Dear Tim Cook,
As the CEO of Apple, for the past several years I’ve written you with a wish list of new features I wanted to see on the next iPhones, as you prepared to launch the new editions.
Sometimes you agreed with me, like in 2016 when I requested water-resistant iPhones, and other times you passed, like in 2018 when I begged for a Wide Selfie mode to get more people into the shot – like Samsung offered on some phones.
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But as you prepare Tuesday to show the world what you have in store with four new models – beyond the extra power, faster processing, 5G connectivity and beautiful screens that you’ll surely be touting – may I go over a few things I’d love to see too?
I have a list, but one feature tops it so dominantly that it pretty much dwarfs everything else.
Face ID has to go
Face ID has got to go. It never worked well to begin with, but in the COVID era, even with your software fix attempts, the iPhone just can’t recognize me, and so many other readers, if I’m wearing a mask.
I’m thrilled to see that Touch ID, which for my money always worked better anyway, is returning on a new iPad set for release later this month. The iPad will have Touch ID built into the power button, which is great. I also love how the new Samsung Galaxy S models and the new OnePlus phones have fingerprint sensors directly on the screen itself.
I would be happy with either. As long as I can start drastically cutting down on the number of times a day I have to type the passcode into the phone.
You’ll likely be highly touting 5G, and the fact that the new iPhones will connect to the new, supposedly faster, wireless networks. That’s all well and good, but it’s not a feature that’s going to change my life tomorrow. The 5G networks, as we know them now, are either very spotty (in terms of Verizon) or barely any faster than 4G (via AT&T and T-Mobile). That will change, I’m sure. But for now, removal of Face ID would be a much bigger deal than 5G.
► Retire 64 GB. Come on, when you sell a device that takes amazing, higher resolution photos and videos, access to a world of data-hogging apps and an ever growing operating system, you could fill 64 GB (the entry point for most iPhone storage capacity) in a matter of weeks. On my phone, I have a whopping 293 GBs full of photos, videos and apps. But take away the visuals, and apps alone account for 89 GB – way more than any entry level iPhone could handle. Look, you don’t offer expandable storage, like competitors, so why not share some of the Apple wealth and this year match competitors with 128 GB minimum storage, or better yet, show a little COVID era kindness, and give everybody 256 GB.
Apple has apparently decided not to ship charging bricks with the new phones, in the name of ecology. So please pass on the savings with extra storage.
► Always on display. The new Series 6 Apple Watch finally fixed what I always thought was a fatal flaw. Every time you looked at it, the screen was dark, until you shook it back to life. Now you can read the watch face any time, and that makes a huge difference. Why not apply the same technology to an iPhone that’s always dark when you reach for it to check the time, weather and appointments?
► Battery and screen. For years I’ve been begging for an all-day battery and a screen that won’t crack. I’m not alone. As David Grenewetzki, who writes apps for Apple Watch said on Facebook, “Nobody is arguing for thinner and thinner phones.” They just want a phone that doesn’t have to be constantly charged.
► Really improved optics. I’m with photographer and educator Scott Kelby, who puts a way improved camera at the top of his list. “A real telephoto zoom lens,” he says. “Not a 4x. Like a 10x or 20x.” The latest Galaxy S20 Ultra has a 10x zoom that produces fine photos. If Samsung can do it, so can Apple, right?
► Cables: Kelby has another on his wish list that I couldn’t agree with more. It’s time to say goodbye to the Lightning charging connector, and shift to the industry standard of USB-C. “We all know it’s coming – can we just be done with it and make the transition now?,” says Kelby.
Since more gadget makers started working with USB-C, it’s made my life so much simpler. One cable can charge my GoPro, drone, Android phones and even an iPad. Remember the days of struggling with USB, Micro-USB and Mini-USB cables to charge various products? Mr. Cook, it’s time.
Even if you don’t come through on any of these, I can’t wait to watch you from the other side of my computer on Apple.com or the Apple YouTube channel Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET. And I’m keeping my fingers crossed for some great surprises.
In other tech news this week
House Judiciary Committee says big tech should be broken up. Naturally, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google parent Alphabet disagree. For instance, Apple told USA TODAY: “We have always said that scrutiny is reasonable and appropriate but we vehemently disagree with the conclusions reached in this staff report with respect to Apple. Our company does not have a dominant market share in any category where we do business.” Apple is correct that Samsung is No. 1 for phones and Windows PC makers for laptops, but Apple likes to tout that its Apple Watch outsells all the Swiss watch makers combined and analysts say the more people buy iPads than other tablets.
Facebook said it would ban the conspiracy group QAnon on the social network. The company will remove any Facebook pages, groups and Instagram accounts aligned with the conspiracy group. Until now, Facebook only said it would take action against QAnon activity containing discussions about potential violence. Also this week, Facebook said it would ban political ads after polls close on election day.
Hey Google, can you open and operate my app now? Yes indeed. Google introduced new features for the Google Assistant, but only on Android phones, to do such things as log calories on MyFitnessPal or have the news read to you from Twitter by voice. This week Google also introduced the vastly improved successor to the Google Home speaker, called Nest Audio.
How do you respond to an all-caps post? Our president does it all the time. Is it screaming or enthusiasm?
This week’s Talking Tech podcasts
Hey Google, Alexa can read my Gmail, why not Google too?
Hospitals have been hit hard by ransomware
Should big tech be broken up?
Vote by smartphone in 2020
What we’re really watching in streaming
Follow USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Dear Tim Cook, here are some new iPhone features I’d love to see in 2020