Removing the home button

Since the very first iPhone the home button has always been an important part of the user interface. This is something that could change in the future. With the invention of new technology  like 3D touch there are new methods to communicate with the screen therefore removing the home button and creating a gesture is something that could easily happen.

The button currently acts as fingerprint scanner, but in a multiple patents owned by apple there are ways to turn the screen itself into a fingerprint scanner, this would completely remove the need for the physical button itself. This patent filed in in February 2015 shows  the scanner built into the screen itself;

iphone-7-apple-iphone-6s-home-button-3d-touch-force-touch-iphone-7-will-not-have-a-touch-id-home-button-iphone-6s-no-home-button-347138

and this patent shows how it could effect the UI;

applefingerprint

 

References;

http://www.laptopmag.com/articles/apple-patent-iphone-touch-id

http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/605357/The-Apple-iPhone-6S-is-the-first-step-towards-an-iPhone-7-without-a-Home-Button

http://www.ibtimes.com/apple-inc-remove-iphone-home-button-replace-thinner-touch-screen-reads-fingerprints-1977555

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/87449/20150924/is-apple-removing-the-home-button-on-the-iphone.htm

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Future of 3D Touch

3D Touch is a technology that apple has implemented into it’s currently generation of iPhone to add a new dimension to the user interface. It now means there are three levels of force that can be applied to the screen that will offer the user a different experience, these are a tap, gentle press and hard press. A great video explaining it is below.

There is also technology researched by Disney to complement the 3D touch that would give tactile feedback to the user based on what was on the screen. This means the device could imitate the feel of an object and bumps and can also add resistance to the screen.

Haptic Feedback is something Apple have alreadly implemented into the iPhone to allow the user to understand when they have pressed harder for the 3D touches. This is just the beggining, using 3D touch more thoroughly throughout the operating system and creating different ways of doing things using these techniques will change the way people interact with their phones forever.

References;

http://www.cultofmac.com/320144/apple-patents-hints-at-the-amazing-future-of-force-touch/

http://www.laptopmag.com/articles/apple-patent-iphone-touch-id

http://www.wired.com/2015/09/what-is-the-difference-between-apple-iphone-3d-touch-and-force-touch/

Using a phone as a key

A very interesting application of the smartphone could be to allow it to open doors using a provided the user scans it’s finger on the fingerprint scanner.

This is a great idea because it means that you could give family or friends access to your house by selecting them from your phone, it would allow you to moniter which doors are open/closed and who has been in the house and when. It would also be a great way to know if anyone is home or not.

Considering someone may possibly be able to access a house if they steal someone else’s phone, security is definitely an issue but the fingerprint reader on the iPhone would ensure no one but the user could access the house.

There have been a few  attempts at this, but none being so secure with such possibilites, you can see one example here;

This is something that is very likely to happen as Apple have alreadly begun to explore within key access using the iPhone and hotels, especially since Apple introduced a way to pay using your phone which uses NFC (Near Field Connection), this isn’t a huge step compared to what they have alreadly acheived.

spg key

References;

http://www.kwikset.com/kevo/default.aspx#.VrTZJjbJxhE

http://www.macworld.com/article/2844021/forgot-your-hotel-room-key-use-your-iphone-instead.html

 

Wireless Charging

One of the biggest problems Apple has as it strives to make an ever slimmer iPhone is the size of battery. This is one that even Apple itself has recognised by releasing what has been dubbed the ugliest product apple has ever made, the iPhone charging case.

smart-battery-case-gray

In the USA, 64% of the population have a smartphone and since iPhones are used by 42% of all smartphone users, it would be in the interest of smartphone makers to make an industry standard for wireless charging. So that any smartphone with wireless charging could be placed on any charger and it would work.

This would open the market to all sort of commercial possibilities, anywhere where you are able to sit for a long period of time could have a table with wireless charging available. This would change coffee shops, cafes, cinemas, driving, airports and public transport experiences forever. It would mean that the user could drive more sales in these places, because it is possible that the user may notice their phone low on battery so they decide to go and get a coffee while they give their phone some extra juice.

This also would relieve pressure from the phone makers, who could then continue to strive for the best design and better technology within their phone without having to put so much thought into battery drainage.

This is something that has already started to take effect, Starbucks announcing in June 2014 that between then and June 2017 it would roll out 100,000 wireless charging pads in it’s stores. But instead imagine the entire coffee table that was a charger and could charge multiple phones placed upon it. That would be, in my opinion, a gamechanger.

A wider rollout would see computer desks in offices keeping its users phone fully topped up while they work.

References:

http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/01/16/apples-iphone-now-represents-42-of-smartphones-owned-in-the-us—npd

http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/01/us-smartphone-use-in-2015/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2656164/Out-phone-battery-Head-nearest-Starbucks-Coffee-chain-begins-rolling-free-wireless-charging-tables-stores.html

http://www.cultofmac.com/391531/how-apple-could-revolutionize-wireless-charging-for-iphone/

https://www.qualcomm.com/news/spark/2013/04/19/wireless-charging-glimpse-future

Waterproofing Technology

The apple iPhone is currently water resistant but only unofficially after people on YouTube have tested it underwater, and it has lasted for longer than 5 minutes, you can see an example of this here;

To add an official sign of approval for using phones underwater by Apple would give users the confidence to take their phones under the water with them. This opens a whole new category for users, such as underwater videos and photography and also as a tool for divers and surfers alike. Something Apple have shown in their advertisements before as can be seen here;

 

Future of displays

LG have created a working prototype of a OLED display that can be rolled up ‘like a piece of paper’, this is huge for future products that will be able to have bendable displays. The device made it’s first ever appearance at CES 2016. This is a great piece of technology that could definitely have its purposes. You can see a it below in this image;

2FCB46B700000578-3384028-image-a-3_1451924348175.jpg

Electronic paper is an interactive technology that looks similar to paper, something that can be touched like a normal touchscreen, the benifits of this is that it can be as thin as paper and have an interactive screen, the downside is the fact it only displays in 16 shades of grey and white. This is not something that can be used in phones that challenge colour screens but is definitely an interesting space to watch. There is one example of a phone that uses this technology to add an additional screen to it’s back. It’s a great looking phone that you can see here;YotaPhone_Photo_4.jpg

 

References;

http://www.lgdisplay.com/eng/prcenter/newsView?articleMgtNo=4962

http://www.theverge.com/2016/1/3/10706180/lg-rollable-display-flexible-screen-announced-ces-2016

Essay Plan

In my essay I want to consider the future of the Apple iPhone, where I believe it currently fails and also stands above other devices on the market. I would like to research what the future could hold for such a device, and use the history of apple and some really interesting blue sky ideas that have been researched and developed by large tech companies to see if I can predict what the future of iPhone really holds.

I would like to title my essay “The future of iPhone” and over the next few posts you can read the research going into the essay.