Memo to Apple:
In case you don’t have your own consumer research focus group (as likely as my pregnant Labradoodle not hatching pups soon), here are a few suggestions on what to put in future iPhones.
The ideas come from one of your key consumer target audiences: college students, who probably use their iPhones with as much regularity as breathing. Specifically, they are students in my public relations class at Azusa Pacific University.
These people should know
And since these are California students, living near the epicenter of earthquakes and Apple product launches, they are used to thinking about eruptions in the earth as well as in the Apple stratosphere.
When I asked the students if they think this iPhone 5 launch is a big deal or not, they essentially measured it as an 8.5 on the 10-point Richter scale.
Putting that into perspective, the 1989 San Francisco earthquake (the “World Series Quake”) measured 6.9.
Here are the ten more interesting suggestions, for Apple, from them.
* Take a page from your idea book for iPods and offer the phones in different sizes. Not everyone wants a bigger screen and certainly not a bigger phone. Maybe introduce a nano phone?
* About the camera flash: make it work both when shooting out and shooting in. Right now, it only works when shooting someone other than yourself.
* Add audio to the built-in navigation feature, like the Droid does.
* Develop an “iPhone for Kids” for parents who want to spoil their kids with a smart phone but not have it be so smart that the little darlings can get into trouble, going places they shouldn’t or doing things they shouldn’t.
* Work on the battery life.
* Make the phone more durable. A lot of cracked screens are showing up, and users shouldn’t have to pay full price for a new phone or $100 to repair the screen on their broken one.
* If you can’t offer longer battery life, then at least offer a better (and cheaper) warranty.
* Sounds like you’re offering 4G service with the iPhone 5. If so, it would be nice if that service actually stays connected. Droid users have had a lot of trouble with getting bumped off-line with 4G phones that have not defaulted to 3G service in some locations, although recent updates have helped.
* Offer a car phone charger, built right into the phone.
* Boost the audio on your speaker phone feature. Doesn’t do any good to have to hold the phone near your chin to hear the other side of the conversation with the speaker engaged.
All signs are go
As I write this, it’s a few hours before the anticipated new iPhone launch, unless Apple throws us all a curve and launches something else instead. We’re even guessing it will be called iPhone 5 and not HDiPhone or something exotic.
Interesting to read what forecasters are thinking about the new phone, though. Like these thoughts from Matthew Shaer of The Christian Science Monitor:
A vision emerges
Asked what he thought the new iPhone would look like, Sher said, “Well, probably an iPhone that doesn’t look so much different from the iPhones that came before. The screen may be larger – 4 inches instead of 3.5 inches, measured corner to corner – but the basic boxy shape will probably stay intact. In other words, if you were hoping for some sort of curved wonder, you may have to wait a few more years”
“Another possibility: A new dock connector, with fewer pins than the port on the iPhone 4S, which would make room for more interior hardware. And a certainty: The official release of iOS 6, Apple’s new mobile operating system. Back in June, Apple previewed iOS 6, and we liked what we saw – 3D maps, a ‘Do Not Disturb’ function, and FaceTime that works on 3G as well as Wi-Fi.”
See for yourself
Of course, by the time most of you read this, the launch will have occurred and there will be videos of that launch — and the phone — plastered all over YouTube.
So you can judge for yourself how consumer-conscious Apple has been when thinking about this fifth iteration of a product that has only been around about that many years.
Things change fast in the virtual unknown. Be it ever thus.
“… it’s cloud illusions I recall; I really don’t know clouds at all.”
The great Joni Mitchell wrote these lyrics for “Both Sides Now” decades ago, and they are truer now than then. Especially when you apply them to computers, which didn’t even exist when Joni put pen to paper.
Perhaps she had a premonition?
I’ve mentioned cloud computing before in this blog, but let’s go over it’s definition again for those of you not under 25 or members of Best Buy’s Geek Squad.
Cloud computing allows users to access their local server resources using a computer, netbook, pad computer, smart phone, or other device anywhere, anytime. In cloud computing, applications are provided and managed by the cloud server and data is also stored remotely in the cloud configuration. Users do not download and install applications on their own device or computer; all processing and storage is maintained by the cloud server. The information is stored online instead of on a device. The on-line services may be offered from a cloud provider or or by a private organization or company.
A familiar face
Enter (who else?) that ubiquitous company known by its signature fruit: Apple.
In case you haven’t heard this ancient news — announced last week — Apple unveiled its iCloud service which will offer remote, wireless updates of music, photos, apps, and other data for iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches and computers, The company refers to this as “PC-free.”
USA Today writer Jefferson Graham noted recently that companies like Google and Amazon have been working on the “cloud” always-on computer application that nests on internet servers. But Apple has taken this a step freer, offering the same service for wireless-device users anywhere.
Leader of the pack
“The iCloud service, which will launch in the fall replaces Apple’s failed $99 yearly MobileMe service, which is no longer accepting customers,” Graham wrote. “Reaction was swift: Apple’s move and its soon-to-open $500 million new data center in North Carolina, puts it in a leadership position, analysts say.”
The service was demonstrated recently at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, that mega-event for digital mavens held annually in San Francisco. It’s the favorite venue for unveiling of new Apple products and services. In the demo, Apple VP Eddy Cue shot a photo on an iPhone. He next opened an iPad and the iPhoto software on a MacBook (convenient these are all Apple products, no?) and the photograph popped up on the screen in a few seconds.
Back it up
If that isn’t enough, Apple also notes that iCloud can be used as a back-up device for all your data.
“If you get a new iPhone, just type in your Apple iD and password, and everything will be downloaded to the new phone,” explained Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Apple’s website simply notes,”iCloud stores your content and wirelessly pushes it to all your devices. And because it seamlessly integrates with your apps. everything happens automatically.”
Launching in fall
The iCloud service, which comes as part of the iOS 5 mobile operating system from Apple, is due to launch in the fall and will contain 5G of storage space. Apple says it has added over 200 new features to the updated system.
Tech writer Phil Goldenstein has probed the impact that iCloud will have on 3G networks, wondering if it will crush them. His answer: probably not.
“According to CCS Insight analyst John Jackson, Apple must have concluded that users of their products have access to Wi-Fi networks with sufficient regularity that the service will be broadly accessible,” Goldenstein writes. “But what happens if a user doesn’t have access to a Wi-Fi hotspot? Will traffic get routed over the cellular network? Or will the cloud upload just be put on hold until users get in range of a Wi-Fi access point? Apple isn’t saying.”
I think I just saw my cell phone bill increase. What else is new?