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iPhone 15 Features I Really Want to See

Commentary: Aside from USB-C charging, I’m hoping for the return of Touch ID and more features for the Dynamic Island.

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Apple has given us a lot of iPhone wish list items over the years, but we want more.

James Martin/CNET

With the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, Apple already addressed some of the drawbacks of the iPhone by introducing features like an always-on display. But there are many ways Apple might enhance the iPhone experience, particularly for the less expensive, non-Pro devices. A USB-C charging port rather than Apple’s exclusive Lightning connector is one of the greatest changes I’m hoping to see, as it would make it much simpler to charge many devices with a single cable.

Over time, Samsung routinely integrates expensive capabilities into less expensive phones, and I’d like to see Apple adopt this strategy even more wholeheartedly. If the Dynamic Island is made available on Apple’s lower cheap smartphones, for instance, it might become a more significant component of the iPhone experience. It’s also past time to increase the refresh rate of Apple’s standard iPhones.

We’ll have to wait until September to learn more about the upcoming iPhone since Apple usually announces new models then and releases them soon after. But during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference on June 5, when the firm unveiled its next iOS 17 upgrade, we did get a sneak peek at new features coming to existing iPhone models.

USB-C charging

The iPhone still needs a Lightning cable to charge, but that may not be the case for long.

Sarah Tew/CNET

It’s time for a change after ten years of the Lightning connector. There has never been a greater demand for a single charger that powers all devices than there is now that so many Apple goods are switching to USB-C. Apple currently sells four different types of chargers: MagSafe (the wireless magnetic charger for iPhones), USB-C (for most new iPads and MacBooks), Lightning (for iPhones, the 2021 iPad, AirPods, and a few other accessories), and MagSafe 3 (the magnetic charger for the 2022 MacBook Air, 14-inch MacBook Pro, and 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro).

Making new iPhones compatible with USB-C instead of Lightning means you could use the same cable to charge your new phone, the Mac and new iPads. There’s a good chance most of your other electronics use USB-C too.


Fortunately, a USB-C iPhone might not be too far off. The requirement that all phones sold in the region must include a USB-C charging connector was announced by the European Union, and Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of global marketing, confirmed that the business would comply. During an interview at the Wall Street Journal Tech Live conference, he made the remarks. According to Bloomberg, Apple has also tried USB-C iPhones in the past.

Apple has not, however, provided any information regarding its exact plans. Given that USB-C must be implemented by the end of 2024 under the new regulations, it is unknown if Apple will start doing so with the iPhone 15 or if it will hold off until the following year. Additionally, Apple has not said if USB-C would be available on all iPhone models or only those sold in Europe, despite expectations from experts that Apple will switch entirely to USB-C.

Higher refresh rates on the regular iPhone 15

Apple increased the refresh rates of the panels on its high-end devices starting with the iPhone 13 Pro. Apple’s ProMotion technology, which is available on the iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max, can increase the refresh rate of the screen up to 120Hz based on what is being displayed. The result is better animations and more fluid scrolling.

It’s a minor addition, but it improves the overall feeling of the experience, as my colleague Patrick Holland noted in his review of the iPhone 13 Pro. Although it’s hardly a deal breaker, most smartphones now come with a high refresh rate. For example, Samsung’s $800 Galaxy S22 has a 120Hz refresh rate, while Google’s $599 Pixel 7 has a 90Hz refresh rate. A 120Hz display is standard on even the $450 Galaxy A53 5G, making the $799 iPhone 14’s lack of one feel even more conspicuous.

However, there’s a chance Apple may keep ProMotion exclusive to its high-end smartphones this year. Ross Young, a display industry analyst and CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants, tweeted in September that he’s not expecting to see this feature on the standard iPhone 15. 

More features that use the Dynamic Island

The iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island.

James Martin/CNET

The Dynamic Island is effectively a second tiny screen and is only available on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. Apple decided against removing the notch and instead gave it a new use by displaying data from other apps.

For instance, the top of the screen in Maps displays timers, directions, and the music that is now playing, saving you from having to navigate between apps. On the iPhone 14 Pro, the Dynamic Island makes multitasking simpler. Apple has historically trailed behind Samsung and other Android phones that enable split-screen apps in this regard.

