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Open Thread: How would you improve the iPhone

One of our readers who is a happy iPhone customer emailed us and asked us this question:

iPhone 2.0 – what will Apple add or change about the iPhone to enhance the next version?

Since I don’t have one, I am not sure how to answer this question, and am opening it to all of you. Better way to manage/switch batteries, More memory, More Safari features (plug-in support), Higher resolution camera, Games, GPS, Skype/iChat…Your suggestions please…

69 Responses to “Open Thread: How would you improve the iPhone”

  1. I don’t own an iPhone myself but after the non-stop barrage of iPhone news and commentary over the past few weeks, I’ve absorbed quite a lot about it. IMHO, the first thing they need to do is improve the closed battery situation. As described in an NYT print article, the iPhone battery has less than 400 recharges. With the music, YouTube, Internet browsing and voice activities, I think the average user will end up recharging the phone at least once every 2 days — potentially requiring the user to send the iPhone back to Apple for a battery replacement within two years (unless they can afford to spend another $500+ to buy the next model).
    I can see that kind of replacement service being acceptable for an iPod — but who can live without a phone for a few days? Not I.

    I vote for better battery management!!

  2. Pat Shah

    Like others here, I’ve been playing with my iPhone non-stop since getting it last Saturday. Here are my list of improvements:

    1) Add zoom & flash to camera and video recording
    2) Add audio recording for quick notes..perhaps automatic transcription to notes
    3) Add GPS to enhance GMaps
    4) OTA downloads from ITMS
    5) 3G connectivity for faster surfing
    6) Offer SDK so that users can get better aps…open up the iPhone!
    7) Skype & IM integration (Keyboard rocks btw, I can type faster on the iphone than BB..amazing speed improvements when you don’t actually have to press physical keys)
    8) Would like to save pictures from email.
    9) Screen/keyboard rotation for email, notes and other apps.
    10) Better call audio quality. The voice quality is just ‘ok’. Coming from Verizon, it’s a step back..but I’m sure this is AT&T’s fault.
    11) Louder speakerphone
    12) Open Bluetooth up so that non-iphone headsets can work.
    13) More voice dialing features.
    14) Coverflow for contacts (pictures)…I’ve begun to assign pictures to all my contacts. It’s totally changes the experience.
    15) More native apps on home screen..widgets or otherwise…(want flight tracker, zagat’s, etc)
    16) Weather icon should default to first city selected, so current weather is always present on the home screen..just like calendar (without clicking to open)
    17) More ringtones & wallpapers…Save mp3 as ringtones

  3. The ability to use the iPhone to connect a laptop (Mao or Windows) to the internet (EDGE or 3G). The internet connection’s there. The bluetooth is there. Why no link between the two?

  4. rafalski

    Looks like the most candid iPhone shortcomings list so far emerges from these comments!
    I didn’t know you couldn’t share an internet connection via bluetooth, that feature is so basic! iChat bubbles are dreadful, can you not have sms with these?

  5. Natalie

    Overall, I’m thrilled with my new iPhone. The Web browsing alone has me hooked. I am, however, concerned about what will happen if/when I need to replace the battery…from what I’ve read online, it will require that I ship my phone to Apple for several days, pay them about $85 and then add all of my data back on to the phone when it’s returned to me. All three of those steps is worrisome, but the idea of losing my phone for several days is unacceptable. I’m crossing my fingers that there’s another fix in place before I have to cross that bridge.

    1. GPS w/ Turn-by-turn navigation
    2. Multi-network IM (a la Adium)
    3. GPS w/ Turn-by-turn navigation
    4. OTA Cal/Address Book Sync
    5. Did I mention GPS w/ Turn-by-turn navigation?
    6. Better Calculator when rotated horizontally. Honestly, it’s sounds trivial, but a few more functions would be nice (sqrt, trig functions, etc)
    7. Uh…GPS?
    8. More storage.
  6. I have been using the iphone intensively for the last 4 days. I love the device. I also have been reading most all of the reviews on the iphone, user interface, user experience, and ease of use. We all have to keep in mind how apple conducts their business….they have an extremely keen marketing sense and a dedicated following (including me). Understanding this means apple gets us to buy first, second, third, and eventually all products. All along the way updating all products with an ease to use software update. This is the key. I can just imagine apple will soon update version 1 software on the iphone we all just purchased. This update will coincide with the launch of the new os and kick ass.
    i look forward to games, gps, iwork integration, spotlight, ichat, etc. I also, truthfully, would pay for any software that would optimize and assist me with work and productivity.
    Go apple! Looking toward to new updates soon. Great first execution. Really need 3g….but then again….I am sure you knew people would buy version 1 didn’t you.

