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Galaxy Note 10 features Apple should steal for iPhone 11

The Galaxy Note 10 is here. I spoke all about it with Daniel Bader from Android Central, so be sure to check that video out if you haven't already. Now, I want to talk about the feature from the Note 10 I'd love to see Apple bring to the iPhone 11… or iPhone 12 if they're already locked and loaded for September.

1. Apple Pencil

It's perennial at this point and is going to stay top-of-list until Apple takes it out of the labs and puts it into my geeky little hands.

We've seen rumors of Apple Pencil support coming to the iPhone for years. And by rumors, I mean financial analyst fanfic for investor notes. But, while it's always coming it's never quite arriving.

I'd all caps love it, especially a smaller version to better fit with the smaller device. Especially now that PencilKit is a thing — Apple's new framework for easy Pencil integration for apps. And especially with iPadOS here to provide more and growing differentiation between the phone and the tablet.

But I'm only going to expect it when I see it.

2. Colors

The iPhone XR brought some Apple-chromatic flare back to the lineup last year. But, for the XS, you could only yet them in white, gray, or the gold that the X-line skipped the year before.

But I've long had lust in my heart not just for the colors Samsung and Huawei are fielding, but the metallic gradients they're fielding them in.

Sure, they're trendy more than timeless, and maybe in a few years that Aura will look like the equivalent of bell-bottoms and a hang-glider collar. But I'm so down with phone as fashion and if that means I have to hide my out-of-fashion shame in a case come 2020 or 2021, I'm so down with that as well.

Again, I don't expect it, but if they offered the next iPhone in Apple Card gradient, I'd jump on it.

3. Video bokeh

I use my iPhone for most of my b-roll. It's just so much easier to carry around, to move around, it's got great battery life, and I don't have to fuss with SD cards, especially when I'm at events.

But I really miss depth of field. Having everything in focus means nothing is really in focus.

Better glass helps. The iPhone XS telephoto camera can get really nice real-world bokeh if you compose the shots just right but that's impossible to sustain for most video shots.

So, doing computational depth effect, much like they've been doing with stills since the 2016 iPhone 7 is the answer.

Apple's segmentation masking is getting better. They're still no Google when it comes to algorithms but they still have the best silicon in any phone and one of if not the best video cameras in a phone.

So, I'm computationally optimistic we'll see it sooner rather than later. And that, you know, it'll actually work well enough to be usable.

4. Time of Flight

We've already had all sorts of rumors about a Time of Flight sensor coming, if not to the iPhone 11 than the iPhone 12. But, like I said earlier this week, Apple's version needs to have more compelling use cases than what we're seeing so far.

Again, ship feature sets, not just chipsets. But I want that rear augmented reality camera bad.

5. Super Fast Charging

Look, I get it, nothing is free. The faster you charge, the hotter the battery gets, and that's bad for its long term health. But, just because something can charge super fast doesn't mean it has to all the time.

I have no problem with the faster chargers being optional extras for those who know they really want them. But use some AI — hell, give me a turbo button if you need to — to let me charge safe and slow overnight or on long trips or at my desk, but hot and fast when I only have a few deca-minutes to top up before running out again.

And keep making that battery case smarter and better as well.

6. USB-C

I mean, of course of course. I'm super sympathetic to everyone out there with a ton of lightning cables and adapters who are still salty over switching from the 30-pin dock just 7 short years ago and if you make us switch again we'll freaking cut you…

But it's time. Like I said in my Lightning explainer video a couple of weeks ago, iPhone X would have been ideal, and this year doesn't seem to be in the cards, but if not now then next.

We're not ready to go full-on portless yet. Everything from charging to data transfer but most especially recovery just isn't there yet.

So, unless Apple is waiting on some big miniUSB-C announcement from the consortium, it really is time for that one port to rule them all.

7. Dex

Just kidding! Kinda…? Not totally? DeX does seem like an overly complicated and non-cohesive way to replicate the Continuity features Apple's been rolling out between iOS and the Mac for the last 5 years.

And it's tough to see Apple offering a Windows utility that replicates any of that stuff, from AirDrop to Call and Message Relay, to iCloud Keychain and Clipboard.

But, once you get USB-C, going the other way with things like external displays, again, features the iPad already supports, would let you make the most out of your iPhone if that's the only device you have with you.

Especially as Catalyst, or UIKit on Mac, makes desktop versions of iOS apps a reality.

8. Satya Nadella

Microsoft's CEO was by far — by far — the best and most compelling presenter on the Samsung stage yesterday. But they didn't give him anything to present.

I'd love to see him up on an Apple event stage. Not introducing Office for Catalyst — they already have full desktop versions for that. But introducing a privacy-focused set of internet tools for people who love the iPhone but want and need an option very much other than Google, Gmail, and GSuite.

9. ARM Books

Ok. Sure. Fine. This has nothing to do with phones but still everything to do with what I want to see next.

Samsung announced the Galaxy Book S, a new 13-inch laptop that has absolutely zero intel inside. Instead, it has the ARM-based Qualcomm 8cx. It has LTE built-in, and it gets like 23 hours of battery life.

And it made everyone who prefers macOS to Windows and has had their heart set on a MacBook running something akin to an A12X, just turn around and ask Apple — are we there yet.

Yeah, just a little more.

10. Updated OLED

Apple's display team has already been taking the best OLED Samsung's process has to offer, and then doing all their own mitigations, maskings, color science, and more. So this is the closest to a gimme we're going to get.

At least unless and until LG proves good enough to dual source… or Apple's own microLED supersedes it all.

Your wants?

So, Pencil, Colors, video bokeh, Time of Flight, superfast charging, Microsoft, updated OLED, and throw in a MacBook ARM and I'm happy.

