – hell no. Again will make the phone bigger. Better speaker mean more battery needed to power those speakers = less battery life.
Thinner Bevel – this is limited by the home button.
Better battery life – perfectly fine now. More battery life would require a bigger battery and bigger phone. No thank you. I’m happy with the size of the phone. If you want more battery life go get a charging case.
All your suggestions are ‘nice to haves’. But most of them require the phone to be bigger than they are today (waterproof, better speakers, better battery life). One of them is impossible (shatter proof glass) and one will make the phone thicker (thinner bevel) or cause the deletion of the home button.
They have liquid technology that they can waterproof electronics, it doesn’t add anything other than a coating over the entire inside of the unit. You can get your own phone treated with this stuff. Liquipel treats electronic products to be waterproof today, it costs about $60+, but it’s something you can do with your iPhone/iPad.
I was about to say…
Liquipel does not provide WATER PROOFING. Only water resistance.
Yes but that presents a problem with heat. Heat can’t escape easily then.
Bezel dude not bevel!
I can’t tell if this comment is serious, you have to be a troll.
EVERYTHING IS GREAT! MAKE THE NEXT IPHONE THE EXACT SAME! I’LL BUY THREE!!
LOL! Could you imagine if they actually did make the same phone every year with like one or two new features and that’s it? You could bet your ass there would be fanboys saying over and over again “well, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” — LOL! With that kind of mindset, might as well go back to your CRT monitor and motorola Razr.
alright then guys, no need to upgrade from your current iPhone 6/6S forever now. They are perfect phones as per fanboy101.
I’m all for making the iPhone7 better. But these suggestions are dumb. Waterproofing would make the phone bigger because of the added parts. Liquelpel is not water proofing but just water resistance.
Bigger speaker mean bigger phone.
Bigger battery means bigger phone.
No such thing as shatter proof glass.
Most users dont give a sheet about waterproof, bigger speakers, shatter proof glass, and better battery. Most want a phone that is thin, compact, and light. For the few who need better battery life, water proof, bigger speakers, and stronger glass – there are after market accessories for that.
I agree that the top and bottom bezel could be smaller. But that would mean getting rid of the home button. Once Apple can figure out a replacement for a physical home button they can decrease the size of the top/bottom chin.
Wow fanboy has no idea what he’s talking about (per usual). “Most users dont give a sheet about waterproof, bigger speakers, shatter proof glass, and better battery.” Hahah. That’s great. You’re right about bigger speakers, and likely waterproof too, but everyone would want shatterproof glass and a better battery, that’s a fact.
There is no such thing as shatterproof glass first of all.
Second the battery life for the iPhone is fine. If it wasn’t the iPhone would not be the best selling and most expensive phone on the planet.
Those who want a stronger screen can get an armor case.
Those who want more battery life can get a battery case.
@Fanboy I think we’re talking more about shatter resistance than shatterproof, haha. Thought that was obvious.
The battery life is fine, but fine isn’t great. Great will be when new battery tech is discovered and batteries for mobile devices last days or weeks as opposed to hours.
I know it’s hard for you and some other unimaginative people to understand, but there will be future features which will require much, much greater power consumption. Features that aren’t currently possible, due to a number of reasons, one of which is battery consumption. Like, for example, when smartphones will be able to project holographic imagery. Or when they will be powering numerous sensors housed on the back of the phones beside the camera, like infrared, thermal, 3D mapping, radar, etc., etc..
Those who want a stronger screen can get an armor case. How sad. It’s a good thing Apple isn’t idiotic and thinks the way you do. Hence why they continue to put better and better glass in their devices.
And you would not believe what Apple’s engineering teams have done, and are continually trying to do with batteries. Batteries are absolutely critically important in the future. The race to get better battery tech is one of the most important on the planet. Apple’s and other future cars will be running on batteries, and the better the batteries the longer they will be able to run without stopping somewhere and charging. Moreover, homes in the future will be supplied by batteries which are recharged during low energy cost hours, and by solar panels.
