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January 31st 2014 9:35 am

How would you change Apple’s iPhone 5?

The iPhone 5 was thinner, lighter and came with a bigger display than its predecessor. There’s plenty to like about this handset, even if the Lightning connector broke compatibility with 100 million iDevice accessories. But what we want to know is this: if you had disguised yourself as Jonathan Ive and snuck into Infinite Loop’s development labs, what would you have done differently? For instance, your humble narrator would have sacrificed a few more millimeters of thinness in exchange for a bigger battery. After all, those few MMs are a walk in the park compared to hauling a battery sleeve around with you all day. But what about you?

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38 replies

I would not stretch it so much, making it look like a remote control for TV. Plus, many people have difficulties with touching the upper corners of the this screen. Old 3.5'' were chosen not without a reason. The nonsense "bigger=better" mobile device evolution affected Apple and turned the 5th the wrong way.
The best way was in making narrower left an right bezels, so the display could be larger without the overall increase of iPhone. iPad Mini used this technology that same year, what was the meaning of a taller phone then? And yes, few people could complain on the 8.6 mm depth if Apple did so.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class doesn't have to be the biggest car in the world to be the best, right? Or McLaren P1, it doesn't need to be the widest and longest to be the fastest. So what will Sammy do this year? Make it's shovels even bigger?

Apple does everything (almost) right and it IS the real leader in the tech world.
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It seems as if Samsung, LG, HTC, etc just keep increasing screen size and eventually its going to bite them in the ass. Bigger isn't always better and it shows with the iPhone. Thing is tho a 4" display is okay but make it a tad bit bigger and you have a solid device. Now make it too big, 4.7"<, then various issues arise like battery life, ability to actually put it in a pocket. Widen the device a tad and thin it out and you'll have a solid platform for years to come.
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The best would be if Apple released this year 3 devices:
1) An original 3.5" iPhone for those, who's hands are smaller and fingers are not so long. The same resolution as 4s has.
2) Standart 4" (or with a bit larger screen in expense of wide bezels) with the same resolution as now.
3) New 4.6"-4.7" iPhone for enthusiasts.

No one stopped Apple from making MacBooks of different sizes, right? Who stopped it from making laptops in 11", 13", 15" and 17"? I don't even talk about iPod.
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I can maybe forsee them doing a mix of 4" and 4.5"+ devices but I doubt we'll see another 3.5" iPhone. Material and production costs probably won't be offset due to the lack of demand of such a device. Maybe make the "cheap" or "free" iPhone a 4" display e.g. a C model.

Having 2 display sizes would fit into the product line too. Air has 2 (11" and 13") , MBP has 2 (13" and 15", 17" has been discontinued for awhile), and iPad's have 2 (9.7" and 7.9"). So yeah a 4" iPhone and 4.7" iPhone would fit perfectly.
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Notification LED (small) but it should be there. Perhaps, daydream feature ;) and better speakers. Current ones sucks... Last but not the least BETTER BATTERY LIFE.......
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It's good, but not for iPhone. It would damage it's harmony of minimalism and design greatness. Except the the case when it could be placed in the Home button. Then, it would be very beautiful. Imagine, flashing Home button with a very light and soft glow.
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Maybe an LED ring around the home button?
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"your humble narrator would have sacrificed a few more millimeters of thinness in exchange for a bigger battery"


