MWC 2023 took place in Barcelona this week, where all of the world's biggest and best Android vendors flock to show off their latest releases and new products.
We always see some really cool innovations and inventions at MWC, and with Apple always absent it's a great time to cast our eye on the competition and see what they're up to.
1. Satellite texting
Apple brought its Emergency SOS via Satellite feature to the iPhone 14. While it is in many ways a groundbreaking feature for a smartphone, the company saw itself one-upped by this Motorola Defy Bluetooth keychain. The Defy can be connected to almost any smartphone, iPhone or Android, and using an app can harness the power of satellites not only for SO and location sending, but also for texting! Recipients of a satellite-sent text will receive a notification asking them to download the app so they can read and respond. This offers more functionality than the iPhone 14’s satellite feature, but of course, Apple’s offering is built into your iPhone. If nothing else, this shows that we’re not that far away from satellite-based texting, which could be a massive leap in smartphone technology.
2. Easy repairs
Apple’s iPhone is notoriously difficult to repair, even despite the company’s efforts at creating a fully-functioning self-repair service complete with tools you can buy from the company. A new Nokia phone from HMD, the G22, boasts immense repair accessibility. It’s a budget smartphone at just $180 that is designed with ease of repair in mind. Swapping out the phone’s battery takes just five minutes, and a screen repair can be done in 20 minutes. An iPhone 15 that could be repaired much faster and more easily, either at the Genius Bar or in the comfort of your own home, would be a very welcome addition indeed. The iPhone 14 did have a better repair score than the iPhone 13, but we’ve still got a long way to go before the iPhone has a battery that can be replaced in 5 minutes, especially one that can be done by the customer.
3. Ultra-fast charging
Two new phones from Realme and Redmi put Apple’s iPhone 14 charging to shame. Apple’s iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro come with paltry charging of 20W, or a bit more if you’ve got the juice, to give you a 50% charge in around 30 minutes even when using the best iPhone chargers available. Officially unveiled at MWC, Realme’s GT3 clocks in with 240W SuperVOOC charging that can fill a 4,600mAh battery in just nine and a half minutes! Not to be outdone, Redmi this week announced a phone that can charge at up to 300W, charging your phone to 100% in less than five minutes. Now, I’m not saying we need a rocket-powered iPhone that charges in 30 seconds inside a microwave, but the iPhone is seriously lagging behind the competition when it comes to fast charging. Surely Apple has to make inroads into this with iPhone 15. USB-C could be a good start here, but come on, Apple, let's get some faster charging with the next iPhone, even Xiaomi’s new 13 Pro can be charged to 100% in just 19 minutes. Speaking of which…
4. More camera upgrades
The new Xiaomi 13 Pro was co-engineered with Leica and boasts some of the most potent camera hardware ever strapped to a smartphone. It features a 1” ultra-large sensor capable of 50MP shots. However, I’m actually more interested in the adjacent lenses. Because despite the awesome power of the 50MP 1-inch lens, Xiaomi also offers a potent 50MP Ultra-Wide camera, a 50MP 75mm floating telephoto camera, and a 32MP in-display selfie camera. The main camera on the iPhone 14 Pro is pretty impressive, but I’m left feeling very jealous about the wealth of good camera hardware on the new Xiaomi 13 Pro. Can we get some Megapixel love in some of the other iPhone cameras this year, Apple?
5. Another display
Personally, I think folding phones are a bit silly, and I won’t be rushing out of the house to buy an iPhone flip of the future. However, the Oppo Find N2 Flip features an awesome cover screen that you can use for quick notifications and more. It has a large 3.26 inches of screen real estate which makes it great for my favorite use case, as a rear-viewfinder for your smartphone’s camera. Imagine an iPhone 15 with a rear display that you could use as a viewfinder for taking videos, I think it would be tremendous. Sure, the folding mechanism for camcorder-style handheld recording adds to the nostalgia here, but I love this idea and would pay big money for an iPhone that could do the same.
iPhone 15 - what could have been
Of all these upgrades, I think my personal favorite, and the most realistic, would be an improvement to faster charging. USB-C will be a big upgrade to the iPhone 15, but if we don’t start to see some snappier fast-charging speeds, the iPhone is going to seriously start lagging behind the competition. That’s even in contrast to the tamer charging speeds of the Xiaomi 13 Pro, let alone the insane speeds on offer from vendors like Redmi and Realme. With an iPhone 15 launch tipped for September, we don’t have long to wait and find out.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9