back to article Buttonless and port-free: Expect the next iPhone to be as smooth as a baby's bum

Apple prompted complaints when it removed the 3.5mm audio port from iPhones in 2016. Expect future models to be even more radical. The Cupertino giant mulled the idea of exterminating the Lightning port entirely when it was designing the iPhone X, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. "During the development of the iPhone X, …

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  1. hplasm Silver badge
    Devil

    So-

    "Expect the next iPhone to be as smooth as a baby's bum"

    Yet half as useful and twice as shitty?

    1. Tabor

      Re: So-

      I conceived 2 children (or so I’ve been told), and whilst I agree that I’ve been shouting a lot more at my iPhone than at my baby’s bottoms when I had diaper duty, the usefulness of said bottoms as compared to the iPhone eludes me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Usefullness

        Well, just try surviving without said bottom, and then you will realise how useful one is.

      2. GIRZiM
        Coat

        Re: I conceived 2 children

        You mean you just thought about them?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Better come with IPS display, you can keep your OLED shit!!

      IPS display = superb (iPhone 6/7/8 all have it, as do iPads and many Android phones)

      OLED = worst (iPhone X) = screen burn in effects (similar to Plasma TVs), planned obsolescence (display gets very ugly after one year), UI has to suffer (forced dark mode, to minimize OLED power-hungry-consumption)

      I will never ever buy a device with OLED display again. IPS all day long, or even TN or e-ink.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Better come with IPS display, you can keep your OLED shit!!

        What utter rubbish

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          OLED disadvantages

          * Lifespan: The biggest technical problem for OLEDs is the limited lifetime of the organic materials. After 1,000 hours the blue luminance degrades by 12%.

          * Color balance: OLED material used to produce blue light degrades significantly more rapidly than the materials that produce other colors, blue light output will decrease relative to the other colors of light.

          * Water damage: Water instantly damages the organic materials of OLED displays.

          * Outdoor performance: The metallic cathode in an OLED acts as a mirror, with reflectance approaching 80%, leading to poor readability in bright ambient light such as outdoors.

          * Power consumption: OLED use 3 times more power than an LCD (IPS) displaying an image with a white background. This leads to reduced battery life. And forced black-themed UI to mitigate this major disadvantage.

          1. eldakka Silver badge

            Re: OLED disadvantages

            * Lifespan: The biggest technical problem for OLEDs is the limited lifetime of the organic materials. After 1,000 hours the blue luminance degrades by 12%.

            * Color balance: OLED material used to produce blue light degrades significantly more rapidly than the materials that produce other colors, blue light output will decrease relative to the other colors of light.

            I can't speak for phone OLED screens, but this isn't a problem for LG OLED TVs as they don't use blue OLEDs. The OLEDs they do user are rated at some huge number that is about 10 years of being on 24x7x365.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Better come with IPS display, you can keep your OLED shit!!

          > What utter rubbish

          ...naivé. Better read up about OLED on wikipedia!

          OLED is just cheaper to produce but has big disadvantages for the user.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Better come with IPS display, you can keep your OLED shit!!

            Downvoted because that's not how you spell naïve!

            (If you're going to use accents, use the right ones!)

      2. Davegoody

        Re: Better come with IPS display, you can keep your OLED shit!!

        It's somewhat "ironic" the comparisons to bottoms here as you, plainly, are talking out of yours good sir.

  2. macjules Silver badge

    Err ..

    According to Bloomberg (quoted as a 'source' for the VB story):

    Shares of Energous Corp., which is developing a wireless-charging system called WattUp, fell 4.3 percent on Thursday. The company has said it’s working with tier 1 device makers, sparking speculation that Apple is a partner. However, the iPhone maker is using a mix of its own chip and wireless technology from the Qi standard.

    "Out of Apple, Samsung, HP, Microsoft, and Hitachi, DTR analyst Louis Basenese argues that only Apple meets all of the criteria necessary to be the partner in question" That is just journalism by speculative deduction, not by actual known fact.

