8 things we want to see from the iPhone 8

And not one of them is a headphone jack

04 September 2017
by Stuff Staff

A new iPhone is coming. And it’s going to be a little different to the ones you’re used to.

We’ve heard it’ll be a major redesign, a cutting-edge product – and a wallet-thumping one. Apple, it seems, is done playing it safe in an ‘s’ year.

But what do we want from this purportedly magical device, so it blazes past the Android pack and grabs top spot in Stuff’s best smartphones list?

Read on for our top picks…

1. SOMETHING SPECIAL

We know this one’s vague, but people often forget how revolutionary the original iPhone was. Android fans scoff, but their entire platform owes a colossal debt to Apple, at the very least in providing Google with focus and direction.

The iPhone’s never stopped being great, but we’d love to be wowed again by something truly bold. (ARKit looks pretty interesting, for example…)

Perhaps an iPhone that’s properly revolutionary simply is not viable in a world already awash with me-too devices, but we’ll be thrilled if Apple cracks the impossible.

2. MORE SCREEN AND LESS PHONE

Current iPhones look great, but that bezel takes up space; worse, it looks dated alongside the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S8. Also, people invariably like bigger displays but not necessarily larger phones. Remove the bezel and you can get an iPhone Plus display in an iPhone-sized package.

Which is of course the current rumour. John Gruber even did the sums, predicting the new iPhone will have a 5.8-inch display at 2436×1125 pixels/462 PPI – a @3× ‘Retina’ display with no scaling.

We’re sure some will grumble this still isn’t enough, but they presumably have microscopes instead of human eyes.

3. USABILITY

The headphone port was last year unceremoniously dumped from new iPhones, and this year the Home button’s reportedly for the chop.

Losing the former was an irritant, but the Home button is a bigger concern, because it fundamentally alters an interaction model that’s been core to the iPhone since the very beginning. People stab the Home button dozens of times daily, and it’s the thing you prod if all else fails. We get that its removal is necessary to go all-screen, but hope Apple’s nailed the usability side of things.

A rumoured slide-up Home button area whiffs a bit of Android, lacks discoverability, and – if Android is anything to go by – might not always show up when it should.

4. TOP-NOTCH SECURITY

The Home button’s also known for Touch ID. This isn’t the only fingerprint security mechanism on mobile, but it is renowned for being secure, stable, reliable, and tough to circumvent.

If there’s no Home button, where does that leave Touch ID? Will it be integrated directly into the screen, or replaced? Rumours suggest Apple’s going for facial recognition.

We have no problem with that, but it’ll be relatively untested, yet have to work flawlessly from day one (or Facegate will become a thing, and that doesn’t bear thinking about), remain accessible, and bat away trickery without a second thought.

5. MORE OF THE GOOD STUFF

Now for a quick detour into obvious territory: there’s no point unleashing a shiny new device if its guts are the smartphone equivalent of last year’s model.

With the new iPhone, we of course want that camera to be amazing. It needs to be measurably better than any other smartphone – not necessarily in terms of specs, but in how Apple combines hardware, design smarts, and software, to make for superb results.

We also want this iPhone to be blazingly fast, and for the battery to last for absolutely ages. And we want a pony.

6. PENCIL SUPPORT

Yes: a stylus. That thing about which Apple founder Steve Jobs remarked “they blew it” if you saw one. Hence lots of people pointing at the Pencil for iPad Pro and going “AHA!” in an annoying fashion. Repeatedly. For months.

But Jobs may well have meant primary input. And with the size and quality of the new iPhone display, the wealth of amazing creative apps for iOS, and Apple’s stance on enabling creativity anywhere, we reckon being able to use a Pencil with the flagship iPhone would be pretty great.

And we’re rubbish at drawing, too.

7. NO 32GB MODEL

Last year, Apple finally hurled the 16GB option for flagship iPhones into the abyss. Which was great, except Apple’s upsell tactics remained, because the new options were 32/128/256.

Frankly, 32GB is rubbish for a high-end iPhone you’re going to use to shoot loads of photography and 4K video. The new iPad Pro’s also playing the upsell game, but it’s at least doing so at a higher level: 64/256/512. Here’s hoping the new iPhone mirrors that rather than its predecessors.

Although given that Apple long ago shifted from ‘good/better/best’ to ‘meh/BUY ME! BUY ME!/best’, perhaps it can for this premium model lop off the low end entirely.

8. MAKE ENOUGH OF THE THINGS

Perhaps the biggest ask, given how insanely tricky it is to ramp up production of cutting-edge kit for a device likely to be demanded by millions.

Still, Tim Cook’s a long-time operations whiz, and we’d love to see the day when iPhone pre-orders open, and you’re not faced with a four-to-six-week delay because you didn’t manage to speed through the buying process in approximately half a nanosecond.

Our very best ‘buying digit’ is warming up now, regardless.

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