5 Things iPhone 2.0 Must Have

Dear Steve:

High Five
Artwork: Chip Taylor
I realize we've had our differences over the years. I warned you about shipping iPods with nonreplaceable batteries, we bickered over releasing Leopard with so many bugs, and I've never been a fan of the black turtleneck. (Here's a tip: Head & Shoulders--use it.)

Now I'd like to talk to you about the iPhone. Yes, I know, you just released the software development kit unto the world, and the praise is flowing like champagne in the back of a stretch limo. But some things software can't fix. And your developer fanboys might be able to address certain other flaws, but those tweaks should really be part of the OS.

Here are five things you need to improve in iPhone 2.0, whenever you get around to releasing it. (In my humble opinion, of course.)

1. Enlarge the Friggin' Keyboard

Yeah, the touch screen is cool. And maybe the kids are down with doing the two-finger tango. But we thumb-typists are tapping our fingers in frustration.

AT&T Tilt
This doesn't strike me as a big deal to fix. Maybe one of your SDK minions will jump on it. In the meantime, may I recommend a slide-out keyboard option? The one that HTC built for the AT&T Tilt is pretty nifty (though the keyboard and the "tilting" screen are the only things that are neat about it). Even an add-on Bluetooth keyboard might work.

Think about it.

2. Give Me Faster Net Access

Since AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said that you'd be shipping a 3G iPhone this year, I've been dying to know when. So spill. I don't need the exact day--the month, even the quarter, would be nice.

AT&T
We all know that iPhones use AT&T's notoriously finicky EDGE network, which averaged download speeds of around 110 kbps in tests by Broadband Reports, or a fraction of the 400 to 700 kbps that most folks get with, say, Sprint's EvDO network. Yes, 3G radios suck down battery power the way Lindsay Lohan sucks down margaritas. Given Apple's spotty record with the iPod's batteries, I understand your concern. But the Samsung BlackJack and the LG Voyager do 3G, and you don't hear a lot of people whining about their battery life.

It's also true that using the iPhone's built in Wi-Fi is even faster than using 3G. But when I'm inside a Wi-Fi cloud, I'm usually surfing the Net on my laptop. I need fast Internet access when I'm not at home, at work, or in a hotel room. Build us a free nationwide Wi-Fi network, Steve, and I'll be happy to use it.

For now, your phones need a new radio and a bigger battery to support it--something your SDK fanboys can't handle. I'm betting that iPhone 1.0 owners won't be pleased to find out they'll have to buy a whole new phone to get 3G. Some of them might even write you strongly worded letters.

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