Time to Start Writing That iPhone 5 Wish List

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Time to Start Writing That iPhone 5 Wish List

For months we've been hearing rumors that the next iPhone will be a relatively ho-hum upgrade from the present model. But suddenly the narrative has changed. Might Apple be building some major leaps forward with the next iPhone's hardware and design? Here are seven ways Apple can build up the device even further.

I had pretty much written off the idea that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) would release a new form-factor for its upcoming iPhone 5, believing that Apple would let the phone's present form ride for another year, much like the company did when it introduced the iPhone 3GS. Because Apple released an iPhone 4 for Verizon late in the yearly refresh cycle, well, that was just another nail in the new-design coffin.

But the latest rumors, sparked by the Boy Genius Report as well as a Bloomberg report that cited anonymous sources familiar with Apple's plans, have me entertaining a tantalizing thought: With an new release slated for as early as August or September, might Apple wow us all heading into a new Fall selling season? After all, competition in the smartphone space is heating up, and Android phones are riding a sales rocket these days. Might Apple want a brand-new option ready for holiday gift-giving action?

As for me, I'm in the middle of a two-year AT&T (NYSE: T) contract with my iPhone 4, and since I'm generally pleased with the unit overall, Apple would have to come out with something spectacularly awesome to get me to upgrade early in my contract cycle. Still, where might Apple find improvement? What needs to be done to create a new sell-out unit?
  • A New Form Factor. Obviously. But what shape? Tapered edges to match the new iPad 2? Or a teardrop shape to match the hot-selling MacBook Air? A return to a metal body frame instead of sandwiched glass panels? I do like the idea of a teardrop. Heck, just sitting on a desk or table, it would have a slight angle to it. If you're like me, often enough you tap away at your iPhone while it's sitting prone. Basically, offer me anything thinner that takes up less of my pants pocket, and I'll beat feet over to an Apple Store to hold one.
  • Oh, and what about curved glass? Turns out Apple is now one of the world's experts in both industrial glass construction techniques (thank the Apple retail stores for that) as well as electronic device manufacturing techniques using glass. Some rumors indicate Apple can cut curved glass, which could then be used in a cool new shape. As for me, curved glass mostly generates a yawn, unless it results in better signal strength and ends up being so strong that I can use the phone to hammer an errant nail back into a friend's backyard deck.
  • 4G Antenna. Will the next iPhone be ready to play on the country's speediest 4G cellular networks? This would be cool if you live or frequently travel to areas with excellent 4G coverage. If not, it's meaningless. Oh, and if you're on a small data plan trying to save money, faster downloads are inherently less valuable too. Nice for instant gratification with some apps, but for the most part, I haven't heard the masses complaining about 3G speeds with their iPhone 4s.
  • Near Field Communications (NFC). The ability to pay for stuff at retail outlets with my iPhone simply by waving it around a sensor? Count me in. My wallet is too thick and irritating as it is, and if I don't have to touch a keypad that hundreds of people touched before me during the flu season, I'd be an instant convert. Still, if the retail stores you frequent don't have NFC ready to roll, having this feature built into your iPhone is useless. Some day, though.
  • Bigger, faster camera. It seems as if the next iPhone with a hardware redesign ought to at least have a better camera. It would start with an 8 megapixel (MP) version instead of the merely decent existing 5MP unit. I'd, also like to see a faster overall response. Sometimes I miss snapshots because I'm waiting for the app to load up. Oh, and heck, a physical shutter button would actually get me pretty excited.
  • A Powerful A5 processor. More speed and app crunching power, of course. Always appreciated. 'Nuff said.
  • Edge-to-edge screen. Not edge-to-edge glass, but a bigger screen. And not more pixels necessarily, just a bigger damn screen. I use my iPhone 4 for reading books, email, browsing the Web, and a bigger screen would be nice. For movies: definitely. Apps: yes. I look at the face of my iPhone 4, and I just want more usable screen because all the rest just seems to fill up my pocket for no good reason. (I know, I know ... want, want, want. But this is what being an Apple fan is all about -- expecting more, and sometimes actually getting it.)
  • Better audio. Last of all, I don't hear a lot of people complain about this, but personally, I just want a decent speakerphone and better ear volume. Sure, maybe I ran a few too many chainsaws back in college and spent too many rounds of ammunition on shooting aluminum cans, but I'm not that old yet and my hearing remains good enough. What I do know is that I've run into plenty of other smartphones (and dumb phones) that have louder, sharper ear speakers and much louder and crisper speakerphones. The ones on the iPhone 4 are barely usable, and frankly, somewhat embarrassing. On the flip side, the mic for recording on my iPhone 4 is freakishly great. I just want more volume on the output.
So, if Apple were able to deliver on all of these new hardware features with an iPhone 5, would I buy one? Unfortunately, that comes down to AT&T. Could I get into a new iPhone 5 without a contract hit? Probably. Another example that Apple knows how to make addictive new products.

Source: MacNewsWorld