I feel this could apply to many phones other than iPhones as well however
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A miniSD card slot and a second speaker for stereo.
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I think the sound system needs to be improved. I don't listen to tunes through the speakers much, but when I do the lower tones of the songs completely choke the mids and highs of every other note. A full speaker, stereo or not would be amazing.
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That leads to terrible sound and stupid flimsy flaps like the Sony Xperia Z
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In my view there are two necessary improvements that should be in every new model - it's an increasing of screen resolution as well as battery life time.
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3 things:
  1. Larger screen. Premium phone with small screen = sad. I'm old enough that bigger text helps my eyes. You can also fit a larger battery behind a bigger screen (that's why Samsung started going so big.. They needed more battery for their LTE phones starting with Galaxy S3)
  2. SIM card slot. It's lame that Apple charges $100 to double flash.
  3. 3. Battery life is great, and addressed by (1) above if done right.
Oh and @harypal, you can use the LED as a notification light in the "accessibility" settings.
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I'm not sure about anyone else but my battery life is amazing with my iPhone 5S... I must have lucked out and gotten a phone with a great battery. I consider myself a moderate user, I'm on / using my phone a lot throughout the day (but I wouldn't consider myself a "power user" or a light user either). And my iPhone 5S is always above 50% battery remaining when I plug it in at the end of the day (17 - 18 hours between charges). In fact, right now as I look at it, it's at 60% and I used it quit a lot today (it's been unplugged for 15 hours now). I did have a regular iPhone 5 before this 5S and it's battery wasn't as good. I can't remember exactly but I do remember it was usually down into the 20% - 30% range at the end of the day with my same usage habits. If I did have a day with heavy usage, my original iPhone 5 would need to be charged again before the end of the day. I don't recall ever needing to charge my 5S before the end of the day, even with heavy usage.

Anyway, what would I change? I wish the "Space Gray" iPhone 5S was really black... I'd still rather have a deep black iPhone just like my original iPhone 5.

(This is more of a wish for iOS7 but...) I wish editing playlists were easier to do in the phone. I also wish I could search for a song / artist within a playlist.
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I would like apple to have a phone where I can use 2 SIM cards. I carry two phones like most business people. Samsung had a dual SIM Galaxy 4. I love Apple but have been thinking of migrating
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- Introduce a more scratch resistant screen with high PPI
- Increased Speaker Volume
- Better battery life
- Aluminium body coating to be more reliable (No Scuffs)
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Bigger screen, Led, widgets, software improvements, SPEED DIAL, and no more stupid itunes!!
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Lets re-phrase the question: What would get me to buy another iPhone when I decide to get rid of my 4s in the near future?

-security. Stop sleeping with the NSA or get them out of your back yard. (not a joke. quit fckin around)
-I could be into a bigger screen.
-fingerprints != secure
-NFC maybe? Not sure the utility...

I'm kinda done tbh. Spotify is slaying your business model. Your box is small and conformative.

Ill give you a chance though:

Get me a wifi calling solution so I can ditch these telecom providers and we *might* be able to make something happen. I spend 99% of my life in wifi, which will have better signal/bandwidth than any tower ever. T-Mo is doing alright, but I cant make a call at my folk's without walking around the block. If i can save $50/mo by using your phone, and have a pre-paid sim for on the road/emergencies... you might get me back. But I am probably going to make this happen anyways on hardware running cyanogen-mod.

Good luck Johnny. I'll spare you my uneducated solutions.

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I would soften the edges, the boxy look never quite cut it with me (unfriendly touch). Change the size of the screen to better proportions, these are ugly. Second Sim slot would really be a big help for cosmopolitans. And I would give the earphone cable a sideways going plug, this sticks out and is extremely unpractical. More power to the battery would be great too.
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Isn't this question little moot at this point?
I mean iPhone 5S is how you improve iPhone 5.
Now time for apple to toss this form factor and start new.
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Display: 4.7'' 1080x1920 resolution, 300ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass
Processor: Cortex A15 Quad Core
Ram: 2 GB
Graphic Card: Adreno 330
Internal Storage: 4 GB (user available)
Secondary Storage: Micro-SD expandable up to 32 GB
Camera: 8 MP with f/2.2 aperture
Sensors: Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, temperature, humidity, gesture

USB: MicroUSB v3.0
Operating System: None, customizable open-source operating system included in a CD along with the product.
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I'll go for everything on this list except for the operating system. Integrated hardware and OS gives you the best results. Oh, and 32 GB is not enough. My music collection is bigger than that, and my playlist is A-Z by song title.
May I also suggest, LED notification leads to the phone telling you when to look at it. I'm going in the other direction. The best new feature in iOS7 is Do Not Disturb. My phone doesn't ring unless it's one of my contacts.
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Get Spotify
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So you want an android? not gonna happen.
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LED notification like on the HTC One, yes I know you can use the LED flash but it isn't the same. Knowing you have a message by seeing a red light without having to wake the phone is nice.

