Having been an iPhone user since the original iPhone was introduced in 2007, I have thought a lot about specific hardware improvements that would make the overall user experience better. It is never clear what Apple will introduce but here’s to hoping that 1 or all of these items on my wish list will appear in the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6.
1. Elongated home button that is touch sensitive and allows for multitasking app switching
Over the past couple of years, there have been some rumors about the potential of an elongated or oval home button. The idea behind this would be to have the home button be touch sensitive allowing for gestures. The best use for a touch sensitive home button that was wider would be for app switching and multitasking. Essentially, you could mimic the 4 finger app switching gesture that is available on the iPad and iPad Mini (see this post for How to activate special gestures on iPad and iPad Mini). One of the biggest frustrations I have with the current hardware setup on the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5 is app switching and multitasking. It takes a double tap of the home button and then a tap or a few swipes and then a tap to switch between apps. With an elongated touch sensitive home button, all you would need to do would be to swipe the home button to the right or to the left to switch between apps. This would save a ton of taps and improve the user experience on the iPhone overall.
2. NFC – Near Field Communication
This is a hardware feature that is readily available and has tremendous potential for its uses. I see the correct implementation of NFC in the iPhone as the possibility of near limitless potential for creative applications. NFC gives a user the ability to program what is called a “tag” and then place a NFC enabled smartphone close to the tag to perform certain functions. Many Android powered smartphones already have NFC allowing for contactless payment using Google Wallet, data transfer between devices, application launching, etc. One could even program a tag to automatically connect a device to a Wi-Fi network, unlock doors, control a user profile on a car, automatically play a user’s favorite music, link to a web page, and so on. If Apple were to include NFC in a secure and user customizable way, then I think the possibilities would snowball similarly to how the App Store developed.
3. Better battery life (even if the device is a little heavier)
One of the biggest complaints from most iPhone users is the battery life. The battery on my iPhone 4S rarely makes it through the day with heavy usage. The solution to this is quite simple. The trend for smartphones is to continue to make them thinner and lighter which are good things. However, I would gladly put up with additional weight on the iPhone if it meant that I could get battery life – preferably similar to that of the iPad. Apple is an innovative company so the chances are that they will be able to design a phone that is still lighter and has better battery life – that would be the best of both worlds. Many people already opt for a slightly heavier device when they add a battery case to their iPhone to extend the batter life of the device. If you are frustrated with the battery life on your iOS device, consider purchasing one of these battery iPhone cases that give up to 80% additional battery life:
- iPhone 4 and 4S – New Trent Case with Extended Rechargeable Battery Juice Case 2100mAh for iPhone 4 and 4S
- iPhone 5 – Mophie Juice Pack Helium Battery Pack Case for iPhone 5
4. Better camera with manual focus and increased clarity in low light
I use my iPhone 4S as my main camera. It is always with me and it takes excellent pictures. However, there are a few things that I hope get improved in the next iPhone. The iPhone 5 already has an improved camera that yields better low light photos. I hope this improvement trend continues in the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6. One of the other features that would be incredibly useful on the iPhone camera would be a manual focus option. This falls more into the software wish list than into the hardware wish list. I would envision a tap to focus like is currently available on the iPhone camera that then reveals a slider on the left of the screen that allows for the option to manually focus on the subject of the photo. There are often times where the object I’m trying to focus on is too small for the iPhone to detect when I use tap to focus (check out this post for more on the Tap to Focus feature).
So, these are the items on my wish list for the new iPhone whenever it is released. What additional hardware upgrades would you like to see? Let us all know in the comments.