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What I'd like to see in the iPhone 5

There are predictions, mock-ups, and rumors galore...but this is what the next iPhone could use most.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
3 min read


I've owned an iPhone every year since its 2007 debut. Every one. The reward for such reckless upgrading has been a sense of the iPhone's evolution over those years. What started as a device that had not many apps to speak of, but dripped futurism, has become an always-on, location-aware, frighteningly integral part of my nervous system.

While I've listed what we expect out of the next iPhone, I haven't told you what I want. So, here's my own personal list of what matters most...to me.

Battery life. Honestly, I can't stress this enough. The iPhone's become my all-in-one catch-all device, the one thing other than my keys and wallet that I need to take with me. It's a mission-critical device. I need that device to last at least a full day. The iPhone 4 was very good in this regard; the iPhone 4S, while faster and better in many important ways, needs a top-off around British teatime if I'm spending the night out and have been power-using my phone all day. Battery pack cases and portable charge packs aside, I really want the iPhone 5 (or "New iPhone," or whatever it's called) to meet or exceed the iPhone 4S in battery life. Based on its allegedly larger size, I think it can -- but maybe the larger screen will make it a wash.


Smoother Siri. I appreciate the idea behind Siri, and the iPhone is better for Siri existing than not. Still, I hardly use it. The occasional errors and odd miscommunications Siri and I have when chatting are usually enough to drive me to old-fashioned typing...which over five years I've become very adept at. However, I'm a city-dweller. I understand that hands-free use for drivers and others could be a big part of the next iOS 6 update, and I might own a car soon enough as I prepare to leave the city. I'm willing to give Siri a second chance.

Complete cloud support. I use iCloud quite a bit: for Photo Streaming to my MacBook Air, iTunes Match to eliminate old-fashioned music syncing, and overnight backups (I restored my iPad from scratch via iCloud). iCloud is only halfway there. I want a complete, unchained iPhone life from my Mac. I'd like my HD videos and photos to be synced and even stored and archived in a secondary cloud location, automatically. I'd love better cloud syncing of stored app data and documents. This won't replace a local backup, but it sure will help.

A slightly bigger screen. I don't want a big, honking screen. That's what my iPad is for. I like a pocketable phone. My jeans pockets already bulge enough. Then again, the amount of screen space on the iPhone feels stale. The iPhone has tons of unused space around the screen, and the screen itself has maintained the exact same dimensions as the original 2007 model. I just want the screen to take up as much of that body size as possible.

4G...only if it doesn't chew up battery life or cost me an arm and a leg. See my above comments on battery life. I'm honestly okay with my "4G" HSDPA data on my AT&T iPhone 4S in New York, and I use Wi-Fi hot spots so frequently that I'm not sure I'd crave 4G LTE. I understand the use of 4G in an iPad for a frequent traveler. Sure, 4G on a phone would be a pleasant experience and make for zippier app use. I just don't want to pay a ton for it, and I certainly don't want my iPhone's battery life to dip down because of it. The third-gen iPad's excellent battery life on 4G is promising.

A tad less glass. The iPhone 4 and 4S are beautiful, but they make me feel like I need a case on all the time. The new iPhone looks like it's bringing back the metal, and I don't mind that one bit. Maybe it'll even encourage me to go caseless once in a while -- you know, live dangerously.

Come Wednesday, we'll found out what the iPhone holds.

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