What will an iPhone look like in 2020?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by 158273, Nov 22, 2013.

  1. 158273 macrumors regular

    Aug 29, 2013
    With all the doom and gloom stories out there, it's hard to imagine that Apple will still be around in 2020 or that we'll still be using iPhones... but of course it will be and we will be. Even if everyone stopped buying Apple products today, the amount of billions they have in the bank would allow them to continue operating for years. And we'll still be using iPhones in 2020; technology moves fast, but not that fast. Think about all the flying cars we have...

    So since we know that Apple will be around in 2020 for sure, and we know that we'll still be using phones and tablets in 2020 for sure, I started thinking about other definite for sure conclusions we can make.

    For example, by 2020, it's certain that:

    • all iPhones and iPads will have a Retina display
    • all iPhones and iPads will have Touch ID
    • iMac will come with a Retina display
    • MacBook Air will come with a Retina display
    • iPhone will come with a 128 GB option
    • iOS will allow you to use a custom keyboard
    • etc.

    Annoyed that the iPad 2 is staying around for another year? That'll be gone in 2020. You will not see a single Apple device without a Retina screen in 2020. Think about it, today is 2013. Tomorrow is 2020. Will there really be any non-Retina screens left?

    Tired of the 4S sticking around for another year? That'll be gone too. Every iPhone will have a Lightning connector. Every iPhone will have Touch ID. Every iPad will have Touch ID. Every iOS device will be available in a 128 GB storage option.

    There will be not a single iOS device that doesn't have a Retina display, that doesn't have Touch ID, that isn't running on 64-bit. All of this will be commonplace across the board of all of Apple's devices.

    This is stuff that we can predict with absolute certainty, because it's 2020. It's not 2013, it's not 2014, it's 2020. That's more than six years of upgrades. Six years of upgrades. Just think about that. If iPhone 4S seems ancient to you, how will the 5S compare six years later? Six iPhones later?

    How will iOS compare six versions later? If you don't like iOS 7 today, is it plausible for you to imagine how it might improve over six generations? By that time, we might even have another redesign and go back to real buttons. ;)

    Is it plausible we'll be able to choose a custom virtual keyboard on iOS devices in 2014? Maybe. We don't know. Is it realistic that we'll have a choice of a keyboard in 2020? Yes, with absolute certainty. Without a doubt.

    A matter of time

    Realize that most of your frustrations with Apple today are simply a matter of time. Why is Apple taking so long to release a bigger iPhone? When will I have my MacBook Air with Retina display? What about my iMac with Retina display? When will the iPad Pro come out? When will we see iWatch?

    Viewed with a one-year frame in mind, these questions are frustrating, because deep down, you know we won't see all of those things in 2014. Not a chance.

    But when you look all the way to 2020, the picture is crystal clear. Of course all the displays on all the MacBooks and Macs will be Retina. Of course all iOS devices will have Touch ID. Again, we're not talking about 2014. We're talking about 2020. Can you see how the long-term perspective brings things clearer into view?

    When Apple speaks about the Lightning connector lasting it for the next 10 years and the naming scheme of Mavericks lasting it for the next decade, they're not kidding around. They're not exaggerating. They know that 2020 will come and they are working towards it one step at a time. They may not have all the technologies or the vision or the products that they'll have in 2020, but they have a roadmap and they're not just thinking about 2014 like all of us are.

    And we haven't even began to cover new technologies! A few months ago, a fingerprint scanner seems plausible but not certain. It was just a rumour. We didn't know how well it would work or whether it would be useful. Now, we expect it on every device. We want every iOS device to have Touch ID. Amazing, isn't it?

    We fall into the trap of thinking that it's done. That there are no more new features. "Well, we've got Touch ID, what else do we need? Wireless charging? NFC? Solar charging? I thought Apple wasn't interested in any of that!"

    Yes, we'll have a bigger display for iPhone. Yes, we'll get a 128 GB iPhone. Yes, it'll be faster. But think, really think about this. We've got six generations of iPhones ahead of us until we reach 2020. Even with Apple's "slow pace", is a bigger display and more storage options really the only thing on their mind? Or have they got more "useless" features like Retina displays and Touch ID that will completely revolutionize the way we use our devices?

