Our iPhone 2.0 wishlist

The first generation iPhone was a work in progress, with numerous common functions noticeably absent. So check out our wishlist for the iPhone 2.0.

Joseph Hanlon Special to CNET News
Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies.
Joseph Hanlon
3 min read

commentary Fans of Apple's iPhone are suffering from the worst case of Stockholm Syndrome the tech world has ever seen. If Nokia or Sony Ericsson dared to hood-wink us by slapping an AU$800 price tag on a 2G phone, with a 2-megapixel camera and no MMS, they'd be run out of town by a pitchfork-wielding mob.

After the iPhone was unveiled at MacWorld 2007 there was as much criticism as praise directed towards the touchscreen handset. This didn't stop people queuing up to buy one, like crowds on the opening night of a Star Wars film.

With the imminent arrival of the iPhone in Australia, and with some significant announcements by Apple regarding the implementation of iPhone firmware 2.0, it's time to take another look at the phone that makes us weak at the knees, and to compile a wishlist of how the second-gen iPhone should look on paper.

Online — the need for speed
3G: The most glaring oversight with the first generation iPhone was pairing the best mobile Web browser with inadequate mobile data speeds.

When our counterparts in the US reviewed the iPhone they commented that the Web browsing experience on the handset was "a completely and surprisingly satisfying experience...", therefore the upgrade to a 3G or HSDPA chipset is a no-brainer. While it hasn't been officially confirmed by Apple, there is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest the wait for faster mobile data on the iPhone is almost over.

Cross-platform IM client: Perhaps we're dreaming of a corporate Utopia, but Apple making an agreement with AOL to pre-install its instant messaging client thumbs its nose at the rest of us who have never signed up to use AOL, but instead rely on competing services. Thanks Apple, but we'll wait for when Adium is released through the App Store.

RSS Reader: To support the excellent Safari browser, an RSS reader would definitely come in handy. In our experience, small screens lend themselves to small doses of information, like news headlines and sporting results. RSS is currently the best solution for "info snacking" on the Web.

For business' sake Mr Jobs, unlock our phones
Accessible file system: Being able to browse and alter the files stored on the iPhone opens the door to must-have smartphone functionality; most importantly the ability to use the iPhone as a mass storage device.

Business software: Business customers will arguably benefit most from the firmware 2.0 upgrade. Apple's licensing of Microsoft's Active Sync protocol doesn't just mean full compatibility with contact lists and calendar entries, but means business users will have "push" access to e-mail (messages delivered to the device as they are received at the e-mail server) rather than mail delivery at timed intervals — the shortest of which is 15min on the current generation iPhone.

A majority of iPhone applications aimed at Enterprise users will become available when Apple launch the App Store. Examples included Salesforce sales tools and Epocrates software for doctors which were displayed at the announcement of the App Store at MacWorld 2008's live demonstration.

A few mind-boggling omissions
Camera: To be fair, the 2-megapixel camera in the current iPhone is actually quite good, but a flash and auto-focus would be very welcomed additions. Similarly, video capture software for the camera is a must for the next generation.

Multimedia messaging: A mobile phone without the ability to send MMS is like a car without a CD player. Sure, you can start the car and drive it around, but, where's the CD player?

Bluetooth: It may seem like a small issue, but there's a reason why Bluetooth is now a ubiquitous feature in mobile phones: people use it. Bluetooth is the broad name used for many Bluetooth radio protocols. The current iPhone makes use of only one, the hands-free protocol, while several other common protocols are absent, notably the A2DP stereo protocol and basic Bluetooth for file transfers.

Landscape virtual keypad: It's simple arithmetic: you take a virtual QWERTY keyboard, add an accelerometer and the result should be landscape text input. Having landscape mode in the Safari browser is great, but the next-gen iPhone needs the same functionality across all apps where long strings of text input is required.

There's various other alterations we'd love to see; a replaceable battery and a non-recessed 3.5m headphone jack come to mind. We'd love to know what you'd like to see in the the second-generation iPhone. Let us know on our forums or in the talk-back section below.