Lucy Edwards, a blind journalist and broadcaster living in the UK, had difficulty maintaining social distance during the pandemic. That’s why he tested the iPhone’s human detection feature iPhone 12 Pro and 13 Pro lidar sensor to detect that others are nearby.
“I have to get used to it, but I’m very excited to be able to manage it again,” Edwards said in a video documenting his experience on the BBC in 2020.
Lidaror the detection and range of light is just one example of how technology works inside iPhone developed in the last 15 years. When the first iPhone went on sale on June 29, 2007, it had a 3.5-inch screen that would be considered small by today’s standards and a single 2-megapixel camera. Now, Apple’s most sophisticated phones are equipped with a fairly advanced triple rear camera shoot moviesSensors that help people navigate the world like Edwards and powerful chips with billions of transistors.
The iPhone Siri, a digital assistant, has acted as a catalyst for in-house technologies such as mobile payments or wireless charging, helping to drive the evolution of how we live our mobile lives. But in the future, the most important part of the iPhone may be everything around it. This is according to analysts who observe the general trends of the mobile industry and Apple’s strategy.
In the short term, we will see increasing improvements such as higher quality cameras and giant displays. But in the next decade, the iPhone could become a hub for smart glasses and other devices. AirPods, Apple watches and cars with the CarPlay function can only be a start. The key elements of the iPhone, including its display and charging systems, are expected to receive a significant boost.
“The next search for a smartphone is to figure out what’s next,” said Runar Bjørhovde, an analyst at market research firm Canalys. “Because the smartphone has not yet reached its full potential, but as an independent device, I think the smartphone is getting closer.”
Your iPhone is at the center of everything
There are many assumptions about what will happen after the smartphone. Sounds like consensus, like companies with smart glasses Meta, Snap and Google all are working on their own version of high-tech glasses.
Apple is no exception; According to Bloomberg, the iPhone maker may debut mixed reality headphones this year or next year that support added virtual reality technologies. According to the report, a pair of smart glasses powered by AR technology may arrive at the end of this decade.
What has this got to do with the iPhone? Probably everything. Though Apple headset It is expected to operate as a standalone device, and the applications and services it runs are likely to come from the iPhone.
Think Apple Watch. It doesn’t need a nearby iPhone to work, but much of its appeal lies in its ability to sync closely with Apple’s phone. Most Apple Watch notifications are also associated with accounts and apps installed on the iPhone.
Whether it’s a smart headset Apple WatchDevices that support AirPods or HomeKit, analysts expect the phone to stay in the center.
“The phone will be an anchor,” said Gene Munster, a managing partner of technology investment firm Loup Ventures and longtime Apple analyst.
But it’s not just about connecting to new personal technology. Apple is gradually replacing the iPhone with a wallet. weaves it even tighter to the non-digital aspects of our lives.
Introducing new features like Apple has made a lot of progress in this area over the past year Digital IDs for Apple Wallet and Tap to pay, it turns the iPhone into a contactless payment terminal for merchants without additional equipment. Apple also announced a new Then Apple PayThis allows Apple Pay users to split a purchase into four equal installments over a six-week period.
Nick Maynard, research director at Juniper Research, said: “Obviously there is a lot of acceleration in financial services with Apple, and I think we’ll see more progress there.”
Better lidar for better spatial awareness, more advanced artificial intelligence
Make informed guesses about Apple’s overall direction iPhone it is easier to identify specific changes that may occur in the future. But analysts have some ideas based on the seeds that Apple has planted in current iPhones.
The leader is likely to continue to be important as the company pushes deeper into the augmented reality. To improve the performance of AR applications, launch new camera tricks, and facilitate accessibility features like the ones mentioned above, Apple added lidar to the iPhone 12 Pro in 2020. Detection of people. The technology measures the distance by determining how long it takes for light to reflect from the object and bounce back.
However, the iPhone’s current lidar sensors may not be sophisticated enough to bring Apple augmented reality ambitions to pass out, Munster said.
“Especially what needs to happen is that the map of the real world is more accurate,” he said. “And until that happens, AR won’t really happen.”
