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Summary:

We’ve come an awfully long way since the first iPhone was released in 2007. The last three and a half years have seen dramatic improvements in both the hardware and software of Apple’s smartphone. So what more could you ask for? A lot, it turns out.

iphone5-wishlist

We’ve come an awfully long way since the first iPhone was released in 2007. The last three and a half years have seen dramatic improvements in both the hardware and software of Apple’s smartphone. So what more could you ask for? A lot, it turns out.

Well, I have a few modest suggestions. And in the spirit of the holiday season, I’m offering this wish list (along with the one I already compiled for iOS 5) to Santa in the hope that he can put in a good word with Steve Jobs. You never know; it might work.

Advanced Capacitive Touchscreen

This is something I forget about in the summer months, but now that snow is falling, I resent having to take my gloves off to use my iPhone. (Have you ever tried answering your iPhone with the tip of your nose? Far from dignified…) Certain exotic gloves are available that make it possible to use a capacitive touchscreen while keeping one’s digits warm, but they’re often expensive or gimmicky. It might sound too good to be true, but a report last month on Patently Apple suggested just such a technology might be on its way.

Thinner, Lighter, Stronger

Forget glass. Yeah, it looks great but I don’t care if it is made from the same stuff used in helicopter windscreens. Can liquid metal provide us with a super thin, super-strong chassis? Failing that, I don’t mind a carbon fibre composite (which is likely a better material than metal anyway, since it won’t interfere with the iPhone’s many radios.)

Capacitive Charging

This one’s a long shot. The trouble with capacitive charging is that it’s molasses-slow and expensive to implement. But there’s still something alluring about the concept of simply resting my phone on a minimal Apple-branded surface and watching it get charged. A liquid-metal body (see above) would, by the way, make this much easier to implement.

More Sensors! More!

Adding temperature, pressure, humidity and EMF sensors might sound insane, but imagine the apps that would appear to exploit such tech! Incidentally, with a metal chassis, a future iPhone might feasibly contain a heart-rate sensor of the kind commonly found in treadmills and workout equipment. A heart rate monitor in Nike+ would be a great addition to that service… as would a pedometer. Bottom line here – the more sensors we can get in the iPhone, the more versatile it will become.

Impossibly Long-Lived Battery

This is a tough one. See, it’s hard to ask for all these new sensors and next-generation capacitive touch screens and still say I want a longer-lasting, high-performance battery. But still, I’m asking for it anyway. This is a wish list after all. And even if delivering a “miracle battery” means breaking the very laws of physics, well, I’m sure Apple can do it.

Automatic Owner Recognition

If you use your iPhone for every little thing, you probably use the passcode lock to keep your personal data safe. For the curious, the current four digit passcode software lock offers 1,048,576 possible combinations. That’s probably good-enough for most people already accustomed to having to memorize PINs for their credit and debit cards, but I’d like to see this taken much further. A combination of facial recognition, bioelectrical impedance analysis and voice print identification could make an iPhone far more secure than it is today. It would certainly help sell to government customers after the WikiLeaks fiasco.

Multicore Processors

The just-released Infinity Blade is an impressive achievement on the iPhones 3GS and 4, given that they use single-core processors. Imagine what might be possible with dual or quad-core processors in a future device.

Touch Sensitive Bezel

There’s a (sort of) joke shared amongst the Apple faithful that if Steve Jobs could do-away with the iPhone’s single button, he would. Well, he can. In fact, should. The Home button’s functionality could be replaced with capacitive gesture input built into the iPhone’s bottom-bezel which could remain large, but nowhere near as large as it must be to accommodate the hardware button. What’s more, gestures could be added (or edited) at any time to allow for even more functionality, like instant access to the device’s camera.

High Definition Sound

Forget that tinny, crackling mono voice that you hear when you use the iPhone as an actual phone. HD voice calls are amazing and, a bit like HD TV, must be experienced to be believed. This isn’t entirely an iPhone-only thing though – carriers must provide support for wideband audio (as it is more properly known), and precious few have shown much interest in doing so. In the UK, for instance, only one carrier has launched HD voice support, and that was just a few months ago. Good luck convincing AT&T that it should be a priority.

So there you have it: my ten wishes for the iPhone 5. The list surely goes on. I’d love to know what you most want in next year’s inevitable hardware update; share your ideas in the comments below.

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  1. What about higher touch sensitivity? Ability to read finger prints etc…

  2. What the iPhone needs is a discreet notification light so you know whether it wants your attention in the first place. That omission is as ridiculous as the camera flash has been.

    Having experience with non-physical buttons, I’d take the iPhone’s reassuring click every time, and for double clicks, it just gets better.

  3. aiiskoplusaiist Monday, December 13, 2010

    Just pointing out that the possible combinations for the ‘simple'(4 number) passcode lock is only 10^4 (upto 9999 and including 0000) and not 4^10 (1,048,576). Makes you think, only 10,000 bank pins to choose from! Must be a lot of people with the exact same pin as you…

    1. Hello aiiskoplusaiist

      When calculating potential combinations the formula is to take the base first and then raise to the power of the total possible digits. So in calculating a PIN number for an iPhone, the formula is;

      Base 4 ^ 10 = 1,048,576

      Doing it the other way around is incorrect.