You see the better solar panels get, and the better batteries get, the more independent homes will be on the power grid, and the less fossil fuels burned to sustain homes, cars, electronics, etc.
I know it’s easy for the people sitting back doing nothing to focus on the now, but the people changing the world are focused on tomorrow.
Have you seriously not seen the Droid Turbo 2?? That screen is shatterproof. And it’s f*cking awesome. And I’d happily take a slight increase in thickness to get better battery and better speakers. I’m sure most would too. And the bezels of my iPhone 6s Plus are crazy, top and bottom ones. It looks ridiculous.
Are you guys hard up for news or something? Why are you choosing a niche Android phone to knock iPhone bezels? That phone would make other Android phone bezels look huge too. Does the Galaxy S6 get 30% better battery life than iPhone 6s? I have yet to see battery test that suggest that.
I think the article is fair – it’s not knocking anything, just some ideas and some products that prove those things are possible
Good points. Thanks for the article. Now let’s hope Apple listens.
To the last point about battery: Apple will not deliver on a long-lasting battery for one main reason – future upgrades. My dad was part of the iPhone 5 replacement program for the faulty battery, and he just did it three years after he got the phone. He told me he has no reason to upgrade now because for him he gets amazing battery life now, as if it were new. And he’s always had an Otterbox case on it, so it actually looks new as well. For a large portion of the iPhone user-base, they’re not after the one-year/two-year upgrade cycle, they just need a daily phone that works and can last them the day. Most people I know personally who had to upgrade phones, usually it was because the battery was not performing anymore. Apple sure as hell wants people upgrading more often, and they will not create big batteries. Case and point the Galaxy S6 with the 30% extra battery in a similar-spaced chassis. Apple can do it, they just know better not to (to our expense).
Who the heck buys a new $600+ phone because the battery life wanes on their current phone??
$30 to replace by user and up to $86 for Apple to do it. Pass it around. Don’t let your friends waste their money.
Definitely not true, just saying.
“giving it a bevel-less appearance.”
I guess Better Speakers would be the only one I agree with.
It is not that hard to avoid dropping your phone in the toilet or on the pavement. And as it is, the current iPhones do remarkably well even under those conditions. And while I don’t believe people will ever stop asking for better battery life, even years into the future….fact is I plug in my 6s every night with plenty of battery to spare. It just isn’t that big an issue any more. It does last long enough for normal use. And bezels? Please.
Seriously, you don’t want bezel reduction??? Come on…
You’re dropping it wrong.
Funny, I would think speakers is probably the one people care the least about, in general. The problem with good phone speakers is, not too many people have ever had that experience to begin with. There are only a handful of smartphones out there with what I could consider to be really good speakers, and they’re not very popular…I would think that 95% of people are just fine with the iPhone’s speaker…although if you have ever heard HTC’s new ones, it is night and day, literally. It’s hard to go back after hearing them :( And I agree about battery — however I would still prefer some way to turbo charge, and also of course, wireless charging.
I agree…i think most people dont care too much about speakers – most people use headphones for portable devices… how many people do you see playing their music loud via the speakers as they walk around or watch a movie on the go via the speakers?
Ben, I couldn’t agree with you more!
Oops, bezel vs bevel is something on which I have word-blindness … fixed now.
That’s OK, people get damped and dampen mixed up all the time. One is to eliminate vibrations and one is to get something wet.
I agree with all these recommendations
battery life is wheeeeee most important thing …Period.
then get a battery case.
For the rest of us, we enjoy our slim phones
My Note 5 is incredibly slim and smaller in width and height than the 6+ and has better battery life.
Great article, Ben. I appreciate the longer form writing that you do on the site. I would like more of the style of writing that you do, but I know it takes time for the kind of things you do, versus the short quick articles that are on the site every day.
Thanks for the kind comments, Grayson. I do aim to write as many opinion and diary posts as I can.
I think you’re confusing the word bevel with bezel.
Whoops, just saw that it was fixed. Nevermind! Great piece btw.
