Now that WWDC 2017 has been and gone I can confidently say that it was perhaps the best WWDC since 2014 at the very least.
Whilst watching the primary keynote back a few times I started to notice a lot of things that make it more obvious as to what was announced at the conference leads to the major changes coming with the OLED iPhone later this year.
In this post, I’m going to highlight in no particular order the 10 features I’m expecting to see in this OLED iPhone.
One of the main reasons everyone is waiting for the OLED iPhone is the OLED Display.
OLED is the same display type generally found in Android smartphones today, particularly Samsung with their AMOLED displays and also starting to appear in TVs including LG’s Signature 4K OLED Displays.
The main reason I am looking forward to this is the ability to have dark settings in apps and OS features to turn off the pixels that are no needed, which will save significant battery since the display is one of the biggest power hungry components of a phone.
With iOS 11, Apple has added Smart Invert Colours under Accessibility, which means white backgrounds will change to black like the Invert Colours setting already does, but images and other artwork does not get affected. This to me shows that Apple is at the least looking into this solution and we might see a Dark Mode setting available only on the OLED iPhone, because they will sell it with the OLED display.
Improved Cameras for better augmented reality
The cameras on the OLED iPhone are said to be vertical and not horizontal. This change is not just done lightly I reckon.
Because of the significant dent that ARKit will have to Augmented Reality on technology products available, Apple will definitely want to heavily sell Augmented Reality during the OLED iPhone event and show us with upgraded hardware how it runs even better on the new phone.
Always On Display
If the OLED iPhone has a software home button which is likely the case, but most people including myself wake up my phone by pressing the home button because the fingerprint sensor is already there.
To work around this, there needs to be an indication somewhere on the screen to wake up the phone to display the lock screen and one of the best ways to do it is via an Always On Display, like how it is implemented on the S8.
The OLED Display is also perfect for the Always On Display because only a few thousand pixels out of multiple million need to be used to display useful information including the time and unread notifications. This will also make it yet another selling point beyond getting the 7s or 7s Plus.
Fast Charging (USB-C coming to power brick based on rumours, and USB-C charging is 2x faster on iPad Pro’s).
With the updated iPad Pro’s with the A10X chips inside them, they also mentioned with the accessories available that if you bought a USB-C charging cable and USB-C power adapter that your iPad would charge up twice as fast.
There have been rumours going around about USB-C being incorporated into the OLED iPhone but other reports are saying that it will stick with Lightning.
What I believe and a few others on the internet, are saying that this phone will come with a Lightning to USB-C Cable and a USB-C power adapter instead of their USB-A counterparts. Bundling these accessories inside will cost barely any extra then the ones that do today and it may lose potential revenue for them in the long term, but putting both of these in the box, will make it easier to sell this phone with fast charging capabilities.
More Storage (iPad Pro is 64, 256 and 512GBs so will this phone be the same?).
The new iPads also came with double the storage capacities as the previous generations. They use to have 32, 128 and 256GB’s of storage and the new capacities announced at WWDC are 64, 256 and 512GB’s of storage.
Last year when Apple announced the 9.7inch iPad Pro in March 2016, they upgraded the storage tiers from 16, 64 and 128GB’s to 32, 128 and 256GB’s of storage. This same effect applied to the iPhone 7/Plus when they launched 6 months later, so the question has to be asked: “Will they do the same with the OLED iPhone, even if they do not do it to the 7s/Plus?”
I honestly reckon that it is possible that they will do this. Because how many people would are buying a 128GB model had at some point contemplated getting the 256GB model, versus people going for the 256GB model, without needing to contemplate getting the 512GB model, because no one will want that. Yes 512GB’s on a phone would be insane and would give me a sense of freedom I never thought possible, heck it would be as much storage as there is inside my MacBook Pro.
From another view I do not know their figures in terms of how many units they produce for each tier and for each colour etc., but on storage alone, we could assume that it currently is 32GB – 50%, 128GB – 40%, 256GB – 10%. But if they doubled each of these capacities, the percentages could be more like 64GB – 60%, 256GB – 38%, 512GB – 2%. Also producing less units that won’t be purchased purely based on large storage options would be significantly financially viable for Apple, especially if they cannot produce a lot of these to start with with production line issues.
Dual Front Facing Camera
The rumours going around the internet seem to suggest the front facing camera will get a 3D FaceTime camera, but it’s the 3D part that is most interesting.
The 3D camera could be implemented in a way to be beneficial for:
- Iris Scanning for unlocking phone,
- Facial Recognition for unlocking phone, or
- Selfie Portrait Mode.
The first two have me most excited for this feature, but it’s the selfie portrait camera that has me most intrigued. With the success that the iPhone 7 Plus camera had when it came to producing more sales, this could alone be a factor to help sell more of the OLED iPhone.
The first indication I got from this was the addition of a Depth API at WWDC, which scans photos taken in portrait mode and knows with the separated foreground and background, that the background can be changed to anything you want and this will be massive when it comes to people doing social media posts etc.
Leaked Designs Basically Confirmed
I know everyone says take everything with a grain of salt, but with the design as shown below being what is going around the internet the most, I will confidently say that this is the final design.
This is based off a design by iDropNews as to what they reckon the final design will be based off iOS 11 being unveiled at WWDC 2017, but that does not show the whole story.
The biggest hint we have so far is the redesigned phone signal strength icon in the top left which is back to the 4 bars which was iOS 1-6, but doing this reduces the amount of space required, which is as shown above, necessary to show the relevant details on the status bar.
