The internet was buzzing today with news that an unknown iPhone model had shown up in a number of different blogs. Since Apple is pretty consistent with its numbering sequences, all indications are that this will be a big update for the iPhone when it is released.
You see, the first iPhone was designated version 1.1. The iPhone 3G just changed the case and the radio. As such it was a small bump in device specs and in numeric designation — 1.2. The iPhone 3GS moved the device’s guts forward significantly, and Apple appropriately labeled it 2.1.
So why is this important? Simple- the new device that is showing up has the designation 3.1. That means Apple does not view this as a small incremental upgrade but as a significant update as they move the device into its 4th generation.
But what does that actually MEAN? What does it mean for the hardware? for the look of the device? for the interior specs? What will it means for the overall experience of using the device when it is finally released. That was the question this morning, or more precisely — those were the questions…
I sent around an email saying, “Let’s start the betting pool – what improvements will we see (or would you like to see) in iPhone 3.1?
I would personally like to see a larger and higher resolution screen, a higher capacity battery, a faster processor, and I wouldn’t mind if it meant making the new iPhone a bit thicker; perfected multitasking would be nice, but it’s not a deal-breaker for me. To go back to the screen for just a moment — I keep looking at the HD2′s hardware, wishing that I had that gorgeous screen on my iPhone; it really does make a difference.
And the replies from the Gear Diary family started rolling in …
Multitasking- but limited to three apps or so
Different processor that will give more ooomph
Much improved screen
Revamped UI since Apple even understands that it is getting stale
Biggest change- A noticeably different look
Wildcard to make the iPhone lightyears ahead once again- Dragon voice built into core apps set
Coach‘s list included:
Claims of improved battery life that will be debated continuously.
Some new feature that I won’t have, since I have no available iPhone upgrades for a while!
New dock plug so no accessories work anymore
Dan’s response – “Bravo Coach!”
You’re probably getting your wish, Travis. The EU has mandated that all mobile phones use the MicroUSB standard plugs for charging, so Apple has to add that port somehow.
I’m honestly curious to see how they implement this. Apple won’t just add another port for charging. They’ll either revamp the existing port somehow or replace it.
Maybe just add a converter cable. That’s what I’d do, anyway.
Doug’s wants fell into the “better” category of better battery and a better screen. Other than that, he is pretty happy already, noting-
I would like it to be a wee big larger, myself, but my view may be skewed because I use it so much for watching videos and reading, plus email and web surfing. (The thing I use it *least* for is making phone calls.)
I think multitasking is over-rated, personally; I’ve mentioned that before. 32GB is, I’m finding, plenty of memory; I haven’t maxed it out yet, and I have a *lot* of videos and stuff in my library. Better processor, though; I definitely notice some lag.
All the other things I can think of are software-based: better access time between the iPhone and iTunes, optimization of iTunes itself (it’s damn slow on a PC; how is it on a Mac?); stuff like that.
Better battery life and a 480×800 (or thereabouts) resolution on a screen around 4″ would make me an extremely happy camper I love my iPhone, but the HD2′s resolution is drawing me away. I’m still using an original 3G so I feel a new iPhone or HD2 upgrade is justified
Thomas got serious and made a laundry list of wants:
- Higher resolution, ability to watch HD content, widescreen. Once you see the Droid screen, you want more pixels!
- PlasticLogic type dual-function screen so I can read ebooks for hours in low power mode (with better outdoor readability, etc.). Or at least OLED so we save some power.
- Haptic feedback. I don’t need this, but I think some would like to know when they’ve clicked a button, etc.
- Removable battery!! The battery life isn’t up to par. To make it my all-day device, allow me to swap it out, not attach an external one via the dock connector.
- Improved battery life.
- Trickle charging via body heat, solar, kinetic, and even a Touchstone-like charger
- Use of a CDMA/GSM chipset so one version can be totally global
- More memory. 128 GB at least. My legit music/audible collection alone is over 100 GB, and that’s not including videos…
- A Micro SD slot. For physical transfer of data to/from a real camera, etc.
