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iPhone 3G S: What is Missing?

iPhone 3G S: What Is Missing?

Though everyone is excited about the launch of the new iPhone, I wanted to take a practical look at what features are still missing from this device, compared to others on the market. If Apple (s aapl) really wants to knock the next iPhone out of the park, hopefully some of these ideas will show up next time.

HD Video Support

With more content on the iTunes Store available in HD, I would like the ability to store this HD content on my iPhone and play it when I plug my iPhone into my HDTV. As more consumer products are recording in HD, it would be nice if I could store one copy of my vacation videos, instead of one optimized for the iPhone and another optimized for the Apple TV. A simple software update could fix this (to allow larger content to sync to the device) and the signal could be output via the dock connector. The Zune HD will support HD video output when it launches later this year, so perhaps this feature will make it into an upcoming iPod touch refresh before the year is out.

Wireless Syncing

MobileMe brought about push email, calendars, and contacts, allowing users to go more often without syncing their device. However, I would truly like to see complete wireless syncing either over Wi-Fi, or via Bluetooth 3.0, which should start to become more common in the wake of its release in April of this year. If the phones can tether a wireless connection over Bluetooth (unless you’re in the States, like me), then why can’t they sync via this method?


The crowd remains divided over whether having slower devices on your network brings down the general speed of the network, but I’d much prefer to have an iPhone that supported 802.11n so that I could maintain an n-only network. I’m really surprised we haven’t seen this yet, but I’m assuming it’s because of battery concerns.

Flash Support

When Flash is discussed in relation to the iPhone, it seems to be a mixed bag. Regular clunky Flash is too burdensome for the iPhone (though has anybody compared this to the new 3G S specs?) and the mobile version of Flash isn’t a good experience on the device. I’m not begging for Flash simply because I want more games on the phone, but primarily for many web sites that encode video content in Flash format (like Hulu) or with Silverlight (like Netflix’s Watch Instantly).

Of course, these feature requests are merely the tip of the iceberg compared to some of the features others would like to see. If you have any thoughts for specific features you’d love to see in the next iPhone, please leave a comment below and let me know!

94 Responses to “iPhone 3G S: What is Missing?”

  1. #15….
    Well, disregarding that you are an ass, let me address some of your really stupid comments…
    #15 Bruce says:
    > zune hd has 1080p output on the xbox: zune wins
    Um, output on the XBox? Do you mean if you copy the file to an XBoxc the XBox will scale it up? Because according to MSFTs site on the Zune HDm with the Zune HD you can: “Watch supported 720p HD movies”. 720P is not 1080P, and funny, I can do that NOW with my iPhone…

    >zune hd has oled display: zune wins
    Or you could say, “iPhone 3Gs has a oleophobic screen, iPhone 3Gs wins”… Whatever
    Don’t know how a lower resolution OLED screen is better than a higher resolution oleophobic screen…

    > zune hd has hd radio and buy from radio: zune wins
    iPhone has multipole programs that can stream THOUSANDS of Radio stations from around the world, with buy this song from iTunes. OOps, I guess the iPhone 3Gs wins…

    >zune hd might have a tegre chip: zune wins
    SOmething that is not out yet may have something that you don’t even explain and somehow that makes it better? why? Because you are an ass?

    > zune marketplace has zune pass: zune wins
    AppStore has subscriptions, season passes, and cool, I OWN my music… OOps, iPhone 3Gs wins…

    > zune social: zune wins
    Haha. All 25 Zune users can meet up and lament that there are only 25 of them. Sure, you can have this one….

    > xna support: zune wins
    Cocoa Touch, OpenGL 2.0, Looks to me like the iPhone 3Gs wins. How many games are there based on XNA? How many games are there now based on Cocoa Touch? hahahahahahaha

    > wireless sharing: zune wins
    Funny, I do all sorts of wireless sharing with my iPhone. I guess I can’t send a song. At least I can find someone to share the other stuff with. iPhone 3Gs REALLy wins…

    > wireless syncing: zune wins
    I sync wirelessly, not my music but everything else. I kind of would like Wireless syncing, but I realize how long it would take given how long wireless backups work, so not that big a deal… Usually I want the podcasts I get to sync up really quick in the morning before I go to work, so wireless would be too slow, but I will give you this one…
    Oh, but wait, I can stream Podcasts over the air in the background, can the Zune do that? Oh, I guess the iPhone wins :)

    > xbox interigation[sic] icluding[sic] music, videos, podcasts to xbox. netflix, arcade games, apps to zune: zune wins

    iTunes/AppleTV/Mac Integration of Podcasts, Music, videos, apps, games. Oh wait, it is actually all working there NOW on the iPhone, and there are actually games for the iPhone. How exactly does the Zune HD win? NO, iPhone 3Gs wins, by a mile…

    > free software and firmware upgrades to all zune devices: zune wins
    Same with iPhone. Remember, this article is about the IPHONE 3Gs. iPhone wins.

