What's in a Number?


(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."


(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?