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.