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What the iPhone, iPad, and iOS need in 2018 – Macworld

2017 was a pretty great year for iOS. A whole lot of my wish-list items for iPhone and iPad got checked off. And yet, like a kid who got a bike under the tree and still immediately begins assembling a birthday wish list, it’s my job as a columnist to immediately ask Apple what it’s done for iOS lately. Ungrateful, I know, but life goes on: Here’s what I hope to see from Apple in the world of iOS in 2018.

More iPhones

The iPhone X was the banner product of 2017, but it’s still just a first take on a whole new generation of iPhone hardware. In 2018 I’d like to see an upgrade to the iPhone X, sure—ideally retaining the iPhone X name, because who wants to buy the iPhone XI? But I’d also like to see an iPhone X Plus, with a huge OLED screen. Personally, the iPhone X is about as much iPhone as I want to carry in my hand or pocket, but I know a bunch of iPhone Plus users who would love to use a larger iPhone X.

iphone x iphone 8 plusApple

I am not sure I actually wish for there to be a follow-up to the iPhone 8, but I suspect there will be, probably called the iPhone 9. Ideally it will add Face ID, though probably not an OLED screen, since that would basically make it an iPhone X. I expect that this will probably be the last generation of the older iPhone models, but who knows? Apple keeps older iPhone models kicking around way past their usual expiration date.

The one “old” phone I really want to see in 2018 is the iPhone SE. It’s been a couple of years since the iPhone SE was released, keeping a 4-inch screen in the iPhone product line, and at a low price. This is a model that doesn’t need to be updated, but it’s about time for a version with iPhone 7 or 8-level specs.

iPads with less around the edges

The iPad Pro had a good year, with updates across the board. It may be too much to ask for an iPad Pro update in 2018, but what’s the fun in that? Whether it comes this year or next, it’s obvious that the next iPad Pro should feature reduced bezels and remove the home button, replacing it with Face ID. (The trick with the iPad Pro, as well as any possible iPhone X Plus, is that they’re devices that can be used in either portrait or landscape orientation—requiring an extra degree of complexity from Face ID.)

apple ipad 2017Apple

As someone who is a fervent believer in the iPad Pro as a productivity device, I’m also going to continue beating the drum for improvements that make the iPad Pro more like a “real” computer, such as a USB-C port and broader support for external USB devices, most notably on the storage side.

The iPad Pro is in many ways defined by the two accessories that only work on iPad Pro models: the Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard. Both of them could use a refresher. A new Pencil could potentially be shorter (the better to use it with an iPhone X Pro?), support inductive charging, and include a side button or eraser. A new Smart Keyboard could add a row of function keys for media control.

But what I really want is for Apple to fully embrace the iPad-as-laptop concept and build an even smarter keyboard, an attachable keyboard with real, tactile keys and a hinge that lets the iPad Pro be used like a laptop. I’m using a version of this product right now, but it’s made by a third party manufacturer with a poor track record for reliability. The concept is solid; Apple could make it a reality.

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