Apple Wish List: Five Smart Moves for the Coming Year

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I Want My iTablet (or Whatever It's Called)

Apple sure loves playing the hype game. Nothing in tech has more mystery and hype surrounding it than the rumored Apple tablet. But this strategy is a double-edged sword: Apple now needs to deliver the tablet next year—can we really go through another year of rumor and innuendo?—and the product had better live up to sky-high expectations.

Apple also better make the tablet affordable. "The rumor has Apple coming out with an $800 tablet," says Manish Rathi, co-founder of Retrevo, a consumer electronics shopping site. Yet Rathi is quick to add that Apple would be wise to get to a $600 or less price point.

We're hoping the tablet will be a fully capable media device, not just an e-reader like the Kindle.

Nevertheless, the emerging e-reader market will be key to the Apple tablet's success. Here again, the need to deliver a tablet next year is critical. More e-readers are coming to market seemingly every quarter. So if Apple doesn't come out with the tablet next year, Apple might miss the e-reader opportunity and have to play catch up in a saturated market.

Improve the iPhone Battery

The third item on our wish list: improve the much-maligned iPhone battery. There seems to be no end to the line of customers crying foul about poor battery life. Tips to save battery life by, say, disabling power-hungry features or forking out $80 for a battery pack don't sit well with consumers.

The battery of the iPhone 3GS was supposed to be a great improvement, delivering nine hours of use on Wi-Fi, 10 hours of video playback and 30 hours of music on a single charge—about a 30 percent upgrade to the iPhone 3G.

From the consumer's perspective, though, the improved battery life is a myth. Part of the problem is that the iPhone 3GS's cool features coupled with more powerful apps available on the App Store drains more of the battery. Thus the consumer doesn't feel like there's more juice.

The other problem is that the battery life of the iPhone 3GS seems to vary widely from unit to unit. This has led to a backlash of sorts about an iPhone lemon. Apple has put in battery testing procedures and systems at Apple Stores to weed out and replace these lemons.

Apple is working hard at improving the iPhone battery, sources tell me. We can only hope that next year's iPhone will have made strides in the battery life issue.

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