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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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