- USB Target disk mode with APIs for developers to interact with that shared area.
- More physical buttons. At least a few more for muting a call, accepting/ending a call.
- Lanyard slot
- Notification LEDs. I want to know if I have a new message w/o having to wake up the screen, etc.
- Better camera. Higher res, Zeiss optics, LED/Xenon flash, etc.
- Front-facing camera for video conferencing
- Better external speaker. The one on the bottom doesn’t cut it. Same for the mic. Having stereo mics would improve speakerphone use.
The rest of my changes would be software-based.
Not one to allow Thomas to get by with such a vague answer, I asked him to clarify what he meant by “software-based” changes …
That list is huge! A small sampling:
- Turning the phone over activates the speaker (like the HTC devices)
- Lock screen should slide up (like WebOS does) for better right or left handed use (definitely better one-handed use)
- A today screen, like WinMo
- Better notifications (like Android). At least put them somewhere so they don’t disappear when you unlock the device!
- Multitasking like WebOS (deck of cards metaphor)
- Folders on home screen or ability to have categories (like the Palm launcher screen)
- Real Terminal program to do Unixy stuff
Carly’s wants were quite modest in size but would make a huge difference in the device’s usability:
I want a lockscreen like lockinfo or intelliscreen. Just something that pulls in my calendar, emails, etc into one place. A higher resolution screen would be nice; bigger would be good, too (like the droid screen)
And if they won’t give me that, then the ability to designate any program for home button double click so I could just double click into Pocket Informant anytime I wanted.
Larry weighed in:
I’m hoping for some sort of design change. I’m growing a little tired of the same shape and size over and over again.A better battery, slimmer design.I also think it’s important to distinguish between hardware 4.0 and software 4.0.
Many of the things people have mentioned are software related, not necessarily hardware.
Doug thought about it for a moment:
You know what would be sweet? Some kind of plug-in deal you could insert the iPhone into that would give you external game controls. Wired joked about it a year or so ago, but it would be cool. You know … something that would make the iPhone look like the Tapwave Zodiac.
Even though I don’t own one (but I do have a 1st gen iPod touch)…
I would say better battery life first and foremost. Better iTunes interoperability. And maybe a slightly faster processor.
And of course, different carriers!! I don’t like AT&T! Ever since the iPhone went live, the network is drowning in traffic. And what about when MMS became active?? Need to get more carriers to carry iPhones and alleve some of the network pain.
I think a better processor (with better battery life to support it), possibly a better camera, maybe with at least 720p for the video in order to stay competitive with cameras like the Flip. I really hope that if they change the screen they merely improve it, not make it smaller. The size is perfect as-is, or even a bit bigger. I hope they will bump it up to 64GB too…I am still using my 16GB iPhone 3G and I am starting to run out of space! We plan on upgrading whenever the iPhone 4th Gen comes out…I just have to hold on till then!
Here are my thoughts …
- Screen – higher resolution (i.e. my Droid has better looking output than the iPod Touch)
- micro-USB … which I think will be handled by a dock adapter.
- better battery life
- some form of feedback for multi-touch controls. Current system is the worst of all gaming control systems.
… and I hope they get the Touch up to date sooner than later withcamera, etc.
Joel, our resident Linux geek and non-iPhone user couldn’t stand it …
I’ve gotta chime in….
4th generation should bring in the Snapdragon plus new battery to support that. Also, they should either loosen up the store a bit with approvals, or allow installation from a third party. Doing this would make the iPhone a far more interesting platform for deploying in-house proprietary applications. If they are going for the enterprise, there should also be a way to image a phone so you can deploy your applications.
What about you? What’s on your wish list for the next generation iPhone?
*and yes – I know these Lego pictures were for the first generation iPhone, but they were so cute I couldn’t resist!!