Predictions: 6 Things We’ll See on the iPhone by the end of 2007

iphone_screen.jpgSo, as regular readers may know – I like making predictions. I don’t always get them right…I was REAL wrong about WWDC this year…but it’s fun to speculate about what we’ll see in the future. Hell, that’s half the fun of blogging.

Still, none of this is “insider” info or from “a well placed Apple source” or any of that crap….these are just a few things that I expect to see on the iPhone by the end of the year.

    6) Custom Ringtones - Seems like a given, right? Honestly, I find it shocking that it doesn’t come with the option to ad your own ringtones to it. I have a feeling that the reason for this is because Apple is planning on adding a ringtones section to iTunes…which is going to hack some people off. I don’t want to pay for a song twice just so I can use it as a ringtone. In fact, I refuse to do that…but there are others that will gladly do it.

    I think this will be one of the first things we see added to the iPhone.

    5) Games – Again…you would think it would already come with these. Why? Because every other cellphone on the planet does. Now, having said that, the games on those other phones would never work on the iPhone, but you know that games are coming. They have to be. There are just too many cool things you can do with the power of OSX in this phone, and the multi-touch capabilities of the device.

    Expect them soon.

    4) Web App Icons – It’s going to be hard to get people interested in web based applications on your iPhone if you have to launch Safari, go to Bookmarks, select the URL of the app, then enter your username and password to access the application. Icons that lead directly to the apps, by launching Safari and then navigating directly to the sites will help make them feel more like “real” applications, and will still allow the iPhone to be safe and secure.

    3) Flash – It’s not ready yet…that’s why it’s not available at launch, but Apple hasn’t said that they won’t allow it on the iPhone or anything like that…in fact their exact words were that it wouldn’t be available “at launch”, which indicates that it is coming. I won’t be surprised at all if we see in in the next few months.

    2) Video Recording - Recording video with the iPhone built in camera is only a software update away, and with the iPhone’s already integrated connection to YouTube, this seems inevitable to me.

    1) iChat – This is another feature that most phones already have – an Instant Messenging client. I don’t expect the iPhone to be without one for very long. There are already web based alternatives, but but an Apple built version of iChat for the iPhone should be coming down the pipe soon.

I think the majority of these applications and features are already in development, but we haven’t seen them for one of two reasons.

Either a) they aren’t stable enough to be released yet, or b) they’re being saved to use as examples of free applications that will be offered by Apple for the phone in the future.

Both of these scenarios, make sense. If the apps aren’t ready yet, Apple will have to feel the heat of unstable software backlash…but even if they are ready, if Apple had all of these things out of the gate, what would they have to add in the near future?

What do you think? Are their features or Apps that you think might show up soon that I have missed?

Comments

  1. Rick O'Neil says:

    I agree with all of those, I think we’ll defiantly see them. I think the only reason we haven’t is timing… If they waited till it was all developed the phone would have been delayed several months, I’m sure they wanted to get the phone into the market before someone else came along with something similar and sole some of apples thunder.

    I also hope to see some Apple designed apps. maybe a condensed version of iWork.

  2. Custom Ringtones – I definitely won’t pay to have my songs converted to ringtones. I don’t think Apple will be able to make customers swallow that idea either. The thing is that I don’t want to use songs for ringtones, it’s a trailer park concept, and I get the feeling Apple already knows that. I’m all good with a classy library of Apple selected ringtones that would be available for free, or for really cheap.

    Games – are already in the works, next.

    Web App Icons – interesting notion, but I don’t think that Apple will allow you to do what is basically putting an internet shortcut in the main menu. More important I think is Apple unveiling a way to really make a web app look like a native iPhone app, esp. in respect to hiding the Safari interface and focusing on app experience and immersion.

    Flash – I had just given up on it actually. It kinda makes sense for Apple to leave it out. It’s not open and is not beyond needing a great deal of upgrade and consolidation. In this day and age I think it’s fair to regularly re-evaluate “standard web formats,” to the point of potentially dissolving them, in the face of open and/or more advanced alternatives.

    Video recording – agreed. this must happen, and love the YouTube idea. However, local storage must also be available. Forcing you to store them in the cloud could be a frustrating at times.

    iChat – this will take some time to appear b/c it may allow you to use much less of the SMS services and cut into ATT’s margins.

    Nice list!

  3. >What do you think? Are their features or Apps that you think
    >might show up soon that I have missed?

    Java would be nice. Even if it’s only support for running Applets in Safari.

  4. It’s be a while before iChat makes it there. I don’t think it’s because of AT&T as other cellphones have IM. It’s because iChat is not ready (I am talking about Leopard’s iChat). Why include the current iChat when iChat the Next Generation is around the corner, complete with iChat Theater, Photo Booth and so on. That’ll just slaughter competitors’ IM.

