Despite a massive list of new technology and changes coming out of Apple’s headquarters at One Infinite Way in Cupertino, CA, big chunks of the technology from the future have yet to arrive. Well, they have yet to arrive at Apple. But they will. Someday.
Here’s an example.
Fast charging – New battery technology means faster charging, and while our devices charge quickly, they don’t charge quickly enough. My Apple Watch can go from near dead to full charge in less than a couple of hours, but new technology promises to reduce that to minutes.
Wireless charging – This is more of a convenience than it is anything else, but it’s here already on some devices. For now, we’re required to charge an iPhone the old fashioned way. Plug in a charger to the wall, plug the charger’s cable into the iPhone. Wireless charging means a charger still needs to be plugged into the wall to provide power, but the iPhone would simply be placed on top of a wireless charger pad (about the same as Apple Watch) for the charging to begin.
Couple those two together and charging a device will become far less problematic.
Multi-lens cameras – Each year Samsung and Apple leapfrog each other with advanced cameras in their respective smartphones. Last year, the iPhone’s camera was tops. This year, Samsung’s camera is tops. What’s coming is obvious. Multi-lens cameras which should improve smartphone cameras to the level of mid-range DSLR’s.
Embedded SIMs – In short, no more SIM cards for iPhone and iPad. It’s all just software, easily changed to jump from one carrier to another as needed, easily updated. We’re on the brink of this feature going mainstream.
Biometric sensors – Apple’s iPhone and iPad have this already with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and Watch has it with the heart rate sensor (toss the embedded Motion Sensor into the mix, too), but all are limited. Touch ID is a biometric authentication system but how long must we wait for a trio of sensors– fingerprint, voice recognition, facial recognition?
Augmented and Virtual realities – These technologies make for great demonstrations, but for now probably fall into the game categories dominated by Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo; sure to disrupt, but not exactly mainstream– at least until we can wear glasses or contact lenses that are more functional and less Borg-like.
Intelligent Personal Assistants – Siri is the start and already runs with limited functionality on more than 1-billion devices. But Siri isn’t well integrated into our applications and that needs to change. One query to Siri could spawn access and action from multiple applications. That’s a true assistant. The buzzword for this is artificial intelligence, or AI. For now, Siri will remain a part of our Apple devices, but how long before Apple ups the ante with a true, moving, walking, talking robot, ala ‘I, Robot?‘
Flexible Displays – What’s the point? Are we going to fold up our iPhones and slide them into a pocket and take up less space? Very large, very thin displays which also act as windows to artificial intelligence agents, always on Wi-Fi and cell data, sounds intriguing, but other technological advances are required to get there (batteries, for example).
Apple’s future is coming and it’s likely that the $10-billion being spent each year on R&D will help to bring about such advances, but not much of it is here yet.