What's in a Number?

hero_20110425

(Part 1 of however many posts I can justify.)

The latest rumor to make the rounds is that the fifth-generation iPhone will be dubbed the "iPhone 4S" because, in many respects, it's expected to be a somewhat minor upgrade to the product. I'm not sure who it is who makes up these stories, because from my perspective, building a phone that could - if other rumors prove true - support every major consumer mobile phone network in existence is what Vice President Joe Biden would call "a big deal."

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(I know that Biden's actual quote has an extra word in there, but after hanging out with three generations of my family for the last couple of weeks, I find myself censoring almost all of my language that isn't suitable for anyone under 10 or over 70. Don't worry: I'll be back to normal in another day or so.)

But if Apple's holding off on adding more features to the iPhone in order to get better performance - and on a mobile phone, that means three things: battery life, battery life and battery life - I'd say that the company's making the right move. Near-field RFID is cool, but I can wait until next year for that. An edge-to-edge screen is also cool, but given the screen resolution of the iPhone 4, there's not much point in adding a few more pixels. As for a multi-touch button being useful, well... I'm very cool to that idea. I have no idea what others do, but I find myself using my thumb on the iPhone's Home button as much as I do all of my fingers put together, Also , there's something to be said for a physically distinct Home button, if only to help the user orient the phone while pulling it out of a pocket.

Honestly, the only downside I foresee in the modest nature of the enhancements to the next iPhone will be the time wasted by having to explain over and over why the fifth-generation iPhone isn't called the iPhone 5. On the other hand, that might keep me busy for much of the summer, so I really shouldn't complain, should I?