If you’re reading this, it should come as no surprise whatsoever that I’m eagerly anticipating tomorrow’s Apple event where they’ll describe the upcoming 3.0 update to the iPhone software.
Here are a few of the things I’ll be looking for:
- Copy and paste. (Duh.) Seriously, though, if this one doesn’t finally happen — or if it doesn’t happen without a good explanation of why it can’t — I’ll be dumbfounded. It’s a feature so integral to using a computing device it’s just astounding that it hasn’t happened yet. Don’t get me started.
- Flash. Please? There are just too many Flash sites out there for this issue to continue to be left unaddressed. Other phones are starting to get it (do any already have it?), and it’s ubiquitous enough that you can’t really make the claim that you get the “whole Internet” without it. I do, however, wonder about the implications and whether or not it’s those implications, rather than technical limitations that are holding this up. Would Hulu work, for example? It seems that with Flash enabled, Apple would have much less control about what the iPhone could and could not do.
- Video recording/streaming. In addition to the recording aspect, I’d still love to see video conferencing work, at least in iChat if not Skype. The Flash question again, though: with Flash enabled, could these video recording/conferencing solution work even without Apple’s sanction or support?
- More robust iApps. Mail and Address Book come quickly to mind, but most of Apple’s built-in apps are in much need of updates. Even the Apple Remote app seems unnecessarily hobbled compared to the physical version.
- Better application management. One of the best arguments for the case that Apple never really intended to allow third-party app development can be seen in the iPhone’s launcher. The number of apps is limited (to nine screens, I believe); it’s ridiculously hard to move apps and completely impossible to group, sort or otherwise organize them.
- Performance. I know, I know, it’s a phone and I should be (and am) grateful for all the wonderful things it can do, but the iPhone is still dog-slow at lots of processing tasks, with interminable user interface delays and hangups with no feedback as to what if anything is happening.
- Background process management. Apple had good arguments for not including this capability, but its seemingly terrific compromise (the “push server”) never materialized. Lots of apps need to do things in the background to be useful, and hopefully Apple has now figured out how to accomplish this without tradeoffs in battery life, performance or security.
I have one more hope, and it’s admittedly a big (and selfish) one. I want all these new features to work on my first generation iPhone. That happened with the 2.0 update and I’m hoping that Apple feels it has enough of those devices still in the field to make that a non-negotiable. The fact that, other than GPS and 3G networking, the second-generation iPhone still has the same specs makes me optimistic: it seems unlikely to me that Apple will announce new software that instantly renders every iPhone in the field obsolete.
I don’t expect to get away without having to pay for this update, though. The software will be announced tomorrow, but don’t expect it to ship then. My guess is late July or early August, just after the original iPhones slip past the two-year subscription period Apple uses for accounting purposes. I think the iPhone 3G users will get this one as a freebie, but I’m expecting to have to pay for it. I’d love to get off with a $20 hit, but my guess is it will be closer to $40 for those who bought early.
How far off am I with all these predictions? We only have to wait a day to find out.