      Just sayin ;-)

      1. Hello Liam,

        except, the base is ten, the number of digits is four. That is probably why the decimal system is called “base ten”, and a number like 7643 is called a “four-digit number” (I am not trying to be sarcastic, just helpful). If you were correct, it would be possible to express numbers large than 9999 using only four digits in the decimal system. Just sayin’

        Cheers,

        JJ

      2. the easy way to think about this:

        How many options for the first digit? 10 (0-9 is 10 options)
        How many options for the second digit? 10
        How many options for the third digit? 10
        How many options for the fourth digit? 10

        How many total? 10*10*10*10 = 10,000

      3. The base in this case is not the base of our culture’s choice of decimal system! Rather, it’s the base of the combination system in-hand.

        In this case, a four-digit passcode lock is Base 4.

        If it were a six digit passcode, it would be Base 6.

        And then 0-9 digits gives 10 possible numbers for each input.

        So: Base 4 ^ 10.

        I’m not sure why people want to argue this so much – do a few minutes research online, you’ll quickly find lots of corroborating sources that confirm this is the correct formula.

        Thanks everyone :-)

      4. You are just wrong, Liam.

      5. I don’t need to do online research to count to from 0 to 9,999, but okay…. http://lmgtfy.com/?q=how+many+possibilities+are+there+for+a+four+digit+lock

  4. Liam, I know.. It’s cold here in the UK and every time I have to use my iPod touch I have to take my gloves off but since you wrote this wish list.. Apple will definitely listen to your views for the next iPhone 5. :) GO LIAM!!!

  5. Richard Wallace Monday, December 13, 2010

    SMS and MMS Delivery reports is a must for me, I’m lost without it, but that’s more of an IOS development request, in fact I have loads of those.

    Hardware wise:

    1) My main issue is that I don’t like the silent button, I’m always accidentially switching it to silent/vibrate.

    2) A back that doesn’t sratch so easy, I look after my phone and it was scratched within a couple days.

    3) A camera button on the side for quicker camera access.

    4) More memory, or at least more options as I don’t think 32GB is enough.

    5) I like the biometric idea already suggested.

  6. I’d like to be able to use both cameras at the same time. That way you not only see what I’m seeing, but also my reaction to it.

  7. Here’s another one:

    Syncing / sending files & files via bluetooth
    and possibly wlan

  8. Hardware:
    Bluetooth file transfer. Please.
    Better battery.

    Software:
    Better notifications.
    WiFi on/off switch by the on-screen orientation lock.
    Change the Voice Memos icon back.
    iPhoto-less photo album creation.

    …and I’m sold!

  9. 8 megapixel camera on front & back, for better pictures video & face time!
    And since were on the matter of FaceTime why don’t we just allow it over 3G? If we have a jailbroken phone we all know that it works fine over 3G..

    1. Ask your carrier.

    2. I think that there are two main reasons for this; one, AT&T’s network isn’t big enough to be able to support every single iPhone 4’s facetime ability. Also, I think that it also has to do with the current data plans. If you use facetime over 3G and look at the data consumption, you can see that even if you could do it, not for very long..

  10. I beg to disagree on these:

    * Not thinner. The iPhone isn’t a brick. The same thickness or more would be justified by more battery life.

    * No more sensors. Other than perhaps temperature, it’s hard to see much use for the ones you suggest. Better to spend the money on a more sensitive GPS.

    I agree with Cold Water, a discreet notification light (perhaps with several colors) would great for situations where sound isn’t appropriate. Users should be able to choose what those colors mean.

    With Droids closing up behind them, Apple’s also going to be a hurtin if they don’t have several models of iPhones, including a waterproof sport model.

    1. Droids are not closing up behind iPhones. AT&T sells way more iPhones than Verizon sells all of their smartphones combined (Droid, BlackBerry, Windows).

      Even if you are talking “Android”, not (Verizon) “Droid”, most Android sales take place in emerging markets, on what are basically free phones that don’t compete with iPhones. They are essentially feature phones with a Web browser.

      Apple already provides the most choice in handsets, because users can easily customize their phone with 300,000 powerful native C apps with no I-T help required. Try to use a friend’s iPhone … it is not the same as yours, even if they are the same model. My iPhone has lots of music and audio and art apps because that is what I do, others have lots of games, or lots of business apps. Each app is an entirely new set of buttons and readouts.

      Further, there are like 10,000 cases for iPhones, because case manufacturers know there will be so many millions of potential customers for an iPhone 4 case, or iPhone 3G case. Many times I don’t recognize another person’s iPhone as being an iPhone.

  11. How about a basic choice of sounds for email notification that I can actually hear? …or better yet, adjust? That ought to be a simple thing.