You views aren’t blasphemy, but you are comparing the iPhone to seven different Android phones, none of which have all five hardware features you mention. Is there just one Android phone that’s better than iPhone on all five points? No. Android phones have to tout stand-out features to distinguish themselves from the crowd. Apple balances tradeoffs to create what it considers the best phone it can make. The iPhone can certainly be improved, but it wants to stand out as a whole, not on one feature.
its all about balance.
Apple could easily do any of those features but would it be a better phone? Would a phone that has a bigger battery really be a better phone? Would a phone that has a better battery life but more bulky be a better experience?
Looking at iPhone unit sales vs those Android models, its pretty obvious that Apple knows exactly what the majority of customers want.
Yep, I’m just pointing to features I’d personally like to see, and then using examples to show that they are possible. I’m definitely not claiming there is an all-round better Android phone out there.
But thats the point.
Many of features you want will lead to an unbalanced phone.
For example you want a bigger battery. But that will lead to a bulkier phone.
You want bigger speakers. That will lead to a bulkier phone.
You want water proofing. That will lead to a bulkier phone.
Yet you want a phone that is SMALLER with less bezel?
Seriously. Apple spends BILLIONS on iPhone development. They are smarted than you and me.
Nowhere did I say I wanted a smaller phone. Thinner bezels =/= smaller dimensions.
So then you want bigger screen sizes? If you reduce bezels you get one or the other, or a ratio of both…
There are three dimensions to play with …
How dare you bla bla bla Lovejoy #$&% bla bla bla Apple bla bla bla Android bla bla bla!
I couldn’t agree with you more!
NFC for other than “Apple Pay”. Like the ability to EASILY transfer photos from camera to smartphone as Android NFC phones can.
24-bit audio is snake oil, so I’m glad Apple isn’t wasting resources on that.
Better physical durability? Sure, that would be nice.
Longer battery life? Also nice, although current battery life is rarely a problem for me.
I’d like Apple to make the next phone *thicker* so it doesn’t have the camera-lens bump. That would leave more room for the battery.
Why not start with something more obvious? Like… enough RAM so that the phone doesn’t have to refresh a web page every time you look at it.
That would cost under 5 bucks, yet Apple continues to place ‘just enough’ hardware in the phones where many Android manufacturers make their phones actually powerful.
Apple needs to understand that people want specs as well as looks.
The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have 2GB of RAM now. If web pages are reloading on those, then you’re opening too many tabs.
He’s opening it wrong… 😉
I second the RAM comment. More RAM please!
“a decent chunk of income is generated by replacing damaged or destroyed devices” – you are basing this on empirical evidence I presume? Thought not.
If you think Apple would deliberately not make their devices more resilient to make more money on repairs you don’t understand Apple.
I rather specifically said that Apple does believe in doing the right thing. (Speaking as someone who just picked up my MacBook Pro 17 from Apple after a free warranty repair on a four-year-old machine …).
1) Water-proofing would be nice but would require compromise in areas such as audio quality.
2) Shatterproof screen would be easy to engineer but the problem is maintaining a scratch resistant surface. Scratch resistance is highly desirable.
3) better speakers? I would like to see if they can do stereo. I would like to see the sound port angled more toward the user rather than straight down but not forward facing.
4) thinner bezels? I agree. So long as we don’t get accidental touch input from handling. Actually, I have problems with reach on my iPhone 6 and I would like to see the device shrink so the the screen extends to the top and bottom.
5) battery? No! No! No! You would have to be obsessed with your phone and spend much of your life on it to burn through the battery. It’s fine for most people. I’d rather see a reduction in size and weight whilst maintaining current battery life.
The one thing I want it something no company has done – a smaller phone. Imagine- 4 inch screen with reduced camera/speaker bezel at the top and zero bezel and integrated touchID at the bottom. Completely re-located home button. A phone that will disappear in your pocket!
I’m waiting for the iPhone that makes the perfect espresso. Make it happen, Tim!
I don’t know very much about the new shatterproof Droid, but it seems to me that they had to incorporate some plastic into the display making it shatterproof but not scratch resistant.
