Let me preface by saying I’m not interested in debating the iPhone vs. Android phones. They are very different phones with very different features. Everyone has their preferences, and I think that’s the way it should be. So if you prefer Android, that’s great, and I have no desire to make you switch. But I prefer the iPhone, and I have no desire to switch either.
For the iPhone users out there, this is my wishlist for next year’s iPhone…
One of the biggest contingencies about the iPhone vs. other phones is their screen size. Apple’s rebuttal is that the iPhone’s ergonomics allow it to fit comfortably in one hand and you can easily type a pretty lengthy message with one hand too, without much strain. I think they’re right too. The iPhone’s size is awesome, and they did upgrade it from 3.5″ to 4″ with the iPhone 5. But it’s also hard to ignore the fact that Android phones are as big as 5.5″.
There was a time when 17″ and 20″ laptops were all the rage. Now 11″ has become acceptable and tablets like the iPad are only 9.7″. The iPad Mini is even smaller, at 7.9″, and people love it.
I think time will tell us that bigger isn’t always better. Once you get past the “wow factor” of the large screens, there are some usability problems. Some people complain that they can’t type a message without using both hands with the larger models. And sometimes they don’t even fit comfortably in your pant pocket, which means you have to carry the damn thing around like you’re babysitting your phone.
After going through all that rationale… I do think Apple needs to bite the bullet and release a bigger version of the iPhone next year. I think they almost have to do it just to satisfy the iPhone users whose interest is waning. Apple needs to offer a phone somewhere in the 5″ range to keep its customers interested. Keep the 4″ version, but offer a larger one too. It’s nice to have options.
Apple’s set the standard for smartphones with its intuitive operating system. With each update of iOS, it has gradually improved. I think that iOS 6 is almost perfect, if I overlook the fact that my damn Passbook doesn’t work and Maps is a joke (more on that later). But as an interface, I love, love, love it.
HOWEVER, it’s looked the same for too long. People complain that the iPhone never updates its look. Well, actually the iPhone 5 is much different if you look at all the details and changes in hardware. The iPhone 4 was much different too. So Apple has been changing things a lot over the years, people just don’t realize it. They think they are looking at the phone, but they are really looking at the screen. Since the general face of iOS hasn’t changed drastically, they don’t get excited about it.
I know it’s superficial, and why should Apple change the design of iOS when it works so well and is so consistently good? Well it’s getting stale. I think iOS 7 needs to make some dramatic shifts in design to make people really take notice. It needs to be a change for the better, and not just for glamour. But it does need to happen.
Kiss and make up with Google
This isn’t going to happen any time soon, but I’m going to talk about it anyway. Last night, Google’s Maps app was released for iOS. I downloaded it immediately and love it! Wow, wow, wow. Google has hit the nail on the head with this one.
It was ambitious of Apple to take on Maps, and I think ambition is good. But blind ambition is bad. Removing public transit was an unforgivable mistake. When we travel to a big city, Daniel and I rely on public transportation extensively and need that option. Millions of people in cities like New York use it daily. This was a huge problem and Apple’s Maps should have remained in Beta until they could add that feature.
Apple has fired people and moved things around, so I do think better things are coming for Maps (and iOS in general). But I don’t completely understand why Apple wanted to tackle Maps in the first place. I guess just for power? If you know where your users are going, you can track their habits and recommend restaurants and businesses to them. Okay, I get that. Plenty of opportunity for upsells.
But mapping the whole world is a big project! Google has already done such a good job of it. Apple could have maintained their relationship with Google and shared in their success. I think it comes down to power, but it was a big mistake.
Now that Google’s Maps app is out there, it’s softened the blow. But I never plan on using Apple’s Maps. I had been keeping iOS 5 on my phone and just finally updated to iOS 6 this morning, once I had Google Maps.
Sorry, Apple. I wish you guys could be friends again.
I think the 5″ screen is possible, although I’m afraid they’re going to hold off until 2014 and release an incremental update in 2013. Bad idea. I think they need to make a bold move to stay relevant. I think a fresh design in iOS 7 is somewhat probable, as Jonathan Ive has taken over that division. Kissing and making up with Google is unlikely, but once Apple sees how many people download the Google Maps app, they may have to reconsider.
What features do you hope to see in the next iPhone?
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