12 features I’d like to see on the next iPhone

Earlier this week, my friend David Coursey asked a question on Facebook, “What must Apple do with the next iPhone to make/keep you happy? Features? Software? And what would make you change to a different handset?”

Well, at the risk of perhaps messing up an article David’s writing, I’ll answer the first part of that question here, based on a lot of experience. I’m a satisfied iPhone customer. I bought my first in 2008, when the iPhone 3G came out. When the 3GS was released, I gave the older handset to my son, and purchased the new one.

What would I like see changed? One thing I won’t say is, “A different carrier.” I moved from T-Mobile with a BlackBerry to the AT&T with the iPhone 3G, and have been delighted with the coverage, reliability and bandwidth. It’s much better than I experienced with T-Mobile. So, while I acknowledge that there are a lot of unhappy AT&T customers, I am not one of them (with one exception, noted below).

With that said, here’s what I’d like to see improved on the iPhone. Note that only three are hardware issues. The others could be addressed through software changes to the iPhone operating system or by the carrier.

1. Tethering, tethering, tethering. Okay, AT&T, we’ve waited long enough. Just do it.

2. Sync to a standard Bluetooth keyboard. An external keyboard would allow me to use the iPhone to take notes in meetings, which often would save me from bringing a laptop.

3. Interchangeable batteries. Although I have one of those external battery things, there are times when I’m in a poor signal area or use the device heavily, and this kills the battery in half a day.

4. The option to hide built-in apps. I never use Notes, Stocks and Weather. I have better third-party apps for those tasks. So, let’s make them go away.

5. Support for linking to multiple Exchange accounts. Sometimes that’s what one needs to do.

6. Support for websites that require Flash. Such sites are totally unusable on the phone as currently provisioned.

7. Support for video chat compatible with iChat and Skype. That would require a front-facing video camera, of course.

8. Syncing of the phone’s autocorrect spelling list. I’d like it to match my Mac’s autocorrect list.

9. Be able to turn off data services. Just as there are switches to turn Bluetooth, WiFi and 3G on/off, I sometimes want to turn off all data services, so that the phone is just a phone. Why? To conserve battery life.

10. Selective caller rejection. I want the phone to squelch incoming calls from specified phone numbers. Don’t let them ring. Don’t let them go to voicemail. Just make them go away. I don’t care if that’s done in collaboration with the carrier, but I want it.

11. Week-at-a-glance view in the Calendar. Maybe it could be triggered by turning the phone into landscape position.

12. Charging with a standard mini-USB or micro-USB connector. That would be nice when I’m low on juice but don’t have a special iPhone cable handy.

What features would you like to see changed on the iPhone hardware or built-in software?

Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick
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