As for the battery, Android devices don’t have the Taptic Engine like the iPhone 6s so that is why they are able to have such a larger battery.
Is this comparing one device’s feature to the features from many separate ones? It’s like saying “Yea, Ferrari is nice and all but they need be electric like the Tesla, bullet proof like an armored truck, and swim like a submarine…”
Which ones do you think are incompatible? Note that I’m not calling for any reduction of the Touch ID area, just the side bezels.
The side bezel’s are already extremely small. They are less than 1/2 a centimeter. Making them any small will make the phone structually weaker.
@Fanboy Umm both side bezels combine to several millimeters, they are not ‘extremely small’. And making them smaller has no impact on structural integrity of the device.
People keep talking about accidental touches if the side bezels are too thin.. That’s actually not a problem at all. Apple already has software in the iPads, and has had it for years, to ignore accidental touches. You can rest your thumb on an iPad edge and the OS will ignore it. Reduced bezels are absolutely necessary, should be a priority, and are the future.
The future smartphone will strive for only display on the front, that’s a fact.
And [Qualcomm] Quick Charging 2.0 or 3.0.
I don’t see anything in this article that says Apple need to learn from other companies, all of these are being worked on by Apple already and on their own. Apple does it better when they understand the underlying technology/problem and find a solution that fits their devices better. Unfortunately, this means Apple will be slower than the rest but that’s okay for me. I rather they do things right the first time and not because someone else ask for it sooner.
Also, remember many of these technologies are patented, Apple cannot simply “learn” from it or they are considered to be infringing on them. That’s why many companies order their employees not to look at other devices and patent applications to claim “clean-room implementation” defense to avoid willful/intentional charge if they were found to be infringing.
Also, there is no such thing as a shatterproof glass. Even the device you’re referring to does not have a shatterproof glass, it uses a plastic flexible AMOLED screen and the reviews has said it has a worse clarity to it. That’s why Apple loves glass, it provides the best clarity and plastic at this moment does not have a replacement to match that clarity. No one will want a shatterproof screen if it means making the screen’s clarity worse. In addition, it does not prevent scratches. You’re FAR more likely to scratch your devices than breaking your screen.
Whatever. I just hope that next years’ 10th anniversary iPhone it will be called iPhone X.
We schould be lucky, that you aren’t the designer of the iPhone. :)
Thinner bezel, better battery life, waterproof … this is just a blah, blah. Standard arguments. That’s nothing that would bring the iPhone to the next level.
The only thing that I agree with you is: Better speaker.
But I think the MacBook is a good example for the future sound of the iPhones.
People complaining every year about the “missed Android-features” in the iPhones. The first iPhone generations were a masterpiece of technology at this time. For me the iPhone 4 is the iPhone with the best design. The iPhone 5 is maybe the perfect size. But the iPhone 6S is something amazing in our hands.
Many of these “missed” android-features or “improvements” are not worth to think about. They’re so many people out there, that just wants a new feature. But they don’t think about the sense of a feature.
The best “android-features” are already adopted in the iPhones.
Sorry for my bad English.
Reduced bezel is the future. Incase you weren’t aware, Apple has continued to reduce the bezels over the years.
Yes, you’re right. But for me it’s nothing special. I don’t know if you ever get a Samsung S6 Edge in your hands. But I don’t like the feeling. It’s not so amazing in our hands. :)
The Samsung S6 Edge is a horrible design. It has nothing to do with reduced bezels. Go look up an iPhone 5S, and picture the side bezels being gone, picture the screen going from the left chamfered edge to the right chamfered edge, with no bezel. That is what we’re talking about. It is the future, and I can guarantee Apple will do that at some point. The display is the smartphone, it is the definition of it, it is the number one thing that matters, and the future will see smartphones where only the display is seen on the front of the device.
