5 things Apple needs to do with the iPhone in 2024

The Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max's camera module.
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

2023 was an exciting one for Apple and the iPhone 15 lineup. Apple surprised everyone by giving the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus some unexpected upgrades with the camera, as well as bringing the Dynamic Island over to non-Pro models. The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max also got substantial changes with the titanium frame, Action button, and tetraprism telephoto lens on the Pro Max model for 5x optical zoom.

But now that the year is coming to a close, what could Apple do with the iPhone lineup in 2024? Here’s what I want to see from the iPhone next year.

RCS support in iMessage

An iPhone 15 Pro showing the main iMessage screen.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

This is a feature that I’ve been hoping to see for years, and just a few weeks ago, Apple surprised everyone with the announcement that RCS support is coming to the iPhone in 2024. This literally came out of nowhere, and — if you ask me — it’s one of the biggest announcements Apple has made this year.

Of course, we don’t yet know exactly when Apple will enable this feature, but I’m going to guess it will be something we’ll see with iOS 18. If you were expecting RCS messages to be a different color than the green currently used for SMS, that’s unlikely. The green-blue-bubble-wars will continue, but RCS has more benefits for everyone than SMS/MMS, though it will probably go unnoticed by many.

With RCS, the messaging experience between iPhone and Android users will be much better. It will support high-resolution photos and videos, typing indicators, read receipts, location sharing, and the ability to send messages over Wi-Fi and mobile data. Just the high-resolution images and video make it worth it alone — no more videos that look like they were taken with a potato.

It will be interesting to see how Apple handles the encryption part of RCS down the road, though, as it doesn’t want to use Google’s proprietary end-to-end encryption extension that is used on Android phones. Instead, Apple will work with the RCS standards body to create a new universal encryption method.

I would love to see more features come to RCS on iPhone, including group chat features that bring it more in line with what you can do with iMessage group chats. But still, just having the basics of RCS on iPhone in 2024 will still be exciting.

A folding iPhone

Using a foldable iPhone.
Tech Aesthetics / YouTube

I know this one is a little farfetched, but hear me out! I used to be skeptical about the folding phone concept, but now that I’ve tried a few, I’m actually a fan. I think it would be a good one for Apple to tackle one day, even if it’s not in the cards for next year.

There have been very few rumors that Apple will have a folding iPhone, if ever. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. After all, Apple does have numerous patents filed that hint at a potential design for a foldable iPhone in the future, and reports have suggested that Apple has been developing and testing foldable OLED screens and hinges since 2017, with ongoing research.

Again, it’s very unlikely that the iPhone 16 lineup will have any kind of folding model. And while it may be nothing more than a fever dream, there are signs that Apple is at least looking into it.

The Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro seen from the back.
Apple iPhone 14 Pro (left) and iPhone 15 Pro Max Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Since the iPhone 11 Pro, Apple made the two Pro models pretty much equal in terms of specs, aside from the display size and battery life. One of the main reasons you choose a Pro model is the triple-camera system on the back with a telephoto sensor. For several years, both the small and large iPhone Pro models have had the same camera specs.

Apple broke this trend with the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. While they both have a triple-lens camera system, only the iPhone 15 Pro Max has the new tetraprism telephoto lens that allows for 5x optical zoom capabilities. The biggest reason why this is not available on the smaller iPhone 15 Pro is due to physical size — it just wouldn’t fit in the smaller chassis.

In 2024, I hope Apple returns to making the camera specs on both Pro models the same again. One of the reasons why I prefer the smaller iPhone 15 Pro over the iPhone 15 Pro Max is that I don’t like large phones, but I still want the best cameras. I have had to compromise this year because I simply can’t do big phones, but it’s annoying that I have to miss out on the 5x optical zoom.

There have been rumors that the smaller iPhone 16 Pro would be getting a slight size increase to accommodate a periscope lens for more optical zoom. But at the same time, the iPhone 16 Pro Max is rumored to also get a new “super” periscope lens.

I really just want Apple to make the camera specs equal on both Pro models again so I can have the best iPhone cameras without having to use something that is largely uncomfortable for me. Is that too much to ask?

More interesting, bolder colors

Blue Titanium (left) and Natural Titanium iPhone 15 Pros on a concrete bench.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

One of the biggest disappointments with the iPhone 15 lineup was the color selection. The regular iPhone 15 colors were pretty much all too pale (aside from black), with the pink one being the best of the bunch. And the iPhone 15 Pro colors were really all varying shades of gray.

I would love to see Apple really take a chance this year and introduce more saturated and bold color options across the board with the iPhone 16. While I liked the green and pink of the standard iPhone 15 lineup more than I thought, the blue is just so bad — it barely even has a tint of blue. Some people went as far as to call it “hospital white,” which I agree with.

iPhone 15 Pro in a red color.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

And the Pro models need more color than ever before. I loved Midnight Green (iPhone 11 Pro), Pacific Blue (iPhone 12 Pro), Alpine Green (iPhone 13 Pro), and Deep Purple (iPhone 14 Pro). But when Apple revealed the new titanium colors for the iPhone 15 Pro, it was the biggest letdown yet. I ended up buying the blue one because it was the only somewhat interesting color out of the bunch.

Even the “fun” colors that Apple made for the past Pro models were kind of toned down to look more “professional.” But they’re still better than what we got with the iPhone 15 Pro. Still, I really just want to see Apple step up and add at least one bright and bold color for the Pro lineup.

Seriously, can I just have a bubblegum pink iPhone Pro?

A smaller camera bump

The back of a blue iPhone 15 Pro.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

As much as I like having the best cameras possible on the iPhone throughout the years, I absolutely hate how big the camera bump has gotten. It’s gotten to the point where you can’t even lay your iPhone completely flat on a surface without a case — it always wobbles if you tap it on a table.

I miss the days when the camera was pretty much flush with the back of the iPhone, like with the iPhone 5. I know that it’s pretty hard to have a flush camera on a smartphone these days, considering how big the lenses have gotten, but the point still stands. Perhaps making the phone a little thicker to make it stick out less while fitting a larger battery in there at the same time?

It’s just crazy seeing how the iPhone camera bump has grown each year. Call me crazy, but all I want is an iPhone without a camera bump that is as thick as the phone itself.

Plenty to look forward to

A natural titanium iPhone 15 Pro (left) and a green iPhone 15 on a Haunted Mansion wallpaper placemat.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

I know a few of these things I would like to see won’t come to fruition, at least in the next year. But at least RCS is a definite one, and I’m certain that the smaller iPhone 16 Pro will get some better optical zoom capabilities at least.

There’s still a lot to look forward to with the iPhone in 2024, even if it won’t fold or have smaller camera bumps. And I’m going to keep my fingers crossed for some better color choices; remember those awesome iPod colors back in the day? Let’s get back to the fun, Apple.

2023 was a strong one for the iPhone across the board, and if Apple plays its cards right, 2024 could be even better.

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