In early 2016, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) launched the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. One of the most interesting features of the device was the inclusion of a True Tone display. Per Apple, this technology uses "advanced four-channel ambient light sensors to automatically adapt the color and intensity of the display to match the light in your environment."

Unfortunately, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus smartphones launched in the fall of 2017 didn't include this technology. However, per a new research report from Barclays (via MacRumors), it looks as though this year's iPhone models -- all three of them -- will get the True Tone display.

Apple's iPhone 7 Plus in Jet Black.

Image source: Apple.

A nice improvement

Apple's OLED iPhone -- which is widely referred to as the iPhone 8 -- is likely to pack many significant new features compared to the current iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models. The addition of True Tone display to the iPhone 8 is likely to be just one of many compelling new features that could potentially drive significant upgrade activity among current iPhone users, as well as possible defections from premium Android smartphone users.

The more standard iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, on the other hand, are rumored to have much less interesting updates.

For example, rumors seem to point to similar -- if not identical -- industrial designs for the iPhone 7s/7s Plus relative to the iPhone 7/7 Plus phones. In a world increasingly populated with stylish smartphones that likely more closely resemble Apple's upcoming iPhone 8 rather than Apple's relatively dated-looking iPhone 7/7 Plus, Apple will need some incredibly compelling and useful features to make the iPhone 7s/7s Plus attractive to customers if the rumors about the 7s/7s Plus designs are true.

Features like True Tone, which really do enhance the user experience, can certainly help in that respect.

What else can Apple bring to the "standard" iPhone models?

A True Tone display likely won't be enough to really get customers excited about the "standard" iPhone 7s/iPhone 7s Plus models. Given that Apple is in the business of trying to develop products that excite customers, it's worth speculating a bit about what other features Apple could bring to these devices.

To start, there's plenty of room for Apple to improve its camera subsystems. Apple used to be known for offering unmatched camera experiences on its iPhones, but lately the competition has been able to field extremely competitive cameras -- in some cases, arguably better than what Apple currently sells.

For example, the iPhone 7 scores 86 in camera performance tests performed by DXOMark. This makes the camera one of the best smartphone cameras out there, but among its peers in the premium smartphone space, it's hardly the leader. The Huawei P10 and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus score an 87; the Galaxy S7 Edge and HTC 10 achieve scores of 88; and the Pixel tops the charts with a score of 89.

If Apple wants a nice selling point for even its potentially stale-looking iPhone 7s/7s Plus, it could start by equipping them with cameras that can top the competition in DXOMark's tests (though it would be OK if they lost to the camera subsystem found inside of the OLED-packing iPhone 8).

Along with a large leap in camera performance and the addition of a True Tone display, Apple is rumored to be adding some type of fast-charging technology to its 2017 iPhone lineup. This is one of those features that has long been present in competing smartphones that has the potential to make life much more convenient for iPhone users.

In addition to the above improvements, Apple is also likely to bring a boost in processor, graphics, and wireless performance this year -- as is standard for new iPhone launches.

 

Ashraf Eassa has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2018 $90 calls on Apple and short January 2018 $95 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.