The iPhone 15 features I really hope Apple delivers

With the iPhone 14Apple has provided us with many upgrades that we have been waiting for, especially on the Professional models. These features include an always-on display to show the time at a glance and better multitasking via Dynamic Island.

But I hope Apple goes further with the iPhone 15 in more ways. For example, the company could do a better job of bringing back some Pro-exclusive features to its cheaper iPhone models. Samsung often does this with its cheaper phones, and I’d like to see Apple take that approach more fully too. The dynamic island Already shows a lot of promise, but Apple could make it an even more integral part of the iPhone experience.

Apple usually announces its new iPhones in September and releases them soon after. Here’s what I hope to see from the iPhone 15 next year.


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USB-C charging

The iPhone 13, looking at its Lightning charging port

The iPhone still needs a Lightning cable to charge, but that might not be the case for long.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Lightning connector has been around for 10 years, and it’s time to change. With so many Apple products moving to USB-C, there’s never been a greater need for a single charger that powers all devices. Apple currently offers four different types of chargers on the market: Lightning (for iPhones, the 2021 iPad, AirPods, and a few other accessories), USB-C (for most new iPads and MacBooks), MagSafe (the magnetic charger wireless charger for iPhones) and MagSafe 3 (the magnetic charger for the 2022 MacBook Air, 14-inch MacBook Pro, and 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro).

Make new iPhones compatible with USB-C instead of Lightning means you can use the same cable to charge your new phone, Mac and new iPads. Chances are most of your other electronics are also using USB-C.

The good news is that a USB-C iPhone might not be far away. Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, confirmed that the company will respect the mandate of the European Union that all phones sold in the region should have a USB-C charging port. He made the comments during an interview with Wall Street Journal Tech Live conference. Apple also previously USB-C iPhones testedaccording Bloomberg.

However, Apple has not revealed any details about its plans. We don’t know if Apple will start switching to USB-C with the iPhone 15 or if it will wait until the following year as new rules require USB-C by the end of 2024. Apple n also hasn’t said whether USB-C will come to all iPhones or just European models, though analysts expect Apple to switch completely to USB-C.

Higher refresh rates on the standard iPhone 15

An iPhone 14 with a rainbow background on the screen on a blue background

The iPhone 14 Pro (pictured) has ProMotion, but the regular iPhone 14 doesn’t.

James Martin/CNET

Since last year’s iPhone 13 Pro, Apple added higher refresh rates to the screens of its high-end smartphones. The iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max have a feature called Apple ProMotion, which can boost the screen refresh rate up to 120Hz depending on of what is displayed. This results in smoother scrolling and smoother animations.

It’s a small touch, but one that makes the experience more enjoyable – as my colleague Patrick Holland wrote in his iPhone 13 Pro review. Although a high refresh rate is not a deciding factor, it has become the norm on most smartphones. $599 from Google Pixel 7 has a 90Hz refresh rate and Samsung’s $800 Galaxy S22 includes a refresh rate of 120 Hz, for example. Even the $450 Galaxy A53 5G has a 120Hz display, which makes its absence on the $799 iPhone 14 even more noticeable.

More features that use the dynamic island

Dynamic Island for iPhone 14 Pro

The dynamic island of the iPhone 14 Pro.

James Martin/CNET

The Dynamic Island, available only on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, is essentially a miniature second screen. Instead of getting rid of the notch, Apple gave this space a new purpose by using it to display information from other apps.

For example, you can see music playing, timers, and directions in Maps at the top of the screen, eliminating the need to switch between apps. Dynamic Island makes multitasking easier on the iPhone 14 Pro, an area where Apple has traditionally lagged Samsung and other Android phones that support split-screen apps.

Now that Dynamic Island has proven itself, I’d like to see Apple do even more next year. It would be interesting to see Apple use this space to make proactive suggestions, like apps that might be useful based on your activity, time of day, or schedule. Part of Dynamic Island’s usefulness also depends on what app developers decide to do with it. There are already a handful of apps that integrate Dynamic Island, such as Pixel Friendswhich basically looks like a Tamagotchi for your iPhone. But I hope to see more practical use cases for the dynamic island that make it feel like a more critical part of your phone, similar to iPhone home screen widgets.

If Apple expands the functionality of Dynamic Island in the future, you may not need the iPhone 15 to take advantage of it. Instead, Apple could pack new Dynamic Island features into its next major software update, which will likely be called iOS 17.

A smaller notch on the standard iPhone 15

iPhone 14 Plus

The iPhone 14 and 14 Plus (pictured) still have a notch.

James Martin/CNET

If Apple isn’t going to bring the Dynamic Island to the base iPhone 15, hopefully it will at least make the notch less intrusive. The notch hasn’t changed much since it debuted on the iPhone X in 2017, aside from the dynamic island on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. Meanwhile, other smartphone makers like Samsung, Google, and OnePlus have found ways to provide edge-to-edge displays on their devices without cutting out a large notch for the front camera. Reducing the notch size would likely result in more screen real estate and a more modern look for the iPhone 15.

If Apple goes in this direction, we may have to wait for the iPhone 16 to see it. Ming Chi Kuoa TF International Securities analyst known for his Apple predictions, believes that under-display Face ID and front-facing camera sensors will arrive in 2024.

That said, there are good reasons why the iPhone still has a bigger notch than most of its competitors. It mostly comes down to Face ID, which is more sophisticated than the facial recognition systems found on other phones like the Pixel 7, which Google says shouldn’t be used to authenticate sensitive data such as payment information. .

Reverse wireless charging

A Samsung phone with a Samsung smartwatch on it

Some Samsung devices have Wireless PowerShare to charge other devices.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Many Android phones have reverse wireless charging, which is exactly what it sounds like. You can use the back of phones like the Galaxy S22 and Pixel 7 to charge other devices, like a smartwatch or headphones. Although it’s probably not a must-have for most people, I can imagine it being very useful for the avid AirPods users.

No one likes being stuck on their morning commute with a pair of dead AirPods. Having the ability to get just enough juice to get through my 30-minute train ride by placing my AirPods on the back of my phone for a few minutes could be a game-changer. Yes, you will have to sacrifice some of your phone’s battery. But if you’re traveling to a destination where you can easily charge your phone once you arrive – like the office – it might be worth making that trade-off.

The return of Touch ID

The Touch ID sensor on the iPad Air from 2020

The iPad Air includes Touch ID in the power button.

Scott Stein/CNET

While Face ID is handy in many situations, there are times when using your finger to unlock your phone is simply more convenient. That’s why I hope Touch ID will come back to the iPhone. Maybe you didn’t have time to configure Face ID to work with a mask yet, or maybe you’re just not holding your iPhone at the right angle for Face ID.

Apple clearly sees the value of fingerprint recognition, given that the top button on the latest standard iPad and iPad Air features Touch ID. Doing the same for the iPhone 15 would add more convenience, giving users the choice of using Face ID or Touch ID depending on the situation. Most Android phones have both a fingerprint reader and some form of facial recognition. So it would be great if iPhone users had the same options.

It’s unclear if Apple will ever bring Touch ID back to the iPhone. While analyst Kuo previously predicted that future iPhones would get an under-display fingerprint sensor, he changed his outlook in March 2022.

The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max already correct many of the previous shortcomings of Apple’s smartphones. The updates I’m hoping to see in the iPhone 15 may not seem revolutionary, but they will make everyday tasks like charging and unlocking your phone a little easier.

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