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Apple iPhone --
9 suggested enhancements

Originally posted July 5th, 2007, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

AWESOME, but room for improvement
The new iPhone is great but I am fully aware it's not a "mature" product. I'm reminded how much fun I had with the "far from perfect" 128K Mac back in 1984. It was revolutionary then. But even though I had the deluxe version (two floppy drives), there was much room for improvement. "We've come a long way, baby."

So even though the iPhone is the coolest, smart phone in the world, there's many ways it could be made even cooler. After spending a few days with it and comparing it to the features of the competing smart phones (Motorola Q, BlackBerry Curve), I have generated a list of suggested future enhancements for the iPhone:

1. I want a 3G iPhone. I'm getting 185Kbps download speed with EDGE (in ideal conditions), but that's much slower than the 1500Kbps I'm used to seeing with my Verizon 3G Rev A EV-DO ExpressCard in the MacBook Pro.

As I've said before, the excuses given for going with EDGE instead of 3G should be viewed with skepticism. The Motorola Q has 3G. My RAZR phone has 3G. Why can't the iPhone have 3G?

There are reports that Apple will introduce a 3G version in Summer 2008. When that happens, I'll gladly pass my EDGE version along to a "drooling" family member and buy the new 3G model. Meanwhile, I've installed a 3G mobile broadband WiFI router (with a Verizon USB720 mobile broadband modem) in the back on my MINI Cooper S so I can have access to Verizon's 3G speed wherever I wander.

2. GPS location would be nice. Wouldn't it be cool when you looked up directions with Google Maps on your iPhone, that the default location was wherever you are standing at that moment? This feature is common in various smart phones and premium cell phones.

3. I could go for a removable battery. Who wants to be without their iPhone while it's being sent in for the $86 out-of-warranty replacement service?

4. How about synchronizing the Notes function with Stickies?
I've been using the Notes function on the iPhone to make a to-do list and other notes. But it would be nice if that function was synchronized with the Stickies function on my MacBook Pro.

UPDATE: In February 2010, I discovered that iTunes syncs the iPhone Notes app with Notes in the OS X Mail app. I'm embarrassed if this feature has always been there. It certainly fulfills the function desribed in the previous paragraph.

5. Adding Video Capture would seem logical since the iPhone already supports streaming video and stored video playback. And throw in digital zoom for still photography -- and bump it up to 5 megapixel to match state-of-the-art phones like the Nokia N95.

6. Voice dialing would be useful. Both the Motorola Q and BlackBerry Curve support it. So does my Verizon RAZR V3m.

7. Give us custom ring tones. Either sell them on the iTunes store or let us download some from various ringtone websites. Or how about letting us play the first 20 seconds the tunes we bought from the store? (NOTE: Since posting this page, Apple has starting selling ring tones and created a way for you to turn up to 40 seconds of song in iTunes to a ringtone with the help of GarageBand.)

8. Is it too much to ask for Safari to support Java? I can live without Flash support but the lack of Java support for Safari renders some web pages unusable or unreadable. BTW, I've also noticed that some PDF's don't download or display correctly either.

9. Verizon Wireless needs their version of iPhone. Too bad Apple agreed to an exclusive with AT&T. A Verizon Wireless (CDMA) version with "Rev A" 3G support would be very popular -- possibly double or triple the sales of the iPhone.

Verizon was approached by Apple first, according to USA Today, but rejected the offer for various reasons. Big mistake, Verizon! I stopped by the local Verizon store to flaunt my iPhone. ("Neener neener.") The sales staff was very downtrodden about the iPhone's success and the fact that they aren't the ones selling it.

I suppose Verizon could save face by "pumping up" features in the LG Prada phone thereby creating some competition. (NOTE: Since we wrote this article, two "touch screen" phones have been released by Verizon Wireless. We obtained the LG Voyager, the most "iPhone-ish," and did a shootout with the iPhone.)


(Corrected)The earbuds that come with the iPhone have a minijack specially designed to fit the recessed connector.
Be aware that those earbuds have a button that can pause the ipod function so you can answer a call using the built-in mike. (Observe the 3 bars on the connector versus 2 bars on conventional stereo minijacks.)

I've been using the earbuds to make calls on the iPhone. I'm able to hear more clearly than any other cell phone I've ever used. And the caller is able to hear me clearly thanks to the earbuds' built-in mike.

Conventional headphones and earbuds can be used with the iPhone, but most will require an adapter due to the recessed recepticle design. We started to get the Belkin adapter but it looked like it might bend or break if you are clumsy like me. I prefer the design of the Griffin flexible adapter.

The iPhone Bluetooth Headset looks interesting as do other accessories listed on Apple's iPhone accessories page.

Some cases and sleeves that impressed me include...
The Strada Hand-Stitched Leather Case
We received ours. Very snazzy but one caution: The method used to attach the belt clip could scratch or dent the back of your iPhone. We're using it without the belt clip.

iNCASE Molded Rubber Sleeve
I bought one at the Apple Retail Store the same day I bought the iPhone. Good protection from scratching the edges or back but makes the iPhone thicker.

You know those Oakley microbags they sell at Sunglass Hut and other optical stores? They make a great protective bag for the iPhone and double as a polishing cloth for the glass screen.

You might want to read about the Nokia N95 GSM phone which features integrated GPS functionality, a 5 megapixel camera (stills and video), and support for HSDPA data networking.

Ambrosia Software has released iToner, an easy-to-use utility that can turn your iTunes into ringers. Now when I get calls, my iPhone plays "Who Are You?" by the WHO.

USA readers can help us earn a commission by using this Apple Store USA link or by clicking on any Apple display ad. For UK readers, visit Apple Store UK.

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2007 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster and mad scientist