    According to Bloomberg (again) Apple plans to produce the charger with Pegatron Corp., which also builds some iPhones, according to a person familiar with the arrangement.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Err ..

      According to rumors about Apple's wireless charger that has been delayed again, apparently it contains an A* SoC just like iPhones, Apple TVs and HomePod. There's no reason I can think of why you'd put something that powerful in a simple charging mat, so it is obviously something more.

      Whether that "something more" is wireless power at a distance ala Energous, or some sort of very high speed near field communication that would obsolete the need for a physical port even for a connection as high bandwidth as 4K HDMI, who knows. It will be interesting to see what it is, and what it needs that computing power for.

  3. D@v3

    Design ommisions.

    With each new iPhone that emerges, i am still surprised that they haven't done away with the 'mute' switch on the left hand side, above the volume. As it is very much a single function switch, and could easily be replaced by a toggle in the control center.

    If you could assign functions to it, as a hardware toggle, that would be useful, but mine just lives very much in the 'mute' position.

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: Design ommisions.

      You can set it to lock/unlock rotation in the settings. That's what it's set to control on my iPad.

      1. D@v3

        Re: Design ommisions.

        I think it was the same on mine. Tellingly, they removed the switch from the iPad a few generations back. Certainly not there on my Air2, which is a few years old now.

        Can't find any reference to the switch in the settings on iOS11, on a 6s.

  4. SkippyBing Silver badge

    I take it we're just ignoring the issue of it being less efficient than plugging the things in then? I mean what's an extra power station or two between friends.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      When it comes to things I plug into to wall sockets, phone chargers use very little juice. Whilst it's not ideal that wireless charging is less efficient than using a cable, far more electricity could be saved by looking at other appliances and behaviours.

      Where wireless-only charging would really inconvenience me as a user would be when using portable power banks, and if I wanted to charge in a hurry.

      A happy compromise is phones with external nubs for receiving power, akin to MagSafe. A few generations of Sony Xperia featured such a system. The Nokia 6210 and earlier models could also be charged in docks using external contacts.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        >A happy compromise is phones with external nubs for receiving power,

        It is notable that Apple haven't decided to equip the iPhone and/or iPad with magnetic connectors like the MacBook.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          IIRC

          The patent on the magnetic connectors ran out. Thus no money to be made in working tech, just patented useless junk.

        2. RubberJohnny

          They would have to deal with making the magnet work without messing with the compass function.

          1. david bates

            My Pebble Steel has both...

            How often are you going to want to use the compass, not be able to recalibrate AND be on charge at the same time?

  5. James 51 Silver badge
    FAIL

    There goes a completely sealed unit that is designed to be thrown in the bin whenever it fails. Even if Apple create a machine to strip it down for recycling it will still reduce the ability to repair devices.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Including iOS software update failures too, as if iCloud lockout isn't enough reason for a $1000 phone to go for like $100 as salvaged for parts.

  6. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    "Including a wireless charger with new iPhones would also significantly raise the price of the phones." - WTF. How about the money saved from not having to add a LIghtning cable connector?

    1. James 51 Silver badge

      The connector is probably a few pence. Going inductive probably means lots of patent royalities to other companies.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge
        Joke

        New Apple invention :)

        If induction charging gets included in the next model won't that mean Apple has just invented it like many of the other features?

        Also could it be set to work in reverse so users have to ability to warm a bagel on a metal phone cover?

        1. RyokuMas Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: New Apple invention :)

          "Also could it be set to work in reverse so users have to ability to warm a bagel on a metal phone cover?"

          Well, that would just be in keeping with Apple tradition - I recall the Macs we had at my university kicked out so much heat that we used to joke about having slots in the front for 3.5inch disks, 5.25inch disks, and slices of break in order to make toast...

        2. Phil Endecott Silver badge

          Re: New Apple invention :)

          > Also could it be set to work in reverse so users have to

          > ability to warm a bagel on a metal phone cover?

          Yes, I’m sure you could inductively couple into a bagel or a ring doughnut if it were sufficiently conductive.