    > cheap zune devices: zune wins
    Yeah, cheap crap. I can get an iPhone 3G for 99, an iPod mini for $100. Zune brings down prices to try and MATCH and COMPETE with iPods. How exactly is this a win for the Zune? iPhone 3Gs WINS, yet again…

    > I could go on forever but when will you guys realize that there are better devices then ipods maybe if you did your research then youd find out… zune wins

    Yes, you DID go on forever. I could too…
    iPhone also surfs the web anywhere
    iPhone already has 50,000 applications
    iPhone works with iTunes and Mac AND Windows
    iPhone plays WAV files (funny, Zune cannot even play their own file format??)
    iPhone lets you make phone calls?
    Take pictures?
    Bluetooth Stereo Headsets?
    Do I really need to continue? Do you really think you did anything other than make us all laugh?

    Bruce, give it up…

    • As a Zune owner that has finally seen the light and purchased an iPhone 3GS… iPhone PWNS the hell out of the Zune!

      That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bid on my Zune when it goes on Ebay soon.

      I’m just sayin’…

    • it doesnt matter comparing a zune and an iphone is pointless, theyre two diff things, one is strickly for media and the other is for media AND phone service u cant text on a zune and personally i think the new zune is kinda pointless, i have a 2nd gen zune nd i love it and soon i’ll be getting an iphone so win win lol

  2. @Tucker: you must work for apple! I have air sharing already and i know idisk will be available in OS.3 but these do not do what I said in my post.

    *Storing and accessing files on IPHONE Hard Drive

    No you cant and not even in OS.3 – How do I attach a file to an email?
    How does my iphone CAD application open a file when in a folder that can only be accessed by air sharing or iDisk?

    *Accessing files on IPHONE via drag and drop from Computer.
    Please upload a video and show how you drag a file from your PC and drop it into the desired folder on your Iphone?

    I just found out you can forward messages but you cannot send contacts in any format.

    • You could always jailbreak to get some of these features, and there are freeware applications out there that would allow drag and drop access to the iPhone/iPod Touch as a hard drive on your computer. I know it’s not the same as Apple implementing it officially, and not as seemless, but it’s possible if you are willing to muck around with it a bit.

      The best we can do is send our suggestions to Apple and hope they implement them in future versions.

  3. Harvey

    Two other things are missing:

    AMOLED screen… this was rumored, but it didn’t pan out :-(

    An LED camera light/flash… can’t take photos/videos in the dark without it, and fill-flash is needed when facing the light source.

  4. Tucker

    Wow, sounds like some people haven’t been looking hard enough for features they want to see; or have even bothered to look on the App store.

    @rambo: There is so many apps now that support storing files on the iPhones hard drive, also ones that allow you to move documents back and forth over wifi from pc or Macs. There will be in 3.0 the ability to send contacts (vcard standard) in a text and also I’m pretty sure you will be able to forward your texts.

    Also why is there a Zune fan leaving comments in a Apple blog site?? I suggest you leave those comments somewhere where they actual give a crap!!

    Another thing lets face it if Apple are indeed right when they say there are 100 new features in 3.0; Only 10 or so of these have actually been talked about. So we might find the other 90 or so might answer some of these comments.

  5. Joseph

    Wow, these comments are full of unintelligent idiots.

    For the Cliff Notes, take a look at some of these:

    – #1
    – #2
    – #15
    – #17
    – #20
    – #22

  6. @ Bruce
    What store is carrying this great Zune you speak of? Are we talking vapor via product demo. How much does it cost and how does it compare to Itouch HD. What you say there is no Itouch HD. Funny I saw it in a product demo and it made Microsoft’s look like a POS.

