2020 marks 14 years since Apple launched the first iPhone and fundamentally shifted how the world uses smartphones. Since then smartphones have evolved to all purpose supercomputers we can carry in a pocket. If Apple’s vision and direction are any indications, the ‘phone’ part of ‘smartphone’ is almost beside the point when considering whether you should buy one of their handsets.
After Apple failed to announce new handsets at the September event traditionally reserved for their unveiling (perhaps owing to manufacturing delays due to COVID-19), we’ve taken all the rumours and announcements regarding upcoming new iPhone models and collected them into a quick summary of the most exciting things we can look forward to from the world’s third-largest smartphone manufacturer.
The Software: iOS 14
In June, Apple announced the latest version of its iPhone operating system at WWDC. iOS 14 has subsequently been released and incorporates a few surprising, but welcome, changes:
Is a phone still a phone?
A relatively small, but critical change for iOS 14 is a new user interface when making calls or interact with Siri: these actions no longer take over the entire screen. This speaks to perhaps a bigger shift with the iPhone – that’s it’s not really about making phone calls anymore, and more about having a small, flexible computer that you carry around with you.
One word: widgets
For the first time ever, iOS will support widgets. Widgets are small tools and information displays that allow you to quickly glean key information without having to dive into an app. Android phones have offered widgets for years, and Apple has clearly invested a lot of time and care to make sure these will work cleanly and smoothly on iOS. Widgets can be pinned to your home screen in different sizes, but can also be stacked, allowing you to customize and prioritize how you use them. Apple went even further and created Smart Stacks, where your phone will automatically stack widgets for you based on your user behaviour, time, and location.
More from Maps
Apple Maps have may have long been the butt of jokes, but Apple has been hard at work improving both the app itself and underlying data. With iOS 14 Apple has upped its game with Apple Maps, adding nice quality-of-life improvements in the form of mapping for cyclist, route planning for electric vehicles that finds nearby charging stations, and a new Guides feature that points you interesting places when visiting a new city.
Okay, now for the part you’ve been waiting for. Unlike iOS, we know less about Apple’s planned new phone, iPhone 12. However, they’ve given us enough to set some high expectations as to what we’ll see later this year.
Four iPhones, three sizes
Apple has hinted at four upcoming iPhones. These phones have not been officially named yet, although we can reasonably expect, based on their previous naming conventions, that there will be an iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and some budget model (although the excellent iPhone SE released earlier in 2020 might continue in this role.) These phones will also come in three sizes, which are suspected to be 5.4”, 6.1”, and 6.7”, although this has not yet been confirmed. Overall, they are a bit larger on average than previous years. Expect the usual bump in processor speed and possibly storage, plus upgraded cameras to be front an center on any new iPhones.
5G all the way
This will be the first year that Apple offers full 5G support for all its phone models. While it is confirmed that all of them will be able to connect to new 5G networks worldwide, it is still not clear whether they will be able to take advantage of all the features that 5G provides, such as mmWave technology.
The iPhone design has always been a critical part of its success. Based on the recently released iPads and Apple Watches, expect a shift to a more hard-edged design (think iPhone 5) with smaller bezels and possibly some new colours to compliment the standard silver, dark grey, and gold tones. 5G support will also require a different antenna design which may mean a different treatment to the ‘band’ around the edge of the phone.
Lightning strikes…or not?
Will 2020 be the year that Apple ditches the much maligned, proprietary Lightning connector in favour of the now ubiquitous USB-C (check out why USB-C is cool)? Apple lost a key lawsuit in Europe over charger accessibility, and Apple has already started to use USB-C on some iPad devices in addition to all its laptops and desktop computers, so this shift seems more likely than not. However, early prototype leaks indicate the Lightning connector will live on for at least another year, and Apple has also suggested they might eschew a connector entirely in favour of some wireless data scheme and wireless charging (Qi-based wireless charing is already featured in current iPhones and AirPods.)
Apple has traditionally remained very tight-lipped about its major hardware releases, and the next generation of iPhones is no exception. The info we’ve gathered here is by no means guaranteed – but what we do guarantee is that Hushed will continue to support iOS well into the future!
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