          Of course non-ring-shaped food items would be more difficult. Perhaps it would create a market for ring-shaped Cornish pasties? Just avoid curly-wurlies - I reckon that “ladder” topology would act like some kind of voltage multiplier...

        3. RubberJohnny

          Re: New Apple invention :)

          If induction charging gets included in the next model won't that mean Apple has just invented it like many of the other features?

          Wireless charging is already in the iPhone 8,.

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Pint

        yes but...

        Going port free makes it a lot harder for those TB connected devices to break into the iPhone.

        Upsidess and dowsides perhaps but this is all speculation by Bloomberg who are not known as being Apple friendly... sort of like this site really. Still it makes for a good topic to wind down the week on.

        Time for one of these -->

        1. Rusty 1

          Re: yes but...

          "TB connected devices" - what, badgers?

    2. GIRZiM

      "Including a wireless charger with new iPhones would also significantly raise the price of the phones."

      What are they talking about?

      The kind of person who spends as much money on a new phone as iPhone users do isn't going to stop to think "Ooh, no, that's a bit much this time", they're just going to grit their teeth and wave their gullibility under everyone's nose, saying "It cost $187 more because it's supermodern and only charges wirelessly", faking upset whilst secretly pleased they can do so - that's why they buy iPhones in the first place - whilst the rest of us wonder how badly it would hurt when we fell to the floor and faked our own death of boredom and whether it would be worth it have them shut up long enough to call the emergency services or whether the price of them wandering around shoving it under everyone's nose with "and if I hadn't had my new iPhone on me..." for f**king months afterwards wouldn't be even greater than enduring their smug self-satisfaction just a little longer.

      1. Sanctimonious Prick
        Happy

        Apple

        While I'm not a big fan of Apple, I have owned four of them (iPhones) over the years. One just completely broke (it didn't mind a glass of beer or a glass of water from time to time). One got stolen. And one I gave to a friend who had never owned a smartphone before (he loves it). My current phone is an iPhone 6S.

        My point is, I've never bought any of those phones 'brand new.' My first iPhone was a 3GS, which cost just $200 from a pawn shop. Mind you the pawn shop across the road was selling the exact same model for $600, second hand.

        I can control which Apps have access to the Internet, and those that cannot. I have control over that on my current iPhone, and I really like that.

        I have owned a couple of Android phones, but they always seem to be a bit shitty performance wise.

        I do imagine the day I'll stop using Apple phones, and I'd very much like it to be soon.

        I wouldn't mind the latest Samsung phone, but I've been put off by the 'battery explosion' news.

        Be kind, and Peace to Syria!

      2. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

        No, don't hold back! Tell us how you really feel.

  7. Mage Silver badge

    future models to be even more radical.

    You mean stupid.

    The audio jack removal is pure marketing. Degrades the product.

    Only "wireless" charging is stupid (can't charge in your hand and charger needs a cable & PSU and more space to carry).

    No physical data port is less secure and limiting.

    No physical SIM puts Apple or Operators in control. Less flexible. No anonymity.

    !!!

    I'm not the market for this overpriced style more important than function stuff anyway.

    1. a pressbutton

      Re: future models to be even more radical.

      no, you mean scary

      rumour has it that the next iPhone will have no physical existence.

      you pay several hundreds of pounds and hear ringing noises, voices, and see shifting coloured lights.

      .... in the land of Apple the phone plugs you in.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: future models to be even more radical.

        Quite.

        I use my phone as much plugged-in as I do unplugged.

        There's a reason I have chargers by my sofa. It's not that it *wouldn't* work on battery, but then I can use it unplugged at work all day if I want (or plugged in in my office), plug it in the evening when I'm using it, and it'll be ready for the next morning / later that evening.

        For sure I wouldn't buy a wireless charger for... car... office... home... anywhere else I leave it... plus a new battery pack to charge it on the move when outside of civilisation, etc. Not for the sake of them omitting a 50p socket.

    2. paulf Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: future models to be even more radical.