I reckon while they are at it, they might remove the phone carrier displayed in the status bar to look like the image above, put bluetooth next to Wi-Fi and if location services or orientation lock needs to be displayed, it will overrule the battery percentage text.
Now the elephant in the room will be, how will they fix the issue with the time? The screenshots show the time appearing below the black section at the top and to me it is horrible because it separates the status bar into two lines and they’d be better off putting all of it below the black bar then separate it to two.
That being said, I reckon they will add a feature, where if you tap the top left or top right of the display, it will replace the icons shown to display the time instead, or maybe it will show the time permanently in the top right and you tap on it to see the battery, which would make more sense, like how you have to go to control centre on the Apple Watch to view the battery unless you have a complication on your home screen.
Touch ID Integrated into the Display
Now this is the one single thing that is a tipping point for a lot of people getting the OLED iPhone or not, is if Touch ID will remain on the front of the device.
Because Apple is doing this bezel-less design like all other manufacturers, the home button will now likely be a software button but the only way for Apple to keep Touch ID on the front, is to integrated into at the very least part of the display.
Rumours have been jumping back and forth, I’d say at least 3 times a week saying if this will happen or not, or if they will move it to the back of the device, like what Samsung had to do with the Galaxy S8 because they could not get it into the display in time for rapid production.
I obviously want to see this happen for me personally because:
- I like to unlock my phone and use it somewhat frequently without having to pick it up off my desk.
- It will keep the marketing far simpler for Apple Pay when it comes to authenticating yourself for mobile payments.
- Putting it on the back makes it harder to find the correct spot, unless you have a case to signal the depth difference between the phone and the case, which no manufacturer can rely on. *WINK WINK* Samsung *WINK WINK* Google *WINK WINK* LG *WINK WINK* OnePlus and other Chinese Manufacturers *WINK WINK*.
As to whether or not it will be on the front, I am very confident that the story is that yes they had issues with it earlier this year, they have now fixed those issues and can produce this on a mass scale, but they will have slightly limited quantities at launch.
Faster A11 Fusion Processor
This is expected to be the usual updates that we get on a yearly basis.
What the iPad Pro showed us with the A10X is that it has a tone of power in a single chip that has a total of 18 cores across the CPU and GPU, which is exactly what happened with the A10 generation of chips.
A11 Fusion is expect to be a 10 nanometre (nm) process down from 14nm in the A10 processor, which alone should mean we will see a 28.5% increase in battery efficiency, before using a tad of that to power potentially more cores.
When it comes to how much faster the A11 Fusion will be and how they do it, they might go to the effort of going to a 6 core processor, with 3 for high performance and 3 for high efficiency, both up from 2 last year. This would be the easiest way for them to add more power to the phone, which an extra core for high performance at the same clock speed would easily provide 50% additional performance, but time will tell how they will do this.
Apple recently joined the Wireless Power Consortium who are behind the Qi standard for wireless charging generally found on Android smartphones.
Apple’s new design is likely going to have a glass back to it, which means they will be able to implement wireless charging into the device.
One of the main reasons Apple supposedly hasn’t supported wireless charging yet, is likely because they claim it is hardly any more convenient than plugging in your phone to charge. This comment is linked to rumours of Apple looking into long distance wireless charging, which essentially means your phone, tablet or wearables, would charge by connecting to a device, like how you connect to a router for Wi-Fi internet.
If I had to bet what would happen, I say at best we will get standard wireless charging like what we see on Android smartphones today, but they will potentially bring out long-distance wireless charging in the next few years. As for how fast this regular wireless charging will take, I reckon it’ll be at the same rate as charging your iPhone today, but the USB-C fast charging will be 2x faster.
(Bonus) ProMotion Display:
The latest iPad Pro’s also got an updated display with a new feature called ProMotion and what it does is it improves the frame rate as to what you see on the display is buttery smooth. Currently the iPhone and iPad supports 60Hz which is 60 times a second the screen refreshes, but this number has been upped to 120Hz on the iPad Pro 10.5inch and 12.9inch announced at WWDC.
Early impressions of this say that it gives a massive difference to the content display and goes as far as to say it is the biggest update to display technology since the Retina display in 2010 on the iPhone 4.
What is perhaps most impressive to me with the ProMotion display is that it can detect what frame rate the content is being displayed at, and adjust the display’s refresh rate to match it, which will save significant battery life.
So if you are showing a photo slideshow, it might go as low as 24Hz, or if you are watching a movie, it might go to 48Hz or 60Hz depending on how the movie was recorded and exported, but if you are doing graphics work such as drawing content with the Apple Pencil it will go up to 120Hz for smoother drawings etc.
The question is with the OLED display coming to the iPhone, will it also support ProMotion? I most certainly hope it does, because this would perhaps be the third most important reason to upgrade to this OLED iPhone, immediately after bezel-less design and OLED display.
I will go as far as to say this has the potential to be the biggest jump in yearly updates since the iPhone 5. The only thing that I wish was rumoured but will almost definitely not happen it support for 5G for when that gets released in future years, but Apple will likely hold that back until it starts to get rolled out on a mass scale until maybe 2018 or 2019.
When you think about it, just having two or three of the features listed above would be considered a standard yearly update, but if it has all of these, it has the potential to be the greatest release ever, which is what Apple is aiming to do for the iPhone 10th anniversary.
Now the question has to be asked:
“What feature are you most looking forward too in this OLED iPhone?”
For me it’s definitely the bezel-less design, because I’m one of those that could not decide between the small single handed phone or the two handed phablet, but this is likely going to be the middle ground for both with the single hand ability with the large display and also takes more advantage of the front of the phone.
Let me know by commenting below or tweeting me.