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Future iPhone coffee maker and door opener

Hmm - where's the Pie in the Sky app?

We all know the iPhone is a nifty piece of hardware, even if it's not perfect, but what does one of Apple's leading network partners see in its future? AT&T's mobile chief laid out a few crazy plans for the Jesus phone.

Ralph de la Vega, an AT&T CEO, was speaking at the Web 2.0 conference held this week in San Francisco, where he mused on what he'd like to see the iPhone become.

Language no barrier

Among dozens of ideas, he suggested that the handset might be able to interpret between languages on a live phone call. Exclusively Japanese and English speakers would no longer need human intervention, for example.

Then, he posited that the iPhone would be able to call a coffee machine in the kitchen and have it fire up some Robusta to greet its owner every morning.

While those two are either impossible for now, pointless or a mix of both, there were some better suggestions.

Reality check

We particularly welcome the suggestion that the iPhone could become a wireless key for the house or a car. This is in line with what already happens in Japan, so will likely come in future when Apple adds RFID to its handset.

Also, de la Vega foresaw the phone being used to control an internet-based TV service. As AT&T already has such an online offering, that's one we can see becoming a reality.

Otherwise, the reaction to the wireless guru's ideas was distinctly tepid – something along the lines of "Just get the calls and data flowing properly and we'll be happy."