This story is part ofCNET’s collection of news, tips, and advice on Apple’s most popular products.
Lucy Edwards, a blind journalist and broadcaster based in the UK, found it difficult to maintain social distance in public during the height of the pandemic. That’s why I tried iPhone People Detectionwhich uses the . extension And the LiDAR sensor to detect the presence of others nearby.
Edwards said on the BBC video From 2020 to document her experience.
or light detection and rangefinding, is just one example of how the technology is inside It has evolved in the last 15 years. When the first iPhone was launched, on June 29, 2007, it had a 3.5-inch screen that’s small by today’s standards and a single 2-megapixel camera. Now the most advanced Apple phones come with advanced enough triple rear cameras sensors that help people like Edwards navigate the world, and .
TheIt has often acted as a catalyst for the technologies offered inside, whether it’s the digital assistant Siri, mobile payments or wireless charging, and has helped drive the evolution of the way we live our mobile lives. But in the future, everything around it might be the most important part of the iPhone. That’s according to analysts who have monitored overall mobile industry trends and Apple’s strategy.
In the short term, we will likely see additional improvements such as higher quality cameras and giant screens. But over the next decade, the iPhone could evolve into a hub for smart glasses and other devices.And the And CarPlay-enabled vehicles may be just the start. The basic elements of the iPhone, such as its display and charging systems, are also expected to get a significant boost.
“The next search for a smartphone is to see what it will connect to next,” said Runar Bjørhovde, an analyst at market research firm Canalys. “Since the smartphone hasn’t necessarily reached its potential yet, but as a standalone device I think the smartphone is getting more and more close to the edge.”
Your iPhone is the center of everything
There is a lot of speculation about the next step after the smartphone. The resounding consensus seems to be smart glasses, with companies likeAnd the And the They are all working on their own version of high-tech glasses.
Apple is no exception. Reports from Bloomberg indicate that the iPhone maker Mixed reality headset can debut This year or the next that supports augmented and virtual reality technologies. A pair of augmented reality smart glasses could arrive later this decade, according to the report.
So what does this have to do with the iPhone? Maybe everything. despite ofIt is expected to function as a standalone device, and the apps and services it runs will likely originate from the iPhone.
Think of the Apple Watch. It doesn’t need an iPhone nearby to function, but a big part of its appeal lies in its ability to sync closely with your Apple phone. Many Apple Watch notifications are also associated with accounts and apps that are set up on the iPhone.
Whether it is a smart headset, theOr AirPods or HomeKit-enabled devices, analysts expect the phone to stay in center.
“The phone will be the anchor,” said Jane Munster, managing partner of tech investment firm Loup Ventures and longtime Apple analyst.
But it’s not just about connecting with new personal technology tools. Apple is gradually turning the iPhone into a practical alternative to the wallet,In the non-digital aspects of our lives.
Apple has made a lot of progress in this area over the past year by introducing new features likeAnd the Turning iPhone into a contactless payment terminal for merchants without additional hardware. As Apple just announced which allows Apple Pay users to split the purchase into four equal installments to be paid over six weeks.
“There’s clearly a lot of momentum in financial services with Apple, and I think we’ll see more progress there,” said Nick Maynard, head of research at Juniper Research.
Better lidar, more advanced AI for better spatial awareness
Make an informed guess about Apple’s general direction ofIt is certainly easier than identifying specific changes that may be coming. But analysts have some ideas based on the seeds Apple has planted in current iPhones.
Lidar will likely continue to be important as the company delves deeper into augmented reality. Apple added a lidar on the iPhone 12 Pro in 2020 to boost the performance of AR apps, enable new camera tricks and facilitate accessibility features like the aforementioned.. The technology measures distance by determining the time it takes for light to reflect off an object and bounce back.
However, the current lidar sensors for the iPhone may not be advanced enough to bring Apple devicesMunster said the ambitions are paying off.
“What specifically has to happen is that real-world mapping needs to be more accurate,” said Munster, whose company is conducting research on topics such as augmented reality, self-driving vehicles and virtual reality. “And until that happens, augmented reality is not really going to happen.”
