This year, the word “fanboy” was added to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. The term is sometimes used derisively and other times proudly, but it always refers to an almost religious cheerleading of a brand of technology. And quite often, that brand is Apple. I’m not an Apple fanboy, nor an Apple basher. I love technology and my allegiance is to whatever device offers the most convenience, ease of use, quality, reliability, value, and overall experience. That might mean Sun Solaris, Linux, Windows, or a Mac, all of which I use everyday.
It is in this spirit that I offer my suggestions as to how Apple can make the world’s best smartphone even better. Most of my suggestions are software-based and could be activated for all existing iPhone users. I encourage readers to submit their ideas, in a positive, constructive manner, via e-mail and on iPhone Life’s Web site (iphonelife.com). I know Apple is reading and they have a good record of taking good ideas to heart.
Improve wireless syncing
I am a subscriber to Apple’s MobileMe (apple.com/mobileme), a wireless syncing solution that offers great promise for iPhone users. However, I’m not thrilled with the fact that it does not support Lotus Notes, which is used by my business. One of the great features offered by my old Nokia e62 was automatic wireless syncing. Whenever I got within Bluetooth range of my PC, changes to contacts and calendar were transmitted without my having to press a button or connect via cable or dock. It was like magic, and it worked with Lotus Notes. It would be great if Apple upgraded the iPhone so that it could sync music, videos, photos, contacts, and calendar info using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. It would be even better if they made it a free service—without a subscription.
Enable Bluetooth stereo (A2DP) now
I’m guessing Apple won’t offer Bluetooth stereo audio until they have a headset to sell. Countless other cell phones have this capability; for the world’s greatest one to lack this feature is a shame.
More control over Airplane mode
I use a number of docking accessories (speaker docks, clock radios, etc.) that are not officially “iPhone compatible.” When I dock with these accessories, I inevitable receive a warning on my iPhone stating “This accessory is not made to work with iPhone. Would you like to turn on Airplane Mode to reduce audio interference?” The only time I want to put my iPhone in Airplane Mode is when I’m actually on an airplane. I would like Apple to include a software setting to deactivate that pop-up warning (or shorten the duration of it).
Make it easier to organize apps in Home screen pages
I’ve installed a lot of third-party apps on my iPhone and it’s getting hard to keep them organized! I have three different movie listing apps, several news readers, and multiple weather programs, not to mention games for me and others for the kids. I’d like to be able to assign app category titles to the Home screen pages. I’d also like Apple to make it easier to place apps on specific pages. Currently, sorting them is cumbersome and every time I add a new app, it throws off my organization.
Add option to loop videos
I have a five minute corporate video that I show at tradeshows. I set up my iPhone in horizontal mode, plug it in to speakers and a charger, and play the video. Unfortunately, I have to remember to manually restart it every five minutes. I suppose I could create an hour long video by patching the movie together 12 times, but it would be easier if Apple included a “replay video” option. This one seems like an easy fix for Apple.
Add screen output option
I would like the ability to display the actual iPhone screen on an external monitor. It would be great for training seminars and tradeshows, and for capturing movies for software demos. We know it’s possible because Steve Jobs does it at his product launches.
I intentionally did not mention other well documented requests, such as adding copy-and-paste functionality, because they would require complex design and programming. However, most of my suggestions require relatively minor software modifications and could be implemented relatively easily.
I hope this article represents the beginning of a discussion and that Apple will take some of these ideas and implement them. You, our readers, represent Apple’s largest, fastest growing focus group. They need to know how you use (and want to use) your iPhone. So speak up and we’ll print your ideas in the next issue!