Crystal Ball: What’s Coming in the Next iPhone?



Yes, the iPhone 3GS is still hot out of the oven (too hot, perhaps?), but if you’re a true gadget addict, then you probably can’t help but think ahead to what Apple (s aapl) could possibly cram into the next iteration to ensure consumer mouths continue to drool. Of course, if you’re like me and you were ensnared by only the promise of better internals and a video camera this time around, it shouldn’t take much to accomplish that.

According to Unwired View, future versions of Apple’s smartphone could boast a lot more in the bells and whistles department. They’ve assembled a variety of Apple patents that, together, represent an exciting vision of what an iPhone 4G (3GSX?) could look like.

See and Speak

There’s already some interesting work being done by third-party developers around image identification on the iPhone, but Apple looks to be aiming to bake real-world object ID right into the platform. The phone would be using a combination of technologies to identify things that you point it at, including the camera, RFID or barcode scanning, and context filters (i.e., museum, grocery store, small island fishing community, etc.). You can almost smell the ecommerce potential in something like this.


Never Forget a Face

iPhoto ’09 brought us Faces, a feature which recognizes faces you tag once in photos and automatically groups them together. It’s black techno-magic, is what it is, and I won’t have any part in it. But if you’re less superstitious and old-fashioned, it can be pretty handy. Now it looks like it might be coming to the iPhone.


Face recognition can have any number of applications, including the ability to custom tailor access privileges depending on who’s handling the device. No music with explicit lyrics for Junior, for instance, but Daddy doesn’t have to remove Ol’ Dirty Bastard from his iPhone entirely.

Built-In CRM

If you’re an iPhone business user, this next feature might seem especially promising, particularly if you’re in sales. Customer relationship management (CRM) is a huge part of successful sales, and it generally involves making sure you stay up to date on the personal and professional lives of your clients.


This patent foretells a feature that notifies you if you have unread communications from a contact before you call them. That way, you’ll avoid awkward situations like calling someone to check on the progress of a contract when he’s just sent you a detailed email explaining everything that’s wrong with it.


Another business-related feature will inform you if a message you’ve sent out to multiple recipients has failed for specific individuals within that group, and then give you a chance to resend only to those members who didn’t get the memo. Both of these last two features obviously have applications beyond the enterprise, too, but they seem most relevant to the business world.

I Do Impressions

Want your phone to talk to you and sound like Sir Paul McCartney while doing so? Or, if you’re particularly self-obsessed, in your very own voice? The last patent of the batch outfits your iPhone with the ability to do just that.


Weirdly, the scenario Apple uses to describe the usefulness of this speculated app is kind of an iPhone-as-surrogate-mother situation. It imagines a bleak future in which you have to have your iPhone read to your child in your voice because you’re too busy. Even if this patent does become reality, I hope we never reach the point where that becomes something many of us require our phone to do.

I don’t know about you, but I’d say most of the fun of new iPhone hardware is the anticipation and speculation leading up to the actual release. Not that I’m against getting my hands on the physical hardware once it does come out, of course.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user onebutan-iphone.



i’m hanging back for the next iPhone as got an original iphone and contract up (and to check the coming lower tariff rates via UK price war with orange). Anyone got any idea when the next iPhones are likely to come out?


They could make the (hopefully) illuminated logo to double as a flash for the camera, therefore keeping its slick looks! which I think is the only reason for not having a flash so far.

Richie Contartesi

I think that their needs to be a camera on the front this way you can skype!!!!!!!!


flash player
i have a 3gs and for being such a fantastic phone why the hell is there no flash player
apps for almost anything but no flash player ????
how can this be


Wanted in Next IPhone 2010:

Flash Player for ability to see web video streaming
Camera Flash
New Message Indicator
Iphone and Apple Logo lit in dark
CAmera and Video Zoom
Front Facing camera for Video talk

Mike M

To kill two birds with one stone, perhaps the Apple logo should light up to alert you when you have new emails or voice messages — like the Blackberry…but done in an Apple sort of way ;-)


Having researched the HTC Hero, seems the ideas behind this are far superior to the iphone but it doesn’t have the hardware to cope (yet). So would love to see the iphone being more customizable (instead of dull front screen) and have a flash player!


How about an IR outlet and some kind of recognition software within the camera.

take a photo of each remote control in your house and have the recognition software build a computerised iphone display simulation of the remote you want to copy. Then assign a function, IR or bluetooth to each button and you have one device that replaces all the remotes in your house.


2 votes for Flash, one of them in the form of “Flash player” for Safari. It is ridiculous to have such a great surfing experience potential and throw it over the board because of the lack of Flash support. The 2nd vote is for the “camera flash”, most of the other smartphones (and even some cheap phones) have white leds that act as a flash to take a lot better pictures than the iPhone. Apple has been the multimedia leader for a long time, so I find it unacceptable for their phone to not allow us to take relatively good pictures in low light environments. One more vote for the message indicator light and still another for the back button (even if it is a “software button”).


i just wish all mobile communication plans for iphone could be cut by 50%.



How awesome would video conferencing on an iPhone be!?!

Angus Dei

Larger screen. Oh wait, this isn’t a tablet thread. Sorry.


Flash player is the most important application (to me) that I want RIGHT NOW !! (sorry ’bout that).