Lidar is improving the iPhone’s depth-sensing skills, but it’s still up to the phone’s processor to make sense of all that data. Apple has turned to artificial intelligence — one of Silicon Valley’s favorite buzzwords in recent years — to give the iPhone and other products more context around users and their surroundings.
Again, you can look at your Apple Watch to see this approach in action. Apple smart watch It uses artificial intelligence and data collected from its sensors for tasks such as tracking your sleep and noting when you wash your hands.
Hanish Bhatia, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research, provided a hypothetical example of how AI improvements will one day appear in upcoming iPhones. He envisions a future in which Apple’s smartphone can monitor a person’s habits to understand whether the primary user of the phone or a family member might be using the device.
“The way you use your phone, what angle your smartphone tilts…do you apply a certain pressure, or do you just tap it with your fingernails or something?” He said as an example. “All of these are different types of behaviors that are very unique to the user.”
The Bhatia example is speculative and does not reflect Apple’s actual plans. But with advances in artificial intelligence and technologies such as lidar andTo give the iPhone more spatial awareness, it’s easy to imagine a scenario like this.
Display and shipping technology can get a big change
Perhaps one of the biggest questions surrounding Apple’s future plans for smartphones is whether the company will create a foldable iPhone. Samsung, Apple’s biggest competitor in the mobile field, has already launched several generations of phones with flexible designs. Motorola, Huawei, Microsoft, and Google have followed suit International Data Corporation.. Foldable smartphone shipments are said to have increased by 264.3% in 2021 compared to 2020, according to
But experts like Munster and Maynard question whether Apple will take a similar approach. Although the tech giant has Fourth quarter of last year). Then there is a question For the smartphone experience.For mobile devices with flexible screens, these deposits do not always indicate Apple’s plans. Foldable phone sales are up, but shipments still pale in comparison to regular smartphones. (Research firm IDC estimates that 7.1 million foldable phones were shipped in 2021 compared to 362.4 million phones that just shipped in
Monster says there are also challenges in creating a true foldable glass screen. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip has a glass screen, but that glass is also combined with a “special material” for “consistent toughness,”.
“The missing piece from my point of view is how [Apple] Monster said.
Your iPhone charging experience is likely due to the upgrade as well. Between USB-C, Lightning, and MagSafe, it’s no exaggeration to say Apple’s charging options are complicated. Maynard thinks US Senators It could mean switching to USB-C in the future of the iPhone.And the
But there may be more dramatic changes in the pipeline. File rumorsIt’s been going around for years, and Maynard doesn’t think it’s entirely out of the question.
Citing Apple’s decision, Maynard said:.
Wireless charging has also been a focal point for Apple in recent years, further bolstering the port-free iPhone case. There are relatively new MagSafe chargers from Apple, and many CarPlay-enabled vehicles as well Wireless communication support. Apple also has Patented wireless charging systems It will be integrated directly into MacBooks, enabling Apple laptops to charge iPhones, Apple Watch and iPad. The iPad Pro Smart Connector also provides a quick and easy way to connect accessories to your Apple tablet without a port.
“The number of systems that must have 100 percent cable is dwindling,” Maynard said.
Other than that, analysts expect to see routine camera upgrades in the near term. Munster says there is room for improvement in the iPhone’s front camera, while Bhatia expects Apple to continue using the screen size andQuality to distinguish regular iPhones from Pro iPhones.
It’s impossible to know what’s next for an iPhone without Apple’s input. But experts seem certain of one thing: Apple is laying the groundwork for the future of the iPhone today. Current iPhone features, such as Apple’s lidar-powered accessibility tools aimed at helping people like Edwards, could provide an idea of what lies ahead.
“Everything we can see that they have done over the past few years is a good indication of what is coming next,” Bjørhovde said. “Because a lot of what I think they’re doing is preparing themselves for the systems they want to integrate the iPhone into in the coming years.”