It’s the same for a TV. A TV should only be display, absolutely no bezel. It should look as though you have a borderless picture on your wall. Future TVs should not have speakers built into them, or smart functionality. They should only be the thinnest, borderless display, ideally mounted directly to a wall. They will include cheap soundbars for speakers, so that the TV is the only thing it should be. A display. You’ll plug it into a wall, and plug a smart tv box into it (Apple TV), and that will be it.
I get you. But I think you don’t understand what I mean. Thinner bezel is cool. You’re totally right and I agree with you. But this will not push the iPhone to the next level. It’s a nice to have. But for the most people it’s more important to have an iPhone which is “amazing in our hands”. That’s it. I’m sure Apple already tried this option and I would say a thinner bezel means also losing this “amazing in our hands”. Just try the AppSwitcher on 6S (3D Touch) with a case. It’s not that cool. Maybe one day we will get an iPhone with a really seamless design.
But iMacs, MacBooks, TV or the Watch with a thin or no bezel? That’s a new level. That’s right.
A Widescreen 34″ 5K iMac with a really thin bezel? Here is my credit card!!! :D
What ‘bad English’? You write better than many people whose native language is English.
Really? For me my English sounds funny. But thanks. :)
Battery Life is great on my iPhone 6s…. 2 days total! and I have yet to run out when on the run!
They could remove the headphone jack and go to Smart Connector charging, remove the Home Button, and remove the physical SIM card. This would allow the phone to become much smaller, and inherently more water resistant. If you look at how much space the headphone jack, lightning port, and SIM tray take up inside the device, you know that they have to go sooner or later in order for iPhones to continue to progress. I know lightning isn’t very old so I don’t expect it to be gone in the iPhone 7, but I think the headphone jack may be gone, and I’m really confident the physical SIM will be gone.
The Smart Connector is two-way power and data, and I’m interested to see what space it takes just inside the iPad Pro (when ifixit tears it down), and I’m interested in learning it’s data and power transfer speeds. If it’s sufficient for iPhone power and data transfer that will be very intriguing I think.
In my opinion, for the iPhone 7 Apple should go back to square edges, and take the screen edge-to-edge. They should remove the physical Home Button and reduce the top and bottom bezels to just before the corners start to curve. The Home Button could be replaced by 3D Touch functionality. They should go back to glass-on-glass to increase edge touch sensitivity and increase PPI. Increase the iPhone 7 to 1080p, and the iPhone 7 Plus to 1440p, and give the Plus 3GB of RAM to handle the increased resolution.
Phablet user won’t care much about improving battery life though-I can’t possibly drain the battery of my 6s plus in a day of medium-medium heavy use. iOS 9.2 is insanely battery resistant. Also, Droid Turbo 2 is a terrible example and Apple should never ever do similar thing to its phones. Moto achieves a shatter resistant screen by putting an elastic plastic screen protector on top of the screen, which reduces light transmittance and worsens the display quality. Plus it’s super easy to scratch (because you can’t get both elasticity and hardness). It’s 30 bucks to replace the protector, but expect to replace it every 3 months over the entire lifespan of your phone. It’s more hassle than breaking the screen and replace it.
You forgot wireless charging on your wish-list LOL. Except that’s inefficient and you can’t have your phone on one side of the room and the charger on the other, YET – feel the energy beam!
It’s nice to speculate on what would be great in a new phone, but it’s mainly a first world problem where we should be worrying about lots of other things.
So in typical first world fashion, would I want an Android phone, any Android phone, even as a spare? We complain about spyware sneaking into the App Store, but Android really is a leaky ship and also a golden goose for analytics for Google. So nope, I’d rather have a Windows phone as a spare. Better still I’d rather have one my old iPhones as a spare. Sorted!
Right, wireless charging please!
Hah hah, battery life from an Android is way worse than an iPhone. You maybe able to replace a battery in an Android but the life of that battery is way less than an iPhone. Android should learn from Apple, not the other way around.
“But Tim Cook has said on a number of occasions that Apple tries to do the right thing even if it comes at a financial cost”
LOL! That’s a good one.
Tim has only two things on his mind these days, human rights (noble), and financial profits. The nickel and dimeing of every iPhone/MBP/iMac upgrade is criminal.