Forrester McLeod

That’s all well and good and highly impressive, but if you really have a crystal ball will you please tell me when my plane ticket to Fiji will be here and where in the world did my cabana boy get off to?

Have a Great One!


I would like to see a person “live time” when they call me. I would like to see this also in the application of skype a “view skype live person”, like our computers. I don’t believe AT&T should block this because skype is not always reliable or clear viewing so for that reason I think AT&T is out of line to not allow skype on 3G. Why are they set of upsetting their customers, they need a new PR person to do damage control over the Company.

I agree a back button would be great and notification of text message when phone is in sleep mode.

This 3GS is great!!! and I purchased the “Tekkeon” battery sleeve it is awesome, I have never ran out of battery since I purchased it from the store found under iphone assessories>power. I have had all 3 generations of iphones and had major battery usage be awful, but not anymore :)


Flash, flash, flash, flash, flash, flash!!! 2 years later and
still no Flash!


As a software developer patenting these sorts of “features” seems insane. The idea that notifying someone that they have an email for an outgoing call is too basic to patent. If Apple patents said feature does it mean that if I developed an app for Android or any other phone and did something similar that I’d have to pay them royalties. In software it’s about algorithms. There are hundreds of JPEG editors out there. The JPEG file is patented, but the type of software to edit a JPEG is not so you could develop your own editor. You can patent say an algorithm for sorting a list or performing a lookup, doing image recognition, but this sort of stuff… It’s a kin to patenting the wheel?

I’d love to see more features in my iPhone, but why does Apple have to be so freakishly obssessed about patents. It’s like when they tried to patent the concept of a graphical interface, the equivalent to patenting the wheel when it comes to human-machine interfaces.

I liked Apple when they were the underdog, but their behavior the last number years is reminicent of their behavior in the 1980’s and it’s getting to be worst the Google and Microsoft, and Google is climbing the “too powerful” ladder a bit quick.

Reminds me of an article I read in August on Switched:


The logo would be sweet, maybe sweeping through the pages of apps via a touch bar, the area next to the home button. Front facing camera would be sweet, zoom, photo booth intigratiom maybe? The option for buying iphoto’s editing software, or built in. IChat would be awesome, and I’m still waiting for it. I would also like the option to text via 9 button keypad. As unnecessary as it is, it could be added with no problem at all. I also want texts bubbles to be recoloured. Maybe the wallpaper changes every x minutes, etc. There are things that would be cool. Stacks would be cool too. The things I really want are the light up logo, iChat, stacks, and a front facing camera. I think the touch area near the home button would not only be cool, but useful. It could open a “coverflow” of app pages, or even the apps themselves.


i love that rendering. if only the screen would pop upwards so you could set it on a desk. then maybe everyone would shut the hell up about apple making a notebook.

Stan Cushing

Haptic feedback is available if you jailbreak. I had it on LG Incite, Samsung Epic and HTC Fuze and disabled in each because I thought it was more annoying that helpful. But having the option is good. Some people will like it.

+1 for Notification Light.

How about a Back Button? What is the big aversion to having more than one button? A Back Button would help mitigate the lack of multi-tasking.

Profiles. Even a $10 GoPhone has profile switching, 4COL! MyProfiles is available through RockYourPhone for every iPhone and OS except 3GS ATM – worked great on my 3G.


All I’m
Asking for is FLASH PLAYER!!!!!!

(& maybe that illuminated logo)


Apple can’t do flash. Try running flash under MacOS and noticed that unlike Linux/Windows it will use a massive amount of processor power. Apple calls this a bug, but its not. It is however the reason we don’t get a flash player on the iPhone as it would drain the battery and eat up the CPU cyles.


Haptic touch should be one of the new features. Samsung and LG are well on their ways to develop haptic devices for the masses, with some phones already having the awesome feature.

check out some info on wiki []


I would like a notification light as stated above, a dedicated button for the camera, and a little mirror thing for self portraits. And I think it would be cool for the apple logo and the “iPhone” name to be illuminated. :)


i thought the reflective apple on the back of the computer did that… so maybe a larger apple sticker?


All I want is an indicator light that quietly lets me know i have a msg waiting, without having to open my iphone every 10 mins.

david Ducharme

I hear that! That’s a great idea – like the blackberry


it does that. turn vibration off in settings, and a message will come up on the screen. all you have to do is click the home button to see if there’s a msg or not. its not like you have to dig through the thing


blah, how does a vibration help if you don’t noticed it when it vibrates for some reason. A status light is persistent as long as the status holds and is a superior feature.


Kim I like your site. Good recipes. I’ll have to try out the Pumpkin bread.

Tsk. Tsk.

if you can’t hit one button to read the message (ps-the light only tells you that there’s a new message, you have to hit a button to read it) then you are lazy. also there is an audible and vibrate setting. if you m iss those then you are an idiot. also a blinking light in a pocket or purse isn’t helping you at all. jesus christ just bring up more moot points will ya?

Mel Farris

I would just be thrilled if you could delete more than one email at a time. Both from the inbox and from the trash box. Something like my Blackberry did,….delete all below.


Tried Blackberry. I want to keep iPhone and get the indicator light on it. Till then, it can vibrate every time something comes in. I like that. So far, loyal to iPhone.


There is a switch on the left side of your iPhone. That turns the sound on. There. You’re welcome! :)

Comments are closed.