5 Features The iPhone 4G Needs Right Now

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.

Price

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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  • Ragnar-Kon
    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.
  • cadder
    1. I would like for it to be a tiny bit bigger.
    2. Longer battery life.
    3. SDK that runs on a PC.
  • kennyforgames
    oh there is more. at least they need adobe flash build-in
  • Other Comments
  • Ragnar-Kon
    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.
  • anamaniac
    True unlimited mobile browsing.
    It's $85/month with Virgin in my area for 5GB/month. Another $60 or so for unlimited calling. :(
  • elforeign
    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.