Steve Jobs has left the stage at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference, and now it’s time to evaluate what he showed off. The Apple CEO’s announcement was headlined by the iPhone 4, the latest in the long and venerable line of Apple smartphones that have revolutionized the mobile market and effectively changed consumer desire.
The device includes several new features that the vast majority of consumers will be happy to find when they finally get their hands on it at the end of June.
But there are also some features lacking from the iPhone 4. And although they won’t get the kind of attention that all the additions will, they are just as important to understanding what Apple’s latest smartphone is all about. It’s also worth noting that Apple has once again left consumers wanting a bit more if and when Apple releases an update to the iPhone in 2011.
Until then, Here are some of things missing from Apple’s iPhone 4.
Once again, rumors about Apple announcing an iPhone that runs on Verizon’s network have been dashed. The hardware company made it clear on Monday that it still supports AT&T and its iPhone will run exclusively on the carrier’s network for the foreseeable future. That’s unfortunate for enterprise customers that are locked into Verizon contracts, as well as those that want to be able to get out from under AT&T’s grasps. But it’s good news for Google and its Android platform, which currently runs on phones for almost every major carrier.
2. 4G support
Although it wasn’t expected, some consumers were hoping to see Apple announce support for 4G connectivity at WWDC. The network standard is expected to be the next big thing in the mobile business, but it’s not all that surprising that Apple didn’t include it in this version of the iPhone. For one, AT&T is far away from ubiquitous 4G connectivity. And considering 3G still isn’t available in many suburban and most rural locations, it would only make sense for Apple to wait for AT&T to deliver full 3G coverage before it moves to the next standard.
3. A bigger display
For all the improvements Apple has made to the iPhone, the company has yet to make the device’s screen size any larger. According to Apple, the iPhone 4 boasts the same display size, 3.5-inches, as the iPhone 3GS. That’s not necessarily a problem, but those that were hoping for something larger, like a 4.3-inch display, will be upset to see that Apple has opted against a change. In its place, Apple has increased the quality of the display, making it much easier to read content. It’s a nice consolation prize.
4. That 8-megapixel camera
One of the iPhone’s top competitors, the HTC Droid Incredible, includes an 8-megapixel camera. It’s one of the key selling points of the phone, since so many people who buy smartphones use their built-in cameras to snap pictures at gatherings. For its part, Apple has improved the iPhone’s camera, upping it to five megapixels. Previously, the iPhone 3GS featured a 3-megapixel camera. Some will be happy with the iPhone 4’s new camera, but others will be wondering why Apple hasn’t matched its chief competitor.
Apple iPhone Users Still Waiting for Multitasking
5. Google Voice
Don’t look for a native Google Voice application on the iPhone 4. The software, which has been the subject of much debate over the past year, is still nowhere to be found on Apple’s platform. For its part, Apple hasn’t said a word about the program and likely won’t. But it still would have been nice if it made its way to iPhone 4. Google Voice could have significantly expanded the functionality of the iPhone, offering users the ability to place calls, while saving minutes. But alas, it still has yet to make its way as an application to Apple’s platform. Maybe next year?
6. Removable battery
One of the key complaints about the iPhone from enterprise customers is Apple’s decision to ditch a removable battery in place of a built-in battery. So far, that hasn’t proven to be such a problem, since so many folks buy new iPhones every year or two. But eventually, Apple’s decision to not allow users to remove the battery could be a problem. That said, the company obviously isn’t too worried. The iPhone 4 lacks a removable battery. If nothing else, it seems that a removable battery isn’t part of Apple’s strategy going forward.
7. Better FaceTime
Apple has added a new feature, called FaceTime, which allows users to place video calls over Wi-Fi from one iPhone 4 to another iPhone 4. Unfortunately, the software won’t work for those that want to place calls from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 3GS for several reasons that include both hardware and software limitations. That said, users also won’t be able to make video calls to folks who own other devices. That’s unfortunate. There are several applications available in the wild, including Fring, that allow users to place video calls from one mobile platform to another. FaceTime is a hobbled alternative.
8. A physical keyboard
No shocker here, but Apple has once again decided to leave the physical keyboard out of its iPhone strategy. In its place, the company has improved its virtual keyboard, thanks to an improved display and software tweaks. That should help appeal to most folks that use the device, but for those that are used to working with physical keyboards it might prove troublesome. The physical keyboard is viewed as a relic of the past by Apple. And that won’t be changing anytime soon.
9. OTA updates
Apple made no mention of over-the-air updates during Jobs’ keynote address. That’s unfortunate. Unlike so many other platforms on the market, Apple’s iPhone must be connected to a computer in order for users to update the device. Apple has said that it makes the experience more robust, and it rightfully believes that few care. But being able to update the iPhone 4 on the fly without worry of being within range of a computer is awfully nice. And let’s face it, connectivity options available today make it much easier to get those updates than ever before.
10. A bunch of little stuff
Apple’s iPhone 4 is certainly one of the most capable devices on the market. But like previous iPhone releases, it lacks some other features that consumers have been waiting for. That’s nothing new. Apple has gone out of its way over the past four years to deliver almost everything consumers want, while still holding back a few things they covet. It not only helps build hype for the new version next year, it also helps the company generate revenue with each new iteration.