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5 changes Apple needs to make in the next iPhone

The rumor mill is already grinding overtime on what Apple might have in store with the next iPhone release. We were impressed by the iPhone X, and the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus had plenty to offer people keen to save a few bucks or to stick with a familiar design.

Whether Apple will unveil a plus-sized version of the iPhone X, alongside a smaller sequel, and a more budget friendly device – as the rumors suggest – remains to be seen. A trio that hits different price points seems likely, but don’t hold your breath for the flagship to be any cheaper than the iPhone X.

Better performance, a more capable camera, and improvements to battery life are a given, just as we can be sure we won’t see the return of the headphone jack or Touch ID. But whatever does come out of Cupertino in September, there are a few things we’d like to see Apple do with the next iPhone.

Fast charging out of the box

iphone x lightning port
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

As the purveyor of some of the most expensive mobile hardware around it’s an absolute joke that Apple doesn’t include a fast charging kit out of the box. While battery life hasn’t advanced as much as we would like in recent years, the ability to charge your battery up more quickly is a well-established feature.

Fast charging is a standard across the Android market now and not just in high end devices – you can buy a Moto G6 for $250 and get a TurboPower charger in the box with it that’ll give you 6 hours of use from a 15-minute charge.

You can actually get a 50 percent charge in 30 minutes with the iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus, but you have to buy a USB-C to Lightning cable and a power brick that supports USB-C Power Delivery. If you buy them from Apple, that’s an extra $75. Shop around and you can get them a fair bit cheaper — though we would warn against buying anything that isn’t Apple certified – but you really shouldn’t have to do this.

If Apple expects us to pay $1,000 for the iPhone X, or even $700 for the iPhone 8, then it should be including a fast charger in the box. Gouging us for what is a standard feature now is unjustifiable and we’d really like to see Apple sort this out.

Adopt USB Type-C

macbook usb type c
Maurizio Pesce/Flickr

For a long time, Apple justified its proprietary ports by making them more capable than the popularly-adopted alternative standards, but now that USB-C is widespread that argument is dead. The Lightning port doesn’t do anything for the phone buying public that USB-C can’t do. If it’s good enough for a MacBook, it’s good enough for the iPhone, right?

It’s time Apple adopted the industry standard. MicroUSB is vanishing fast, and everyone is switching to USB-C. If Apple would get onboard, we could enjoy a utopic future of shared chargers where anyone can plug into any cable or charger that’s available. Families with a mix of Android devices and iPhones could cut their accessory clutter in half. You could take one cable with you to charge all your devices.

What proprietary ports allow Apple to do is include an authentication chip in Lightning cables that ensures any non-certified accessories won’t work with its devices. That means Apple can make sure the $3 cable you buy won’t charge your iPhone, but its $25 cable will.

Apple argues that this allows it to vet cable manufacturers and ensure quality. There’s no doubt that there are some terrible counterfeit products or just poorly made cheap options out there, but you know that it’s also partly because this system allows Apple to sell cables at a markup that would make the iPhone blush. And having used a lot of cables, we can say with confidence that Apple’s cables are not higher quality than cheaper alternatives that are Apple certified.

We don’t think there’s much hope that Apple will switch from Lightning port to USB-C port in the next iPhone, but what we can see happening is a move to include a USB-C to Lightning cable in the box. That would at least be a step in the right direction, but full adoption of USB-C would be much better.

Get rid of the side switch

iphone x ring silent switch
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

We know Jony Ive and his design team favor minimalism. In his own words, they’re on a mission to “get rid of anything that isn’t absolutely essential.” To that end we’ve seen the death of the standard 3.5mm audio port in all iPhones and the Touch ID home button in the iPhone X.

Does it strike anyone else as weird that the side switch to put your iPhone on silent has survived this cull? Is Apple really suggesting that it’s absolutely essential? Because every Android phone we’ve ever used (apart from some OnePlus devices) lacks this switch and we’ve never missed it.

We’re sure there are some people who use this switch every day and love it, but honestly, it’s not an elegant solution to the problem. What makes it superior to just holding the volume down button for a second?

Our preferred silent mode trigger is placing the phone face down. It works perfectly in a meeting setting, even acting as a visual demonstration that you’re not going to be distracted by your phone during the conversation. Schedule Do Not Disturb for nights, where you can set any exceptions you need to and still be sure your alarm will go off.

What’s the situation that we need a mechanical silent switch for? Just get rid of it, Apple.

Reduce the camera bump

iphone x camera bump
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

We understand that as camera technology has improved, and phones have been shaved down to be as svelte as possible, the camera module on the back inevitably protrudes. Apple’s iPhones have had increasingly large camera bumps over the last few years, but the camera bump in the iPhone X is big.

The problem is that it makes the design feel unbalanced. It’s the first thing that touches down on any surface and it causes the phone to wobble when placed on a flat table or desk. It makes the need for a protective case even clearer, but when a device feels this nice in hand, it’s annoying to have to dress it up in plastic. All the effort that went into making it so slim is lost anyway.

It’s a tradeoff that we accept, because we’d take a better camera over a slight bump in the design any day, but it would be nice if Apple could find a way to reduce or get rid of that bump. It’s an obvious compromise in something that has been designed so carefully.

Scrap the notch

iphone x notch
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Speaking of design compromises, we come to the notch. Apple had to find a way to accommodate the tech for Face ID into the front of the iPhone X, and the inelegant solution it hit upon was a notch out of the top of the screen.

Yes, you get used to it. No, it doesn’t ruin the phone. But would we rather have an iPhone that was truly full edge-to-edge screen on the front? Of course, we would.

This compromise disappointingly prompted a bunch of Android manufacturers to follow suit, even though they really didn’t have to – the fact they don’t have the same FaceID tech to fit in and they all have bottom bezels rubbishes the idea they couldn’t have done things differently.

Let’s be honest here, the best thing we can say about the notch is that it isn’t that bad. You forget about it after a few days with a notch toting phone, but that doesn’t make it good.

If Apple could fit everything in without a notch, then the iPhone wouldn’t have one. Let’s hope it can figure out a way to do exactly that in the next iPhone.

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Simon Hill
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Simon Hill is an experienced technology journalist and editor who loves all things tech. He is currently the Associate Mobile…
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