This week, Tim Cook took to the stage to kick-off Apple’s annual WWDC. The Worldwide Developer Conference brings devs together from all over and sees the introduction of the software that’ll power the next iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches.
Welcome to Fast Charge, our weekly column exploring one of the biggest mobile stories of the moment. This week we’re gazing into our crystal ball and wondering what iOS 13 and iPadOS could tell us about upcoming iPhones and iPads.
iOS 13 is here. Well, it’s here if you’re a registered Apple developer. For everyone else, you’ll be waiting until it hits a full release later in the year. iOS releases normally coincidence with the release of the next iPhone – which looks likely to be the iPhone 11 and iPhone XR 2 – and the software itself can often have clues buried inside about what Apple might to its next phone.
So, let’s have a look at what iOS 13 and iPadOS mean for upcoming Apple devices.
A big focus on OLED displays across the whole range
There was an audible cheer in the Trusted Reviews office when the much-rumoured iOS 13 Dark Mode was officially revealed. It was arguably the biggest and most exciting feature of iOS 13 and I can’t wait to get it on all my iOS devices.
Dark modes are beginning to get increasingly popular for a number of reasons, with a key one being possible improvements to battery life. iPhones that have an OLED display – that’s the iPhone XS, X and iPhone XS Max – will now be able to save juice by completely switching off the pixels that are displaying a black background.
Related: What is OLED?
With Apple pushing Dark Mode a lot, and the main benefits coming to OLED-equipped phones, it would make sense for this screen type to be adopted across the entire range. The iPhone 11 will almost certainly have an OLED panel, but the rumoured iPhone XR 2 could also have one instead of a LCD.
Dark Mode is present in iPadOS too and there’s very little I want Apple to release more than an OLED-toting 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Could we finally see that this year?
Even more gaming power
Gaming ran through a number of recent Apple announcements and it could all come to a head with iPhone 11.
First off we saw Apple Arcade: a curated selection of exclusive games that’ll be available across iOS, tvOS, iPadOS and macOS via a Netflix-style subscription service. That was followed by the added support for PS4 and Xbox One controllers in iOS 13.
It seems like gaming is a big focus going forward for Apple and that would imply we’re going to hear it talked about a lot during the iPhone 11 announcement.
Related: iPadOS features
We’re expecting the iPhone 11 and the next-gen iPads to be powered by an A13 chip, and I’d hazard a guess that a lot of benefits of this will be focussed on GPU power to improve graphics and gaming.
A camera optimised for Memoji
iOS 13 is far from an underwhelming release, in fact there are some solid additions here – Dark Mode especially – that I have been wanting for a long time.
Yet it was slightly annoying that Apple spent so long hyping up its improved Memoji. These animated emojis make use of the Face ID front camera to give them a lifelike look, and in iOS 13 Apple has added more customisation options including makeup. They’re well done, yes, but it’s straying too far into gimmick for my liking.
It seems like Apple is really running with this idea though, and that would make it seem like they’ll be a number of improvements to the Face Unlock system in the next iPhone. Maybe we’ll see even more accurate tracking or a general update to the 7-megapixel selfie camera you’ll currently find on an iPhone XS.
There won’t be any 5G support
It’s been heavily rumoured Apple will be holding off from supporting 5G networks until next year and, with absolutely no mention of the next-gen mobile network at WWDC, that seems like it’s going to ring true.
EE set its 5G network live in six UK cities towards the end of May and we got some impressive speeds when we took the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G out for a spin.
More integrated AirPods
Since Apple added Qi wireless charging to the latest version of its wireless headphones rumours have been swirling that the next iPhone will be able to charge the AirPods via some reversible Qi tech.
Nothing in iOS 13 necessarily points towards this feature being added, but there is one particularly cool AirPods related update that shows Apple is integrating the buds deeper into the iPhone and iPad.
It’s called Audio Sharing and it lets you connect a duo of AirPods to a single iPhone, streaming audio to both sets. It’s basically a headphone splitter for the 21st century.