You realize they lead in renewable energy usage and accessibility? Tim Cook was asked by a stockholder why they focus on accessibility so much, when they could increase their bottom line instead. Tim Cook told him they won’t be changing their values and if he didn’t like it he could sell his stock. It only could’ve been better if he pulled out his dick and dick slapped that douche.
The only two things I believe are not on the horizon are thinner bezels and better battery life… iPad Pro got the 4 way speakers so iPhones are going to get those and future Apple Watches MUST be waterproof so that too shall coem to the iPhone.
Hahah iPhones will never get 4 speakers. Beyond the fact that it isn’t necessary and physically impossible unless they stuck tiny speakers in it and/or greatly increased the size of the device.
The iPhone is absolutely fine with the single speaker that it has. Apple is intelligent enough to not prioritize speakers over far more important features like reduction of bezels.
I don’t understand how it doesn’t compute for people, how reduction of the bezels is of utmost importance in the iPhone. This is really the simplest way I can put it: if bezels were reduced to the maximum amount (i.e. the screen goes from edge to edge on the sides, and stops at the beginning of the curve in the corners of the top and bottom) then the 4.7″ would be roughly the same size as the current iPhone 5S, and the 5.5″ would be just slightly larger than the current iPhone 6S. This means that the devices are significantly smaller, while retaining the same screen size, so your thumb will reach further across the screen, you’ll drop them less, they’ll fit in your pocket easier, and you won’t look like you’re holding a brick to your head in public. Alternatively, they can go the opposite direction and keep the size the same, but greatly increase screen size, or go with a ratio of reduction of size and increase of screen size.
Interesting – All I keep reading its but ‘the phone would be thicker if they do x or z’ and then we complain why Apple keeps making them thinner. Bottom line next phone likely be thinner. If that’s the case – that home button will need to go – otherwise I don’t see where the additional battery life will come from. I already made my peace – I am buying the plus models which I hate to get greater battery life.
If you look at the internal design of the device, if they wanted to increase battery life, or reduce bezels greatly, then they need to remove the headphone jack, lightning port, and home button. Move the Taptic Engine clear down to the bottom, and give greater space for the battery to increase, or reduce bezels by keeping the battery the same.
In my opinion the headphone jack, lightning port, and physical home button should go. That would move the Taptic Engine down to the very bottom and it would be right below where your finger would press the seamless smaller glass concave circle which would be the new Home Button. It would be in the bottom bezel that remains, and be seamless.
* Waterproof NO
When sailing I often think waterproof would be ok. But then I put my iPhone in a rugged floatable case. If it goes overboard I still can get it back. Waterproof makes it much more expensive and thicker, never did wet my iPhones! As you write even Sony is leaving the idea as did Samsung.
* Shatterproof glass, does it exist?
None of all my iPhones never broke, except for the iPhone 5 (I accidentally sat on it). So perhaps it will be available in the iPhone 7.
* Better Speakers – Why?
Why? I never listen to the speaker. In my car my iPhone is connected to the car’s HiFi. At home SONOS Speakers or DENON HiFi. If I really want to listen music loud (I never do this when doing phone calls) if I’m on my way I use either BOSE (ideal for Hard Rock or any bass related sound) or Denon (for all other music) portable speakers.
* thinner bezel – NO
No. If I want to move apps on my iPhone with one hand I’m happy to hold it firmly in my small hands, and the bezel as it is OK. As the other commenter Matthew Judy says it’s all about cognitive load. I remember reading somewhere that the white boarded iPhones / iPads are great for reading and the darker ones are great for gaming. The eyes and brain is more relaxed with white and less with dark frames.
* better battery life – do I really need it?
Yes I want 365 days battery life or more! But now my iPhone 6 has every evening between 56-33% battery left, sometimes 72%.
Over night I do set it to flight mode and it loads over night. When I’m in my car I often load it if I use the iPhone as navi system.
