Mac Pro. MacBook Pro. iPad Pro. iMac Pro. Powerbeats Pro… iPhone 11 Pro?
There's a rumor going around that Apple might just call one or more of this fall's iPhones… the iPhone Pro. Or maybe the iPhone 11 Pro. It's unclear. Also unclear: What, beyond just adding the label, Apple could do to make the iPhone really, truly worthy of the name 'Pro'. That is, if the name 'Pro" even means anything any more.
More recently, the account has been tweeting out iPad rumors, some of which have already come to pass, others of which are still pending.
But, suffice it to say, the account has proven credible enough that the last tweet got a bunch of sites and channels all up in a frenzy.
Now, just to be clear, Apple can call any iPhone anything it wants. Well, anything that doesn't violate any trademarks Apple isn't eager to fight.
Marketing and execs just have to sign off on it in time for it to get on all the promotional material. That's it.
iPhone 11. iPhone Edition. iPhone Dragon Born. Seriously, anything.
Assuming Pro isn't just a marketing name, assuming Apple really does want to make an iPhone that's more attractive to pro users, assuming we think beyond just USB-C, which I can already feel just about all of you slamming into the comments right this very now, here's everything else you told me you want to see.
Curious, I asked all of you on Twitter what you thought… and wow did you respond.
When Apple made the iPad Pro, they made it bigger. From 10.5-inches to 12.9-inches. Apple already made the iPhone bigger with the 6 Plus and the XS Max, but there have been and are Android phones even bigger than that. Ludicrously bigger.
And the bigger the screen, the better and more complex you can make multitouch interfaces. Though, if it gets too much bigger, you basically have the iPad mini.
There have been rumors of bigger — and smaller — iPhones for 2020, so there's that.
Apple also gave the iPad Pro a keyboard. No, not a blackberry-style built-in Keyboard, we can leave all that to CrackBerry Kevin and his beloved KeyTwo. But the Smart Connector and Smart Keyboard.
Thing is… I can't recall there ever being a successful phone-specific external keyboard before, because physics. Does that mean Apple couldn't make some kind of Transformer-like portable pro keyboard? No, it's one more area ripe for innovation. It just doesn't seem likely to me. Comment below if you disagree.
What does seem likely, or simply more to my own personal liking, would be the same Apple Pencil support that really kicked off the iPad Pro.
I covered this in a video last week, so I won't belabor it again here. But so many of you had it top of mind and list that I'm sure as hell going to sum it all up.
Pencil support, especially with an optional smaller Pencil, would make the iPhone the ultimate pocket note and sketch book, and would allow more complex interfaces to be manageable on the smaller display. Which could help open the door for more pro apps.
When business people hear the word pro, especially business people from the early days of computing, they hear pro-as-in-productivity. Everything from Office Suites to Getting Things Done.
Apple already does a bunch of Continuity stuff to make iPhone owners more productive on their iPads and Macs, including handing off application state so you can work on the same docs while on the go or on the bigger screen. Same with continuity clipboard and AirDrop, so you can easily move data back and forth.
But that only works if you have another device and it's your other device. It doesn't let your iPhone take over any iPad or Mac… or let your iPhone become a Mac-like device.
To push it further, Apple could create a guest mode for macOS that, when you plug in an iPhone, creates a virtual environment where all your stuff just works on the same big screen.
Or, if there is no Mac, you could plug into any bigger display, use any Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, or even a hub, and effectively make it a quote-unquote iOS Mac for however long you need to.
Like Samsung's DeX or Microsoft's Continuum, but simpler and more coherent. Especially with Catalyst and SwiftUI further decoupling app logic from interface, and maybe ARM Macs one day removing much of the hardware divide.
It would be great for people who travel between offices or work areas a lot and don't want to lug even a laptop around with them.
Same deal with creative pros who want to record audio, shoot photos, or grab video on the go, but then stop off quickly to edit with big-screen optimized versions of apps like GarageBand, Lightroom, or iMovie slash Luma Fusion.
You'd need extra RAM to run extra intense apps like that, though.
But, I'm tempted to say it'd be even better if it caught on as a universal wireless standard and every hotel, plane, train, and coffee shop offered little productivity stations where you could drop your phone down on a Qi pad, connect to a display over point-to-point Wi-Fi, and get your work on, but I'm going to try hard to keep this out of the realm of sci fi for now.
What seems like it would please more than enough of you is just the iPhone equivalent of side-by-side apps — top and bottom apps, and Picture in Picture video.
That'd be especially useful on even a slightly bigger screen and with a bigger battery to go with it.
How big a battery to avoid it becoming a brick? And would fast 45W wired and 15W charging get you to settle for a better balance? Let me know your preference in the comments below.
Some of you clearly want as much if not more for your ears as you do for your eyes. There were a few requests to get the 3.5mm headphone jack back, of course, but mostly from people who are still super salty that it's gone, not for audio producers who want to use it to hook up to pro gear. You know, XLR not withstanding.
