Thanks to the relentless rumor mill, we already have a decent idea what features to expect from the iPhone XS and iPhone 9 (final name TBA) when they are unveiled on September 12. As the iPhone X closes in on retirement, USA Today/SurveyMonkey conducted a survey of 1,665 US adults to ask what customers most want.
The iPhone X’s notched screen was controversial when it debuted last year, but has become mostly accepted by critics over time (and has now been copied for almost every new Android phone outside of Samsung’s Galaxy devices). This survey says customers don’t care that much either; ‘remove the notch’ was picked by 10 percent of respondents, the lowest feature request on the list. It probably isn’t too hard to guess what come in at the top spot …
Sure enough, a whopping 75 percent of respondents wanted new iPhones to offer better battery life. Despite generations of technical advancement on other features, battery technology has not advanced much in recent years and iPhones can still struggle to last a full working day with normal usage.
With iPhone X, Apple actually uses a two-cell L-shaped battery to maximise internal capacity. The iPhone is also 7.7mm thin, which is the thickest iPhone since the iPhone 5. However, customer surveys continue to show that people (at least think they) would trade a little less portability for a couple extra hours of juice.
For iPhone XS, we aren’t expecting any major leaps but it is possible that the larger 6.5-inch iPhone XS does tout more hours of usage time, as the device chassis grows disproportionately to the additional power draw of the bigger screen area.
It’s worth noting that wireless charging is an alternative answer to the problem of having your iPhone last all day. With wireless Qi pads dotted around your house/office, it becomes a lot easier to keep your phone topped up. We are still waiting for Apple to launch the AirPower mat, with the September event marking a year since AirPower was first announced (for ‘2018’ availability).
In second place was durability: namely a shatter-proof screen. Corning recently announced the sixth-generation of its hardened glass, which could appear in the new iPhone models. However, a truly shatter-proof screen is still a fantasy than a reality. Physics.
Coming in third is expandable storage options, something Apple has consistently shown it is not interested in offering (and there are definitely complexities that come with expandable storage: file management etc). For iPhone XS, Apple is expected to offer a 512 GB iPhone option for the first time. This helps people who are craving more local storage space, but it will no doubt cost a fortune and obviously can’t be expanded later.
The infamous headphone jack removal still appears to play on customer’s mind, coming in with 37 percent of the vote. People are still upset that it is nigh-impossible to charge a modern iPhone and listen to music with wired headphones at the same time. Apple, of course, is pushing towards a wireless headphone future here with products like the AirPods.
There is also some USB-C love in this survey (29 percent), along with improvements to Face ID recognition, and general speed gains. In a separate question where customers were asked to pick just one feature, better battery life still won out with more than a third of the votes.
The classic adage is that ‘customers don’t know what they want’ and it’s certainly true that Apple could release new iPhones that do not address any of these points and still comprise compelling updates for consumers. Live Photos or Portrait Mode are examples of features that no survey would have ever demanded, but have clearly been a big hit. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to check in with surveys like this to get a general barometer on the average of customer complaints and wishes.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.