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Six features the iPhone 8 needs to stay ahead of Android


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Image: Sarah Tew/CNET

While Apple likes to focus on making new iPhones lighter, thinner, and faster, I’d rather the iPhone 8 get these six features.

Must read: Five Apple products that are headed for the scrapheap

#1: Fast charging

Forget wireless charging, which is always much better in theory than in reality — what the next iPhone really needs is fast charging. Fast charging does away with having to leave your iPhone tethered to an outlet for hours, and also means that if your battery does get low, a few minutes of charging gives you hours of power.

Having to leave an iPhone plugged in for hours is unacceptable. There are plenty of high-end — and not so high-end — smartphones that can get a decent charge in a quarter of an hour, and it’s time for Apple to add this to its premium smartphone.

#2: Shatterproof screen

There’s no doubt that Gorilla Glass is tough, but it’s still glass. Glass has a habit of shattering. And with rumors suggesting that Apple is putting glass on the back of the iPhone too — to support wireless charging — there will be twice as much glass to break.

A sapphire display would be awesome, but a seriously toughened display such as that found on the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 would do fine.

#3: microSD card slot

Apple uses tiered storage as a way to ask big bucks for what is essentially a few dollars worth of extra storage. Also, the lack of an expansion slot means that if owners hit a storage wall, well, it’s time to buy a new iPhone.

I mean, if the tenth-anniversary iPhone 8 is priced at $1,000 or more, then Apple should be bold and stop nickel-and-diming buyers for more storage.

Alternatively, you can add your own microSD card slot … sort of.

#4: Higher-resolution camera

Twelve megapixels isn’t really that much when it comes to a camera, and despite the fact that the Plus version of the iPhone has a twin-camera arrangement, it’s time for Apple to push the megapixel envelope with the next release.

I know that image quality isn’t down to just the number of megapixels, but at the end of the day, the more detail captured by the camera, the more detail will be in the photo, and the more processing and refining that can be done.

#5: More system RAM

While 3 GB of RAM as found in the latest iPhones isn’t bad, more RAM would allow for better and smoother multitasking, as well as allowing the operating system to process higher megapixel photos and juggle bigger files with less of a performance hit.

#6: A dock to transform the iPhone into a desktop computer

Samsung has one feature that is pretty exciting that Apple needs to consider — DeX.

For those who don’t know, DeX is a dock that allows users to connect their Galaxy S8/S8 Plus to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to turn it into a desktop experience — of sorts — powered by the handset.

This “dock that transforms a smartphone into a desktop PC” thing is not a new idea — it’s been tried many times before — and DeX is not perfect by a long shot, but it is certainly the most credible attempt at bridging the smartphone/desktop gap.

And, right now, Apple has nothing to compete with DeX.

OK, some of you are probably already flexing your fingers in preparation to type into the comments something along the lines of “but what about the iPad?” or “who needs a desktop when you have an iPhone?” or “what about the MacBook?”

My response is simple: None of these solutions comes close to what DeX offers.

Now, you might be thinking that DeX is just a flash in the pan. A fad. A sign that Samsung is desperately throwing ideas against a wall in the hope that just a few stick.

Maybe.

But it’s also pretty timely. If the current limited laptop ban ever does expands into a global laptop ban, then platforms such as DeX might get a foothold as business travelers decide that it’s too risky to take a laptop. While some might appreciate the break from the never-ending distraction that modern technology bombards us with, others might feel that their smartphone can be leveraged to do more than we currently ask of such devices.



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