As the iPhone turns 10 years old this week, the Apple’s long streak of dominance makes it seem like iPhone will rule the tech world for the forseeable future. Nothing last forever though, so what could the iPhone look like in 2027 when technology is more seamlessly embedded in our lives?
Cult of Mac is collaborating with Wired U.K. all this week for an in-depth look at the iPhone’s lasting impact and possible future. Tech experts that Wired talked to are pretty optimistic that the iPhone will still exist in some form 10 years from now. But interacting with it will be completely different.
iPhone predictions for 2027
It will still be slab
Samsung and other Android smartphone makers are already testing new types of compact displays, but Avi Greengart, research director for Global Data, thinks the iPhone’s form factor will stay the same.
“While there will be experimentation with rolling, folding, and perhaps holographic displays, the basic slab form factor will remain the default,” says Avi Greengart. “It offers the best tradeoff between information density, interaction, and portability.”
iPhone will augment other devices
Instead of becoming less useful as more and more devices get smarter, iPhone will become even more essential to interacting with the world around you. Android co-founder Andy Rubin predicts the smartphone will be your portal to a collection of other features on other gadgets.
“It’s your personal internet bubble,” says Andy Rubin, “The smartphone brings connectivity within one foot of you, 24 hours a day seven days a week.”
AI will still need a screen
By 2027 you main computer might not be an actual device, but rather an AI platform. Wired’s David Pierce predicts you’ll still need a screen to interact with it from time to time though.
“By 2027, your primary computer will be that omnipresent AI running on a crazy-fast 5G network and Snapdragon Whatever processors. You’ll interact with it using voice (which won’t be frustrating), gestures (which won’t be weird), keyboards (which won’t be gone), or… well, just about anything you like. But you’ll still need a screen. Screens are like clothes for your AI, or bodies it can inhabit.”
Apps will be dead
One thing the iPhone might not have in 2027 is apps. Iqbal Arshad, who worked at as head of product at Motorola building phones like the Razr and the Droid, says app icons sitting alongside each other on your screen will be a thing of the past.
“Right now it’s so dumb,” says Arshad. “You have all these icons on the phone, you have all these dumb notifications.” As these devices mature, along with the AI that powers them, Arshad says, “both the voice and the display interfaces are going to be much more intelligent.”
Powerful processor will replace AI in the cloud
Most of the AI features like Siri on the iPhone today require an internet connection. That’s because the processing power need to run a lot of the tasks are too great for the iPhone, so Apple does them in the cloud.
“People will always want a personal device, Arshad says. As processors get faster, more of the machine-learning AI stuff can happen on your phone, rather than the cloud. You should demand this, rather than tolerate surveillance from the largest companies in the world. You’ll want something in your pocket that’s easily retrievable, that you know how to use, that you can fiddle with to pass the time between other things. A device that communicates something about your fashion sense and station in life. A personal computer.”