Apple will today announce details of its iPhone 3.0 firmware. Many questions surround the new release, not least when it will actually hit our phones. It also remains to see if some of the forthcoming features might need new hardware.
In due course, if Apple wants to move forward with some of aspects of the phone – especially gaming and background apps – it seems inevitable that our current iPhone handsets will date. Given Apple's track record, it seems likely we'll have a new handset in the summer.
But what we're actually looking for with the 3.0 firmware is some simple improvements. The kind of things that the iPhone currently just doesn't have. We'll know later whether Apple will pander to our needs. And, no, we don't really want MMS on a phone that can already email. You can check out the stuff we really don't want below the stuff we do...
1. Full Bluetooth support
At the moment, the iPhone's Bluetooth support is hobbled. Yes, hands-free devices can be used, but there's no data synchronisation – even with a Mac! Even our mums have mobiles with full Bluetooth support. And so should our iPhones.
2. Bluetooth tethering?
A lot of speculation over recent days has suggested that Apple will enable tethering – the ability to use a phone as a modem over Bluetooth. We're not so sure about this one. After all, O2's terms and conditions explicitly ban this, so why would Apple set the cat amongst the pigeons?
3. Better app stowage
The home screen has worked very well. But with huge numbers of apps appearing – and bigger capacity iPhones surely on the way – users could potentially have hundreds of apps. Apple needs to work out how we can organise this better. Hopefully it already has. Maybe you could even swipe up and down in a nine screen grid? Oooh.
4. File storage
Yep, we know the Air Sharing app is available, but we want support for stored files on the phone itself. At the moment, attachments remain in emails and you can't download a presentation to your phone for portable playback, for example. A small thing, but worth doing, especially when you can already (kind of) store photos on the device.
5. Background apps
We're not 100 per cent sure this is always necessary, nor do we think it should be rolled out to our current iPhones if the OS will slow to a crawl. But there's no doubt that many third-party apps would benefit from working in the background. Although we would like Apple to come up with an approval process for apps which actively want to lurk in the background – and users should also be able to turn it off.
6. Data sharing between apps
Facebook announced Facebook Connect for the iPhone this weekend at SXSWi in Austin, Texas. It means that apps can plug into your Facebook login, so you can compare high scores and the like with friends. We'd like Apple to go further, and allow information and files to be shared between applications.
7. Cut and paste
You really want this? Evidently you do, every iPhoner has been asking for it. In our experience the lack of cut and paste doesn't exactly hobble the iPhone, but when you want to insert a name or number in an email from a webpage it would certainly make a difference. Worth having, certainly, providing Apple has worked out how we can do it without having to bend our fingers backwards.
8. Text message forwarding
So simple. So needed. Let us send on our texts, please! The SMS capabilities of the iPhone remain adequate at best, and it needs to be sorted out. Like now.
9. Turn by turn directions
Like cut and paste, this one will run and run. Rumours of a Tom Tom tie-up persist. Does it need better hardware? Perhaps. It sure would plug a large gap in the iPhone's defensive wall as it takes on an improving Windows Mobile and Android.
10. Voice dialling
Another standard phone feature that Apple seemed to miss out. Some people are obsessed with voice dialling, and it's certainly something we expected to see in the iPhone 3G. Now's surely the time?
11. Push notifications
Most pundits seem to have this one chalked up as a certain inclusion. So do we – not least because Apple talked it up at WWDC last year as an alternative to background apps.
12. More sideways action
More apps should be able to be viewed in landscape and should also use the landscape keyboard, too. Top of our list is Mail, which some believe badly needs the sideways keyboard.
And the stuff we don't want...
Why would we want MMS capabilities on a phone that's so set up for email? Granted, sending a picture isn't as simple when combined with emailing, and many of our friends won't have such easy access to their mail on their phone, but given that most of us barely ever use MMS, it seems pointless to bundle it in.
2. No tone customisation
We've heard a rumour, a very bad rumour, that tone customisation could be possible on the new iPhone software. While this is more likely to be available as an App rather than as standard on the phone, the sheer possibility makes us weep when we think of what can happen should you combine a chav, a bus and iPhone customised tones.
3. Flash video playback
We understand that everyone wants this on the iPhone, and let it be said, we do too... just not on the iPhone 3G, as we're not convinced it has the grunt to perform web tasks well with Flash. While Apple has been wrangling with Adobe over its inclusion, the fact is it would very likely slow down and clog up Safari... we'd prefer a slick experience over jerky Flash any day. Plus, there's already a dedicated YouTube client to give us our video fix anyway.
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