The drama -- or some might argue, the lack thereof -- is over. The iPhone 5S and 5C have officially arrived, which means it's once again time to look ahead to the next iPhone.
We know. Some of you may be getting bored of this game. But for others, it's still fun to play.
Will it be called the iPhone 6? There's a good chance it will be, though sometimes Apple likes to shake things up a bit, as we've seen with the 5C and the naming of its iPads.
But whatever it is called, we do have a wish list of what I'd like it to have.
As usual, you can agree or disagree with our picks, and feel free to suggest your own. It's also worth mentioning that like a lot of other people -- many of whom have switched to Android phones -- we've given up on Apple ever including such items as expandable memory, a removable battery, and a standard Micro-USB port instead of a Lightning port. So we haven't bothered to include those features on the list.
Note: The 11 items in the list are ordered from least important to most in a reverse countdown. We've also included what we think are the chances of Apple actually implementing each feature.
Samsung's Galaxy S4 has built-in IR, so you can turn your phone into a universal remote, a feature Samsung likes to tout in its ads. So far Apple's kept IR out of its iOS devices, but who knows what will happen if Apple ever launches its much-rumored TV?
Chances of implementation: 10 percent
Photo by: Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET
/ Caption by:David Carnoy
As Lance Whitney wrote in his piece, "What Apple needs to offer with the iPhone 6," rumors that Apple would adopt NFC (near-field communications) -- most often talked about in connection with mobile payments, but potentially useful for other things -- have bounced around the past couple of years. But the technology is still a no-show.
A lot of companies have been dabbling with NFC, and several rival smartphones support it. However, NFC has a way to go before it reaches critical mass. Apple is likely waiting for that to happen before it adds it to the iPhone.
However, it's worth noting that in a 2012 interview, Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller said that it isn't clear that NFC is a solution to any current problem. "Passbook does the kinds of things customers need today," he said. So it's also possible Apple may never bring NFC to its mobile devices and continue developing its own mobile payments solution, which could be combined with the new fingerprint sensor integrated into the home button on the 5S.
Apple has so far overpromised and underdelivered with Siri, the built-in voice-control feature, which has been surpassed by Google Now. It improved a little with the iPhone 5 and as part of iOS 7, it will get new features, including the option to choose between a female and male voice. Will it get even better with a performance bump in the 5S? It should. But it still might take a couple more generations to turn it into a true personal digital assistant.
Right now, if you want to charge your phone's battery using inductive "wireless" charging, you have to buy a separate charging sleeve (case) and charging mat for your device.
Companies like Powermat and Energizer make inductive charging products for a variety of smartphones. However, if you could do away with the sleeve and have the inductive-charging chip built into the phone, you'd only have to buy a mat (and you could use whatever case you wanted to use).
Qi (pronounced "chee"), a new standard for inductive charging as established by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), is pushing to get manufacturers to integrate Qi chips into their devices, and we've been waiting for Qi-enabled smartphones to hit the market (a few, including the Nokia Lumia 920, offer wireless charging). No such luck with the iPhone 5S, but at some point in the future we think the iPhone will get some sort of inductive-charging chip integrated into it.
Apple equipped its latest MacBook Airs and AirPort routers with the new flavor of Wi-Fi, but held off with it in the 5S and 5C. Other companies have also introduced routers and networking gear with Wi-Fi 802.11ac, but the technology is only just starting to catch on. It'll take some time for the market to mature, but Apple should add it to its next-generation iPhone.
As far back as June 2010 there was chatter about Toshiba's new 128GB Nand flash memory modules. But currently the iPhone maxes out at 64GB and famously has no expandable memory option. Most people think 64GB is enough. Still, after the iPad went to 128GB, some folks were itching for a 128GB iPhone, even if it would carry a price tag of over $500 (and maybe $600) with a contract.
We didn't get a 128GB 5S (and the 5C only goes up to 32GB), but maybe we'll get a 128GB iPhone 6.
One of the often-cited advantages of Android is the ability to add widgets and customize your phone so you can get to most-used apps, settings, and other useful information more quickly. iOS certainly has some customization and organization options, but they just aren't robust enough.
With iOS7, we get a new Control Panel that offers quick access to most-used settings such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Airplane mode (a feature long available on Android models). It's a welcome addition but doesn't necessarily offer the higher degree of customization that some users are looking for.
With each iteration of the iPhone, Apple has improved the iPhone's camera. Once again, Apple has enhanced it for the iPhone 5S, although it's still stuck at 8 megapixels. I don't know if it's so important for Apple to play the megapixel game as Nokia and other companies have. But bumping up the quality of the camera (and continuing to improve the flash performance) is. It's one of those key hardware upgrades that gives people a reason to upgrade to a new phone.
Apple has consistently improved the iPhone's graphics capabilities with each new iteration of it, and not surprisingly, we've come to expect a performance boost (and would be disappointed if we didn't get one). Apple says the new "superfast" 64-bit A7 chip has a 2x performance boost over the A6 chip found in the iPhone 5 and 5C.
We know. We're asking a lot for a phone with a faster processor and graphics chip to also improve on battery life, but the fact is, some people were hoping Apple could really make a statement with much better battery life than that of its Android competitors. True, the rated battery life of the iPhone 5S (and 5C) is slightly better than that of iPhone 5, which is an achievement, considering it offers 2x performance bump (though it may be a little while before with see apps that take advantage of the A7's 64-bit architecture. But we'd like to see a much more significant leap in the next model (like we saw with the updated MacBook Airs). Plenty of people would trade a slightly thicker phone for better battery life.
Yes, the iPhone 5 is taller than the iPhone 4/4S and slimmer (18 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter), but it basically looks like an elongated iPhone 4. All that talk in 2011 about a teardrop-shaped iPhone 5 turns out to be a fantasy (at least for now). And yes, the screen's larger (4 inches diagonally), but a lot of people wanted Apple to go wider and taller -- not just taller.
Rumors continue to percolate that Apple's been testing larger screen sizes for the iPhone and will most likely offer a model with a larger screen in 2014 (I'm betting it will be a 4.7- or 4.8-inch screen -- right about the same size the Moto X's). I suspect Apple will offer iPhones in a couple of different sizes, though it may keep the smaller screen size for an existing model like the 5S or 5C and then move to the larger screen size for the iPhone 6.