Nearly a decade after the release of the first iPhone in 2007, Apple unveiled the iPhone 7 earlier this month. The new model ditches the headphone jack for wireless EarPods and also includes features such as more storage, a water- and dust-proof design, new stereo speakers and an improved camera.
Observers will be closely watching the new iPhone’s performance after Apple reported for the first time this year that iPhone sales were down. So in a year of "peak iPhone", Campaign asked industry leaders how the next new smartphone could enhance their lives and what piece of technology they would really like to own.
Neil Christie, managing director, Wieden & Kennedy London:
I wish my phone could record meetings and automatically produce clear notes on agreed next actions.
A piece of tech I don't own but wish I did: An Iron Man suit. It would make business travel much quicker and more fun if I could fly at the speed of sound under my own power.
Jamie Stone, global head of design, Nutrition & Digestive Health, GlaxoSmithKline:
I’m a big iPhone fan, and as a design leader I have the upmost respect for Jonathan Ive and all that he has brought to the way we admire, aspire and revere technology in a way that once upon a time seemed unthinkable. So with some inevitability, the day the iPhone 7 launches (while in the queue to get one), the mind moves to what might be next, what surprises the 10-year anniversary of the iPhone might bring – will it be called iPhone 8 or IP10? Will it really be made from ceramic?
For sure I don’t think it will be an iPhone in the way we understand it now. Technology moves fast, the reality of commercially scalable "bendy" screens isn’t that far away, so then why hold a phone if you can wear the same interface?
The removal of the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 is a step in the right direction of pushing forward Bluetooth technology to allow connections that are stable and don’t drop out every three minutes. And with some lovely truly unwired ear buds coming to market, the connection from wearable to device to hearing should start to become properly seamless. If you wear your device though, you now hamper the camera function – taking a device off the wrist every time you want to take a snap of an amusing cat, or a selfie with someone famous in the background, just wont be practical. That then links of course to what might become of the future of Google Glass – that technology was way too cool to be gone for long. My bet is that it comes back as a sort of contact lens (Google Lens), kinetically powered maybe. Imagine then, your camera is actually your eyes, taking the shots you see (not the shot you see through your phone screen) then layering on the possibilities of augmented reality and how it can bring real-time information to life, add new media dimensions, "gamify" reality and more (though seeing Pokémon through your own eyes might just send people loopy).
The perfect bit of tech for me is a wearable large bendy screen device + perfect in ear connection + Google Lens. Whatever the answer ends up being, I’m sure that it’s beyond the traditional realm of beauty through pure product and interface design, and will be a seamless blend of design, engineering and experience that leaves the user with that unconscious feeling of warmth and comfort which you get from a precious and perfect item.
Lotta Malm Hallqvist, managing director and chief marketing officer, MDC Partners Europe:
Every year we wait for what next the smartphone industry can offer, and how we will all react to the multitude of issues that come with each new technology that is introduced.
Wouldn’t it be cool to have a phone that knows more about you, and helps you to make decisions that are ho-hum and tedious? Like buying washing powder. I don’t want to go buy washing powder. I want my phone to do it.
Also can it sort out my clothes shopping as well please? I would like technology that is intuitive and indeed empathetic to my needs and desires.
The thing for me about technology is to get more of the ultimate luxury – that is time to do things that matter and that I enjoy most.
Barnaby Dawe, chief executive, Just Eat:
I wish my phone could drive me home.
And I would really love a robot like our Just Eat delivery robot we're trialling, only I would take it shopping with me – it would be fun and extremely useful.
Adam Leigh, headhunter and partner, HBAL Executive Search:
I wish my phone would tell me to take a break from time to time. I have sadly of late developed the phone-checking anxieties of one of my teenage children, checking work e-mails every two minutes on a Saturday night at 1am, Facebook, Spurs updates. Important stuff.
I want my phone to have an intuitive algorithm that detects excessive obsessive and pointless phone behaviour and reminds me that for many years I worked hard without reliance on such intense connectivity. A few kindly prompts in a soothing voice, along these lines should do it:
"Oy, checking again. Nothing has happened in the last five minutes."
"You’ll burn your ear if you don’t put that thing down."
"Would it hurt you so much to switch off?"
And if after several prompts, I keep checking my phone unabated, there needs to be a final booming reminder broadcast ideally through the new dual speakers on the iPhone 7 Plus to the wider world: "You know, you’re not such a big shot. Get a life". That ought to do the trick.
Sam Phillips, CMO, Omnicom Media Group UK and managing director, OMG Ethnic:
I would love my new smartphone to have a mini-projector built into it so that in future I could do a presentation straight off to large groups of people at the touch of a button.
One piece of tech I'd like to own? A VR headset, of course!
Tom Goodwin, senior vice president of strategy and innovation, Havas Media:
Part of the problem with Apple is that expectations around it are really high, and it has been hard to exceed those expectations. So what can it do? It needs to make sure that the software and hardware experiences come together. What this means is that my phone is not just a device that can do stuff, but how it can interact with other devices, my life, and the world around me. Most days I cycle to work in New York, and I would like my phone to suggest to me apps that a cyclist in New York would like. Or when I’m sitting at airports, I would be happy for it to suggest apps such as Uber, or places I might want to eat or drink and in return get points for using the suggested mobile payment system.
I want technology that is smart and predictive and empathy driven, not just what is produced in factories. For instance, instead of bendy screens that I have little use for, I would like Amazon Echo to take control of my CV!