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What the next iPhone does and doesn’t need

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Apple (s aapl) press events are like Christmas morning for grown-ups; you’re never quite sure what’ll be under the tree. Sure there have been rumors, speculation and the odd device or two found at bars but none represent a guarantee. So why not scrap the speculation and talk about what the next iPhone really needs to continue its success, regardless of what it’s supposed to have?

What the iPhone needs

Better camera. While it is certainly true that the best camera is the one you have with you, it doesn’t hurt if that camera also takes great pictures. The iPhone 5 could accomplish this with a better sensor, better lens or even just better camera software.

More accurate GPS. With the rise in social location-aware apps, as well as our increased reliance on handheld devices to tell us where we’re going, it only makes sense that the iPhone get better at determining where we are. The speed with the which the iPhone gets a fix on your location could be improved, and I’ve found the accuracy of the iPhone’s internal GPS to be sub-par when compared to other handheld GPS devices. A better chipset, different antenna, or software update could help turn things around in this area.

Longer battery life. I find myself doing more and more with my iOS devices.  So much so that I almost need multiple iOS devices just to make it through the day without recharging. I will say that my iPad is definitely the longest running device at my disposal, but the iPhone could use a bit of that battery mojo.

A5 processor. More than anything else, I’m looking forward to the iOS 5 update, which I’ll be able to get on my existing iOS devices. However, if history repeats itself, degraded performance on older devices post-update may be part of the bargain. A faster processor to help cope with the new features of iOS 5 would be a very welcome addition to any new iPhone.

Lower price points. Of family and friends who still remain iPhone hold-outs, the number two reason for not choosing an iPhone is price (number one being carrier).  Lowering each price point for each level of device in addition to hardware changes would go a long way towards attracting and keeping customers.

What the iPhone doesn’t need

4G network compatibility. Running gigabit Ethernet at home while connected to one of the fastest broadband solutions available, I can certainly appreciate the merits of a fast network. However the faster the network is, the more likely I am to use it, and considering bandwidth limitations on most cellular plans, I’d just as soon not have more reason to browse from my mobile.

Higher screen resolution. While I do hope the next iPad will have more pixel density, I feel the current iPhone 4 is spot on. Bumping up the resolution and requiring apps to come up with compatibility updates seems like an unnecessary step that benefits no one.

Overall redesign. About the only thing that would truly warrant a radical redesign to the current iPhone 4 design would be to include a different mix of components. For example, changes to accommodate the A5 processor, a better camera lens and sensor, a different GPS chipset and of course longer battery life are worthwhile, and maybe some allowance for a larger screen. Otherwise, the iPhone 4 isn’t hurting when it comes to looks.

Same price points. The market is proving that if you want to beat Apple, you can’t do it on features alone. Apple has enough of a margin built into its prices that it can afford a price break; it just needs to time them properly. Now is the right time to wow the industry and come out with an aggressively priced lineup of devices, in order to really turn the tide on the Android (s goog) invasion.

Like everyone else, I’ll be watching and waiting right here as we liveblog the announcements coming out of Cupertino on Tuesday. What do you hope to find under the tree after all is said and done?

3 Responses to “What the next iPhone does and doesn’t need”

  1. Nothing about screen size? That’s the one feature that has been subject to the most rumors and is the biggest difference between the iPhone and all the androids. How can you not even mention it?