  7. I think some basics are in order. though they have addressed some issues the following is still needed.

    *Storing and accessing files on IPHONE Hard Drive.
    *Accessing files on IPHONE via drag and drop from Computer.
    *T9 Phonepad to sms/text and search contacts. (user to decide keyboard or t9)
    *Sending contacts (in any format e.g. vcard or simply just text) via sms
    *(unknown if OS.3 has this but message forwarding and bulk sending)
    alert tone customisation (not ring tone as you can do this already)
    *Setting diffrent profiles for different occasions.e.g (meeting, Personal)

    Don’t ask why cos you all know you want it and I bet some guy who works at apple will tell me how I don’t need any of these. after 2 years of use I’m telling you I do.

  8. Turd Burgler

    I was expecting an v3 feature that turned the iPhone into a small economical car. This would have been really cool and would have solved an ongoing problem I’ve got with parking but guess what? Apple didn’t listen. Gutted. Looks like Nokia is getting my money now then.

  9. Mortiz888

    What happened to push email? Thought that was revealed in March haven’t seen it new iPhone or 3.0 specs. Also WTF is up with no flash for 3 iPhones?

  10. I would like to see Apple add

    1) An extra button on the side of the iPhone (like the volume controls) would make it really easy to hold the iPhone steady and take pictures.
    2) A temperature sensor – hey it’s got a GPS, compass why not make this the ultimate hiking gadget.
    3) An infra red LED to make this the ultimate TV/Universal remote control.

    Not much, just a few little items to totally geek out the iPhone.

    I’m still waiting for an easy – mark all messages as being read in Mail. Even better would be mark all notifications all read across all Apps.

  11. zune hd has 1080p output on the xbox: zune wins
    zune hd has oled display: zune wins
    zune hd has hd radio and buy from radio: zune wins
    zune hd might have a tegre chip: zune wins
    zune marketplace has zune pass: zune wins
    zune social: zune wins
    xna support: zune wins
    wireless sharing: zune wins
    wireless syncing: zune wins
    xbox interigation icluding music, videos, podcasts to xbox. netflix, arcade games, apps to zune: zune wins
    free software and firmware upgrades to all zune devices: zune wins
    cheap zune devices: zune wins
    I could go on forever but when will you guys realize that there are better devices then ipods maybe if you did your research then youd find out… zune wins

    • Personally, HD support on a tiny device, even if it’s just for playback to an HDTV seems pointless to me. It’s a waste of space. Compressed or not, I don’t have enough room for all my music, much less video, and I’m talking about my 120GB iPod Classic.

      The display on my iPhone is more than adequate. Don’t care much about OLED. HD Radio? Pass. Tegra chip seems cool. Zune Pass: the debate is still up in the air on whether a subscription model is better or not. I think it’s personal opinion, and at this point, I’m not interested.

      Zune Social is a cool concept, but the problem with it is that I’ve seen a total of 3 Zunes “in the wild,” and none of them belonged to friends of mine. It’s difficult to be social when you have no one to be social with. On the other hand, everyone I know has an iPod, and many have or are getting iPod Touch’s and iPhones.

      XNA? That’s fine. Developers seem to be doing just fine creating games for the iPhone using the SDK.

      Wireless sharing and syncing. As some commenters have pointed out, some applications already let you sync files wirelessly, and I believe OS 3.0 will allow bluetooth and wireless connections between devices for sharing and connecting with other devices.

      Xbox integration: I agree with you there. It’s doubtful that Microsoft would allow Apple to have that any time soon. As an iPhone user, I don’t pay for software/firmware upgrades, but it is regretful that iPod Touch owners have to pay for major feature updates.

      As for prices, comparable Zunes and iPods are about the same price, so that issue is moot.

      As for the snark found throughout your list, and in your last comment in particular, it’s unnecessary and childish. I’m not defending iPods and iPhones as perfect devices, nor am I saying that they are better than Zunes in every possible way. I’m just felt the need to call you out on your rampant fanboyism. You like your Zune. Great, congratulations. I like my iPhone. Different strokes for different folks. The idea that people feel the need to go around bashing others people’s choices is really getting old, though.

      Incidentally, there more than likely wouldn’t even BE a Zune if it weren’t for iPods. So you’re welcome.

  12. 1. HD video would’ve been a very nice feature.
    2. Wireless synching would be cool, but how long would it take to synch 32GB?
    3. No “N”? Aaargh!
    4. Death to Adobe Flash!

  13. @#8: syncing notes will be part of 3.0 I believe. As for to-dos, yes this has been a glaring omission for a while now and I’m very disappointed they haven’t added it yet

  14. Chris Ryan

    As a followup, the idea behind actually WANTING to have HD support is to be able to plug my iPhone into different devices and display HD content (like on vacations, or when I want to show off something to a friend). I’m sure it is purely a storage matter, but the option would be nice for users. We can put MP3s or AACs or even uncompressed AIFF files on our devices because, depending on how we want to play them, we may want or desire better quality. So why not the same with video?