Larger display but not too large. 4.5-4.7 inches at the most. 1080P resolution or higher would be awesome too.

More smudge / fingerprint resistant glass

SD card slot would be nice but to be honest I barely use the 32 GB I have already, iTunes Match and various other streaming services fill in to replace most locally stored music.

Capacitive touch home button. I'd rather have a capacitive touch button than the finger print reader.

More colors similar to the 5C.

Not a physical change but more so software. A more open operating system. Incorporate a lot of the jailbreak tweaks that have been coming out
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Capactive home button can be activated by mistake. Think about it. Opening control centre could activate it.
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"trackpad" on back of phone, which would lend itself to larger format phone, also…permitting ease of use with one hand.Dual SIM capability so I can get rid of one of my phones.
Solar charging
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The battery life is easily the weakest aspect of the iPhone 5. After all, if the battery id dead then the phone is just a paperweight.

I would HAPPILY buy an iPhone that it 50% thinker if the battery life was double.
Apple seems to increase the battery life by 5 and 10 percent, whereas what it really needs is a one hundred percent increase.
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All you need is iPhone 5S. Much better battery life. Designed for iOS7, which runs more tasks in background.
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I have the iPhone 5 and I love it. I liked how they improved on it with the 5S with touch ID, that was a neat feature. That's what sets them different to Samsung, is features like Touch ID that actually are helpful all the time to users, as opposed to adding a billion features that no-one even uses.

What the iPhone needs is better battery life. Hell, I love how the phone is so thin and light but I would rather have 2mm more thickness for an hour or two more battery life, you know what I mean? Apple really needs to work with someone to provide a really- REALLY good battery which I know they must be working really hard to do.

Siri is still lacking. I use siri all the time, but.. there's still so much it can't do. It can't even rename reminders, it just errors out. Siri is designed to be able to be spoken to as a person, but I still don't feel like I am. I feel like I'm speaking to a hard-of-hearing 5 year old sometimes. Siri should be able to control every aspect of the phone, it just isn't enough.

Also I really hope Apple doesn't go for a bigger screen. The is a perfect fit, even more so than the 3.5 inch screen of the past. I'm guessing that anything north of 4.2" is just silly, so I hope Apple doesn't choose to be the sheep this time around.
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I'm curious, with all these people talking about battery life, how many of them have turned off "Background App Refresh"... I thought it would be common knowledge by now but it is easily the biggest battery drain in iOS7... When I turned if off in my original iPhone 5, I easily regained 50%+ of my battery life.
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You can't really turn off background app refresh since iOS sucks at multi-tasking as-is. As an example, apps like Flickr which upload photos automatically, would stop working when the screen automatically switches off since they would be shoved into the background. And google maps will stop updating your location if pushed into the background.
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Three words:liquid.proof.coating
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Few things I would change:

1) Add a USB mass storage mode
2) Decouple the device from iTunes
3) Support all possible video codecs
4) Add a little to the thickness of the phone so that
a) it becomes easier to hold
b) it can hold a kick-ass battery for at least a couple of days of battery life
5) Add a nicer camera module - bigger sensor, more powerful flash
6) Add many more customization options to iOS - have an "expert" mode or "advanced" mode so that people who are happy with the current inflexibility, can continue to use it as-is.
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Two things, a six inch or better screen, and the Android OS...
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You are in luck! There is a device for you. Go look at a sony xperia z ultra.
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At least then the screen will be bigger than your dick, right?
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