The grand reveal of the Apple iPhone 6 is just days away, and while speculation is still rampant over what features the new phone will include (come onnnnnn, waffle iron), it’s fairly safe to say the suggestion box is closed this time around. Still, that’s not going to stop us throwing some ideas into the ring for the next generation, the Apple iPhone 7. They might sound far-fetched right now, but who knows how far technology will move in the next 12 months (think how much things changed between the 5 and the Apple iPhone 5s). Just remember, when you’re making virtual reality 3D video calls using your eyes to dial, don’t forget where you read about it first…
**Disclaimer: This is our ultimate “What If” list. While each item is grounded in existing technology, we’re leaving it to the scientific professionals to figure out how each option might actually be realized.**
1. Holographic Video Calling
You’ve seen Star Wars. Princess Leia. R2-D2. “Help me, Obi Wan…” etc etc. Forget about FaceTime; we want full, three-dimensional avatars projected from the screens of our phones so we can feel like the person we’re talking to is right in front of us. If science can bring Tupac back to life, it can bring him to our phones too. It should also integrate with Snapchat. Because, well, you know what we’re taking about…
Image: Gadget Sin
2. Wallet Replacement
Contactless payment is already with us and several major card providers offer payment methods that involve nothing more than your phone. Given that the iPhone 5s brought us TouchID fingerprint scanning for purchasing items from iTunes and the AppStore, it’s not too much to hope that it could be extended to all purchases made via credit card. It could even keep a record of your receipts, so you wouldn’t have to carry them around with you in physical form. While we’re at it, having the ability to save loyalty cards, travel passes, gym memberships and any other bit of plastic taking up valuable wallet real estate would be a welcome addition, too.
Image: Cult Of Mac
3. Windshield HUD Capability
So, if we get our way with no. 1 on our list, why should the holographic fun stop at phone calls? We can already use our iPhone as a satnav, so why not expand it to a full, projected heads-up display on the windshield of our car? You could even park up and have your very own mini drive-in movie theatre. Again, the technology already exists (check out Garmin’s new satnav range), so as long as it didn’t force us to use Apple Maps, everything would be just fine…
Image: Team Treehouse
4. Key Replacement
Smart homes are no longer a thing of the future. Neither is keyless entry for your car. Sadly, losing your keys is still very much part of life, and anyone who’s had to fork out for a locksmith at 3 a.m., or had to pay extortionate fees for a new car key, understands that pain. Granted, there’s nothing to stop you losing your phone too, but having locks that could easily be re-programmed to a) prevent any entry once you realized your handset was missing, and b) allow new keys to be granted without any physical alterations to doors, would amazing. We’re also fairly certain we’re not the only ones who have wished we could “call” our keys at some point in life, too.
Image: The Wallpapers
5. Retina Scanning/Eye Tracking
This might sound a little Minority Report for some people, but there are some genuinely interesting possibilities if the technology was used well. Beyond being able to unlock your phone simply by looking at it (something Samsung Galaxy users have been ignoring for years now), faithful eye tracking could allow users to operate their phone completely hands-free, simply by looking at the parts of the screen they wanted to interact with. That’s not as far-fetched as it might sound. Patients with conditions like advanced motor neuron disease (that’s ALS, for all you ice-bucketeers) or “locked in syndrome” have made use of this kind of technology for some years now. It’s just a matter of time before it goes commercial.
6. 100% Waterproofing
Anyone who’s indulged in a spot of cellphone toilet-diving or accidentally poured their phone a drink it couldn’t finish will understand the need for effective waterproofing in future generations of Apple‘s device. We don’t have the statistics to check, but we’d hazard a guess that this is the number one cause of death for iPhones around the world (followed by dropping). We’d like to see steps taken to reverse that trend.
7. Truly Wireless Charging
While wireless “Qi” charging technology exists already, it relies on induction, which means the phone still has to maintain physical contact with the charging surface for power to pass from one element into the other. Qi charging capability is widely expected to appear in the iPhone 6, but for the 7 we’d love the ability to charge our phone simply by sitting in designated “charging areas,” which would be distributed around cities much like Wi-Fi hotspots. It would certainly boost business in cafés and bars (like we needed more of an excuse to spend time in them).
8. Solar Charging
To go along with the Wi-Fi charging, having the ability to top up your phone’s battery using natural sunlight when you’re nowhere near a power point would (in some cases, quite literally) be an absolute lifesaver. Solar charging packs for cellphones have been around for donkey’s years now; it’s about time one of the major manufacturers integrated one into their handset.
9. Remote Self-Destruct
Yes, we know, the Mission Impossible soundtrack is already running through your mind. But don’t worry, we’re not talking genuine up-in-a-cloud-of-smoke-style self-destruction that could lead to personal injury (not to mention a nightmare for airport security). We’re talking about a last resort that would send some kind of overload signal through your phone’s internal circuitry in the event it was lost or stolen and contained sensitive data that you didn’t want accessed. Remote wiping is already possible via the FindMyiPhone app, but this would take things one step further and potentially disincentivize phone theft by a massive degree.
Image: Expert Photography
10. Enhanced Camera Functionality
There are a wealth of add-ons and peripherals available for your iPhone to augment its photo-taking capabilities. Most of them are ridiculous. We’d like to see a discreet slidable lens panel over the camera offering different focal capabilities (macro, fish-eye, etc.), the ability to double-expose images using the iPhone’s existing software, and the option for full manual controls over aperture and shutter speed. iPhone photography is already an art form in itself, so having a professional-level camera in your pocket at all times would really take things to the next level.
Keep an eye on Highsnobiety on September 9 for our full roundup of the iPhone 6’s features following Apple‘s press conference. Then check back in 12 months to see if we were right about any of these…