    Audio and call recording will be nice. It can make iPhone useful for taking audio notes. Voice recognition is another one I want to see.

  5. Michael says:

    @neb

    I agree with you about the custom ringtones. I think the ringtones section of iTunes should have sounds and original ringtones that you can purchase (because I don’t think they’ll give them away…ringtones make WAY too much money in the US to just give it away).

    For example, my current phone features the Doctor Who theme. I really don’t want to lose that (you know, what with the feeling like an adventure is just starting every time the phone rings…:) )

    I think setting songs as your ringtone should be free, as long as you already own the song or have bought it in iTunes. I don’t think the “double dip” is fair. I can also agree with your “trailer park” comment to a degree…but there are still a lot of people that do that, and I think they’ll want to have the option.

  6. Charles says:

    I think Apple will eventually allow native application development. I was reading about a developer who specifically asked this question at WWDC and he was told to “wait”. Again, I think the reason it isn’t out right now is because Apple couldn’t delay the phone any longer.

    It’s interesting how easy it will be for Apple to upgrade the iPhone. Besides the EDGE data network and the AT&T service, almost every critique that people have offered about the iPhone can be fixed with software updates. Moreover, as long as the hardware works fine, I think that because of this feature, Apple will be able to more easily woo customers and to offer a better experience than its competitors.

  7. halfeatenfish says:

    I say purchase iTunes songs with the phone. Think about it: With the DRM-free songs, it kills the restrictions on where the songs have to go, the number of places they can be stored and the direction of syncing. As soon as iTunes gets to be all DRM-free, I promise we’ll see OTA iTunes and multidirectional syncing with iPods, iPhones and computers. Just my $0.02.

  8. The iPhone useless to me without: Voice Dialing! My free Motorola does that.

    It’s uneconomical without: The ability to use it as a modem! I don’t want to pay for internet access for my EVDO laptop connection and cell phone, especially when I already pay for it at my home and office.

  9. Custom ringtones: sounds like an easy third party app to me.

  10. Jimmy Copeland says:

    The moment I saw this article I thought to myself that this has the smell of lets save something big for free later!! Totally agree with a / b which everone fits. Personally I’m ready for a continued relationship with the iphone the way I’ve made my PG4 01 last? Can’t belive I haven’t got a new one in almost 5 years…

  11. @halfeatenfish: I think it could even work with regular 99ct iTunes songs; Apple controls the DRM embedded in the files and both the iPhone and iTunes software. Allowing downloads that are made with the iPhone to automatically copy to your Mac when you synch them should not be too hard.

    @ Michael: Nice list. Even though it’s just speculation, your predictions are always interesting reads. You should talk to Apple with some of your ideas ;)

  12. Your mention of recording videos is exactly right on. Apple is working on a whole platform for social (inter)networking. Vids, audio, text all to be shared from the iPhone, OSX, and Windows.
    It will be big.
    Think of their TM ….”MobileMe”

  13. 1. What about Inkwell handwriting recognition or speech recognition?
    2. iWork as web-based apps for free with a .Mac account
    3. An Apple announcement about Wi-Max so the AT&T EDGE speed limitations become moot
    4. Cell tower triangulation so GPS isn’t necessary – same technology used for 911 location.
    5. Voice memo/recording
    6. Laser tape measure and interface to CAD software
    7. Built-in OCR scanning using the camera

  14. reinharden says:

    With regards to comment #13

    WiMax is several years and at least $10 billion investment in new infrastructure away from being a viable solution. First Mobile WiMax has to actually get finalized. Then a set of frequencies have to get standardized at least nationally if not internationally. Then someone has to spend several billion dollars building out a WiMax network. Give Google some time and they just might do it. But it’s not happening anytime soon.

    Cell tower triangulation is only a partial solution because when you’re out of an area with tower density you can’t triangulate. In rural areas where you’re talking to a single tower, it’s often the case that you can only isolate the location to an approximate 20 mile circle surrounding the tower. You really need three towers to triangulate. There are some other techniques that involve data mining; however, as yet they’re not designed to propagate the information back to the cell phone and they’re certainly not designed to provide location on an continually updated basis.

    My desires are simpler:
    1) Voice Dialing

    2) Aggregated message display. I don’t care whether my incoming communications are via email, via SMS, via iChat, or via Voicemail — I just need to deal with them. So don’t make me check 10 inboxes, SMS, and Voicemail. Give me one integrated list.

    reinharden

  15. I expect to see World of Warcraft on the iPhone!

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