The iPhone has changed a lot since its 2007 introduction. But it’s in the next 10 years that we could see the Apple phone, and really all smartphones, undergo some really big changes.
So what will the iPhone be at its 20th anniversary?
According to the Wall Street Journal, which looked at patents Apple has filed and spoke to analysts who follow the company closely, it and its apps are poised to, more than ever before, exist beyond its rectangular screen.
This could be done through a “body area network” of devices residing on our wrists, in our ears and in our glasses.
It would work like this: If you need something, you will, without a phone in your hand, just ask Siri out loud. She’ll hear you through the tiny earbuds in your ear and reply to you the same way. Since plenty of iPhone users already walk around today with AirPods in their ears, that part sounds reasonable.
But how Siri shows you info could change from popping it on your iPhone’s screen to projecting it right in front of your eyes thanks to augmented reality glasses that patents and recent acquisitions show Apple seems keen on developing.
Apple did give a first look at its platform for AR at this year’s World Wide Developers Conference, but it was shown as a phone-based system.
And what will the Apple phone itself look like in 2027? As the Wall Street Journal points out, innovation is veering toward thinner phones and possibly even completely foldable phones -- and that goes for handsets from companies like Samsung, too.
Some in recent years have even posited that your phone will become your watch, and from there it’ll act as the brain to your highly functional earbuds, AR glasses or whatever other futuristic peripheral gets cooked up.
But then there’s also the idea that the brain of your phone could be implanted, essentially, in your brain. If you ask Martin Cooper, the inventor of the cellphone, he’ll tell you that’s what the future really is.
"The optimal place to put a telephone is let’s stick it right behind your ear,” he told David Pogue in a recent interview with Yahoo Finance. Cooper then explained how tech might eventually be developed to use the chemistry of the human body to power an implantable phone -- in other words, no more charging cables.
For the meantime, we’ll have to wait for shrinking, implantable phones and settle for shrinking phone screen bezels, because devices like the Galaxy S8 are what cell phones look like today, and Apple, for its 10th anniversary iPhone, is expected to deliver something in a similar design.
It will be the largest revamp of the iPhone ever but still very far away from where many believe the cell phone is headed.