    For Thomas, yes a lot of apps do offer wireless syncing support, which is great. I just wish iTunes did the same for my podcasts, notes, bookmarks and everything else that MobileMe doesn’t do. Then I could use the awesome Proximity article written the other day to have it do it whenever my phone is near my Mac. How cool would that be?

  15. Chris Ryan

    Well, concerning HD video, it all depends on the codec used. The file sizes are actually smaller than you might think. For example, one TV show downloaded from the iTunes Store weighed in at 342mb for SD and 755mb for HD. So, it’s not really gigs and gigs because it is compressed. Granted, you would be able to store less content on the device, but my question is why are we even limited by not being able to put HD content onto it? (Likewise why are we limited to 802.11n). Better and faster technology and solutions are out there, but the iPhone is lacking in these areas. I’m sure battery life is a huge concern over these, but that can easily be addressed by giving you the option to turn these features off (in the case of 802.11n).

  16. Jay Dee

    The talk about HD video being on the devices is concerning for storage…but if I recall (at least for the Zune HD) it is stored as a lower quality file and then is replayed as HD like what they are doing with the instant stream feature on the Xbox for 1080p instant stream where it starts as a lower quality to load and then ramps up to full 1080p video and 5.1 surround sound

  17. HD TV – why the hell on the device with 240×480 px you want HD???
    Wireless syncing – pardon, where exactly is the problem? You can sync whatever you want and if an application wants (is programmed so), it can sync with anyone nearby, you can even play games with your friends
    802.1n – OK, not actually usefull for iphone, but having N only network would be fine at some enviroment (bit faster for all)
    Flash – Apple cannot allow flash simply because, people will play flash games, not that ones from Appstore. He can do it, but he will simply not do it because of this simple and understandable business reason

  18. I was really hoping for direct syncing between’s Notes and ToDo’s with the Notes and a ToDo app on the iPhone.
    I remember this concern being discussed around the time the first gen iPhone came out, but no one still requests it, except for me.

  19. [2] – bluetooth headphones were supported even with the first iPhone, problem was, that only mono. This was solved in the OS 3.0, so you can use stereo BT headphones as well

    [1] – please, can you describe me how do you use videoconferencing with frontal mounted cammera? I know many people with frontal mounting camera but noone actualy using it, because they would have to put the mobile in the hand and stay exactly aligned. Much better is to use an external cammera. And with OS 3, you can probably plug one, when someone will offer it (connected by BT or the docking connector)

  20. For update 3.1 I recommend a simple software modification that would bring some piece of mind to myself and many others: the ability to create customizable folders. I would like to be able categorize my apps into relevant folders so I don’t have to reorganize 8 pages every time I download something new.

    • Jonathan

      That is already possible…
      All you need to do is jailbreak your iPhone.
      But if you do, there is an app you can get of cydia (black market version of the app store), it’s called “Categories”.
      With the app you can put your apps or games into folders and the folder appears as an icon on your iPhone/iPod Touch. You can name them and even give them an icon…

  21. Well that is stretching a bit to find faults. Playing HD from a phone to a TV, come on – that is why I have devices that have 500 – 1000 GB drives for storage not to mention 25 – 50 GB blu-rays. You sure could kiss 32 GB goodbye in a hurry with HD video.

  22. This is more of an iPhone OS 3.0 thing but this device severely needs notification profiles. As a former BlackBerry user, I really enjoyed being able to change all the notification settings by changing to a different profile. In an extremely important meeting? Turn all notifications OFF. In a meeting that I want to get out of? Only Vibrate. My personal ringtone is inappropriate for work? When I get there I turn on my “Work Profile”.

    The vibrate on/off button on the side just doesn’t cover all the necessary scenarios.

    • I am using 3.0 on my 2nd generation (3G) iPhone. It works great with Motorola S9 stereo wireless BT headphones. The S9’s have now been replaced by Motorola with an S9-HD that is supposed to be more sweat resistant and has some kind of better sound processing. I think a lot of new BT headphones are going to be offered now that the iPhone supports BT stereo. JayBirds makes some that look pretty good. Nokia is going to issue some really expensive, high end ones.

      Note some people have reported issues about using the BT for stereo headphones and Wifi. I haven’t used mine long enough to tell.