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5 Features The iPhone 4G Needs Right Now

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 65 comments

It is either a marketing coup scored by Apple’s marketing staff to get obscene media coverage for a product that won’t launch for another two months or an Apple employee may not be an Apple employee anymore and get his pants sued off by Steve Jobs.

Apple’s next-generation iPhone may have celebrated an unexpected debut last weekend at a San Jose bar and gives us an idea how the new phone will look like - and gives us an opportunity to check some of our wishlist boxes for another device that will ensure Steve Jobs’ immortality.

If you could decide what features are missing in the iPhone and you were the product designer in charge, what would you go for? I know, it is a pointless question, as you will have to settle for what Apple believes is best for you anyway, but we are allowed to dream, right? Let’s forego the typical more memory, thinner box, faster connection speed requests. What is it the iPhone really needs?

According to Gizmodo, which is apparently in possession of a prototype device that was lost or planted by Apple in a San Jose bar, we know that the iPhone may return to a much more substantial case design that departs from rounded corners to a much more squarish approach and introduce some minor modifications. There are new features, if this is in fact the new iPhone, we know the device will get, but there are some open questions. Here is my wishlist.

Eye Candy

I have never complained about Apple’s screens. They have been among the best in the industry, but the iPhone has fallen behind. If you are looking for a competing smartphone, then it is more than likely that you will see devices with much higher screen resolutions. It seems certain that the screen will be upgraded – and there is the slight chance that the device will have the 960x640 pixel display that has been discussed lately. At the very least, this display would need 800x480 pixels to keep up with the competition, and to give those videos a much crisper look and allow the iPhone to head into a new stage of gaming.

The iPhone already competes for gaming market share with Nintendo; Apple has the content already. Imagine what a killer screen would be able to do for Apple.  

More Horsepower

There can’t be enough processing horsepower and with the recent push by Qualcomm, it seems only reasonable that Apple would follow suit and to be able to enable much more entertainment on the iPhone. If Apple was able to develop the A4 processor for the iPad, who says there isn’t a smaller A3 derivate for the iPhone? It would be the right time for Apple to depart now and unify its design approach.

Video Conferencing

Apparently, this new phone will have two cameras – including a front facing camera that in fact may pave the way to a much more lively way to communicate. The camera may be upgraded to 8 megapixels (which would be reasonable), but remain largely a snapshot tool as those small CMOS sensors will not be able to compete with larger versions in regular cameras in the foreseeable time. However, a decent screen and camera resolution, more processing horsepower as well as HSDPA bandwidth and AT&Ts promise to build out its network could result in videoconferencing capabilities. Hey, we are calling this device the iPhone 4G – it is only common sense that videoconferencing is supported.

Global Conversations

Let’s be honest, international calling is a pain in the you-know-what with cellphones today. You can’t make reasonable international calls if you haven’t won the lottery and in most cases it is cheaper to subscribe to Iridium’s satellite telephone service to call Europe or Asia than it is to use your cell phone. Verizon Wireless recently announced that it will allow Skype Mobile (including international calling plans) to run over its cellular network and there is no question that the iPhone will need this feature as well.

AT&T and Apple will have to recognize that features such as Skype Mobile will have to be available in an unlimited way and allow IP phone calls to run over the cellular data network.


Whenever a new iPhone is released, one of the biggest complaints is its price – not so much the $199 price tag, which really does not matter. It is much more the $2000 or more you will pay over the life time for calling, data and messaging fees. In fact, I would claim that the current pricing model, is a serious bug in the iPhone strategy.

The iPhone needs an affordable unlimited calling and data all-you-can-eat plan.  At this time, the unlimited calling plan is priced at $70 per month. The data plan adds $30 and the messaging plan another $20, for a total of $120 per month. Sprint just introduced a $70 per month plan for unlimited calling, texting and web browsing. The iPhone may be AT&T’s cash cow, but there is the dire need to reduce the calling and data plans for this device.
What do you think? What does the iPhone need? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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Top Comments
  • 23 Hide
    Ragnar-Kon , April 19, 2010 6:57 PM
    My biggest wish (assuming I ever think about buying a smart phone, let alone an iPhone):

    A different carrier than AT&T. No point in having a cell phone if it loses signal as soon as I step into a building.
  • 20 Hide
    cadder , April 19, 2010 7:04 PM
    1. I would like for it to be a tiny bit bigger.
    2. Longer battery life.
    3. SDK that runs on a PC.
  • 16 Hide
    kennyforgames , April 19, 2010 7:07 PM
    oh there is more. at least they need adobe flash build-in
Other Comments
  • 23 Hide
    Ragnar-Kon , April 19, 2010 6:57 PM
    My biggest wish (assuming I ever think about buying a smart phone, let alone an iPhone):

