If you’d asked me earlier this year to predict a change for the iPhone 12, I would have said that it would have a more powerful wireless charger. I was right (but as I didn’t write that down, can’t prove it, so I won’t crow about that).
Let me explain my thinking and where I think they’re going next.
The iPhone 13 (assuming they call it that) or iPhone 14 will drop the lightning port. Removing connectivity is Apple’s direction of travel for the iPhone and the improved wireless charging is a build up to this. This is why they’ve not changed the connection from Lightning to USB-C, as they’ve done with the iPad.
After the last connector has gone, they’ll look at the remaining mechanical parts. Mechanical components are points of failure and they’ve previously got rid of the home button for much this reason – that leaves the side buttons. As they did, initially, with home, the power and volume buttons will be physically static and the Taptic Engine will make you think otherwise. The mute switch will also change in some way from the current slider as part of this same change.
The notch will get smaller but Apple won’t move to a punch-hole solution, like Samsung, as those remaining sensors are too important to move or hide away in a half-arsed solution.
Maybe this is be categorised more under “what I’d like to see”, but it would be good for Touch ID to return, via the power button (as per the new iPad), whilst retaining Face ID.
None of this is based on current rumours but where Apple seem to be heading – removal of anything mechanical, as well as the remaining ports. As for “the notch”, Apple is never one to go for a “it’s near enough” approach, so the current alternatives to it simply won’t be sufficient. Of course, whether Apple crack other solutions in the meantime, who knows (e.g. under-screen cameras – although I doubt it, as these are unlikely to ever be as good). Let’s see.