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6 things hyped up at Mobile World Congress that we want for the next iPhone

Michael Simon | Feb. 29, 2016
The Barcelona trade show is a huge launching pad for new Android devices and features, and this year’s show revealed a few things we wish Apple would steal.

Virtual reality

If 2015 was the year of the smartwatch, 2016 is the year of the virtual reality headset. Samsung and LG each showed off equipment designed to deliver thrilling and exotic experiences right from your couch, all powered by their latest smartphones. And if you think the LG 360 VR and Samsung Gear VR are cool, wait till you get a load of HTC’s Vive, a headset that’s so powerful it needs to be plugged into a computer to push nearly 100 HD images to your pupils every second.

During Apple’s last earnings conference call, Tim Cook said that virtual reality is “really cool and has some interesting applications,” but all signs say we’re a long way off from an iVR headset. Still though, even if virtual reality is just the flavor of the moment, we’d love a taste of what Apple’s got cooking. And in the meantime, we have Google Cardboard.

Sharper displays 

The iPhone has always had the best LCD screens in the industry, with unsurpassed brightness and color accuracy, but it’s hard not to look at the AMOLED screens on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge and not be a little jealous. It’s not just the improved brightness, sharpness, and power efficiency—the S7’s display (along with the LG G5) has a nifty always-on option, letting you see the time, weather, and notifications without having to press the home button. Since the black pixels on AMOLED screens aren’t actually lit, there’s little-to-no battery drain, so aside from looking great, the phone is able to display bits of text without actually turning on the whole screen. Plus it looks great—all of which seems like a no-brainer for the iPhone 7.

Smart earbuds

The prevailing rumor about the iPhone 7 is that Apple is poised to dump the ubiquitous 3.5mm jack, paving the way for a likely shift to Bluetooth EarPods. But it’s not just about music: Sony raised some interesting possibilities for the ear canal at MWC with its Xperia Ear, a tiny earpiece that interacts with your phone to deliver intelligent bits of information as it arrives. Powered by both Sony’s AI assistant and Google Now, it also lets you query and control your phone without needing to pick it up (or yell at it). It’s kind of like an Apple Watch for your eardrum, and it’s something we’d love to see added to the next generation of EarPods or Powerbeats3 Wireless headphones.


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