Ok I have to say I use it as mainly for reading emails, check some home-pages. I seldom send SMS (perhaps 50 / month), my phone calls can be counted on one hand / month. I never use Facebook or other social apps and the games I have installed are for my kids.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t use my iPhone: I do have 1600 songs on it and 1 GB of documents over 1500 photos and 348 apps.
Most people with Android devices tell me that battery don’t last very long, either they’re running very hot or are empty after 6 hours. My pupils often tear their Samsung apart just to pull out the battery, which is really really hot (finger burning).
As for the Galaxy S6 it is bigger and larger and has a bigger battery, but the OLED display needs much less current then the iPhone display.
When Samsung Sony and Co did build bigger smartphones as the first iPhones I read somewhere in a review that was not due for a bigger screen but they weren’t able to build the right battery small enough to fit in a smaller phone.
In the meantime they all learned or copied ;-)
One thing that should be mentioned is software. Sure, Android certainly does not have it, but neither does ios. With such expensive phones, a 9 month old iPhone 6+ should not be running as bad an iPhone 5. For all of the “improvements” iOS 9 was supposed to bring, it’s clearly only for devices with it preinstalled.
Better speakers are certainly required. Those huge bezels wouldn’t be a problem if they housed front facing speakers.
Battery life is simply ludicrous. A $650+ iPhone 6s with moderate use should last much longer than barely a day.
What about the camera? I personally wasn’t impressed with the camera “upgrade” for the 6s, since their new technology barely compensates for the artifacts of introducing more megapixels; something that only increases storage need and does not translate to picture quality. What they SHOULD have done (and hopefully will next time) is to make the camera better in low-light conditions.
And if I was sad about them not adressing that with the new phone, it only got worse with realizing that all other phone vendors actually try to work on this particular feature…
The camera is among the better phone cameras. No cameraphone can ever match a real camera for low-light performance, though. http://viptest.9to5mac.com/2015/09/28/iphone-6-diary-camera-test/
I’d just prefer a smaller phone.
How about making the case not so slippery?
Once again the bezels are a certain size deliberately. It’s so the screen isn’t touched accidentally. Thank God tech journalists aren’t designing hardware; we’d all be finished,
That’s not difficult to address via palm-rejection.
Once again Apple already has a solution for that. It’s in every iPad.
Also USB-C that stuff already. And USB 3.1 please. Loading music or downloading videos from a 128GB phone running at a 50MB/s takes you half an hour. What the heck?
Also, where’s 24bit audio support? There is a good chunk of music that I could not upload because of this.
While Ive is leading all this, things are only going to get thinner and lighter. It’s thinness over function.
– Take the new MacBook. Had they just slapped a retina display on the Air, we’d all be (extremely) happy. Perhaps it wouldn’t be as “impressive”, but no-one would have complained But no, they had to “innovate” (or rather, thinnovate) and create /that/.
– Take the iPad mini 4. Thinner than the 3, slightly worse CPU than the iPad Air 2 (WHY?) and less battery. The iPad mini is a _wonderful_ product and it shouldn’t be regarded as second grade stuff. To keep accessory manufacturers happy, the 3mm extra height are enough to make us change cases etc.
– Take the iPhone. Battery life has been an issue since forever, yet iPhones always offer about the same battery life.
It’s almost like an /ego/ thing. Ive must be the first to create the thinnest/lightest whatever product. Thinness over function.
among the 5 things u mentioned, to me , only the one about bezels and battery life matter the most. although I think the reason why apple keep its phone to have a battery that last just about a day is that : lets say u have 30% more battery , you are very likely to charge your phone at the end of the day even if there are like 30-40% left . I think apple won’t boost its battery life until the technology allows a similar design that can hold a battery lasting 2 days.
Tho i still want more battery !!!
Battery life on the Galaxy S6 is pathetic. There are countless reviews online about how horrible the battery life is on the S6. It has a much larger battery than the iPhone 6s and performs worse. Bad example.
The point here is that Apple could provide 30% more battery capacity, not that Android battery-life is better than iOS.
