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Future of iPhone 14 Could Be Hiding in iOS 16

iOS 16, Apple's upcoming major iPhone operating system, was unveiled at WWDC and is already accessible for developers to download. The new iPhone update, which is compatible with iPhone 8 and newer, will probably be released this fall at the same time as the rumored iPhone 14. A number of hotly awaited improvements, including the option to personalize your lock screen and modify sent iMessages, are included in iOS 16. However, if you pay close attention, iOS 16 may potentially offer some hints about the iPhone 14.

Apple gave us a lot of information on new features coming to current iPhones, but it didn't give us any details about what to anticipate from the iPhone 14. That is understandable because Apple seldom talks about new products before releasing them. In order to introduce these features as exclusives for the most recent iPhone, the company occasionally saves crucial software developments for its annual iPhone event.

For instance, Apple did not include Cinematic mode in its iOS 15 introduction; instead, it introduced it as an iPhone 13 feature in the fall. However, if you pay close attention, iOS 15 contains a few cryptic indications. It's simple to see Apple developing a Portrait mode for video recording, which is essentially what Cinematic mode is, given that the company introduced Portrait mode for FaceTime calls in iOS 15 as well.

iOS 16 doesn't appear to be any different. A few aspects appear to have the potential to provide us insights about what to anticipate from the iPhone 14 series. One of these hints is really concealed in iOS 16's source code.

Possible always-on display for the iPhone 14

It disappointed me that iOS 16 doesn't include an always-on display. Numerous Android phones and even the Apple Watch have this useful capability. While your phone is sleeping, an always-on display shows the time or the weather. An always-on display merely illuminates a piece of the screen in order to preserve power, as opposed to lighting up the complete display like your lock screen does. It's a wonderful convenience and would make the iPhone easier to look at.

The Apple-focused website 9to5Mac claims to have found numerous references in iOS 16 that imply always-on display functionality may be coming to the iPhone in the future. An iPhone 13 Pro may be used to test the feature, according to the site, which also uncovered references to backlight adjustment tools and secret flags for engineers.

However, support for always-on displays may be constrained because the screen's refresh rate would need to drop to 10Hz or even lower to use less power—far below the typical 60Hz refresh rate of a regular iPhone. The iPhone 13 Pro can go as low as 10Hz, but the always-on display for the Apple Watch operates at 1Hz, thus it may debut on the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max since it would probably require new hardware.

The updated and customisable lock screen also makes a suggestion towards an always-on display even without these cues in the code. I wonder if Apple is testing other ways to conserve screen space because of how notifications in iOS 16 are grouped at the bottom of the screen. That's crucial for an always-on display because, in order to save power, that feature only utilizes certain screen areas.

Another possible indicator are the new lock screen widgets introduced in iOS 16, which are more reminiscent of Apple Watch complications and thus easier to gaze at. Similar widgets can be found on some Android phones' own always-on displays.

Visual Lookup might indicate a more potent Theatrical mode

Redesigned Visual Lookup, which can recognize objects, people, pets, and locations in images and provide more information or context, is one of iOS 16's more subtle innovations. This year's update gives users the option to press any image to remove the backdrop. A human or a dog in the foreground can literally be lifted out of the background by tapping it, and you can then add the "cutout" to other apps to share or make a collage.

I could envision the machine learning that drives the new Visual Lookup tap-and-lift feature helping Cinematic mode. Cinematic mode movies may look better thanks to the machine learning acceleration and a likely new A16 Bionic chip. Backgrounds may be more consistently out-of-focus, and subjects could be more consistently "cutout." Apple may potentially leverage the separation technology to add more Portrait-like features to Cinematic mode, such as replacing the background with a black one or positioning your subject in front of a white one.

The iPhone 13 series introduced Cinematic mode, which is essentially Apple's version of a video portrait mode. Although using Cinematic mode is entertaining, the results are not always reliable. It brings to mind the launch of Portrait mode on the iPhone 7 Plus by Apple: It initially worked, but not very well. Apple has progressively enhanced Portrait mode to the point where it is now really great.

The Camera app should have a Pro mode

You may infer that the cameras on the iPhone 14 series will be superior to those on the iPhone 13 lineup without having read a single rumor. The computational photography-based features SmartHDR and Deep Fusion, which are directly related to the technology powering the phone, will probably account for the majority of those gains. So, hypothetically, an iPhone 14 powered by an A16 chip would offer additional camera functions or better photo processing methods that the iPhone 13 does not.

I have high hopes for an update to the Camera app on the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max in light of Apple's inclusion of a programmable lock screen in iOS 16. The Camera app UI may feel a little crowded with the introduction of new professional tools like ProRaw and ProRes video recording. Maybe there might be a Pro mode with shortcuts for changing camera parameters instantly that can be toggled on and off. Or perhaps Apple will make the Camera app's design cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing.

Without a doubt, the iPhone still offers one of the top camera apps available on any modern smartphone. However, the quantity of features and settings is beginning to exceed the app's original aim, much like a family might outgrow a home.

However, all of this is just conjecture, and until Apple makes an announcement, we won't know anything about the upcoming iPhone. But if there is anything that is guaranteed, it will run iOS 16.