What will the next iPhone look like?

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Every year or so, Apple comes out with a new version of the iPhone. Last time, they added the much requested 3G and GPS. At this point, most people I know who own an iPhone (i.e. half the people I know) are pretty happy with it. So, apart from better battery-life and more storage space, what are some thing we can expect to see in the next iPhone?

  • Video.
    This is probably the most obvious improvement. Record video, post video to YouTube, and perhaps video conference via a front-side camera (already rumored for the 3G).
  • A real camera.
    The iPhone has already taken one gadget out of my bag (my iPod); now it’s time to replace my point & shoot camera. Cameras in phones have usually performed poorly because the chips and lenses are so tiny that they don’t capture light very well. It’s not clear that Apple has the in-house expertise to do something better, but then again, no one knew they could build a phone either :)
  • A better display.
    The current display is wonderfully bright and crisp. However, a screen with twice the resolution would reach 320dpi, better than print. Such displays are probably still prohibitively expensive, but Apple’s volumes could drive those costs down. Another possibility is using an OLED display, which wouldn’t require a backlight (drastically improving battery life).
  • A better keyboard.
    The Blackberry Storm innovated with a single button keyboard. I’m sure Apple engineers are working hard to discover a technology that simulates the tactile feel of keys in a satisfying way.
  • Everything wireless.
    Wireless audio via bluetooth. Wireless sync to your computer via wifi or bluetooth. Wireless music streaming from the iPhone to your Airport Express. Wireless streaming to the iPhone from your home computer. Maybe even wireless charging via a mat replacing the dock.
  • On-the-go.
    An iPhone connected to a friend’s laptop could let you log into your own account. On a Mac, you could run Safari with your bookmarks, Apple Mail with your mail, iTunes with your Music, iPhoto with your pictures, and so forth. On a PC, it could run a scaled-up version of the iPhone OS X, giving access to the same apps. And AT&T willing, the computer could even use the phone’s 3G connection.
  • Coffee-maker.
    I don’t expect them to fit a full coffee cup, but an espresso should be possible, no?

We may not see all of these ideas in the next iPhone, but I would be suprised if most of them weren’t there a few years from now. If you have other suggestions, post your  idea in the comments!


7 comments

I recently had to use a iPhone 2G (3G got stolen) and I remembered something very impressive: the battery life. Something that Apple could do is work with cell operators to have the 2G connection active most of the time, and switch to 3G if available, when needed, saving most of the juice.

1-21-1:25 AM

I just bought a snowboard helmet with bluetooth headphones assuming it would work with my iPhone. Supposedly, the iPhone hardware supports A2DP, but they have it disabled :-( People on the net claim Apple is waiting to enable it when they come out with their own A2DP headsets.

by Dave
1-21-12:02 PM

I agree with a lot on the list, though think a better display would be pretty far down their list since the current screen is great and enhancing it would cost more.

Also, I disagree about the ‘tactile keyboard’ point. Blackberry gave teh Storm a tactile keyboard so they could come out with a software keyboard without backing off from their statement that ‘previous software keyboards sucked’. In fact though, Blackberry Storm users hate the clicky keyboard.

1-21-3:14 PM

Kevin, re:screen, I agree that the cost probably doesn’t justify it right now. This being said, as good as the display is, I believe there could be dramatic improvements in this area.

As far as the keyboard goes, I think people like having tactile feedback for touch typing, but that the Blackberry’s single button approach doesn’t actually help for this. You really need something that simulates individual buttons.

Dave, re:bluetooth, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case. Grrrr…

1-21-4:14 PM

Hey Bertil,

Thanks for your comment. I think that’s a great idea: the phone could use Edge for background tasks like fetching email, and would only switch on the 3G when needed (maps, web browsing, youtube, etc).

Of course, the real solution is for someone to get a real breakthrough in battery technology, but I suppose I shouldn’t hold my breath for that….

-Nick

1-23-10:40 AM

[...] are some pictures taken with my iPhone camera. Some of them are quite noisy (they really need to improve the camera), but I like them [...]

I have the black berry storm the phones suck huge. Worst phone on the market.IT sad black berry made it. Now the iphone now thats really a sweet looking phone .I would have gotten it but im with telus.The only two things i like about the black berry strom is the calender layout and look.And the dial pad on the strom buttons are huge easy to push and colour full. other then that the iphone has a beautiful look best phone on the market.I would like to see it get thinner and perhaps and even better look for the next release screen size and stuff is awesome and touch screen works great.bring it on apple .

by Mark
5-18-5:56 PM