Yesterday, we took a look at some of the things Android needs to improve to stay competitive. Now, it is time to turn the tables and take a look at some things the iPhone needs to have to put up a fight against Android. As I said last time, this is not a dig at Apple. Let's keep flaming to a minimum as we look at what I think the next iPhone needs for it to remain successful.
5. Customizable homescreens and widgets: The classic iPhone grid of icons is nice. It works, it's simple, and it looks good. However, beyond changing your wallpaper it offers practically no customization options at all. Even if it makes things a little more complex, I think having widgets or "live tiles" would be a big improvement over the static grid.
4. User replaceable battery: The iPhone has good battery life. In fact, it probably has the best battery life of any smartphone on the market now. Yet there is still a flaw with the iPhone's battery: it is not user replaceable. Although some people might think user replaceable batteries are only for Android users that have to swap batteries at lunchtime, there are many other uses for an easily accessible battery. For example, I was recently on a long flight in an airplane without charging ports. I used my Android phone constantly and simply swapped batteries when I started running out. If I had an iPhone, after my battery died I would have had what amounts to a pretty-looking brick.
3. Near Field Communication technology: Google recently announced a service that allows an NFC-enabled smartphone be used as a virtual wallet. Even though the service will likely be buggy at first, I think that the trend of the "smartphone wallet" will continue to gain momentum. If NFC payment does take off, the iPhone will need to have an NFC chip to get in on the action. Even if it is not used for mobile payments right away, we can always let the developers find something to do with it in the meantime.
2. Better hardware specs: Obviously,the next generation of a product should have better specs than the last generation. Still, there are a few specific upgrades that I think the next iPhone should have in order to keep up with the crazy specs of some Android devices out there. Top on the list is a dual-core processor, more RAM, and a higher resolution camera. The 960 x 640 display already looks great, although it could stand to be a little bigger.
1. 4G networking: Apple has always been slow to adopt new cellular technology with the iPhone. Even though 3G was out, they kept the original iPhone on EDGE because they knew it worked. They may be tempted to do the same with 4G technology, but now that they are not such a clear leader I don't think they can afford to wait. With the plethora of 4G Android devices on and about to be on the market, the next iPhone will probably look somewhat wimpy if it only has 3G speed.
Just like last time, this is only my personal wishlist for the new iPhone. There are many more things that could be on this list, and also things you may think should be left off. So, if you want to add a point or disagree with one of mine, go ahead and leave a comment.