What is the iPhone still missing?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| Published: August 20, 2013

It's hard to believe that we're almost finished with August already. And then to think that we're just about to watch two of the largest smartphone launches of the year . . . Time flies when you're having fun! The excitement and anticipation is starting to reach a fever pitch around here, that's for sure. With Samsung's Galaxy Note III right around the corner, and Apple's iPhone 5S purportedly just a week later, September can't get here fast enough.

I think, like a lot of people (maybe even the die-hard Apple fans as well), my excitement for what Apple has coming down the pipe is a little tempered, though. Sure, I'm looking forward to seeing what Apple has in store for their next iPhone, but I know there's not going to be a huge, sweeping revolutionary moment with the next device. It'll have some key improvements, but for the most part we won't be seeing a major overhaul.

But to be honest, that's fine. We're in the "S" cycle of iPhones, and that's just the way it goes. So, with realistic expectations, I head into September, and eagerly await the unveiling of some of the year's coolest hardware (and software).

It's also pretty easy to tame my high hopes, considering that we've seen so much of the next iPhone long before it's made its official debut. As what's par for the course, every single year, we've had a pretty clear picture of the iPhone 5S painted for us. Thanks to leaked pictures, text, video, and pretty much anything else you can think of. While many of them may have been fake, a lot of them probably aren't, so the device that Apple unveils in a few weeks may seem pretty familiar by the time it officially hits the stage.

No matter. It's the same way every year. So oh well.

We're still missing some of the finger details, which is a good thing. But the painter's brush has given life to a lot of the broader details, like a better camera, and a dual-LED flash for said better camera. We can assume the next iPhone will look like the iPhone before it. And, we can also safely assume that the next iPhone will indeed be called the iPhone 5S. And we certainly can't forget that fingerprint scanner, now can we?

There are also new reports that the Cupertino-based company is gearing up to unveil a gold-hued iPhone 5S in September. So, while the iPhone 5C is primed to see a wide range of color options, just like the iPod touch, it looks like the iPhone 5S will just be getting one new color. So the iPhone 5S will reportedly launch in black, white and gold. Hey, baby steps to variety, right? Right!

But I want to take another look at the iPhone 5S. Instead of covering everything that we know the next device will launch with, and comparing it to every other smartphone out there, I want to talk about what the iPhone is still missing. In general. And I want to keep away from the software side of things this time around. I want to just talk about the iPhone, as a whole, from one generation to the next, and shed some light on what you think the device lineup is still missing, all these years later.

For me (and I still think this sounds like a pretty simple request), it's a notification light. I'm still shocked every year when Apple unveils a new iPhone, and the new handset doesn't have a way to check if there are notifications waiting without activating the display, by touching the Home button or the Power button. As I said, I can't help but think that this is a simple overall request.

With that being said, I will concede something: smarter notifications when the device is sitting quietly next to me, if I can't have a notification light. Like, for example, Motorola's smart notifications on the Moto X. I love the idea behind this system. It's no secret that in the year 2013 we expect our smartphones to be a bit smarter than they were two years ago, especially when it comes to things that directly impact us, like notifications. The Moto X's notifications are great, because they keep us in the know without making us interact with the device directly.

(There is an option for you to turn on the camera's flash to function as a notification light, but that's just about the worst option available. I'd rather not have one, in that case.)

So, no notification light? Then give me smarter notifications in general. And thank you in advance.

But, that's enough from me and what I think the iPhone is still missing in general. Now I want to hear from you, and find out what you think the iPhone is missing, and has been missing over the years. And, like I said, let's keep it to the hardware. So, let me know!

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