1. Apple Pencil
It’s perennial at this point and is going to stay top-of-list until Apple takes it out of the labs and puts it into my geeky little hands.
We’ve seen rumors of Apple Pencil support coming to the iPhone for years. And by rumors, I mean financial analyst fanfic for investor notes. But, while it’s always coming it’s never quite arriving.
I’d all caps love it, especially a smaller version to better fit with the smaller device. Especially now that PencilKit is a thing — Apple’s new framework for easy Pencil integration for apps. And especially with iPadOS here to provide more and growing differentiation between the phone and the tablet.
But I’m only going to expect it when I see it.
The iPhone XR brought some Apple-chromatic flare back to the lineup last year. But, for the XS, you could only yet them in white, gray, or the gold that the X-line skipped the year before.
But I’ve long had lust in my heart not just for the colors Samsung and Huawei are fielding, but the metallic gradients they’re fielding them in.
Sure, they’re trendy more than timeless, and maybe in a few years that Aura will look like the equivalent of bell-bottoms and a hang-glider collar. But I’m so down with phone as fashion and if that means I have to hide my out-of-fashion shame in a case come 2020 or 2021, I’m so down with that as well.
Again, I don’t expect it, but if they offered the next iPhone in Apple Card gradient, I’d jump on it.
3. Video bokeh
I use my iPhone for most of my b-roll. It’s just so much easier to carry around, to move around, it’s got great battery life, and I don’t have to fuss with SD cards, especially when I’m at events.
But I really miss depth of field. Having everything in focus means nothing is really in focus.
Better glass helps. The iPhone XS telephoto camera can get really nice real-world bokeh if you compose the shots just right but that’s impossible to sustain for most video shots.
So, doing computational depth effect, much like they’ve been doing with stills since the 2016 iPhone 7 is the answer.
Apple’s segmentation masking is getting better. They’re still no Google when it comes to algorithms but they still have the best silicon in any phone and one of if not the best video cameras in a phone.
So, I’m computationally optimistic we’ll see it sooner rather than later. And that, you know, it’ll actually work well enough to be usable.
4. Time of Flight
We’ve already had all sorts of rumors about a Time of Flight sensor coming, if not to the iPhone 11 than the iPhone 12. But, like I said earlier this week, Apple’s version needs to have more compelling use cases than what we’re seeing so far.
Again, ship feature sets, not just chipsets. But I want that rear augmented reality camera bad.
5. Super Fast Charging
Look, I get it, nothing is free. The faster you charge, the hotter the battery gets, and that’s bad for its long term health. But, just because something can charge super fast doesn’t mean it has to all the time.
I have no problem with the faster chargers being optional extras for those who know they really want them. But use some AI — hell, give me a turbo button if you need to — to let me charge safe and slow overnight or on long trips or at my desk, but hot and fast when I only have a few deca-minutes to top up before running out again.
And keep making that battery case smarter and better as well.
I mean, of course of course. I’m super sympathetic to everyone out there with a ton of lightning cables and adapters who are still salty over switching from the 30-pin dock just 7 short years ago and if you make us switch again we’ll freaking cut you…
But it’s time. Like I said in my Lightning explainer video a couple of weeks ago, iPhone X would have been ideal, and this year doesn’t seem to be in the cards, but if not now then next.
We’re not ready to go full-on portless yet. Everything from charging to data transfer but most especially recovery just isn’t there yet.
So, unless Apple is waiting on some big miniUSB-C announcement from the consortium, it really is time for that one port to rule them all.
Just kidding! Kinda…? Not totally? DeX does seem like an overly complicated and non-cohesive way to replicate the Continuity features Apple’s been rolling out between iOS and the Mac for the last 5 years.
And it’s tough to see Apple offering a Windows utility that replicates any of that stuff, from AirDrop to Call and Message Relay, to iCloud Keychain and Clipboard.
But, once you get USB-C, going the other way with things like external displays, again, features the iPad already supports, would let you make the most out of your iPhone if that’s the only device you have with you.
Especially as Catalyst, or UIKit on Mac, makes desktop versions of iOS apps a reality.
8. Satya Nadella
Microsoft’s CEO was by far — by far — the best and most compelling presenter on the Samsung stage yesterday. But they didn’t give him anything to present.
I’d love to see him up on an Apple event stage. Not introducing Office for Catalyst — they already have full desktop versions for that. But introducing a privacy-focused set of internet tools for people who love the iPhone but want and need an option very much other than Google, Gmail, and GSuite.
9. ARM Books
Ok. Sure. Fine. This has nothing to do with phones but still everything to do with what I want to see next.
Samsung announced the Galaxy Book S, a new 13-inch laptop that has absolutely zero intel inside. Instead, it has the ARM-based Qualcomm 8cx. It has LTE built-in, and it gets like 23 hours of battery life.
And it made everyone who prefers macOS to Windows and has had their heart set on a MacBook running something akin to an A12X, just turn around and ask Apple — are we there yet.
Yeah, just a little more.
10. Updated OLED
Apple’s display team has already been taking the best OLED Samsung’s process has to offer, and then doing all their own mitigations, maskings, color science, and more. So this is the closest to a gimme we’re going to get.
At least unless and until LG proves good enough to dual source… or Apple’s own microLED supersedes it all.
So, Pencil, Colors, video bokeh, Time of Flight, superfast charging, Microsoft, updated OLED, and throw in a MacBook ARM and I’m happy.
But I’d love to know what you want to see.