      "No physical data port is less secure and limiting."

      Removing the lightning port all together kinda renders moot the iOS12 feature to lock the lightning port after an hour.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi

        Re: future models to be even more radical.

        Not really - that feature is intended as another marketing gimmick for the plebs who still have the iPhone with the Lightning port, to tell them that we care about you maybe?

      2. DougS Silver badge

        @paulf

        They're not "locking the lightning port after an hour", they're locking the USB port data functionality only. It will still have Lightning functionality (i.e. audio, video, etc.) and be able to receive power via USB but won't pass USB data after it is has been an hour since it was last unlocked with the password (unlocks via face/finger don't count)

        This prevents companies like Cellbrite from using various undisclosed USB / iOS hacks to bypass its security, but doesn't impair usage by the phone's legitimate owner. The only inconvenience the owner would experience is when he has it plugged into a computer for iTunes or transferring photos or whatever he'll have to enter his password on the phone once an hour.

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: future models to be even more radical.

      Only "wireless" charging is stupid (can't charge in your hand and charger needs a cable & PSU and more space to carry).

      Simple - I expect Apple will before long go the same route as "disposable contact lenses" - you sign up for a year's supply of phones which will be mailed to you at intervals/pickup from Apple Store. They work until the in-built battery or super capacitor runs down to a preset level and is then permanently bricked. Everything stored in the cloud so no data loss due to bricked device.

  8. Christian Berger Silver badge

    That's actually very simple to achieve, technically

    As you have no headphone socket, it makes little sense to have audio processing inside, same goes for speakers and microphones.

    Then it's obviously a problem if the user stores data on the device as that can more or less easily be copied during police searches. Persistent memory is also the main reason why jailbreaking works, so ditch any kind of persistent memory.

    Then obviously Apple has to share its profits with mobile carriers. Those want to have some share of the money. Removing the wireless interfaces would get around that. No LTE, no need for a SIM.

    CPUs are no longer of any relevance in the mobile world. Nobody buys product X because it's CPU is faster than Y. Since you have no interfaces and no storage, there's nothing for your CPU to do anyhow, so get rid of it.

    OLED screens are _really_ expensive. However a simple sheet of glass can look just as nice, particularly if you print something preety on its back. This also removes one huge burden for your power budget and might get you to the next point.

    Batteries are expensive and require some way to charge and/or replace them. Also they can catch fire. If you also remove the cameras you might be able to reduce your power so much that you can get away without any battery.

    So yes, you can easily produce such a device, and I'm sure Apple could even sell it. It could even be made incredibly thin so reviewers would love it.

  9. Rafael #872397
    Trollface

    ..charging without ever removing the phone from your pocket...

    Comin' up next on The Violence Channel: An all-new "Ow, My Balls!"

  10. Androgynous Cow Herd

    6s plus was my last iphone

    Lack of headphone jack was enough to stop any upgrade plans. These “Innovations” make the phone less functional.

    Thank goodness the old 6S is still running well, because the whole Apple vs Android thing is turning into the last presidential election...there are no good choices.

    1. James 51 Silver badge

      Re: 6s plus was my last iphone

      Freephone is looking like a good choice or there is librem5 if you're use to paying apple prices for nice things.

      1. James 51 Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: 6s plus was my last iphone

        Should have been fairphone, not free phone.

        1. RubberJohnny

          Re: 6s plus was my last iphone

          Unfortunately the Fairphone is Android. No deal.

          1. James 51 Silver badge

            Re: 6s plus was my last iphone

            Fairphone has lineageOS, FPOpen, Sailfish and probably a few more flying under the radar.

  11. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    More Deadly Waves!

    Out on the West Coast we still have a fairly vocal crew that is convinced that all radio waves (except inexplicably AM, FM, and TV) cause cancer and/ or brain damage.

    Yet I'll wager they'll all be iPhone users....

    Energous claiming to be able to provide power to multiple devices from three feet away, up to a 30-foot "envelope".

    God I love marketing speak. A pint to anyone who can make sense of that.

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