- Apple is expected to release three new iPhones next month, as it has done in years past.
- While the biggest update is expected to involve a new triple-lens camera, there are many other features we'd like to see in future iPhones.
- Such features include a better low-light camera, fast charging by default, and a fingerprint sensor, among others.
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Every September, Apple fans around the world prepare to wait in line to be among the first to get their hands on the company's latest iPhone. And each year, details about Apple's forthcoming smartphone leak online months ahead of its unveiling.
If the reports and rumors that have surfaced so far turn out to be true, the biggest update to this year's iPhone will be a new triple-lens camera. That third lens will presumably be for capturing photos with a wider field of view than the current iPhone's standard camera, much like the ultra wide camera on the Galaxy S10. And of course, as is typically the case with each new iPhone, the 2019 model will likely have a faster processor as well.
While an improved camera is certainly appreciated, there are several other features we're hoping to see on either this year's iPhone or the 2020 iPhone. Here's a look at some of those capabilities, some of which are already rumored to be in the works.
A Lightning to USB-C charger in the box
When you purchase an iPhone, it comes with a charger that consists of a Lightning to USB cable. The problem, however, is that many modern laptops — including Apple's own MacBook Pros — no longer use these dated USB ports and instead include USB-C.
That means unless you purchase a USB-C to Lightning cable from Apple for $19, you won't be able to plug your iPhone into your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro to charge it or transfer data using a wired connection. Unless, of course, you have an older MacBook model that includes the previous version of the USB port.
A fingerprint sensor
While Face ID certainly has its benefits, there are a few reasons why you might find yourself wishing your iPhone XS still had Touch ID. Maybe it doesn't always unlock as quickly as you want it to when you reach for your phone in the middle of the night. Perhaps it doesn't recognize you when you're wearing sunglasses. (Such instances may be fixable by tweaking the setting that requires your attention for Face ID to work.)
Or maybe, like me, you're just tired of having to pick up your iPhone and hold it up to your face whenever you want to unlock it. This was a key advantage that came with the Touch ID home button found on Apple's older smartphones. If you wanted to check your phone without picking it up, you could simply rest your finger on the button and take a quick glance.
Now that edge-to-edge screens have become so popular on smartphones, many companies have removed the home button to make space for that larger screen. But gadget makers like Samsung have chosen to embed a fingerprint sensor directly into the screen instead. Apple could take a similar approach with the iPhone in 2021, according to TF International Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst with a reputation for making accurate predictions about future Apple products. According to Kuo, Apple's 2021 iPhones will have both Face ID and Touch ID, as he said in a recent note obtained by 9to5Mac.
OLED displays on all new iPhone models, even the less expensive XR
The iPhone X that Apple launched in 2017 represented the company's first iPhone to come with an OLED screen rather than an LCD display.
OLED, which is short for organic light emitting diode, is a type of display technology in which the pixels produce their own light rather than relying on a backlight like LCD screens. In general, OLED displays are capable of producing deeper blacks and better contrast than LCD screens.
Apple's iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max both have OLED screens, while the less expensive iPhone XR has an LCD screen. While the iPhone XR's screen remains sharp and colorful, images and video set against black backgrounds look slightly more realistic on the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max since its screen can display darker black tones.
It's possible that all three of the new iPhones Apple releases in 2020 — including the successor to the iPhone XR — will have an OLED screen, according to an older note from Kuo reported by 9to5Mac.
Fast charging by default
Many smartphones offer fast charging by default, but to experience quicker charging speeds on the iPhone you have to purchase Apple's $29 18-watt charger separately. On phones like the iPhone XS and iPhone XR, you can replenish up to 50% of your smartphone's battery in just 30 minutes with this 18-watt charger, according to Apple. Phones like the Samsung Galaxy S10 and OnePlus 7 Pro come with fast charging by default.
A better low-light camera
The iPhone's camera is certainly capable of taking crisp, detailed shots in a variety of circumstances. But when it comes to low-light photography, Google's Pixel 3 still outperforms the iPhone thanks to its Night Sight mode. Take a look at the sample photos I took with the Pixel 3a and iPhone XS Max here, which show how the two cameras differ when shooting in a dim environment.