What do iPhone owners want in Apple’s next smartphone? Thanks to a recent survey of owners looking to upgrade to the iPhone 13 in September, we know what the faithful are hoping for. But will they get their top three features on their wishlist?
First up is the always on display; keeping relevant information on the screen so an owner can get a picture of their digital world with just a glance. This can be MacGyvered by sensing when a phone has been moved and pushing the information to the screen, but it still requires movement.
I’m not sure why Apple has been reticent to add this significant quality of life feature, but the suspicion is that the power requirements on previous generations of hardware – hardware that features relatively small batteries – had too much of a negative impact.
It looks like Apple has addressed the issues, so those upgrading can expect to see this in-demand feature.
Then there is the return of TouchID to the flagship iPhones. You can still find the fingerprint based biometric in other Apple products such as the second generation iPhone SE and various iPads. With more iPhone owners sensibly using masks while out and about, FaceID has been facing up to some unexpected challenges, and a move back to fingerprints is high up the list.
Unfortunately this is going to lead to disappointment, with the latest indications from the supply chain suggesting that, although previously expected, TouchID will not be featuring in the iPhone 13 family.
Finally, the most requested feature is the higher refresh rate on the display. Apple has already fitted this feature to the iPad Pro, which offers a smoother scrolling experience. Apple is expected to use an LTPO display, which not only allows the faster frame rate, but a variable frame rate. That should allow throttling of the refresh to a much slower speed. This trick helps extend battery life when the screen is on, something important with the aforementioned always on display… although only the iPhone 13 Pro models will pick up the faster screens.
There’s also something else to note. All of the top features that iPhone owners are hoping to see in Apple’s upcoming smartphone… are already prevalent and in regular use on Android. You have faster refreshing screens popping up regularly in the mid-range handsets;
as for always on displays you can go all the way back to 2009 and Nokia’s introduction of the technology on the Symbian OS powered N86, as well as it being a standard feature on most of Nokia’s Windows Phone handsets.
Put simply, Apple is finally catching up with the competition. The best iPhone that Apple has ever made, the iPhone that current iPhone owners want to buy, feels a bit like a mid-range Android phone.