So what will be in the new 3G iPhone?

Well 3G, obviously…

Over at Guardian Tech, Charles Arthur has written a snappy article predicting – rightly IMO – what we should expect in the new Apple iPhone.

· a three-megapixel camera. Cheap upgrade, people will herald its “50% better” picture quality.
· video. Easy, because it can already do this.
· possibly, just possibly, WiMax. A few places have this, and it’s just the kind of out-there technology that might find a use. But I’d put the chances at about 5%.
· 3G connectivity. Cheap, obvious, essential for its Far Eastern launch coming later this year.
· better Bluetooth profiles. Obvious incremental upgrade.
· voice and speed dialling. Easy, incremental upgrades based on phone software. Apple’s had more than a year to work on this.

[Not IN]
· SMS forwarding. Americans don’t understand SMS, and aren’t about to start now.
· GPS. Expensive, sucks power, imprecise, and isn’t standard on the vast majority of phones, so Apple isn’t losing by not using it.
· a cheap one.

I’d agree with almost all of that. Obviously the software improvements, such as voice and speed dialling, should be a given, but I don’t see why they couldn’t also add the text forwarding (although, if I’m honest, I think I’ve forwarded a text twice).

Olga, my partner, is considering an iPhone in the summer. Her ears pricked at the possibility of a red version (nah, not going to happen). And with the kids kicking around, a decent camera (3.2-4mp) with video is a necessity. Not for masterfully composed portraits you understand, but for life capture – us amateur photographers can all be snooty about phone-cams, but for many people they’re a genuine feature. My N95’s 5mp camera – with really good video – is a joy. If only it was a bit quicker, it would be the ideal point-and-shoot to partner my DSLR.

The main inclusion a great deal of people have mentioned (Leo Laporte for one) is a GPS system. I can’t say that I’ve ever used the GPS in my Blackberry 8800 or N95 8GB (and I have the full Vodafone GPS service – free with contract). I know Google have big plans for locale-specific ads and greater use of maps, but as Arthur explains, it would be a major energy drag.

Finally, on the point of the form factor. Apple have always led with industrial design, but when they strike on a classic they tend to stick with it. The iPod evolved from the same basic design into the current classic, without being revolutionary. My MacBook Pro is almost identical to Olga’s G4 PowerBook (yeah it has iSight, a backlit LED screen, multi-touch, and is a bit thinner, but to my mum it’s the same ‘puter). But at the same time, there have been oodles of iPhone imitators, so maybe they’ll tinker slightly. I’d like to do away with the polished alu finish and go matte. Maybe in black?

Charles also argues that it’ll be expensive. Well yeah, by ‘normal’ phone standards it will. But Apple have usually added features and kept the prices the same – and in the case of iPods, the prices have tumbled as flash costs have fallen. I think there may be a slight premium, but it won’t be as expensive as the first £899 model (with 18mth O2 contract) – especially if there is no big ticket add-on such as GPS.

Anyway those are my thoughts, but then it’ll sell by the pallet-load anyway.


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