Apple is at it again. After spending so much of its time railing against Windows, the company is protecting AT&T in its battle with Verizon Wireless. In a new set of ads, Apple has highlighted all the features that its iPhone has that the Motorola Droid doesn’t. It’s a war of words that so far, doesn’t have a victor.
But as much as Apple wants the world to believe that the iPhone has all the features they want, it doesn’t. The device, while great in its own right, is lacking on many fronts. Simply put, it doesn’t have the full feature set that makes it the ideal platform for any user. And the chances of that changing anytime soon aren’t all that great. The iPhone is a fine device, but it’s lacking in some areas. Even Apple can admit that. So let’s take a look at some of the features that the iPhone needs.
1. No Go, Enterprise
The iPhone is a great consumer device. But when it comes to the corporate world’s unique needs, the iPhone, so far, doesn’t stack up to the devices from RIM. In recent releases, the iPhone has done a better job of appealing to business users and, admittedly, more firms are considering the iPhone. But until tethering is made simple and the device is available on multiple carriers, the iPhone won’t be ready for the enterprise.
One of the biggest complaints users have about the iPhone is its inability to allow users to multitask. For now, users can only open one application at a time; they can’t simply sift through several applications as they can on the Palm Pre or Motorola’s Droid. It’s a problem that limits productivity. Hopefully Apple will address it in the next iteration of the iPhone.
3. Where’s the Physical Keyboard?
A virtual keyboard might be the go-to “futuristic” device, but a physical keyboard is far more practical and reliable. As someone who has owned both the first-gen iPhone and the iPhone 3G, I can say without any reservation that the device’s keyboard can’t quite stack up to a physical keyboard on other smartphones. It’s certainly different and at times, it’s nice. But it’s not ideal.
4. We Need Open Source
Android has done a fine job of making waves in the mobile industry, thanks to open source. The platform allows vendors to decide how they will use and adapt the software for their own phones. More importantly, it helps Google address potential issues much sooner than it could on a closed platform. With millions of developers watching for trouble rather than a handful of developers, problems can be solved much sooner. Apple should consider it.
Some Friendly Developer Rules
5. Some Friendly Developer Rules
Apple isn’t nice to developers. The company’s draconian approval policies have stopped some viable apps from entering its store. It has also pushed some developers away. Granted, Apple’s App Store is growing at a rapid rate and it’s the biggest store in the space, but the company needs to do a better job of making developers understand what is and is not allowed.
6. Interchangeable Batteries
One of the biggest complaints any corporate customer will have for the iPhone is that it doesn’t have interchangeable batteries. Instead, users are required to recharge the single battery encased in the device. After a long day of phone calls, that might be inefficient for the average businessperson. Interchangeable batteries is a must in the next iPhone.
7. VOIP over 3G
When Apple rejected Google’s Voice application from entering its App Store, it unleashed a firestorm of controversy. But what it brought to light was AT&T’s requirement that no app in Apple’s store be allowed to run VOIP over 3G. That’s unfortunate. Users would find far more value in the device with that option allowed. It would also increase AT&T’s subscriber base. Rethink that one, AT&T.
Following that, it’s time that Apple ditch AT&T and start offering the iPhone on multiple carriers. The idea has been rumored to be in the works for months now, but so far, the company hasn’t made any announcements saying that the iPhone will be carrier-agnostic. Several iPhone competitors offer devices on multiple carriers. It helps them capture market share. Apple should consider it.
9. Removable Storage
Another issue some have with the iPhone is its lack of removable storage. It comes with a hefty hard drive, sure, but it’s nice to have the option of taking files and folders out of the device for use elsewhere. Several BlackBerry models provide a removable-storage slot to save content. Users can take that content to computers, their HDTVs and elsewhere. In any smartphone, that should be an option.
10. Shortage of Serious Competition
Perhaps the biggest problem with Apple’s iPhone is that, so far, it doesn’t have a real competitor. Sure, the Droid is selling well and the BlackBerry Storm2 is a more viable device than its predecessor. But when it comes to touch-enabled devices, the iPhone reigns supreme. And that is limiting Apple’s desire to unleash every feature we might want. It can keep releasing iterative updates, knowing all too well that more and more users will keep buying its product. There’s little need to innovate beyond what’s necessary. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. And it’s holding the iPhone back.