Thursday, December 27, 2007

iPhone 2.0 wishlist

In descending order of importance:
  • All features in the current iPhone with following improvements/changes
  • Faster network connectivity: UMTS + HSDPA
  • A-GPS with navigation software
  • Full blown SDK for secure 3rd party software development
  • Microsoft Exchange support (atleast email and calendar)
  • Export all iPhone settings and data for backup & restore
  • Stereo Bluetooth
  • Louder ringer/speaker/alarm
  • WiFi support (802.11b atleast)
  • Larger or auxiliary/augmented battery
  • Detachable keyboard
  • Anti-slip side material for those who want to show it off in the nude (i.e no case)
Obviously usability and Apple elegance of the touch interface is paramount. All else can and should be sacrificed in favor of usability.

Other Comments & Features of Interest:
  • GPS: Throwing in a GPS chip without good navigation software (something Apple excels at) is not a good idea, but may be acceptable if the SDK allows full GPS access. GPS integrated with Google Maps is fine too if they can't get Navteq (after the Nokia buyout) directly or TeleAtlas (TomTom); although Google does use NAVTEQ...
  • GPS: Additional location based services (LBS) support/software would be nice, but the SDK will bring a whole community of developers that will improve this. Yes, this includes location awareness, 'mobile social' interactiveness: friend alerter/warner (you're walking in the mall, 'friend' alert, hide!).
  • Keyboard: might be a good idea to allow an attachable physical keyboard for the trigger happy community. Most people don't need to type so much that the touch keyboard is an issue.
  • Battery: everything sucks juice and an auxillary/augmented battery could look ugly, but if this can be done within design and aesthetics concerns, then more power to me, the user. A slightly thicker iPhone won't be a bad idea and might make it a little more grippable/non-slip.
  • Camera: A non-camera version for enterprise, government and military-related users who are often restricted in using camera-enabled devices within secure facilities.

iPhone 1.0: $399
3G+ + $ 50
GPS + $ 150
Huh? - $ 100 (let's call this amortized initial R & D cost)
Total = $499

$499 is very justifiable on a pure value basis:
  • $150 for a basic smartphone
  • $200 for a basic GPS (atleast $50 more if free traffic data is included. Navigon sells lifetime traffic update for ~$80-100)
  • $150 for a 4GB iPod (not just an mp3 player)
  • $25 in accessories saved from having to buy and lug only one set of cables (USB car charger is the only cable to purchase, the USB to iPhone cable provided by Apple can connect to a car charger or a laptop. Perhaps a wall charger for the non-laptop carrying folks).
Total: $525
And this does not include the excellent usability, Apple cachet and the fact that iPhone 1.0 is much more than a basic smartphone.

I have not put a direct price on software because people directly discount that from consideration. It's strange, I would value MSFT Exchange support (email & calendar) almost as much as GPS + nav. software, but would be uncomfortable paying $100 for enabling Exchange support (out of my pocket, the company's money is another matter). But software, especially from Apple, does translate into usability, brand awareness and ultimately customer lock-in. Same goes for the touch interface and ability to read and surf regular web pages crisply. Its hard to value those features individually, but they are really make or break decisions in buying the gadget. Don't know if there are any (or what are the) specific economic terms for software features like these. Yet standalone software (does not mean non-network connected software) that delivers a specific value can be priced and sold much more easily than add-on software features compared to add-on hardware.

And after that launch let's start with iPhone 3.0 wishlist...

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