Apple Is believed to be releasing their next version of the iPhone sometime in the next five months. (Some rumors are pointing to a June-July release, but a fall release is more believable considering the iPhone 4S was released just last October.) As per usual, expectations are starting to swell as the rumor mill picks up.
Everyone has their own beliefs and hopes for the next iPhone, even myself. I've given it plenty of thought and narrowed down the top five things that I hope to see in the next version:
1. Larger display, new casing
Despite the iPhone display getting a high-density makeover with the iPhone 4 release, it has never experienced a change in size. In a world where 4.7-inch phones don't seem all that big, the iPhone is beginning to look quite small.
Personally, I've always felt the iPhone display has been on the small size, but I have chunkier hands than most. Many speculate that the next iPhone will be the one to bring w display larger than 3.5-inches. However, there are some complications associated with Apple bumping the screen size. If they increase its physical size without increasing resolution, too, they will lose their Retina title – one of their bigger iPhone marketing terms – for the display. That said, doubling the resolution would yield a display 960 pixels wide by 1,440 pixels tall – well over 720p and, depending on size, well beyond 326ppi.
Frankly, I don't care what Apple does, so long as they add at least a half-inch to the display. That said, taking a hit in resolution would be in bad taste, considering most of the competition now had at least 720p displays.
Alongside a larger display, many speculate Apple will redesign the casing of the phone. It's believed they could change the aspect ratio of the display (simply making it taller without widening it at all) to both keep the Retina Display rating without changing resolution and to keep the physical size of the phone the same. I would rather see an entirely new design – the current one is old news and needs a refresh. The concept image at the top is of a larger, LiquidMetal iPhone and it's ... beautiful.
2. 4G LTE (and a battery that can sustain it)
Aside from the tiny display of my iPhone 4S, another drawback is its (comparatively) slow 3G speeds. After having a taste of LTE and coming back to a 3G phone, the slow speeds are really starting to wear on my patience. However, having a phone that's battery lasts all day is a rarity in this day and age.
Apple, of all manufacturers, values battery life and quality above all, which is part of why they skipped 4G LTE in the current iPhone. However, the new iPad, which was released in March, came with 4G LTE and roughly double the battery capacity to offset the associated drain. Here's to hoping that can be taken as an indicator that Apple is ready to fit their phones with an LTE radio already. If the next iPhone comes without 4G, I may just have to pass.
3. Turn-by-turn navigation
Not having a dedicated GPS navigation unit in my car, the native turn-by-turn directions in Android's Google Maps is one of the main reasons I carry Android as a primary device. I have resorted to using Maps on the iPhone a time or two, but it's a far cry from turn-by-turn navigation.
Just days ago, however, we learned that Apple may scrap Google Maps in iOS 6 for their own in-house 3D maps service. 9to5 Mac claim Apple's maps are "much cleaner, faster, and more reliable" than Google's popular mapping service. Details are scarce and chances are pretty slim, but I'm hoping Apple's 3D maps include free turn-by-turn navigation.
4. More storage space
From the time Apple introduced the original iPhone, they have increased the maximum storage available by 16 times, from 4GB to 64GB. That's the most offered built-in storage by any phone manufacturer. But there is no way to expand the memory after you purchase a specific model. If you buy a 32GB iPhone, you're stuck with a 32GB or storage until you get rid of it.
To be honest, 64GB would be more than enough for me. I no longer store my own music on the device's internal memory, I only keep tons of pictures and applications on my iPhone. Right now I have the 32GB iPhone 4S and only 6.6GB are free. If it wasn't my secondary device and I had all the applications I wanted installed, I would already be out of space. But if I don't need more than 64GB, why do I want Apple to increase the storage options?
Simple. The more they increase storage, the cheaper said storage comes. The 64GB model becomes the price of the 32GB model, and the 32GB model becomes the price of the 16GB model. And whatever size they decide to make the maximum storage capacity comes in as the most expensive model.
Not to mention, applications are getting larger and larger as display resolutions become higher. Updated applications include graphics for the new iPad, which can increase application sizes by up to five times. If the next iPhone comes with a higher resolution display, application file sizes will grow once again.
There's no such thing as too much memory, right?
5. Interface redesign
I've been saying it for years now. It's time for an iOS refresh, time for Apple to kick iOS into 2012 and bring some new features and a newer interface. The icon grid is boring, the interface is aging and iOS lacks some core features that other platforms now have. Notifications are still obstructing, the Settings app could use some tidying, Safari is lacking in functionality and interoperability, task switching (on the iPhone) stinks, etc. I could go on for days.
Don't get me wrong, iOS isn't any less functional than any other platform. It has the largest application store around and the iPhone can arguably do more than any other smartphone. But iOS is aging and needs a facelift. All Apple has done for the past couple years is pile on new iLife apps and various services (Siri, for one). It's time they make some improvements in a big way.
With the iOS 6 update, which is believed to be detailed next month at WWDC, there are sure to be some changes. Whether we see an interface update, it's tough to say. But one part of iOS that doesn't reflect the superiority hardware is the camera software. It's lacking necessary features and is about as basic as you can possibly get. I regularly use third-party camera applications to get just the right picture in the right situation. But it would be nice for Apple to integrate some of the best camera software features into the stock Camera app.