7 Apple Watch Features That Should Be in the Next iPhone

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Feature #1: User-Configurable, Dynamic Lock Screens

7 apple watch features that should be in next iphone
image credit ChinaFotoPress/ Stringer/Getty Images

 Last Updated: May 7, 2015

The Apple Watch brought a number of technology breakthroughs to Apple's product line, from new miniaturization techniques for hardware to new user interface options in software. While some of those new features only make sense on a watch, others are so great that Apple should make sure that they're part of the next iPhone.

Check out this collection of 7 features from the Apple Watch that need to show up in the iPhone 6S and how they might help iPhone users in the future.

The first of these features is user-configurable, dynamic lock screens. On the iPhone, you can't add widgets, apps, or other useful tools to your iPhone's lock screen. In fact, the only thing you can change about it is the photo in the background (​learn how to do that here).

Not so on the Apple Watch. A force touch (more on that in slide #4) on the watch-face screen lets the user not only select the style of the watch face they prefer but also what widgets appear there. The widgets are dynamic; for instance, mine shows:

  • the day of the week and the date
  • the time
  • the next appointment in my calendar
  • the current temperature
  • my activity levels for the day
  • my Watch's battery life.

Imagine being able to get that much useful information from your iPhone, at a glance, without having to unlock it!

This feature has been available to Android users for a while now; it's high time Apple brings this useful customization option to the iPhone.

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Feature #2: Raise to Activate

apple watch raise to wake
image credit Chris McGrath/ Staff/Getty Images

The Apple Watch's screen is turned off by default, but activating it is a simple matter of lifting your wrist and turning the Watch to face you. When you do that, the screen lights up and the device is ready for action.

It's such a simple gesture, and such an extremely useful one, that within a couple of days of having my Watch, I started to expect that my iPhone should behave the same way. 

Waking your iPhone by lifting it up with the screen facing you would be so much easier and more natural than having to press a button to light up the screen and then unlock it.

There are some technical issues that would have to be worked out (how to avoid lighting up the screen every time you move the iPhone too much, for instance), but a company filled with as much expertise and innovation as Apple should be able to make it work.

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Feature #3: Power Reserve Mode

Battery life

There's probably no topic that gets more interest from as many iPhone users ​as how to extend the iPhone's battery life. With a device that's our primary way to communicate with the world, like a phone, getting long battery life is crucial.

Long battery life isn't quite as important on a watch (which is good; most people will get about a day's use from the Watch before needing to recharge), but no one wants a dead device sitting on their wrist. The Watch solves that by offering a Power Reserve Mode (hold down the side button or view the battery glance to access it).

Power Reserve Mode shuts down all features of the Watch except telling time to save as much battery as possible.

I wouldn't want quite such a radical step on my next iPhone, but a mode that turns off extras while just leaving the core features and giving me extra battery life would be excellent. Samsung already offers this on some of its smartphones; Apple should, too.

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Feature #4: Force Touch

force touch on apple watch
image copyright Apple Inc.

The original iPhone's multitouch screen was a huge breakthrough. Instead of simply tapping a screen, you could now swipe, pinch and zoom, and tap multiple items at once. 

The Apple Watch improves on multitouch by adding a new kind of interaction: Force Touch. Force Touch detects how hard you're pressing on the screen, allowing one action to be triggered by a simple tap and another by a hard touch. This sort of subtle distinction could be hugely useful in developing interfaces that are more natural and nuanced.

Apple's already incorporated Force Touch into the trackpad on the new 13-inch MacBook Pro and 12-inch MacBook. Some programs have started supporting the feature, too.

Given that, we should expect to see Force Touch on the next iPhone and expect that the way we interact with our iPhones is about to get a lot cooler.

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Feature #5: Mirror Settings Across Devices

Mirror setting across apple devices
image credit John Lamb/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Setting up the Apple Watch is pretty simple, largely because it inherits many of its settings from the configurations you've already got on your iPhone. Imagine taking that idea and extending it across all of Apple's products.

Instead of needing to set your preferences on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac independently, you could set them once and then have them automatically added to your devices using iCloud.

It wouldn't work for every single feature—we want to use our Macs differently than our phones,  for instance—so you'd have to change some settings, but the time savings and consistency of experience would be worth it.

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Feature #6: Haptic Feedback

Haptic is a complex word for unspoken communication that involves touch. The vibrations of a game controller are haptic feedback. So is the vibration of the iPhone when you're setting up the Touch ID fingerprint scanner (learn how to do that here).

On the Apple Watch, haptic feedback takes the form of useful things like walking directions that trigger one vibration for a right turn and a different vibration for a left turn.

The iPhone already has some haptics, but increasing their use throughout the iOS could make using the iPhone even cooler. Imagine apps ditching error messages and just giving you a good, hard vibration to indicate that you can't do something. Games would certainly benefit from more feedback.

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Feature #7: Cover to Mute

cover to mute on apple watch and iphone
image credit Mark Harwood/The Image Bank/Getty Images

This is a small feature, but the kind of detail that makes Apple products great. The Apple Watch includes a feature called Cover to Mute, which does two really cool things.

First, as the name suggests, it lets you mute the Watch's speaker. Accidentally left your ringer on? Silence a disruptive phone call simply by placing your hand over the Watch's screen.

Second, the same gesture can put the Watch to sleep. No need to push any buttons; just cover with your hand and it sleeps.

The iPhone 6S needs this feature. We've all forgotten to turn off our ringers and gotten calls at inopportune moments. And with bigger and bigger screens on phones, and more personal data being displayed on them all the time, something private showing up on your iPhone is likely.

If you could simply put your hand over your phone's screen to silence or lock it, some of those problems would be solved. It would also keep hold buttons from wearing out after being used so many times a day.

For a device that uses as many gestures as the iPhone, you shouldn't have to always push buttons. Covering the screen is much more elegant.


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