    So for those of you who think that Apple still doesn't have any surprises up its sleeve, just think of 2020. Is it really that far-out that by 2020 we'll have some incredible new technologies, that even if we're contemplating them now, we're not really thinking about their consequences or believing in them?

    There Will Always be an iPad 2

    Although 2020 sounds like a utopia (Retina displays on every MacBook? Touch ID on every device? A bigger iPad Pro?) you do have to realize that there will always be what is the equivalent of the iPad 2. There will always be the newest and latest (example: iPhone 9S) and then there will be iPhone 9.

    The good news is that the figurative "iPad 2" or "iPhone 4S" is always improving, to the point where Apple can repackage last year's tech into a 5C and have it run iOS 7 and work perfectly.

    So perhaps there won't be any more jarring of "I want Retina displays" like you get when you pick up the first iPad mini, but... there will be the equivalent of that first iPad mini. So in 2020, there might be an iPhone 9C with Touch ID and A8 chip, but no wireless charging, no solar charging, etc. (I'm just making these features up, but you get the idea).


    Even though 2020 seems like far away, just remind yourself, it will get here. It's inevitable. No matter what you do, or how much you agonize about current Apple shortcomings, one day you'll wake up and it'll be 2020, and your iPad will have Touch ID just like you wanted, your iMac will have a Retina display just like you wanted, iOS 9 will be out and vastly improve over iOS 7 and 8, and that 4K Cinema Display you wanted? That'll be out too.

    It's kinda fun to think about, isn't it?

    Do you guys have any other predictions that sound unrealistic for 2014 but are completely plausible by 2020?

  2. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Nov 7, 2007
    New Sanfrakota
    And in 2021, tangible retina displays will be a thing of the past and replaced by newer technology.
  3. 158273 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 29, 2013

    By 2020 there will certainly be a Retina+ display on the newest iPhone or iPad.

    Yes, it will be a new resolution for the developers to adapt to.

    Yes, there will be people who claim that a higher ppi doesn't make a difference.

    That's why we're not gonna see that type of tech in 2014. It's not the priority at the moment.

    But by 2020? How could we not see some type of new shiny pixel-dense display technology?
  4. *~Kim~* macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2013
    The lightening connector might well have been replaced by then.
  5. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    I'd hope by 2020 we won't be using cables at all!
  6. Retired Cat macrumors 65816

    Jun 12, 2013
    "Smart" materials that can configure themselves to fit each individual's hand. Advanced manufacturing that will allow higher degrees of customization without appreciably higher cost. Battery life that we can only dream of today.

    I've read that some people think there is little room for improvement in mobile phones, but I disagree. Water and damage resistance alone are areas that can use improvement.
  7. Renzatic Suspended


    Aug 3, 2011
    Gramps, what the hell am I paying you for?
    It'll be a thin, large, flexible AMOLED sheet that you wrap around your head. It'll be sorta like Google Glass, but far more immersive.

    ...just remember to leave a breathing hole.
  8. batman75 macrumors 6502

    Apr 15, 2010
    I would hope they move beyond touch ID and Retina Display by 2020.

    How about touch ID Retina Display Pro - which combines a sensitive enough display that it can detect the fingerprint of the person using it, eliminating the need for the touch id. home button disappears because it is replaced with a touch screen gesture. The display has 2-3X the current pixel density.
  9. Selmir macrumors member


    Mar 31, 2012
    What will an iPhone look like in 2020?

    Thin, really thin. Made of some sort of unbreakable, waterproof crystal and clear through, so when turning on the apps are shining through. Like a alien phone, if now aliens even use a phone. :p It will have a lots of storage for the files, support everything even Java, and the battery will last for one week. The GPS would found every little town and corner in the world at it would cost anything to activate it in other countries. It would have some inbuilt themes that you can choose and transform your look to a new one. But appsize and appshape will be the same. The camera would also used as night vision. So you can spot even a cockroach in darkness. The zoom will be really great too, almost as amateur binoculars but better.

