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  • What About iPhone 2.0?

    January 29th, 2008

    One thing I know is that there will definitely be a successor to the original iPhone some time this year. That much came from the lips of the AT&T’s CEO, and hasn’t been disputed by Apple, although they won’t comment any further, of course.

    Version 2.0 of the iPhone, expected by the summer, will apparently feature support for the faster 3G Internet networking standard, as opposed to the often poky Edge. This will mean a far more fluid, responsive online experience when you’re out of range of an available Wi-Fi base station.

    Now some of you have wondered why Apple didn’t include 3G support right from the starting gate. But, no, it’s not a deep and dark conspiracy to deprive you of a significant feature, or get you to buy a new iPhone a year later. Steve Jobs has already said that the 3G chipsets available when the iPhone was designed drew too much power, meaning battery life would suffer severely. That would imply that, if it’s going to be added later this year, there is hardware available now that sips less power, or the tradeoff won’t be so significant.

    In saying that, you have to realize that AT&T has yet to blanket the U.S. with 3G. It’s primarily supported in the larger metropolitan areas, so it would be important that an iPhone with 3G be able to fall back to the Edge network whenever necessary, and I’d assume that’s a given.

    But what else would you like to see in the next iteration of the iPhone?

    I suppose there’s always GPS, but that can be another power-robbing option, and does the fancy triangulation method used for getting directions in the latest iPhone firmware get the job done? I’m not a fan of navigation systems myself, so I won’t presume to answer that question. But assuming that the current scheme proves adequate, maybe there will be no pressure on Apple to add true GPS capability.

    But there are other features I’d like to see in an iPhone, and I rather suspect most could be added to existing units via a software update. That is, except for a camera with built-in flash and a higher resolution imaging chip. I would think two megapixels is the minimum these days for decent pictures on a wireless phone, and it will soon encroach on the low-end of the digital camera market.

    Of course, Apple could add voice recognition and perhaps even the ability to shoot videos in software, assuming the onboard processor can handle those chores — and it probably can, considering the iPhone’s great video playback capability.

    Then there’s always iChat. Yes, you do have SMS messaging, but I’m not a fan of texting, although iChat is a constant companion on my Mac. Even my RAZR V3 phone has AIM, but it’s so clunky as to be almost unusable. I’d think that an iPhone version would be a dream to use in comparison. Indeed, I’m almost getting used to that touch keypad.

    I would also like to see improved text editing tools. Why is it that you can’t cut, copy and paste? Also wouldn’t it be nice to have the full TextEdit on board, so you can actually open and edit Word documents when necessary? Right now, you can only read them, but consider what happens when you’re on the road and your boss or editor needs you to make some immediate changes in a report or manuscript.

    Sure, with a note-book computer, this would be a quick job, but if your only Internet access is limited to your iPhone, you’re stuck, except, perhaps, to insert your changes into an email message and let the recipient manually embed them in the actual document. Awkward.

    This isn’t to say that you need to depend on Apple as the source of all your iPhone’s software. Now that an officially-sanctioned SDK is imminent, the combined brilliance of thousands of software developers may indeed be harnessed to address many of the things that are lacking in this device.

    One feature I’d like to see is pretty basic: Where’s the Flash support? Yes, I know that Flash has had its security issues, but surely the current version is sufficiently robust. Then again, Apple still has to wait for Adobe to deliver the code. Meantime, I’m in the process of removing most of the Flash content from all my sites, so that you can finally see the navigation bar on your iPhone.

    In the end, though, I’m still wrestling with the dilemma of whether I should buy an iPhone now or let the matter sit for a few months and see what version 2.0 is like — and what it costs. But after nearly a month with the Apple review unit at hand, I’ve grown to depend on it more and more, and I’ll miss it when I have to ship it back at the end of the week.

    I wonder, in the end, how many other journalists have been similarly tempted.



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    11 Responses to “What About iPhone 2.0?”

    1. william says:

      I love my iPhone, I didn’t buy right when they came out, but I didn’t wait for the price drop either. It’s by far the best phone I’ve had.

      GPS: Totally not needed. When I showed the triangulation feature to a colleague, he pointed out that it works indoors. GPS doesn’t. That makes triangulation pretty cool, no?

      I’m looking forward to the independently developed apps. I’d like to get a terminal window on there such as the jailbreakers already have. Let me telnet and ssh to my remote machines. I can wait, but it will be good.

    2. Brett says:

      I think the one of the reasons iPhone doesn’t support Flash is that Flash was never designed for a cursorless, buttonless touch screen. On the iPhone, how can you differentiate your intent to scroll the page versus an attempt to manipulate a specific object (perhaps a slide control, or draggable icon) within a Flash application? Can simply hovering be differentiated from clicking? Unless Apple can come up with an intuitive way to deal with these issues, certain Flash apps just won’t work correctly.

