Sometimes reading rumors about the second iPhone is exactly like reading a wishlist of features people want. Whether it's subconscious or not, the rumors do get us thinking about what we want from a 3G iPhone. In short, we want an iPhone done right. Here's what we want to make the 3G iPhone faster, better and stronger.
• Faster Network (3G). The original iPhone wasn't 3G when it launched last year thanks to various issues, two of which were cost and battery life. 3G chips now have increased battery life and lower costs compared to what was out in 2007. It's no 3G iPhone if it doesn't have 3G.
• Cheaper. Apple's already dropped the price of the phone once. Let's see them do it again. With component costs down and Apple capable of using just about the same parts (other than a 3G and GPS chip plus more memory and upgraded processing) as the first version, there's probably some slack to be had. AT&T can also help subsidize the cost down to $199 levels if Apple were to put even more measures in place forcing people who buy phones to sign up for AT&T (and not run off with it to other countries to be unlocked).
• Unlockable and Jailbreakable. Just because the SDK is coming doesn't mean we don't still have a need to jailbreak our iPhones. Jailbreak, for one, because there are still many apps worth using that Apple will frown upon. Unlock, for two, because T-Mobile users and other countries still don't have native iPhone support. Apple will actively fight the unlockers and jailbreakers, but we hope the hacking community prevails in the end.
• Better Battery. The iPhone's battery isn't bad, but if you talk a lot, use a Bluetooth headset, or theoretically use 3G and a GPS, that battery's not going to last a day. Out of all the features a next-gen iPhone can get, an improved battery is the one that will be felt by everybody.
• GPS. The current cellphone triangulation location system is fine, I guess, but it's no GPS. Even if Brian doesn't want it, I do. Place it into a dock that's specially made for your car (places the phone up in your eyeline, charges it, routes audio through your car's speakers) and it'll be as good as a regular GPS. If you're lost on foot, whip it out and locate yourself. It's not as good as a dedicated GPS, but it's good enough that most people won't know the difference. Hell, GPS manufacturers are already scared.
• Improved camera. The current 2-megapixel shooter is decent in ample light, but falls to Ewe Boll levels of visual atrocity when it comes to shooting in low-light. Maybe a flash? Maybe just a better sensor? We want to be able not have to move everyone next to a window to take a shot. Or ripping lampshades off your fixtures. Or bringing a Maglite to bars. While we're at it, why not some digital image stabilization.
• Front facing video camera. AT&T's 3G video calling (video share) service is not so good right now, mostly because it's only one-way. Two iPhones with two front-facing cameras, beaming video to each other like a webcam chat on your desktop would be amazing, and it would go along way into mainstreaming video calling. This would go over well in other countries where video calling is slightly more popular, despite Nokia's reservations.
• MMS and video recording. The iPhone's gotten its multi-recipient SMS feature (something many reviewers docked points off for in their initial reviews) added after the fact, but video recording and MMS sending is slightly more difficult to pull off. We want the 3G iPhone, with its beefed up processing power and improved camera, to give us a feature that's in just about every decent smartphone in the last few years.
• Flush headphone jack. No more lousy adapters just to get our headphones into the headphone port! This should have been the way it was in the first-gen iPhone.
• More storage. The launch storage size of 4GB and 8GB was pretty tiny, and the current 8GB and 16GB is usable, but not great. I'd like to see 16GB and 32GB options in this generation, gradually growing to 32GB and 64GB by the next iteration, and so forth until we can keep our whole computer backup there by the year 2015. Seeing as the iPhone is THE one device you want to carry with you everywhere, you'll need more and more space to shove those pictures, videos and music files.
• Cut, Copy and Paste. We'd like to take content from a website or email and paste it into a form or the address book or a text message. Apple has smart tech that allows you to click on phone numbers in web pages in Safari and call them, but moving general info between apps has been impossible. This is really a no brainer. We need cut, copy and paste in the iPhone.
• Automatic 3G Management. To deal with the battery suck of 3G in the iPhone, I'd love it if it automatically turned on only for active browsing in Safari, watching YouTube videos, looking stuff up in Maps and downloading music from the iTunes Store. For background checks on Mail, Weather and Stocks, it should toggle down to 2G.
• Stereo Bluetooth streaming. Bluetooth audio streaming hasn't picked up in the mainstream on devices because it's just another piece of tech that can run down your phone's battery, but given the iPhone's iPod-ness, it it makes sense to also pipe A2DP stereo music through that BT connection.
• Over the Air Sync. I like Apple's tethered sync system, which also gives you an opportunity to charge your iPhone using your PC. What would also be cool is a secure over the LAN Wi-Fi sync, a la Apple TV and Zune, so you can charge your iPhone in a dock or something but still sync data. Likewise, a PDA-type over the air sync would be great over 3G when you're in the wild. This would skip over all the audio and video stuff, but would keep your calendar in line with .Mac, or your home computer-and also back up any changes you've made on the go.
• Better Reception and Voice Quality. The two are related, but not 100%. Switching an AT&T SIM between a Blackberry, Palm, Sony Ericsson and iPhone shows the iPhone's voice quality to be the weakest. The current iPhone also randomly drops all bars in the middle of calls for Brian Lam on a very consistent basis. Reception is not good on the iPhone. But even when Brian has full coverage, the people on the other end of the line sound like they have marbles in their mouths. I'm sure this is Apple just learning the ropes in the cellphone game. I mean, you might poke fun, but have you heard the reception and call quality on a RAZR?
• A CDMA iPhone For Sprint and Verizon. Look, we know it's not going to happen because of AT&T's exclusivity deal, but half the people in the US wish the iPhone were available on Sprint or Verizon or Alltel or Nextel.
Of course, Apple probably won't put all these features into the 3G iPhone because of two reasons we can come up with. One, they most likely want people to have an upgrade path, and two, they need time to develop these to a usable state. In essence, you should pick a handful of features here that you really want and hope those are those are the ones Apple will put in.