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iPhone 8 and beyond: The future of smartphones

David Price | June 24, 2016
Future smartphone developments, from graphene and lithium-air batteries to holograms, OLED and motion charging

Viscoelastic material

Let's move on from the screen and talk about new durable materials for the rest of the iPhone.

How about a bit of drop-resistance? Based on patent activity, Apple is devising aviscoelastic material that would absorb impacts. The material would cover Apple devices and make them survive drops far better. The patent could make sense in all of Apple's mobile devices and laptops, but the iPhone is the obvious area to begin.

Flexible iPhone

In January 2015 Apple was awarded a patent that suggests that the company is investigating the idea of a flexible iPhone (and we're not talking about the Bendgate kind).

The patent suggests that, by making the iPhone flexible, Apple could unlock a new range of controls: the user could open an app by bending the device in a particular way, for example, or use the flexibility to control a game. It's an intriguing if seemingly far-fetched concept.

Additionally, a flexible iPhone flexible ought to be more resistant to impacts and therefore more durable. But we'll discuss a key element in the idea of a flexible iPhone - a screen that can bend without breaking - in the screen tech section.

Waterproof components

The materials we've discussed so far are primarily aimed at surviving impact damage, but almost as common a problem for iPhone owners is water damage. One of our most popular articles is a tutorial explaining how to dry out an iPhone that's got wet: it's a distressingly common thing to happen to a device that costs several hundred pounds and contains important data.

For this reason readers and pundits frequently speculate on the possibility that future iPhones will be waterproof. Indeed, the most recent generation of iPhone models are the most waterproof yet; but we still wouldn't be pleased if the iPhone 6s fell in a paddling pool.

Well, iPhones in the near future could be waterproof without sacrificing their looks - as is currently the case, with the best will in the world, when packing a mobile device in a waterproof case.

A patent spotted in March 2015 indicates that Apple is working to make the internal components of the iPhone waterproof using a protective coating, preventing them from being damaged in the event that liquid manages to make its way beneath the chassis.

Bezel-free design

On 17 May 2016, Apple filed a patent to have a bezel-free device. In the future, we could see a bezel-free device, which would definitely turn a few heads.

An image render and concept by Marek Weidlich shows us how the iPhone might look like if it were to have no bezels. The conceptual idea looks great and would show that Apple is still innovating in the smartphone space.


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