Next Gen iPhone – where next for Apple?

The latest shiny new iPhone with its super fast 3G web browsing is here and selling out fast – but that may in part be due to low initial stocks in the stores as well as consumer demand. The launch was not smooth with problems in the USA with AT&T activation server crashes and with O2 in the UK causing Gizmodo to call the event “iPocalypse”. But, dispite the problems, Apple are already claiming to have sold 1 million iPhones over Friday, Saturday and Sunday – higher than expected and over 7 days less than the first release – but then they had 28 operators in 22 countries this time.
iPhone 3G

iPhone 3G

Time will tell if this new model, with its new features and lower prices will deliver the success that Apple initially planned. Like many other people this weekend, I found myself testing out the latest iPhone features in the local store… The prospect of super-fast browsing on a large mult-touch screen and the promise of upcoming TomTom navigation using the new GPS capabilities is very tempting – probably a good job they had none in stock…

So is that it for Apple? Do they have the perfect phone? Well, of course not – there are plenty of niggles and many things they should be looking at for their seemingly annual phone release, especially with new versions of Microsoft Mobile and the new Google Android looming on the horizon. The new App Store is a great start and will give customers a steady fix of new iPhone goodness until the next big release. It opens the opportunities for third parties to start filling the gaps by adding more value (hurry up TomTom).

Last year I was predicting that Santa Jobs would deliver GPS and 3G, but like many others I was also asking for a decent camera. This seems to be the most obvious omission from the new device, especially since we are seeing 5 megapixels fast becoming the standard. We are even seeing a few 8 megapixel super-shooters and even entry level phones are coming with 3.2 megapixels these days. This makes the 2 measlypixel Apple a clear year out of date right from the start. I wouldn’t mind the low pixel count if the quality was good, but so far many sites are reporting low quality too compared with other mass market handsets. So prediction number 1 would be that 5 megapixel camera with auto-focus and flash – perhaps with face recognition for exposure and focus.

A decent camera does not only improve the photo capabilities it should also add video. In this modern world of YouTube and video blogging, the lack of decent video capabilities on the iPhone comes as a slight surprise – especially since it is so good at playing back stored videos. So prediction number 2 would be VGA video recording and playback with the ability to post directly to friends and share online via YouTube.

Prediction number 3 would be gestures – flipping pages by waving your hand in front of the screen or waking up the device by giving it a good shake. Microsoft is already hotly tipped to be delivering this for Windows Mobile 7, see what Nathan Weinberg says on his InsideMicrosoft blog. Even the latest Nokia S60 is getting in on the act with the really nice ability to turn the device over to silence it.

My final prediction concerns that lovely screen – it’s actually no longer the best screen on the block. We already have a glorious VGA screen in the new HTC Diamond Touch (http://www.htc.com/www/default.aspx) and that will soon be surpassed by a new Wide VGA screen on the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 – surely that would be an easy fit.

Whatever Apple do, they are already igniting the market, causing all the major players to introduce new touch phones and user interface designs… The next big handset release will probably be Android – I’m looking forward to see more great ideas from Google – the internet leaders. It will be interesting to see how sales for Apple continue to grow and how many iPhone users we see appearing in Bango Analytics or on Bango Live – I’ll be sure to report back soon. As to whether I’ll buy one…

About Andy Bovingdon

As VP of Product Marketing at Bango, my goal is to make sure we create the best products for app stores to deliver direct carrier billing.
This entry was posted in cool mobile stuff, mobile analytics, mobile web and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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