10 features the iPhone needs to beat Android

iPhone 3G
Apple needs to do just a little more to keep ahead of Android...

Everybody was head-over-heels in love with the original iPhone, mainly because of the innovative touch screen, superb web browsing and Apple's legendary ease of use. Nobody had ever seen anything like it in a phone before, and it's still streets ahead of the competition in many ways. But can it keep ahead now that Android has arrived?

We're going to put our cards on the table and list 10 new features the next iPhone will need to have if it's going to escape a panning from the critics.

Sadly, the original iPhone was severely lacking in several big areas. The lack of 3G was bordering on the criminal, then there was no picture messaging (MMS) and it also had a crappy camera. iPhone 3G added the faster connectivity, but everything else we're still waiting for.

Apple seems to have got away with the lack of basic features on the iPhone so far because of the relatively underdeveloped US phone market, where even texting, let alone MMS texting, hasn't really taken off. In contrast, in Japan, where people are used to mobile phones that are tiny and play television, the iPhone hasn't done as well.

Here's what we think Apple needs to add to the iPhone to keep it ahead of the pack. We hope you're listening, Apple!

1. Cut and Paste
Why, oh why has it taken Apple so long to add this? It's frustrating that you can't do it, and it's so obvious how it would work on the multi-touch screen – just tap and hold, then drag your finger over a block of text to select it. That functionality is currently reserved for the magnifying glass, but that could easily be shifted to a double-tap.

2. Shake to shuffle
This feature appeared on the recent 4th Gen iPod nano, but we can't see a reason why Apple won't add it to the iPhone. We'd like to see the feature expanded a little to include other options, rather than just Shuffle, when you shake. Why not have some Shake options in Settings, from which you can choose different functions?

3. A better camera with a flash
This is a no-brainer. The next iPhone will have to have a better camera, or we're going to bin it without even opening the box (possibly). The current 2-megapixel effort just isn't up to the job. Oh, and we also want a flash to brighten up those dull indoor shots, too.

4. More memory
Apple wants us to play movies on our iPhones, but it doesn't want to give us anywhere to put them! 16GB just doesn't cut it these days. We expect to get at least 32GB in the next iPhone, and 64GB if we're lucky.

5. Video recording
When your mate's phone (that he got free) can record video you know it's no longer a premium feature. Without the ability to record video iPhone owners are second-class citizens in the mobile phone world. Come on Apple, sort it out.

6. Picture messaging (MMS)
See above. Just because nobody in the US wants to send picture messages doesn't mean everybody in Europe has suddenly changed the way they've been using mobile phones for years.

7. A wider choice of providers, not just O2 (UK) or AT&T (US)
A controversial one this, but we think that Apple's exclusivity to O2 in the UK and AT&T in the US has to end at some point. People want the iPhone on more networks and Apple will want to loosen the shackles to grow its user base, too.

8. Thinner
Of course it will be thinner! Every new Apple iPod or iPhone has to be thinner than the last. It's the law.

9. More customisation options
Currently you can customise your iPhone's splash screen (which Apple calls the wallpaper) with whatever photo you like, but you can't alter the Home screen's dull black background, or customise the icons in any way. This is never going to keep teenagers who are into Hello Kitty happy. We predict the next iPhone will enable you to apply themes to the Home screen, and even purchase (of course) and download new ones from the iTunes Store.

10. Stationery in Mail
Last but not least, stationery will be available in Mail. Now you'll be able to send HTML email bordered by pictures of cutesy kittens. Text-only email purists will hang their heads in disbelief, but Apple will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Graham Barlow
Senior Editor, AI

Graham is the Senior Editor for AI at TechRadar. With over 25 years of experience in both online and print journalism, Graham has worked for various market-leading tech brands including Computeractive, PC Pro, iMore, MacFormat, Mac|Life, Maximum PC, and more. He specializes in reporting on everything to do with AI and has appeared on BBC TV shows like BBC One Breakfast and on Radio 4 commenting on the latest trends in tech. Graham has an honors degree in Computer Science and spends his spare time podcasting and blogging.