4 Humble Requests for Helping the iPhone Retain Its Smartphone Dominance

Is Apple running out of iPhone ideas?

It’s too early to say for sure whether the XS, the XS Max, and the XR will be a hit or a flop with consumers. But there have still been a handful of signals that iPhone fans are starting to tire of year-after-year of relatively incremental changes to the flagship devices.

The first major sign that Apple needs to innovate was the backlash to the announcement that it would top reporting individual unit sales of its products in its latest earnings call. Whatever the reason, the fact that Apple planned to stop bragging about how many iPhones it sells every quarter suggested to many that it thinks it will have less to brag about in 2019.

The news was followed by a pessimistic forecast from the notable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who now predicts that Apple will ship somewhere between 47 or 52 million units in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the 52 million sold during Q1 of this year. The analyst believes this will be primarily caused by underperforming iPhone XR shipments, according to a 9to5Mac report. This is in contrast to his previously positive outlook for the XR. It’s true that similarly dire predictions followed the release of the iPhone X which turned out to be unfounded, but we still have to wonder how much juice is left to squeeze out of Apple’s biggest-ever hardware hit.

This year’s iPhone keynote was also particularly underwhelming, with a number of notable omissions like the fabled AirPower and nothing particularly ground-breaking to make up for it.

So what will it take for Apple to continue boxing out 40 percent of the United States smartphone market share, according to a second-quarter analysis by Counterpoint? The Cupertino-based company will need to impress with game-changing features and redesigns to keep from being overshadowed by other smartphone brands, which are already starting to more audaciously re-think what a smartphone should look like and what it should be able to do.

4. 2019 iPhones Innovations: A Notch Overhaul

iphone x notch diagram
Everything that is packed into an iPhone X's notch.

If Apple doesn’t at least decrease the size of the notch, next year’s iPhones will probably a disappointment, as the notch is a serious sticking point among Apple enthusiasts who still put a premium on design.

The iPhone X introduced the notch in 2017 and it has since been adopted by a swath of other devices. But this display cutout is merely a stepping stone toward truly bezel-less smartphones that will likely be market-standard one day.

Currently the notch remains because it’s necessary, as it houses the phone’s front-facing camera and its facial-recognition sensors. The next big leap in smartphone design is figuring out how to embed these components right into the screen, which would eliminate the need for front bezels altogether.

Bezel-free iPhones would change the game and may be a lot to ask for by next year, but a smaller notch would at least signal to users that Apple is aware of the problem.

3. 2019 iPhone Innovations: Switch to USB-C from Lightning

Lightining Connector
Could future iPhones have a USB-C port instead?

The biggest change Apple made this year was actually to the iPad Pro became the first iOS device to pivot from the Lightning charging standard to USB Type-C. And the iPhone stands to gain a lot from doing the same.

Apple’s iPhone have become more and more like a laptop in the palm of your hand. Both the iPhone XS and XS Max can support up to 512GB of storage and Apple has made it a point to tout their graphical capabilities.

With a USB-C port iPhone would be able to easily hook up the smartphone to a monitor and external hard drives to turn them into a portable computing powerhouse.

2. 2019 iPhone Innovations: Stop Breaking the Bank

iPhone XR
This year's "budget" iPhone seems to be off to a shaky start.

The $749 XR was supposed to be the long-awaited arrival of a budget-friendly iPhone. But if Kuo’s and some other lukewarm predictions, for its success play out, Apple might be inspired to finally release a new smartphone that won’t retail for close to a month’s rent.

A report by Nikkei Asian Review also suggests that even if the XR isn’t the hit it was predicted to be, Apple devices still claim a premium. Rather than ditching the XR for competitors, Nikkei’s report suggested that consumers are opting instead for iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which now start at $599 and $699 respectively. A truly new model at that price point would almost certainly be a hit next holiday season.

1. 2019 iPhones: Better Charger in the Box

apple fast charger
Bundling a fast charger with its iPhones is the least Apple can do.

Including a fast charger with iPhones is something that Apple should have been doing for years. Users can spend up to $1,400 for certain models, the least the company can do is throw in a way for them to juice up their new phone as fast as possible.

Samsung, Google, and LG all come with a fast charger, while Apple still bundles the same 5W power brick with all of its phones instead of its 12W adapter. This small touch would ensure users are getting the best Apple has to offer and give them more browsing time instead of charing time.