    3. Jeff says:

      I’m hoping to buy an iPhone next month so I can leave my laptop behind for a trip I’m taking, and given my past history with Apple, an improved version is certain to be announced weeks later.

      I’m certain to enjoy my fleeting time as “cutting edge.”

    4. I’m hoping to buy an iPhone next month so I can leave my laptop behind for a trip I’m taking, and given my past history with Apple, an improved version is certain to be announced weeks later.

      I’m certain to enjoy my fleeting time as “cutting edge.”

      Well, it comes down to this: There is no predicting when a revised iPhone will appear, although some are suggesting summer, possibly at the anniversary of the first model. So your time at the cutting edge might be at least a few months.

      But I never take bets when it comes to Apple. 😀

      Peace,
      Gene

    5. kenh says:

      I just want service in the area where I live. AT&T, please buy Alltel and extend the service.

    6. I just want service in the area where I live. AT&T, please buy Alltel and extend the service.

      What part of the country are you in?

      Alltel uses CDMA. AT&T uses GSM. So never the twain shall meet. Sorry. 🙂

      Peace,
      Gene

    7. Dave Frank says:

      Keep in mind that a new iPhone will need to clear the FCC’s approval process, which takes months, and becomes a matter of public record when the process starts. No news of FCC process in the works = no imminent iPhone 2.0 release. That’s why Apple announced the original iPhone 6 months before it became available, instead of 8 months or 3 months. Once the FCC gets their mits on it, the secret is out anyway.

    8. Wayne says:

      The triangulation is good enough for 2 of 3 tasks I can think of:

      1. GIving you a reasonable starting location for looking at your map.

      2. Giving you a reasonable location from which to answer queries (someday) like “show me the nearby Starbucks”.

      but not

      3. Giving you turn-by-turn travel directions as you move.

    9. Wollie says:

      I love my iPhone. In some ways even more than I thought I would. I think the Google maps triangulation using cell phone towers is more than adequate. It saved me from getting lost in New York at Christmas. What I want most is Spotlight/universal Find! I have a ton of notes associated with contacts. With my Palm finding the information was lightning fast. On the iPhone finding some things just cannot be done quickly.

    10. Dana Sutton says:

      I’m going to suggest something a lot more radical for a new iPhone — that Apple has strong grounds for marketing an unlocked iPhone, even at the cost of buying their way out of existing contracts with carrieers.

      In the first place, depending on whose estimate you believe, up to 25% of the iPhones they have sold have been unlocked, and nothing Apple has done to discourage this has worked. If a figure even nearly as great as 25% is correct, this is a staggering percentage, a resounding vote of No Confidence on the part of consumers: either (as I have suggested) a vote of no confidence in the quality of AT&T service (i. e. Edge, which has gotten such bad press), or a reluctance on the part of consumers to buy their way out of their current contracts with other carriers. Whatever the cause, this is a massive fact of life confronting Apple, very difficult to ignore.

      Even more, the reason why the iPhone is so slow in making headway in the overseas market (and therefore why it may have trouble making Steve’s 10 million goal) is that by choosing to market a locked iPhone they have put themselves in a position where they have to negotiate contracts with foreign carriers on a country-by-country basis, a process that’s still going on (they seem to have landed an Italian carrier just today) with no end in sight (particularly regarding the potentially huge China market). This got them in a situation where they suddenly needed to develop an expertise in international law they probably didn’t image they’d need , and in one or two cases it has even landed them in overseas litigation because their expertise was less than perfect. I bet when they opted for this distribution model they never dreamed of the headache, the legal expenses, and the slow tempo of expansion this would create for them, and I bet that if they had it to all over again they would opt for an unlocked distribution model.

      So the question is, given these considerations, is it entirely too late for Apple to rethink its strategy? Yes, the problems of switching over to an unlocked iPhone would be huge, but the problems of not doing it might be greater. And, after all, having a 18.5 billion cash reserve kind of smooths the way.

    11. Jeff says:

      Well, it comes down to this: There is no predicting when a revised iPhone will appear, although some are suggesting summer, possibly at the anniversary of the first model. So your time at the cutting edge might be at least a few months.

      But I never take bets when it comes to Apple. 😀

      Peace,
      Gene

      I was moments away from ordering an iPhone on February 4th when I decided to wait one more day to see if any refurbs appeared … only to wake up the next day to find out that the one thing I was most concerned about … the 8 GB capacity … had been addressed.

      Damn you Apple!

      I’m going to enjoy my fleeting time as cutting edge when my 16 GB phone arrives later this week.

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