    A different carrier than AT&T. No point in having a cell phone if it loses signal as soon as I step into a building.
  • 0 Hide
    anamaniac , April 19, 2010 7:01 PM
    True unlimited mobile browsing.
    It's $85/month with Virgin in my area for 5GB/month. Another $60 or so for unlimited calling. :( 
  • 1 Hide
    elforeign , April 19, 2010 7:02 PM
    After you get past the fact that yes, the iPhone is indeed an expensive cellphone to own, and that it may not be the most up to date (soon to change) cellphone, it is still a highly intuitive and great looking solution to what normally would be a mundane activity (calling, texting, browsing the internet). Me being a fairly new iPhone owner, I can say I am satisfied with what I have. Unless something revolutionary comes along, I will continue to buy iPhones.
  • 5 Hide
    insider3 , April 19, 2010 7:03 PM
    Visually the iPhone looks great. I just don't like their OS. Also AT&T as the main carrier? It's like Apple is taking advantage of their uneducated fanbase and is getting a good share of all those $120 monthly bills since Apple customers would buy a bottled water bottle for 20$ if it had an Apple Sticker on it.
  • 3 Hide
    eyemaster , April 19, 2010 7:04 PM
    If you can't afford it, don't buy it. You don't need to buy everything that is sold in this world.
  • 20 Hide
    cadder , April 19, 2010 7:04 PM
    1. I would like for it to be a tiny bit bigger.
    2. Longer battery life.
    3. SDK that runs on a PC.
  • 3 Hide
    freddysanchez , April 19, 2010 7:05 PM
  • 16 Hide
    kennyforgames , April 19, 2010 7:07 PM
    oh there is more. at least they need adobe flash build-in
  • 16 Hide
    dgingeri , April 19, 2010 7:07 PM
    2 things I think are paramount for Apple to include in their next iPhone:
    1. micro SD card slot
    2. replaceable battery

    Without those, the iPhone falls very flat. Anything else mentioned is moot without those 2.
  • 3 Hide
    huron , April 19, 2010 7:15 PM
    dginegeri - I'll agree with you - it's always bugged me that you can't expand any apple products.

    I'd love for it to have a micro SD slot, and non-proprietary connectors, but I'm doubting it - it is Apple

    I'd also like it to do something like HD out, like the Zune players do - it'd be great to take my movies and plug them in to any TV on the road.
  • -7 Hide
    milktea , April 19, 2010 7:15 PM
    I wish for a super speed 5G network and 100+ hour battery life/talk time. Is that too much to ask for? :sarcastic: 
  • 10 Hide
    christopherknapp , April 19, 2010 7:16 PM
    The ability to multitask for one, more horsepower, Flash support, replaceable battery ... oh, and the ability to use whatever facking software I want on it. Period.
  • -1 Hide
    zoemayne , April 19, 2010 7:27 PM
    1) Tactile Feedback

    Have we given up on this? My standards require a Android OS and a keyboard so the Droid is looking mighty good but the Nexus has a 1Ghz processor
  • 7 Hide
    miloo , April 19, 2010 7:28 PM
    i dont really like itunes to download all the songs to the iphone
  • 1 Hide
    ScoobyJooby-Jew , April 19, 2010 7:30 PM
    replaceable battery ftw. Oh and superior sound quality. which is the least cared about feature on modern phones. for the kind of money required, and considering it's apple, I wanna damn good sounding phone call.
  • 1 Hide
    aquila , April 19, 2010 7:31 PM
    Hah! Like cheaper iPhones/plans is gonna happen in our lifetime. Where Apple goes, Apple tax follows, and phone companies know you can wring out a few more pennies out of the iPhone buyers.
    Unless the new phone genuinely turns out to be the best thing since sliced bread, I'm finally making my move to Android; it's mature enough as a platform. Although I've already spent more than I'd care to admit on apps for mine, I'm still more psyched about Android's future.
  • 1 Hide
    DM0407 , April 19, 2010 7:32 PM
    Buy an Android phone. Apple products are what they are. This is going to hold Apple over for a few years, in which time the open software competition will blow it away.

    Android competition is creating extremely quick refresh rates and better phones.
  • 2 Hide
    Zenthar , April 19, 2010 7:36 PM
    I'm one of those people that just HATE talking on the phone. I can get through a year with a 100$/yr prepaid plan ... at Canadian prices moreover. For me, having to pay a fair amount of money for a voice plan is therefore completely absurd. I think they could reach a big market if they would sell some devices as data-only. And having to commit to a 2000$ 3 year contract (that they claim they can change at any time BTW) to save 500$ on the phone seems like a trap.
  • 14 Hide
    tommysch , April 19, 2010 7:37 PM
    freddysanchezIT NEEDS TO BE OPEN SOURCE!!!!!

    Jobs will sue you for having the thought.
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