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“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
Henry Ford probably never actually said that, but it’s a phrase that rings true, especially in the technology industry. We were reminded of it when we received the results of a survey from VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, which asked people what features they’d like to see in the next iPhone. Some of them we think are mad, some we think are pretty sensible. Here’s their top ten, and what we think about the chances of getting each one.
1. Stronger screen
A whopping 93% of people said they want this – and we think they’re quite right to. It’s not that the iPhone’s screen is weak at the moment, but we’d never say no to a stronger one. So good news! Corning, the company that makes the strong Gorilla Glass used in many phones, including iPhone models, announced Gorilla Glass 2 in January. Stronger than ever, and potentially thinner than ever, making the screen stand out even more.
2. USB port
86% of the survey’s respondents said they want a USB port on the next iPhone. 86%! To us, it’s madness. For a start, there are two practical considerations: USB ports are thick, and USB ports are deep. Both massively affect the design of the phone, meaning it would put limits on how thin the new iPhone could be, and taking up lots of valuable space inside that could be used to batteries. On top of that, we’re not sure why people are so desperate for it – are they all desperate to connect up external hard drives to their phones? With the likes of Dropbox and iCloud, a USB port seems like much more hassle than it’s worth to us.
3. Better camera
81% of people want an improved camera on the new iPhone, but we’re not sure we’ll see much of a change there. Partly, the ability to improve the camera is limited by the amount of space available in the phone, but partly it’s that the iPhone 4S’s camera is very good already. We might see some tweaks to the lenses and image processor, and possibly even a slightly larger sensor, but we doubt there’ll be that much of a change.
4. Bigger screen
77% want to see a bigger screen, and the current indicators suggest they’ll get their wish. It looks like the new iPhone will be taller than the 4S in portrait, but no wider.
5. Larger storage options
64% of people want more space to store their stuff on their phone, and we’re right there with them! We know a 128GB iPhone would be expensive, but with more stuff coming in from iCloud, apps and games taking up ever more storage thanks to fancy graphics, and better cameras using more space for photos and videos, many people will quickly eat up even 64GB. A 128GB option might be too expensive for many people, but there’s some who’ll jump at the chance.
6. More lightweight
62% of people want a lighter phone, and who can blame them? Like with having a stronger screen, we don’t reckon the iPhone is too heavy right now, but lighter is pretty much always better.
7. Higher-resolution Retina display
53% of people want a higher res display. Higher than 330ppi. Seriously!? Are these people holding their phones four inches from their face? It’s fine as it is.
8. Faster processor
39% said they want more power from their iPhone, and we though this would be higher in the list, to be honest. It just goes to show that a lot of people understand that phones are about more than just a spec race. The iPhone 4S is pretty damn zippy as it is, so while we will likely see a small boost in power, we don’t think we’ll see a quad-core processor or anything. Like the people who took this survey, we think Apple will be focussing on other aspects of the new iPhone.
9. Stronger structure (not inc. screen)
24% of people want their iPhone to be stronger overall, which again we thought would be higher, because the glass back of the iPhone 4/4S came in for some stick back in the day. Clearly, it doesn’t bother people too much these days, but it does look like this is one aspect of the iPhone that will improve, with a unibody-style construction touted – much like Apple uses for its laptops. It should make the iPhone stronger, but potentially thinner.
10. Different colour options
19% of people want to see the iPhone in colours other than black and white. While we don’t think that’ll happen as such (we’re pretty sure there won’t be a red iPhone or anything), the switch to unibody construction may mean some slight changes in hue.
Interestingly, a smaller dock connector turned out to be the least wanted feature, with 67% of respondents saying they actively don’t want it. So… sucks to be them, because it’s starting to look like the new iPhone will definitely have a new, smaller connector. Sorry folks.
We had a quick survey of the team here at Tap! Towers, and here’s what we want to see most in the new iPhone. Spoilers: it’s mostly about battery life – something that didn’t even crop up in the top 10 on the survey above!
Christopher Phin, Editor
Better battery life
Oh sure, I want at least 128GB, the idea of ditching my cards and paying for everything with an NFC-enabled device is beguiling, and I would love a camera with a bokeh-tastic f1.8 or wider lens, but for me, the big problem the iPhone essentially always has been that its battery essentially never lasts a day without being charged. I’ve always said that the battery isn’t bad as such; it’s just that the device is so good that you want or need to use it heavily throughout the day, and it’s that that sucks the power. A larger design to allow for a greater volume of battery, plus a more advanced chip fabrication technique should mean more stamina for the next iPhone, but it’s a constant arms race with more power-hungry apps, services and hardware.
Graham Barlow, Editor-in-Chief
A new form factor
I’m happy with most things on the iPhone 4S, but what I’d most like in the next iPhone is a new form factor. The current design looks more functional than anything else, even a tad boring, and I’d like to see what Jonathan Ive can come up with. If anybody can make a more sophisticated phone that still performs exactly as you’d expect, then it’s him.
Matthew Bolton, Deputy Editor
I would have said better battery life, but almost everyone else is, so I’ll say that I’m really looking forward to the future possibilities for NFC, so I hope future iPhones support it. If you don’t know what it is, our colleagues at TechRadar have this NFC explanation, but it’s basically a very simple way to pass small amounts of information between your phone and another device. So it can do mobile payments, but you can also use NFC to pair two devices over Bluetooth, or you can use it to share a Wi-Fi password, making it easy to set up an AirPlay speaker. There’s so much it can be used for, and you just know app developers will make the most of it!
Alex Thomas, Managing Art Editor
A new design
I think I would like to see a return to the curved back of the iPhone 3GS and original iPhone and for it to be made of brushed aluminium, like the iPad instead of glass. The 4 just feels a bit too boxy in your hand some times. I’d also like to see them do away with the home button in order to make the whole of the front one giant screen. Alternatively I’d like to see them do something genuinely new and create a completely new form factor which we haven’t yet considered!
Alan Stonebridge, Digital Production Editor
Better battery life
We’re constantly finding apps that make the iPhone useful in new ways in our daily lives. They add up to a strain on the iPhone’s battery, so I’d like to see its capacity increased, so I can use the device as much as I want without worrying that its power will be depleted before the end of the day.
Tom Harrod, Production Assistant
Better battery life
Battery for me. I hate having to carry a charger with me if I’m going out to London for the day and need to charge it on the train journey on the way back – because after a day of fun and games, it’s wheezing and running on empty. Yes, I could attach an external battery case on, but who wants the extra bulk?