I hope Apple uses the Dynamic Island considerably more in the upcoming year now that it has demonstrated its worth. It would be interesting to see Apple give suggestions for apps that would be useful based on your activities, the time of day, or your schedule in this area. The usage that app creators make of the Dynamic Island also has a lot to do with it. There are already a few apps that use the Dynamic Island, such Pixel Pals, which essentially functions as an iPhone Tamagotchi. However, I’m hoping to see more realistic use cases for the Dynamic Island that make it seem more important to your phone, like the home screen on an iPhone.

You might not need the iPhone 15 to use the Dynamic Island if Apple decides to add more features to it in the future. Alternatively, Apple could incorporate new Dynamic Island capabilities into its upcoming significant software upgrade, which is most certainly going to be dubbed iOS 17.

A smaller notch on the regular iPhone 15

The iPhone 14 and 14 Plus (pictured) still have a notch.

James Martin/CNET

I hope Apple at least makes the notch less obtrusive if it isn’t going to add the Dynamic Island on the standard iPhone 15. With the exception of the Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, the notch hasn’t undergone much modification since it first appeared on the iPhone X in 2017. Other smartphone manufacturers, including Samsung, Google, and OnePlus, have managed to design their handsets with edge-to-edge displays without creating a significant notch for the front-facing camera. The iPhone 15 would undoubtedly have more screen area and a more contemporary appearance if the notch were smaller.

We might have to wait till the iPhone 16 to see whether Apple takes this path. Under-display Face ID and front-facing camera sensors, according to Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst with TF International Securities well-known for his Apple forecasts, are expected to debut in 2024.

However, the iPhone still has a wider notch than many of its rivals for legitimate reasons. It largely comes down to Face ID, which Google warns shouldn’t be used for validating sensitive data like payment information because it is more advanced than other facial recognition systems present on phones like the Pixel 7.

However, if Bloomberg’s often-accurate Mark Gurman is to be believed, Apple will bring the Dynamic Island to all four new iPhone models in 2023. 

Reverse wireless charging

Certain Samsung devices have Wireless PowerShare for charging other devices. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Reverse wireless charging, which is exactly what it sounds like, is available on many Android smartphones. The rear of phones like the Galaxy S23 and Pixel 7 may be used to charge additional gadgets, such as a smartwatch or earphones. Although it’s probably not a necessity for most people, I can see how it might be quite helpful for ardent AirPods users.

Nobody enjoys having a dead set of AirPods while they are commuting in the morning. It may be a game changer to have the ability to charge my AirPods for a little period of time on the back of my phone in order to acquire just enough juice to last me through my 30-minute train commute. Yes, you will have to give up some battery life on your phone. However, if you’re going somewhere, like the office, where you can readily charge your phone once you get there, it might be worth the trade-off.

The return of Touch ID

The iPad Air includes Touch ID in the power button.

Scott Stein/CNET

While Face ID is often convenient, there are times when it makes more sense to simply unlock your phone with your finger. I’m hoping Touch ID makes a comeback on the iPhone because of this. If you haven’t had a chance to configure Face ID to operate with a mask yet, you may not be holding your iPhone at the proper angle for Face ID.

Given that the latest basic iPad and iPad Air have Touch ID on the top button, Apple obviously understands the utility in fingerprint recognition. Giving users the option to use Face ID or Touch ID depending on the circumstance for the iPhone 15 would increase convenience. It would be wonderful to see iPhone users receive the same options as Android users, who typically have access to both a fingerprint reader and some type of facial recognition.

Whether Apple will ever reinstate Touch ID on the iPhone is unknown. In March 2022, analyst Kuo revised his prediction that future iPhones would feature a fingerprint sensor beneath the display. Introducing a new iPhone with Touch ID could be more crucial than ever, as Kuo speculations claim that Apple may scrap the iPhone SE it had previously planned for 2024.

Although the improvements I’m hoping for in the iPhone 15 won’t appear groundbreaking, they’re sure to make routine tasks like charging and unlocking your phone a little bit simpler.

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