The 3g iPhone "Must Haves"

I’ve made no secret of my hopes and dreams for the 3g iPhone, which is inevitably going to be announced in less than 24 hours at the WWDC opening keynote.  To recap, these are the predictions I made about  a month ago: –

  • Same size (or very close), same form-factor
  • Slightly reduced price, say £299 for the top spec version
  • No GPS but improved location detection in Google Maps
  • 5 Megapixel camera, no autofocus and no flash, video recording will be added
  • HSDPA (3g)
  • MMS (finally)
  • A2DP support
  • Will ship with at least one game from the new iPhone App Store
  • Flash Support (wishful thinking I fear)
  • Fashion options (different colours, more customisation)
  • Announced at WWDC, available mid to late June simultaneously in all territories

Some of my predictions are based on the alledged new chipset being used, some are common sense and some are more hopeful than anything.

So why am I terrified?  Well, quite frankly, I want one.  I’ve been clicnging on to my Nokia N95 for a while now, I bought it the day they were released, and I’m really fed up with it.  The sluggish interface, and the knowledge that the phone is capable of so much more than I use it for, is really making me resent it.  And I resent it not because I choose not to use it, but more because it is horrible to use.  Really painfull.  So I’m relying on the new iPhone coming out, and I’m relying on it suiting my needs more than my wants.

What I Need, Not What I Want

I’ve given this some thought over the last few weeks, and there are certain things I need to be true about the new iPhone before I can happily buy one.  These aren’t features from the wishlist that I’ve drawn up in my head, but things that will actually prevent me from buying an iPhone if they aren’t there.  On the MoSoCoW scale, these are MUSTS.

iPhone SDK

The first thing on my list is size.  The iPhone is big enough already, I know this is to accomodate the large screen, and I’m happy with that compromise, but it absolutely has to be pocketable.  And I’m talking trouser-pocketable, not clown-suit-pocketable.  So it has to be in line with the current size.  The depth doesn’t bother me so much as the height and width.  A smaller bezel, leaving a higher surface-size to screen ratio would be perfect.

Next up is the battery life.  Even my power hungry N95 gets two days on average of battery life.  That’s with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS largely unused.  I’d expect the iPhone to at least match that.  I can, however, see a problem.  My N95 gets two days battery life partly because I don’t use it.  I thin I’ll use the iPhone alot.  So a days battery life with moderately heavy usage is a must.

Something that the current/original iPhone has been critiscised for is it’s reception and call quality.  Considering it’s essentially a first general device, it’s almost understandable, forgiveable even.  But not on a second generation device.  I need top-draw reception and top-draw call quality.  Steve Jobs spoke about the killer feature of the original iPhone being making calls, they really need to refocus their attention on this aspect.

I’m on the verge of declaring that 3g is another feature on my must have list, but I’m not so sure.  Compared to the two requirements above 3g is very much on a different, slightly lower, level.  The absence of 3g wouldn’t prevent me from buying the phone, I’d have to give it some more thought, but ultimately I think I could live without it.

The Game-Changers

So the above is a list of features and aspects that simply have to be there to make the iPhone a viable option for me.  There are a few things Apple could do beyond those that would quite simply change the entire mobile industry.  And if any company is going to make these features work, it will be Apple.

Assuming that the new iPhone will have 3g, a whole new world of opportunities open up.  Top of my list of game changers would be video calling, with multiple participants, and compatible with multiple desktop and mobile clients over Wi-Fi or 3g.  Imagine being at the airport and being able to talk to your Wife on her N95 and your daughter on her Mac and arranging a trip face-to-face.  And seeing as iChat would be one of the supported clients, how about document and screen sharing at the same time?

Extending the idea of screen sharing, imagine having full access to your Mac through your iPhone.  Using a new (and working!) version of Back To My Mac you could connect to your home Mac, edit and view documents, access media and anything else you can do while sitting in front of the machine.  The current Safari interface would lend itself well to this feature, with the Smart Zooming functionality and the on-demand keyboard.

Extending this idea even further, how about active, over-the-air syncing of my contacts, bookmarks and calendar.  If I add a contact to my iPhone, I’d really like it to be waiting for me in my Mac’s Address Book, and my GMail contact list, by the time I get home.  The same applies for my calendar.

So what do you think?  I’ll be following up with a post about some iPhone applications that I’d like to see soon, so keep watching.  Or, to keep up to date subscribe by clicking here or follow me on Twitter.