The lidar improves the iPhone’s ability to sense depth, but the interpretation of all this information still depends on the phone’s processor. Apple has turned to artificial intelligence, one of Silicon Valley’s favorite words in recent years, to give iPhone and other products more context about users and their surroundings.
You can look at the Apple Watch to see this approach again. Apple’s smartwatch uses data collected from artificial intelligence and sensors for tasks such as tracking your sleep and washing your hands.
Hanish Bhatia, chief analyst at Counterpoint Research, provided a hypothetical example of how AI improvements could one day show up on future iPhones. It envisions a future in which a person can observe a person’s habits to see if an Apple smartphone is being used by a key user of the phone or a family member.
“How do you use your phone, at what angle does your smartphone bend … Do you press with a special pressure, or do you just hit it with your nails or something like that?” said as an example. “All of these are different types of behavior that are very unique to the user.”
Bhatia’s example is speculative and does not reflect Apple’s real plans. But with advances in technology like AI and lidar and so on ultra broadband It’s easy to imagine such a scenario, giving the iPhone more spatial awareness.
Screens and filling technology can make a big difference
Perhaps one of the biggest questions about Apple’s future smartphone plans is whether the company will ever create a foldable iPhone. Samsung, Apple’s biggest rival in the mobile space, has already introduced several generations of phones with a flexible design. Motorola, Huawei and Microsoft have all followed suit, as has Google There are rumors that he is working on a bent Pixel. According to the International Data Corporation, the supply of folding smartphones in 2021 increased by 264.3% compared to 2020.
However, experts such as Munster and Maynard are skeptical about whether Apple will take a similar approach. Although there is a technology giant given patents For mobile devices with flexible displays, these documents do not always show Apple’s plans. Sales of foldable phones are on the rise, but supplies are still weak compared to conventional smartphones. (Research firm IDC estimates that 7.1 million folding phones were shipped in 2021, compared to 362.4 million shipped in the fourth quarter of last year). And then there’s the question folding devices really bring something new or meaningful smartphone experience.
Munster says there are also difficulties in creating a real folding glass screen. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip has a glass screen, but this glass is also combined with a “special material” to “achieve consistent rigidity.” CNET reported in 2020.
“It simply came to our notice then [Apple] would really do that, “Munster said.
The iPhone’s charging experience is probably due to improvements. It’s no exaggeration to say that Apple’s charging options between USB-C, Lightning and MagSafe are complicated. Maynard believes EU pressure and U.S. senators may say the transition to USB-C could be the iPhone’s future.
However, more dramatic changes could take place in the pipeline. Rumors about it completely without port iPhone has been spinning for years, and Maynard doesn’t think it’s entirely possible.
“I suspect that if any retailer launches a fully portless system, then it will probably be Apple,” Maynard said, referring to Apple’s decision to remove the iPhone’s headphone jack in 2016.
Wireless charging has also been in the spotlight for Apple in recent years, making it even more supportive of work without a portable iPhone. Apple has relatively new MagSafe chargers, and many CarPlay-enabled cars also support wireless connections. Apple has also patented wireless charging systems that can be installed directly on MacBooks, allowing Apple laptops to charge iPhones, Apple Watches and iPads. The iPad Pro’s Smart Connector also provides a quick and easy way to connect accessories to your Apple tablet without a port.
“In fact, the number of systems with 100% cable is declining,” Maynard said.
Otherwise, analysts expect regular updates to the camera in the near future. Munster says the iPhone’s front camera has room for improvement, and Bhatia expects Apple to continue to use the screen size and size. camera quality to distinguish ordinary iPhones from Pro iPhones.
It is impossible to know what will happen next for the iPhone without Apple’s input. However, experts are convinced of one thing: today Apple is laying the foundation for the future of the iPhone. Today’s iPhone features, such as Apple’s lidar-powered accessibility tools designed to help people like Edwards, may give a clue as to what lies ahead.
“Everything they’ve seen over the last few years is a good sign for the future,” Bjørhovde said. “Because I think a lot of what they’re doing is setting themselves up for the systems they want to integrate the iPhone into in the coming years.”