**Editor's Note: Click here for our most recent list of hottest selling smartphones to see how the iPhone fared against the competition, or here for our top 10 list of best smartphones in 2013 (so far).**
Admit it – whether you use the iPhone for business, managing your family, fun, or all of the above, the last couple of versions of have been lacking something.
Sure, we've come to expect the world from Apple. But we haven't gotten anything truly spectacular since the voice-activated personal assistant, Siri, was introduced in the iPhone 4S in 2011. Now that's not to say that TouchID – the enhanced fingerprint security system in the 5s – isn't cool. And there have been advancements to iOS 7 that can make your life easier. But it's been more than two years since the Silicon Valley giant has really blown us away.
That could change in a big way in 2014 if some of what's making the rounds on the Internet comes to fruition.
The most extraordinary involves a patent that Apple was awarded for "personal computing device control using face detection and recognition." This could put TouchID to shame in just one year's time. Apple Insider notes that the technology could not only improve security but make the entire iPhone experience more convenient. Samsung made headlines this year with an eye-tracking technology that pauses video when you look away from the screen, but this would appear to go far beyond that. Keep in mind, however, that tech companies sometimes file for patents far in advance and never wind up building the technology for which they were meant.
Another big specification worth noting is the possibility of a camera that would let you refocus images after the pictures have been taken. Those of us who need to take a handful of pictures to get it just right would really benefit from that technology, the subject of yet another new Apple patent.
A larger screen for the iPhone 6 is widely predicted. While Apple has often bucked industry trends, the four-inch screen that it debuted for the first time just in 2012 is now one of the tiniest displays on the market. The company probably won't join the "phablet" category by going over five inches, but we would be surprised if the next flagship doesn't jump to the 4.5 to 5-inch range.
Speaking of the screen size, Apple is reportedly considering a pressure-sensitive display that would allow developers to assign different functions to the device depending on how hard you press. That, too, could take the iPhone to the next level.
While there's been some talk of a summer release date, we see no evidence to indicate that Apple's next flagship smartphone will go on sale before next fall.
Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.