Phones

How to Make the iPhone Better. Yes, Better

As the Apple World Wide Developers Conference approaches and the company prepares to roll out a new version of the iPhone operating system, the Mac rumor sites have been buzzing about what a next-generation iPhone might bring to the market. While some of Apple's iPhone plans are known, here's a list of seven other improvements that we would like to see:

1) Multitasking: One of my pet peeves with the iPhone is not being able to run more than one application simultaneously. For example, I often listen to the American Public Radio application, but I can't check e-mail at the same time. Jailbroken iPhones can run a "background application" that lets users run more than one app at once, but it would be nice to be able to multitask without breaking the iPhone's warranty.

2) SMS contacts: BlackBerry and Nokia owners may find this hard to believe, but the iPhone out of the box doesn't allow users to SMS contacts from their phone to other phones. This is a very basic feature that many other phones have had for years, and a very useful one considering the billions of mobile phone accounts in existence.

3) Primitive call logs: Another basic functionality beef that some annoyed iPhone users have cited: The iPhone's "primitive" call log. It doesn't let you see whether a call was incoming or outgoing, view call logs more than 30 days old, or see how long a call lasted. "I cannot believe iPhone call log is so primitive," a user named Mettur Man wrote on the Apple iPhone forum. "I like the product in general, it does not mean I have to accept every shortcomings of the product."

4) Syncing media: Syncing ripped or purchased media between multiple computers has always been a headache with iTunes, iPods, and iPhones, due to DRM concerns and technical issues. On Apple's iPhone forum, there are complaints that the iPhone's iTunes application won't complete a sync on more than one computer.

5) Picture messaging: Multimedia messaging (MMS) is the ability to do picture and video messaging. It's a major source of complaints among iPhone owners. Again, this is probably because it is available on many other cell phones. "I love my iPhone," Robby Russell wrote on his blog. "There is one problem with it...Multimedia Messaging is pretty much non-existent with non-iPhone friends & family. My family continues to send me pictures/videos via text message... because they can with their other friends and family." Apple has promised that we'll see MMS in the new release, but it remains to be seen how it will work -- or whether video will be included (see No. 7, below).

6) More e-mail: The iPhone currently only lets users view about 200 messages in its e-mail application, which is frustrating if you are stuck somewhere and desperately searching for an address or other important piece of information that was sent to you in an email. "That's like a day's worth for me, useless, cant get to messages I received or sent last week," blogged Dale Fraser. "The Blackberry had a last 30 days option, with the iPhone memory there is no logical reason to have such a small limit." He added: "You can't search messages, if they fix the limit of 200 messages, they need to add search so that you can search and find a message your looking for."

7) Video camera: For months, there have been rumors and speculation about an iPhone video camera. Besides being able to use an iPhone like a Flip to record video clips, there has also been talk about an iPhone video conferencing feature (note the Standard's prediction about this last year did not come true).

iPhone OS 3.0 will be free for current iPhone users and US$9.95 for iPod touch users. Whether Apple shows off a next-generation iPhone at WWDC remains to be seen.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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