The Top Seven Things the Next iPhone Needs to Survive

March 25, 2010

When the iPhone was first announced, it sent shockwaves throughout the tech community. But after two incremental upgrades to the device itself, the rest of the industry has had a chance to respond, and Apple is now faced with some serious competition. So, if Steve Jobs wants keep his disciples coming back for more, these are the features we’re going to need from the next Jesusphone.

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7.  More Memory

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While many continue to hope for an expandable memory option in the form of a microSD slot, in all likelihood, we’ll never see one on an iPhone. Part of that might be because of Apple’s tendency to refresh their product line annually, and the easiest way to prove a product has been upgraded is to bump the memory size up.

Indeed, 64GB memory chips are ready to roll and in demand, and while some of those could be destined for the new iPad tablet, it’s a pretty safe assumption that there will be a 64GB iPhone option when the 4G drops.

6. A Decent Camera with a Flash

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Most camera phones have come equipped with a flash for a very long time. For whatever reason though, Apple has shied away from including any sort of flash in their devices.

As a result, the iPhone’s camera has traditionally been almost useless in low light situations. The pain of the issue is really driven home when your friend busts out his new Motorola Droid at the same concert you’re at and snaps a perfect photo using the Droid’s blindingly-bright LED flash, and has it posted to Facebook before you even have a chance to utter “Damn you, Steve Jobs!” And of course those LEDs also come in handy as a flashlight as well. Since a flash doesn’t really take up much room in a device and has no cost to battery life when they’re not in use, we’re really just left wondering what the deal is here. C’mon – hook up the flash already.

5. Removable Battery/Improved Battery Life

Photo: Jose Luis Pelaez/Iconica/Getty Images

One thing that has been a complaint since day one of the first iPhone’s release has been the less-than-stellar battery life. Initially, this was forgivable – this was, after all, an iPod, an internet device, and a phone – all in one! And we tolerated the fact that once our phone's battery finally gave out, we had to send it to Apple for (expensive) repairs, because Apple used to be the only game in town.

But now Apple can’t afford to rest on their laurels. Not when other totally capable phones are packing beefy and removable batteries. While it’s pretty unlikely that they’d sacrifice the aesthetic value of the iPhone’s seamless design for the sake of letting users replace their own batteries, they do have the ability to give the phone a battery that doesn’t drain like a sieve when you take a long phone call or use the GPS features.


4.  A Better Screen

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Another unmatched feature the iPhone brought with it was the gorgeous, high resolution screen. But a few years on now, the 320×480 display is definitely starting to get long in the tooth.

With mobile HD video quickly becoming the hot ticket as the 4G bandwidth to provide it is quickly being rolled out and several other phones sporting resolutions north of 480x800, the iPhone’s once awe-inspiring display now looks straight-up dated. It’s time for a significant upgrade.


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3. Adobe Flash Support

Photo: Adobe

Apple seems to have a dozen reasons why Adobe Flash isn’t feasible on their mobile products. But it strikes us as odd that these issues don’t seem to apply to phones like the Motorola Droid and Google’s Nexus One, which run Adobe Flash 10 just fine, right now.

With over 75% of all video content on the web not viewable on Apple mobile products, the lack of this functionality is really starting to become a major disadvantage for Apple, and the problem will only get worse as time goes on...unless Apple capitulates and starts playing nice with Adobe.

2. Multitasking

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Nearly every other smartphone on the market today has the ability to switch between simultaneously running tasks without having to close one in order to look at something in another. For instance, if you get an email on a Palm Pre while browsing Facebook, you don't have to close Facebook and load up your email program, you simply switch between the two tasks in a task manager.

This simply isn't possible on an iPhone (unless you jailbreak it). The closest you can (officially) get are some push notification pop-up windows that offer you information about what you'd be seeing in a program, were it actually running at the time.

Fortunately, reputable sourcres indicate that the iPhone will gain this functionality this summer by way of the iPhone OS 4.0 firmware. Let's hope for Apple's sake that they're right.

1. A Better Network

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It's no secret that AT&T's network is just not cutting it in a lot of parts of the county. Dropped calls, poor voice quality, and dead zones are such a common annoyance for iPhone users, they've largely just accepted the situation. But with other networks like Verizon - who offer vastly superior coverage - and Sprint - who're already rolling out their 4G which is ten times faster than 3G and expanding rapidly, the rationale behind sticking with a subpar network for the sake of a once unparalleled, but now somewhat dated handset, is making less and less sense every day. While other networks continue to improve their speed and service, AT&T seems content with providing progressively poorer and poorer service and simply pocketing people's money.

Indeed, Apple may finally be accepting that there's an issue here, because there's a real possibility that the next iPhone will come to Verizon's network, whose network seems to be in much better shape to take on the likes of Sprint's 4G HTC Evo than AT&T's is. Seriously, having dead zones in densely populated parts of cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in this day and age is flat out ridiculous. For the iPhone's sake, let's hope Apple has taken this to heart.


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