- Apple is expected to unveil its iPhone 12 lineup in October.
- The phones will reportedly come with 5G support, a new design, and a faster processor, among other changes.
- But I'd also like to see practical features like an always-on display and a fingerprint sensor — features that are available on competing Android devices.
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As it does every fall, Apple is expected to reveal additions to its iPhone lineup in the coming weeks.
The tech giant typically unveils its smartphones in September, but this year the company said it expected supply of its next-generation iPhones to become available a few weeks later than last year. As a result, Apple is likely to unveil its iPhone 12 lineup in October, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.
The iPhone is expected to get an overhaul in more ways than one. Apple is reportedly planning to introduce 5G connectivity, an updated design, new screen sizes, and the speedier A14 Bionic chip that powers the latest iPad Air.
But there are a few features we'd like to see on the next iPhone that would make everyday tasks like unlocking your phone or checking the time more convenient. Such features are already available on competing Android devices made by Samsung and others.
Here are three features we want to see on the next iPhone.
An always-on display that can show the time and notifications even when the screen is off.
Wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to press a button, tap your iPhone's screen, or lift it up just to check the time? That's the convenience that always-on displays have brought to Android phones in recent years, and it's about time the iPhone got this upgrade as well.
An always-on display is exactly what it sounds like: Instead of going black when it becomes idle, your smartphone's screen would show some basic information like the time, icons for unchecked notifications, and your phone's battery level. Phones from Samsung and Google among others offer this feature.
I've found it useful for times when I just want to quickly see the time or which app my most recent notification came from without the temptation to plunge down the rabbit hole of checking email, Facebook, and other apps.
Apple brought always-on-display functionality to its watch last year with the Apple Watch Series 5. The new Series 6 also supports this feature, but the cheaper Apple Watch SE does not.
There's been no indication that Apple plans to bring this feature to the iPhone, but reports have suggested that all of Apple's iPhone 12 models will have OLED displays. Currently, only the pricier iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max have OLED displays, while the iPhone 11 has an LCD panel.
The return of Touch ID, which would make it much easier to unlock your iPhone quickly while wearing a mask.
I've never typed in my iPhone's passcode more frequently than I have over the past several months as face coverings have become a normal part of my wardrobe. I'm sure anyone with an iPhone supporting Face ID would agree.
Apple addressed this with a software update earlier this year that bypasses your iPhone's attempts to recognize you while wearing a mask, allowing you to type in your passcode right away. But after years of unlocking our phones by simply glancing at them or pressing a button, typing in a passcode still feels cumbersome.
That's why I'm hoping Apple will soon bring Touch ID back to the iPhone. Bloomberg reported in 2019 that Apple had been testing an in-screen fingerprint sensor that could debut in the 2020 iPhone, though Bloomberg noted that the tech could be pushed back to 2021. The Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis also wrote last year that Apple could be developing a full-screen version of Touch ID for the iPhone, as MacRumors reported.
But even if that in-screen technology isn't ready for the iPhone 12, I'm hoping that Apple's next iPhone will at least get the fingerprint scanner in the top button that's present on the new iPad Air.
A screen with a higher refresh rate for smoother scrolling.
The iPhone has gotten many performance improvements over the years, but it would be great to see its screen get a speed boost too.
Competing Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S20 and the OnePlus 8 Pro have displays that can crank their refresh rates up to 120Hz, doubling the rate considered normal for most smartphones.
What that means for the user is a screen that feels faster, more responsive, and more fluid. When I used the Galaxy S20 Ultra's 120Hz screen, for example, I barely had to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to launch the app drawer; the screen just responded instantly.
Apple already offers a similar feature on the iPad Pro called ProMotion, and the YouTube channel Everything Apple Pro reported that it may come to Apple's high-end iPhone 12 Pro this year as well.
Features we're expecting to see in the iPhone 12:
Apple hasn't made any mention of what to expect from its next iPhone. But reports from Bloomberg, the TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, and others have provided a glimpse of what to expect.
The iPhone 12 will reportedly be available in four variants, all of which will support 5G connectivity and come with OLED screens for better contrast and deeper black tones. The biggest of Apple's new iPhones is expected to get the same lidar sensor for better performance in augmented-reality apps as the newest iPad Pro.
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