How do you propose they do that? Have you seen the internal layout? They literally reduced the size of the Taptic Engine in the 6S Plus just to fit even more battery in it… The only way they could do it is by making the battery a good bit thicker which would in turn make the devices thicker, weigh more, etc.. The battery shouldn’t be the priority. The only priority on your list is the bezel. They need to reduce the bezel which would reduce the size of the giant phones. The only way to do that though, is to get rid of the home button, the headphone jack, and change the Lightning to a Smart Connector, and remove the SIM card and stack chips in its place to reduce the logic board size substantially.
They also need to go back to square design and push every component to the very edges. And go edge to edge on the sides and bezel to the curves on the top and bottom. Then I think they should go 4.7″, 5.2″, 5.7″ and keep these sizes and have new ones of each, every year.
A mm or three thicker would allow for plenty more battery capacity, and I think is a worthwhile tradeoff.
Personally the side bezels do not bother me one bit – the curved glass does… i’d rather them have made the bezels smaller than trick us with curved glass which is difficult and more costly to find suitable screen protectors for.
The bottom of the phone is limited by the home button – what would be great is if they could make a smaller finger printer sensor with force touch…by removing the physical button it will create more space on the inside
At the top that could easily move the light sensor to the right of the ear speak – then bring them down to reduce the iphone height.
The power button also needs to be half way down – where it is not makes it difficult for small hands and also many (including myself) always catches the volume buttons… personally i’d much prefer the power button to be underneath the volume buttons on the same side…
For those who watch movies on their tiny phones – shame on you… for those who expect speakers to be awesome for movies – shame on you… most people put in headphones for better sound, after all, not everyone wants to listen to your movie and it’s not really idea to share…
However, better speakers would help for music — but i dont think this is a priority…those who enjoy listening to music alone will (should) wear headphones…those who want to share at a party will use external speakers for louder and richer sounds.
Battery life would also be an added bonus – personally i would like a thicker phone… i want a little bit of weigh to feel it in my hand and to know it is still in pocket, but also to be thicker so i can grip it better and not feel like i will drop it or its gonna slip…
However, if you put it in a case the case adds thickness to it – i think most people who want to protect their phone is going to put it in a case – plus cases add personality…
I prefer to have a thicker phone and gain battery life and also not having a f… protunding camera, is there anyone here that also hates that protuding camera?
Has anybody done any research into how much the fear of the phone battery running out is contributing to people’s stress? Oops, have I just launched a series of legal claims?
The latest IOS eats battery life. All I want is a good phone that can get a phone signal as well as some £20 phone, great internet reception and a battery that will last beyond mid day, carrying around a plug and lead everywhere I go feels a bit silly.
The Sharp Crystal is the worst phone in the world to hold. The tiny bezels look insanely ugly. I would like to see the iPhone shrink the top and bottom, but not the sides.
One of my favorite Android phones was the LG G2. It had a great design with small bezels while still remaining great to hold.
I will never buy an Apple Watch until it is waterproof to at least 3 meters.
My opinion: The only one of these that (can feasibly and) should be in the next iPhone is better speakers, and 2 of them, to offer stereo support from the unit. 1. They can do water resistant improvement liek they’ve been doing, but it should not be advertised. If the unit is going in water it needs to be in an airtight case. Don’t sacrifice Mic, Speaker, and other sensor quality for the sake of waterproofing.
2. Shatterproofing is likely not feasible with the future of force touch, especially if they are adding in Pen support down the road.
4. Thinner bezels look nice, but they don’t function better- they function worse in the hand.
5. I don’t want a heavier phone (bigger battery) for every day use. There are countless battery cases and recharge options for people and scenarios that need more than a day without plugging in.
Back to keeping up with android, I think a better camera can be achieved.
Also a better mic- perhaps something like 3-4 mics at varying frequencies, similar to how Amazon’s echo works?
And it’s surely a pipe dream, but referring to battery life, I really like what some new phones have done in putting a section OLED ticker display. at the top of the phone. I would love to them do something like that with oled or e-ink, but, knowing apple, I would be shocked if they did it.