With Google and even Samsung now finding their ditch-jacking courage, and Apple doubling down on deletion with the iPad Pro, the headphone jack returns just seems unlikely.
A better DAC — digital to analog converter — and Apple Music HD to do for audiophiles what iTunes 4K HDR is doing for cinemaphiles was also suggested, but I kinda think that, like 4K HDR, should be an option for everyone, not just pros.
Powerbeats uses the word pro to mean suitable for pro athletes. In other words, they won't fall out of your ears when you backflip like AirPods or many other earbuds would.
I'm not sure if there's an iPhone equivalent for that though, unless we bring the old iPod wrist loop out of retirement. Nike and Hermes partnerships with it, of course. But, probably not.
Swim proofing, like the Apple Watch has had for a while, wouldn't really be a sports thing for the iPhone, not for anyone besides Aquaman, but more of an underwater photography thing. Which, by itself would be hella cool, but Powerbeats aren't even swim proof anyway.
So, yeah, I got nothing here. But let me know if you have any ideas for a pro sports iPhone.
ProMotion, or up to 120 Hz dynamic refresh, straight off the iPads Pro, was also tops of many of your demandments. And it's easy to see why — once you get used to the… what's beyond buttery smooth, creme fresh smooth? — scrolling and proper cinematic refresh rates, it's hard to go back.
It'd be great for gamers, obviously, especially when paired with Apple's silicon which can already drive games at a high frame rate. And, Apple hasn't done ProMotion on OLED displays yet, so that'd be fun to see.
We've also seen enough gaming phones by now to know they require a glowing logo as well — shout out to the The MrMobile who's tried out more than his fair share already.
Remember all those glowing Apple logos in coffee shops, classrooms, and Windows PC events? Yeah, like that, but with like a billion more iPhones.
It wouldn't be pro but it sure would likewise be fun.
What'd be super interesting, at least to me, would be a game controller module that would magnetically snap on, work smart connector style, and just provide crisp, crunchy, physical controls for more precise, tactile gaming experience.
And I'm just spit balling here, so please reality check me in the comments, but allow them to broadcast over a gaming-optimized version of AirPlay, tie it all into Apple Arcade, and let the switch times roll.
Pro Photo Video
There have already been tons of rumors about the next generation iPhone cameras, including an equilateral 3 camera system that includes an ultra-wide angle for this year, and a time of flight sensor for next year.
Also, bigger cameras, which is good given how far companies like Huawei are pushing sensor size and pixel binning — in other words, processing down data 4 to 1 from a 48 megapixel sensor to get the equivalent of a much, much better 12 megapixel image.
Though, obviously, bigger isn't better if it also comes with bigger distortion and aberration.
Which is why many of you also want to see better computational photography, and not just portrait mode or smart HDR, but more like what Google's been doing to pull out far sharper, cleaner every day photos than their hardware alone would ever allow.
We'll have to wait and see how well any and all of it does when it ships, but I think to go truly Pro, we may modules as well.
I know it's never really been done successfully, like by Motorola, or at all yet, hey RED Hydrogen, but the idea of something like the smart battery case, but slicker and sleeker, with a smart connector, that magnetically face-huggers on to the back of the iPhone and gives the camera the z-index and more flexible lens system of a micro 4/3rds or DSLR, just seems like the holy grail.
And you'd probably want a RAW Manual Mode built into the camera app, or a pro camera app to go with it.
Some of you also mentioned unlimited photo storage but Google subsidizes that by using your data, which Apple currently won't do.
Would you want them to build the price into the phone? Let me know in the comments.
Some of you really want Pro to mean customization. Like Android but iOS. With the ability to change up the springboard window and icon management system to create more free form app layouts, or swap it out entirely for a third-party launcher.
Theme it top to bottom as well. Hello comic sans… er… marker felt system font! I kid. A bit.
Others want the equivalent of a Konami code to switch the device from being production fuzed to something closer to dev-fuzed or the new research-fuzed mode I talked about in the last video.
In other words, the ability to run SSH, get a root shell, and, of course, side load apps.
Apple is still Apple, though, so I think all of this has to be filed under the… um… less likely pro options. At least in this dimension of the multiverse.
It's entirely possible — probably even — that if Apple does use the name iPhone Pro, it will be purely a function of marketing and consistency with the other product lines.
And that may be fine. It's certainly better than the Homer Simpson's galaxy car approach.
As much as part of me really wants to see Apple push the boundaries of what people can do on a phone, adding pro features pushes up the price and I just know most everyone asking for more anything on these lists will also be among the first to complain if it pushes up the price even one more damn dollar.
Because we're human. We want our cake and to eat yours too. More features, longer battery life, lower price. All and now. Please bu not thank you since you should have done it last year.
I'm also sure there's a ton of stuff I'm not considering and even more that I just plain failed to consider. So, let me know — what could Apple do to make the next iPhone really Pro for you?
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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.