    1. Scott,

      I agree whole heartedly. I even emailed Steve Jobs but didn’t get a reply. I cannot see any logic in not offering sound options for email notification.

    2. Hamranhansenhansen Scott Tuesday, December 14, 2010

      The world doesn’t want to hear your email arriving.

      1. AMEN!!! Thank you Hamranhansenhansen!

      2. While I agree that I don’t want to hear other people’s phone beeping due to new email, I would love a simple blinking light to indicate a new email, text, etc. like my Blackberry does.

  12. I agree with almost none of these. Please, don’t give us another boring old plastic phone. I personally like the glass.. metal would be ok.

    Work on some of the enterprise functionality.. I want to be able to view free/busy information of my colleagues on an Exchange server, or be able to cancel recurring meeting instances someone else set up without deleting the whole series… or be able to tell the person why I can’t make the meeting. There are lots of business related issues with the current model even though its getting better.

    BTW: Apple shouldn’t compete for quantity of phones sold – not sure why so many are wrapped up in that. Keep a solid sales number, but go for profit while Android and Microsoft have to give their phones away. This is my BMW, not my Ford… if I wanted a boring phone I’d have an Android.

    Wow us… surprise us… don’t become one of the masses.

    1. “don’t become one of the masses”??

      eerrmm……. too late.

  13. BETTER VOICE CAPABILITY

    -When you hold the home button to call someone, the phone call should be in speaker mode.
    -Launch apps
    -Play specific songs
    -Speak to text on all apps including SMS
    -More commands
    -Get mail (email)
    -Todays date and time
    -Current temperature
    -Calculator functions (2+2=?)

  14. This is an awesome wish list! Really think they could do away with the home button. But we’ll see. It’s kind of a staple of the iPhones simplicity..

  15. I strongly disagree with getting rid of the home button. It’s very practical and it kinda like the fail safe. If an app freezes and you can touch any buttons the home button is there to help. It would be stupid to get rid of it.

  16. Carbon fiber is worse than metal, because it does interfere with RF transmission, pretty effectively. In fact, it works more like a metal mesh cage than anything.

  17. The only things I would bet on in iPhone 5 hardware are a faster processor and more memory. A brighter display would be nice, but would need more power– so if that happens, it would have to come with a significant battery improvement. Another set of possibilities are new external interfaces– maybe a plug-in SD card reader.

    As for whiz-bang sensors or anything that changes the UI, I doubt it.

  18. Something a lot more low tech than what you suggested – a grease-resistant touch screen!

  19. Hamranhansenhansen Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    What I want to see is Phone and Messages moving to IP, so I can drop my $40 voice plan and $10 SMS plan and their unexpected overages and pay for data only.

    The hardware improvements over the past few years have been great, but since I got my iPad 3G with $30/month flat rate data and Skype and AIM, I have less patience for my $100/month iPhone bill.

  20. i don’t need those things though a better battery would be nice.

    what i actually would like is:
    full wireless sync (wlan/bluetooth) and an ir-transmitter to be able to use the iphone as a remote

  21. iPhone 5 MUST have LTE

  22. What I want needs no new technology or development. Please let me buy the damn thing unlocked, unsubsidized with Applecare like world wide warranty! I guess 3G support on both American GSM networks would be nice (add CDMA networks, even better). But this is not a must. AT&T is good enough. While we all collectively hate them, T-Mobile has no reception in Moscow, ID, or Omaha/Lincoln, NE where I spend most of my time in the US.

    That’s all I really ask for. Hopefully the expiration of the exclusive contract will deliver this.

    If I can have my distant second request, I would like to see some choice that goes beyond this model or last model. I would like to see multiple dimensions on the choice scale, basic or feature packed (pertaining to CPU, camera and screen), 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and I want it to come in 2.8″, 3.5″ and 4.3″ versions. I would probably go for the feature packed 4.3″ version with 16GB.

  23. Make it be able to test a Cat 5 ethernet cable.

  24. ..and what about iPhone working properly as a reliable phone. In other words, no more antenna/signal strength formula problems please.
    Even low-end Nokias seem to have better signal and voice clarity.

    Also, a scratch proof touch screen would be killer!!

  25. Valerio Paris Mitritsakis Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Are you sure you meant to write “CAPACITIVE CHARGING”. I think you probably mean “CONDUCTIVE CHARGING” unless I missed some kind of new technology that does not involve coils…

  26. It should make coffee. And give massages. And be free. No wait, you get money with it. It should be able to print money!

  27. I still want custom alert sounds that I can make myself! I am so tired of the standard sounds even if they did update and add some last time around but those are silly and still sound like everyone elses.

  28. NFC is a must have competitively, Apple can not afford to give this market away to GOOG.

  29. ..put Android on it :)

    1. Quite a few of these software changes are easily done on the android os.
      And with difficulty you can install android 2.2 onto a jailbroken iphone but I think its still pretty buggy.

      What I would like to see is apple implement something that works like the tasker app on android into the actual os and let it work system wide.

  30. external camera button would be nice…

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