After celebrating 10 years of iPhone, Apple is likely already hard at
work on the next decade. The iPhone X stormed the mobile phone market
with a stack of new features such as an OLED screen, Face ID and a
phenomenally fast Geekbench score (we’re talking faster than computers).
In fact, every iPhone since 2007 has had some big feature or two included. From the revolutionary App Store on the iPhone 3G to the huge redesign on the iPhone 6, Apple has been sure to treat fans.
But along the way, a bevy of fantastic features were almost forgotten in the shadows of the headline updates. Here are the top five underappreciated iPhone features released.
1. Live Photos
What a gimmick this looked to be. Seconds of moving images before and after a picture was taken… Pretty sure there is a name for that – video.
But when users started really getting behind Live Photos, it was clear Apple had cottoned on to something great. A smiling photo of your friends could be “played” to reveal their laughter in the lead up to the photo. Pretty much every still image that was not over the top candid had a great “backstory”.
And that’s not even mentioning the action shots. A photo of someone diving in to a pool, for example, could show their spectacular jump beforehand – and the big splash afterwards.
Apple made a big song and dance about the iPhone 5 being the right size for your thumb to reach across it. So it was rather ironic when two years later they beefed up the size of the screens too such an extent no thumb could reach the corner of the iPhone 6 Plus.
It was a good thing though; Apple needed to get with the times when it came to screen size. And, luckily, they included reachability. With a double touch (not press) of the homebutton, the entire screen would shift half way down the screen. Can’t reach the app on the top row? Reachability.
Anyone using the Plus variants over the past four years can appreciate it. Reachability even made an appearance on the iPhone X, although it is not the easiest to summon.
This one is cheating a bit, since FaceTime was a headline feature of the iPhone 4. But it still took several years for people to really embrace FaceTime. After all, video calling had been around for years.
It struggled early on because you could only FaceTime with other iPhone 4 users, and you had to be on a Wi-Fi network. Neither of those things were a given in 2011.
But fast forward to 2018 and FaceTime is pretty common. Once Apple started including the feature on iPads, MacBooks and even iPod Touches, it was not hard to find someone to call. Add in FaceTime Audio (FaceTime without the faces) and it made for an easy way to contact someone over the internet.
4. Force Touch (or 3D touch)
Unfortunately for Force Touch, it is still criminally underused. When Apple announced the pressure sensitive input for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, it was not really given that much attention.
Even today, Force Touch – which is now called 3D touch as it is more sensitive – barely gets a use beyond a right click. Sure it is nice to have little shortcuts on your app icons, but there is so much more you could do with it.
Games especially have squandered the chance to embrace Force Touch. Developers are now capable of turning a single input gesture into countless ones. Creators really need to get on board and use it.
5. iPhone SE
There were a few features that could have gone here – Apple Pay or panorama photos comes to mind. However, we have cheated a bit and picked the entire iPhone SE. As phones get bigger, the best features usually go along with them. Want a nice camera and more storage? Then you’ll need to pay £800+ and use something twice as big.
So when Apple announced the iPhone SE with 12-megapixel camera, bigger storage capacities and in the same size as the old iPhone 5, it was a lifesaver for millions. Imagine a grandmother who wants to take better photos of her grandchildren but is stuck with a 16GB iPhone 5s? Now she has no worries with an iPhone SE.
Or imagine a parent wanting to buy a decent phone for their teenager without having to spend £999 on an iPhone X. The iPhone SE fits the bill.
It is rare for Apple to revive old products, but with the 4-inch iPhone SE, they tapped in to a very deep market.