The iPhone 14 models may still smell like the new phone, but that won’t stop us from thinking about what Apple can improve when the iPhone 15 appears this time next year.
While this may sound early to some, there’s no time like the present to start thinking about the changes Apple could make with future smartphones. We’ve just reviewed three of the four models — the iPhone 14 Plus won’t ship until October 7 — so we’ve got a good idea where the latest iPhones are booming and where they’re faltering. The good news is that Apple’s latest phones are not lacking in many areas. But that doesn’t mean there is no room for improvement.
Moreover, even if you’re not ready to think about the iPhone 15, Apple is definitely thinking carefully about what to do with next year’s devices. And when the company considers possible improvements, we hope the following will be at the top of the list to make the best iPhones even better.
A dynamic island on every iPhone
The winning addition to this year’s iPhone update is clearly the arrival of Dynamic Island, Apple’s alternative to the notch on the front of its phones. Dynamic Island does away with the notch in favor of a single cut-out for the front camera and Face ID sensors, but it does so much more than that. Information about your phone—timers status, album art for everything playing in the Music app, incoming call status, and more—also appears in Dynamic Island. When live activities appear with the iOS 16 update in the future, it will be possible to access them from Dynamic Island as well.
But that’s only on iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. The standard iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus still have the notch, which is a shame. Realizing that Apple wants to distinguish more clearly between Pro phones and their less expensive models, Dynamic Island seems like a feature everyone has.
To that end, we have some potential good news. Display analyst Ross Young thinks Dynamic Island will be a global feature as of the iPhone 15. We’re waiting a long time to see if those predictions go away, but it’s definitely at the top of our list of iPhone 15 improvements.
Here’s an iPhone 15 order we could have made over the past few years of iPhone updates. While Android phones add support for faster charging than ever before, the iPhone continues to play with wired charging speeds of 20W. Yes, if you use a 30W charger from Apple, you may be able to enjoy some slightly better charging times. But for the most part, it will take 30 minutes to get a drained iPhone to 50% charge, and that won’t change anytime soon.
However, hopefully that will happen by this time next year. Adopting 30W charging appears to be the least Apple could do, considering that the Galaxy S22 supports 25W charging and other phones in Samsung’s flagship lineup go up to 45W. We wouldn’t even dream about comparing iPhone charging speeds to those of OnePlus’ flagships, as the OnePlus 10 Pro can come close to fully charging in the same 30 minutes that the iPhone 14 moves past the halfway mark.
Improved battery life for some iPhones
While we’re talking about batteries, let’s talk about battery life, which seems to be a fallback on some models. iPhone 14 Pro Max, you’re excused from this discussion, since a 13.5 hour score on our battery test puts you second on our list of the best phone battery life.
No, the battery life issue on the iPhone 14 appears to be centered on the 6.1-inch models. The iPhone 14 Pro still scores better than the average smartphone, but its 10 hours and 13 minutes time was about two hours worse than the iPhone 13 Pro. The 7 hours and 41 minutes we recorded with the iPhone 14 were well below average.
We’re still trying to figure out what’s going on here, but if this isn’t something that improves with a later software fix, it’s something Apple should address in the iPhone 15. Apple has introductions here, as all iPhone 13 models have posted a significant improvement in battery life after a disappointment. Three of the four iPhone 13 versions. We hope history will repeat itself.
Better telephoto lens
Let’s be clear about this – the iPhone 14 Pro Max is currently the best camera phone you can buy, and the iPhone 14 Pro is not far behind. But despite how good Apple’s new phones are at taking pictures, there are still areas where their competitors have an advantage. This is especially evident when comparing the telephoto lens on the latest iPhone Pro models with what the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra can do.
iPhone 13 Pro models support 3x optical zoom and can continue to zoom in up to 15x. But at this level of detail, the S22 Ultra’s telephoto camera captures a much more detailed photo, as you can see in the sample shot above. And if you like, you can keep zooming in with your Samsung phone until it reaches 100x (although we recommend having a tripod on hand to prevent shot shake).
Sure, Apple can give us more with a telephoto lens. And that might well be, if rumors of a periscope-style lens coming to the iPhone 15 Pro prove accurate. We certainly hope this is true, as it could make the iPhone 15 Pro the greatest camera phone ever.
We don’t expect Apple to add a telephoto lens to the standard iPhone, given Apple’s preference for packing premium features into the Pro phone. But there is one pro-level ability we hope to see seep into the iPhone 15…
Displays refresh dynamically on standard iPhones
…and that would be a dynamic refreshing show. iPhone 14 Pro models are able to set their refresh rate between 1Hz and 120Hz. A higher rate can make scrolling smoother while a lower rate can preserve battery life when on-screen activity is more consistent. This kind of adjustable refresh rate also supports features like the always-on display that iPhone 14 Pro models now offer.
Meanwhile, iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus remain stuck at 60Hz. That’s slower even than budget phones, which have seen their refresh rates get a boost in the past year or so.
That’s enough – it’s time Apple allowed the display of its standard iPhone to reflect frantic on-screen activity like scrolling, gaming, and the like. Even if Apple doesn’t go all the way to 120Hz with the iPhone 15 display, it should at least offer a 90Hz panel, which would match the Pixel 6’s faster refresh rate.
At long last, USB-C
Hopefully this will be the last year we have to include it in our wish list. And it could be, if the European Union’s mandate that all phones need to support USB-C by the fall of 2024 plays any role in Apple’s decisions. However, it’s time for the iPhone’s Lightning port to make room for the USB-C port.
Adding USB-C to the iPhone 15 will make charging the phone less difficult — USB-C chargers are more prevalent compared to Apple’s proprietary charging standard. This switch can also lead to the faster charging speeds we talked about above while also improving data transfer from your iPhone to connected devices.
Apple has already brought USB-C to some of its iPad models, so it’s not as if Apple can’t make the move. And if the European Union had its way, Apple would have to do it anyway, why not sink the iPhone 15.
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