But I'd love to know what you want to see.

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Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

23 Comments
  • My wish? 120Hz OLED... its literally the only thing I really really want.
    The SoC's are fast enough for the 99% of Use Cases. Battery is "alright" for the most part.
    Even though charging your phone once every 2-3 Days would be great but making it thinker for me personally is not an option because of the added bulk you get with a case anyway. So unless there is a big leap in battery technology(graphene Batterie anyone?) I don't think its worth it. So the only thing, that for me, comes to my mind that significantly increase my day to day usage or user experience in general would be a 120Hz OLED screen especially since the X the software is rendered with a much higher refresh rate anyway. So the hardware "just" has to catch up. So long
  • Lol that would destroy the iPhone battery if they add that. Not to mention apple could add a larger battery without getting much thicker.
  • True but the problem with batteries especially when it comes to Apple is that they don't upping the density like for example Samsung does.
    Some might say its a good thing (looking to the Note 7 debacle) some find it ridiculous. When we purely talk about numbers the iPad Pro holds 844,26 mAh per inch Display.
    The iPhone X holds about 476,03 mAh per inch Display. Now, if we talk energy efficiency from OLED's compared to IPS/LCD technology its hard to find reliable information. So im going for the middle ground and say 20%. We get get around 571 mAh of battery capacity per inch Display..
    Upping the density around 30% is ridiculous so increasing density on their own i believe is unrealistic. Increasing the thickness a bit (maybe no camera bump?) and upping the density could make it possible. For us(including me) we talk about it so easily but companies invest millions in R&D just to increase the density measly 1-3% and for them its a big deal.
    So unless more "stones" fall into place, like more energy efficient screens, SoC's Software optimizations, my wish stays a wish or at least a wish 2-3 Years out. But who knows what the Manufacturer have in their pipelines, maybe 2020 is the year :D
  • Why (or how) would Apple steal any of these features for iPhone 11? I would assume that iPhone 11 is already in production, making it pretty tough to “steal “any of these features and put them into the phone.
  • I meant to add that if they are not already in production that they are probably locked down.
  • I do agree on Nadella. He's also got more character than most of the usual Apple stage crew. Plus you don't see him clucking like a chicken to introduce emoji nonsense.
  • Gradient, video bokeh and USB-C. Please and thanks.
  • Id like a cheaper iPhone. Maybe an XE with a 4.7" screen and a home button
  • Rene I realize it is already too late (maybe even too late for iPhone 13 development) but the rumored iPhone 11 Pro needs to include Apple Pencil support (hopefully thinner and lighter), bi-directional charging (for my Airpods and Apple Watch), and USB-C - THEN we would have a true Pro device. Could then use my MacBook Pro charger for everything. PS - kill the notch/selfie cam from the Pro model as well (I know, sounds stupid, but one can hope).
  • How would FaceTime work if they killed the front camera ?
  • "1. Apple Pencil" So a stylus is now cool with you Rene? But Steve said nobody wanted a stylus.
  • Why do people keep saying this - Jobs was very clear that no one wanted a stylus to operate and navigate a device. The stylus of that time was a not an active pen but a passive device "pushing" layers together to control and write on the screen. He was promoting the touch control of the screen - it was not a writing/drawing instrument.
  • Ignore Narthalus, he's still stuck in 2015 when the "Steeve didn't want a stylus!!111!" joke was cool, despite the fact that Jobs simply didn't want people navigating the device with a stylus, he never said he didn't want one as a drawing tool. I still agree with Jobs, I wouldn't want to navigate my iPhone/iPad with a stylus, but I don't want to draw with my finger either. The right tool for the right job
  • Stop it. Jobs never said anything about nor did he imply anything about navigating the iPhone with a stylus. His exact words are "Who wants a stylus? You have to get em out, put em away. Yuck. NOBODY WANTS A STYLUS."
  • Is the Pencil really a stylus though ? I would not consider it one and I sure hope they bring Pencil support for the iPhone. The Pencil is really for handwriting and drawing.
  • It's a stylus. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stylus Apple fanboys don't like calling it a stylus because if they call it a stylus it goes against their lord & savior Steve's statement that he didn't want a stylus. Case in point see Dannyjjk & Dstrauss's posts above.
  • Is it just me, or has mobile design really hit a plateau? Seems features are being added for the sake of it, rather than any real benefit. Sure, USB-C may be nice, but for the average user is it worth upgrading for? None of these features are. My XR is “enough” for me - fast enough, screen is big enough, battery lasts enough... go and drop more money? On a contract and upgrade cycle MAYBE, but still unlikely.
  • USB-C is highly important for the future of technology and accessories, so that's not really any kind of trivial or gimmicky feature. I think smartphones are starting to reach a peak point now, the main thing I want is a big improvement to batteries, I should be able to fully charge my phone and do whatever I want with it and not worry about it running out of charge for at least a whole day. Another big bonus would be a true wireless charging where you can hold your phone near an emitter and your phone will charge, I know the technology was being worked on. Other than that, I'm ready for the next kind of smart device, something like Google Glass, to replace the smartphone
  • Problem is how does ANY company do it and circumvent privacy concerns considering they are glasses with a network connection and a camera (even if meant for AR use)?
  • What I want most of all is the Phone.app enabled in LTE iPads. I'd happily own just an iPad and an Apple Watch. And then Apple could stop being runner-up in Samsung's eternal race to the biggest phone screen.
  • I didn't know Apple was fabbing it's own Micro LEDs? I thought it was Samsung developing it who Apple sources displays from on their phones -_-
  • I need 120 refresh rate screen, Apple Pencil support and remove that ghastly notch from the iPhone.
  • All I really need is a camera that surpasses what Google has done and better FaceID hardware.