  7. LarryLo

    Exchange sync email/calender/contacts (half my company wants one badly)
    Better faster Camera 5.0Megpix
    Record Video in 16X9! 24 fps
    More storage

  8. Rishi

    Biometric password management. Adding a small fingerprint reader would make the iPhone so much more convenient, and just that much more interesting/cool/extravagant…

  9. make it sturdy, strong and durable and add up a dust free cover to it. it makes no sense to see it getting smashed over an accidental drop.

    Add up an extra USB port that will come in handy to connect my USB shaver or any other USB peripheral to it.

  10. and PS.

    No IM? Come on.

    and PPS.

    All of you who jump to Apple’s defense for the myriad AT&T-driven shortcomings of the phone, among them probably: no IM, slow network, locking a phone that you don’t subsidize, etc… all of you are really reading a business blog?

    Because last time I checked, the folks at Apple weren’t too dim. They knew when they made the deal with AT&T what they meant. And just like they made the decision on our behalf that songs shouldn’t be ringtones, they made the decision on our behalf that we could live with who they partnered with. That’s because AT&T brings the numbers–shows them the money. So that’s not an AT&T problem, that’s Apple’s choice. AT&T didn’t suddenly downgrade to edge and acquire horrid customers service on June 28.

  11. Having used the iphone for a few days now, the biggest annoyance is being not able to use it while driving.

    Since there is no voice recognition, and no tactile feedback, one has to look carefully at the screen to call someone, not a good idea while driving.

  12. -The most critical missing element is the lack of Flash support. One does not realize how much Flash is on the web these days until you don’t have it and youre trying to surf the web. This must be addressed as the first step to making Safari useful.

    -There is no way to highlight, cut, or copy text. I didn’t know how much I was using this feature until I didn’t have it.

    -We already knew there is no push mail, already a sina qua non. But other shortcomings in the e-mail client are remarkable. For example, there is no way to delete all the messages in your inbox. I must be kidding, right? No.
    -There is also no way to delete all your text messages, without doing each one individually.
    -There is no way to attach a photo to a message. You have to first go to the photo gallery, take a photo, and then start a new message with it.
    -There is no way to save a photo from an email… I want to use said photos for the contact list photos of my friends.
    -There is no way to set the phone to automatically check mail in intervals of less than 15 minutes.
    -There is no way to reply/reply all/forward a message with one click. Instead you have to bring up the entire list of options and then choose.
    -There is no way to view e-mails or PDFs in landscape mode, even though you can view web pages in landscape mode. This would have been a really fantastic feature.
    -There is no way to pull up a contact who you want to call by typing their name. (I guess this is a good device for people who do not have many contacts and do not receive much e-mail.) -Similarly, there is no way to find the name of a song or artist by typing the name.

    -The virtual keyboard is very good – for a virtual keyboard. But it does not compete with an actual keyboard. It is a huge pain that so many common symbols (. , @) require you to go to another keyboard screen and then back.

    • Even when using wifi, Safari renders pretty slowly. Despite Apple’s claim that it is a “full browser on a phone”, Safari feels limited. For example, even though it is tabbed browsing, there is no way to click a link to open in a new tab. This is a daunting problem given that the network is so slow anyway and you do not want to reload anything if you can avoid it.

    -Perhaps by design, the phone feels very one-dimensional. For example, with Nokia in most other phones, you can usually click on a “menu” type a button that brings up a list of options related to what you are looking at. that type of capability feels limited on this and said, and you are mostly if there’s something you can do WITH whatever you’re looking at, it is some button already on the screen.

    -Safari works poorly with Gmail, which is a big deal for me. The Calendar does not sync with Google calendar, another problem. I hope that Google will release iphone apps.

    -I wish they had a visual address book a la the HTC Touch.

    -No direct music download is too bad but I can understand that that technical hurdle is too high. And I have to nod and smile at the prescient paternal condescension of not allowing us dumb customers to choose our own songs as ringtones.

    -A battery that makes it through the day!! They must’ve done something special to the battery that they gave the big four.

  13. The absolute worst thing about this device is that the consumer is paying full retail price for it and still being locked into a 2 year contract. Apple’s not going to unlock this thing, but I hope someone does, because I am not going to spend 5 – 600 bucks on such a crippled device

  14. Adam Block
    • GMail via push-IMAP (not Apple’s issue)
    • Hard drive option
    • Keyboard selection of contacts
    • Rotateable screen for SMS and Notes
    • iChat
    • OTA sync
    1. Real third-party apps. How about a Cocoa SDK for iPhone?

    2. GPS, 3G, although I don’t know if GPS will kill the battery life.

    3. Flash is important. Java? Meh. I guess if enough users demand it.

  15. *** Definitely need more storage***
    1) optional landscape keyboard for all apps (not just Safari)
    2) “swipe to delete” for all items (not just email)
    3) copy/paste functionality
    4) file organizer so you could sync important files from Mac/PC <-> iPhone
    5) password manager integration
    6) open Bluetooth port for wireless syncing