Ever since Apple got the ball rolling with its first iPhone, the smartphone industry has been brimming with smart lifestyle ideas and new milestones. Apple itself is often at the forefront of innovation: the iPhone can now contact emergency services via satellite, unlock a car or find an escaped pet. iOS and the iPhone make it all possible.
If the iPhone can do all of this, how much more will it be able to do in five years? The key to extrapolating past developments into the future is to keep one important thing in mind: the progress ahead is always much faster than the progress we have already made. This is especially true in the world of technology, because Moore’s law applies. It says (in a nutshell) that the complexity of integrated circuits doubles every 1-2 years; in other words, computing power increases exponentially. We can expect much bigger leaps in development over the next five years than we’ve seen in the past five years.
As new hardware opens up completely new possibilities, we can only guess at what might happen on the horizon. Here are seven cool, crazy, and faraway features that may arrive on your iPhone sooner than you think.
Infinite battery life
In some ways, this already exists: inductive charging works wirelessly and is also quite useful. We simply place our iPhones on a MagSafe charging station and save ourselves the annoying mess of cables.
What the technology still lacks for the next revolution, however, is range. If such induction fields could be expanded, or if our iPhone could use radio waves to charge, we would never have to worry about dead batteries again. This isn’t science fiction either. Xiaomi demonstrated a revolutionary over-the-air charging system back in January 2021.
Theoretically, such an advance would mean you could ditch the battery altogether, as energy would be available everywhere. This in turn would drastically reduce the weight of mobile devices, save costs and help the environment.
After 5G, the next milestone in mobile communication is already waiting for us in the form of 6G. Although there is no exact date for the launch of the new standard, 6G should arrive in five to six years.
Transfer rates of up to 400 Gbps are planned; with it, you can download an entire Blu-ray movie to your iPhone in one second. One can only hope that the device’s storage will make similar progress. Local data chips may also become more or less obsolete, as huge volumes of data can be downloaded from iCloud in a fraction of a second.
Real artificial intelligence
Right now Siri sucks, and it probably seems wildly ambitious to hope it could one day reach the smarts of an AI system like ChatGPT. Nevertheless, the subject of AI and its integration into human life are still important issues for iOS. Experts agree that the full network of all everyday technologies, from cars to nutrition apps to smart homes, is now only a matter of time.
Apple and its walled garden could particularly benefit from highly intelligent AI. After all, in the Apple ecosystem, more and more applications must work together smoothly and handle increasingly complex tasks for increasingly demanding users.
The future iPhone can drive your car to your front door, read your kids a bedtime story (if they’ve been good), and automatically ask the boss to forgive you if you’re late for work — all without asking Siri.
Another prediction that may sound daring, at least for the next five years. But the idea is anything but far-fetched, as mind control of tech devices already works today, even though no one has yet implemented it in a mobile operating system.
Don’t believe us? You better sit down. Neuralink, a company owned by Elon Musk, has implanted a brain chip in a monkey for exactly this purpose. The implanted circuitry can send brain signals from the primate directly to a smartphone.
You can see the result in the video above. If you’re wondering why the monkey sucks on that metal tube so passionately, it’s because he gets a banana smoothie as a reward for playing his part. At the end of the video, haptic control devices are completely disconnected and the monkey controls the game with his mind alone.
It’s all very far-fetched, but satellite SOS, wireless charging and Siri were once pretty far-fetched too.
You don’t need a crystal ball to see this trend coming. In the future, so-called super apps will play an increasingly important role in our daily lives, and the iOS of the future will be no exception.
Super apps combine a wide variety of services, features and services in one interface. Logical, because no matter how practical and versatile apps are these days, doesn’t it annoy you that so many are needed? Every social media site has its own app and entices visitors to download it. If you use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, you probably have an app salad on your iPhone.
Super apps also promise useful and, above all, time-saving solutions in many other areas. Planning a vacation? In the future, you will be able to book a flight or hotel, create calendar entries and invite your loved one, find great local restaurants, arrange a rental car and call room service with a single app.
Right now, we’re eagerly awaiting Apple’s first AR headset, which will come with its own operating system, likely called xrOS. If this product becomes a success, AR will play an increasingly important role at Apple and may expand into other areas.
Of course, the iPhone will be a big part of Apple’s VR and AR efforts, first as a complement to the headset and then as a full-fledged AR device in its own right. And if all goes according to plan, the AR headset will eventually completely replace the iPhone in the next 10 years.
Just a screen
All of the iPhone’s limitations can be traced back to one thing: the hardware. But who says that heavy and energy-consuming components have to be built into the smartphone? If the storage and user account are already hosted in the cloud, why not run the software there as well? If some of the tech comes to fruition here – 6G, true wireless charging – you won’t need to carry much more than a wafer-thin screen.
This article originally appeared on Macwelt and was translated and edited by David Price and Michael Simon.