    Security would be even better. This time you'll scan your eye instead with an awesome front camera to access your phone. If someone steals your phone, or in worst case scenario steals it while it's screen is unlocked, the phone will automatically self destruct after it feels from its sensors the new person who it doesn't recognize. It explodes into micro pieces but only to protect itself and to harm the thief and mark his hand with a Apple-tattoo with tracking id. Of course Apple Care takes care of the entire mess (but not the criminal's hand) and you get another new phone. And you didn't lost a single file.

    Of course you can now have your phone's wireless in to your what-ever-you-use-thing and add/remove ALL files. No more iTunes. No more cables. The CPU is so damn fast made by Apple so you can forget about benchmarks, because they won't be any.

    I could go on entire night, but I think you got my point. ;)
  10. LostSoul80 macrumors 68020


    Jan 25, 2009
    Apple will go bankrupt in 2017. iPhone will have ceased to exist by 2016.
  11. 158273 thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 29, 2013
    I wonder if they'll ever come out with their own proprietary audio jack. The iPod touch basically can't get any thinner without abandoning the current audio jack, which means we've reached a limit in "how thin can we go", unless we all transmit music through Bluetooth or something.
  12. EM2013 macrumors 65816


    Sep 2, 2013
    iPhone in 2020 haha. I'm curious to know how phones will have advanced by that time & also what gimmicks samsung will be using.

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  13. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    By then the smartphone will be another RAZR, all the rage will be on president Kanye! :eek:
  14. wxman2003 Suspended

    Apr 12, 2011
    Since phones are getting bigger, my guess is they will look like this again.

  15. antiprotest macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2010
    The display will be on your retina (retina display) and the rest will be in your brain.
  16. ls1dreams macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2009
    Given Apple's stinginess it will still have 16gb of storage.

    (iPhone 3gs, 4, 4s, 5, and 5s have all had 16gb as their base storage. Come on Apple - let's make the base 32gb already.)
  17. Ledsteplin macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2013
    Florence, AL
    And don't forget iMove. Just think, a retina touch screen across the entire dash.

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  18. Matt8045 macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2012
    Doubt we will be using phones in the standard sense we think of them today and especially not in the current form factor.
  19. ET iPhone Home macrumors 68040

    ET iPhone Home

    Oct 5, 2011
    Orange County, California USA
    By 2020, Apple will invent iTelepathy, a sim-chip, nestled within the gyrus of the brain. It will be a silent world with only telepathic sound waves. Data plans will be based on distance of communications.

    3000 miles will cover west to east coast service,
    12,403 miles will be a choice of pacific or over the atlantic service, and
    24,906 miles will cover the circumference of the world.

    Color choices will remain black, white and gold sim-chips.
  20. LV426 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 22, 2013
    I'm looking forward to the iPhone being able to project a holographic image of an AI, something like Kumiko's gadget in 'Mona Lisa Overdrive' by William Gibson. To have a 3D AI named Colin resplendent in fox-hunting regalia at my disposal would be awesome.
  21. kdarling macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    Can't say about 2020, but we do know what it'll be like in the year 3000:

    Huh. Never noticed before that the UI looks like Google Glass cards!
  22. pikachu2k7 macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2012
    North Carolina
  23. mtneer macrumors 68030


    Sep 15, 2012
    By 2020; humans would have advanced past the need for a physical reality. There won't be a need for any devices; or anything real. Our brains will be plugged into giant computer banks where our consciousness and reality will exist. Time will cease to be a dimension and the laws of the physical world will be suspended at least until the Sun begins to hit red giant and the power banks for the computers begin to fail.
  24. Alphabetize macrumors 6502


    Oct 6, 2013
    Yes, it's exciting to think that maybe there'll be a MacBook Air with Retina Display that has a GPU so powerful that it won't have any lag... so I'll just wait for it! In the meantime I'll make a "Waiting for Cannonlake rMBA" thread in the Notebooks forum ;)

    As much as I would like a machine that graphically powerful, there's no use waiting that long. What they currently offer will actually meet my needs.

    Actually, I'm hoping that external GPU's catch on in the near future. I imagine like an external hard drive sized GPU just plugging into a USB 3 or Thunderbolt port and having that power stuff.

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