Let me go on record and say that I don’t believe Apple will ever create a phone of their own. Instead, they will partner with someone like Motorola or Sony Ericsson to integrate Apple-owned intellectual property (such as the already announced iTunes effort) into future mobile technology products. But sometimes I like to play games of “What if?”.
2011 Update: Boy was I wrong!
My vision of the iPhone is simple. Let the phone be a communications device, and not a poor excuse for a digital camera, nor MP3 player. The iPhone will have an address book that synchs with Apple’s Address Book application, including both “smart groups” and ratings. Smart Groups work as they do in OS X 10.4, “Tiger”. Ratings work like the star-ratings in the iLife suite. Rating allows for hierarchy when you have multiple numbers for an individual —higher rated numbers float to the top. You could also set up incoming calls below a star threshold to go directly to voice mail. The possibilities are endless when you can rate your friends. My mythical iPhone would also have 3G capabilities and Bluetooth 2 connectivity so it can be used as a mobile high-speed hub for internet access anywhere you have service. Caller ID information could be spoken via text-to-speech and heard through the Bluetooth headset, or the speaker.
The physical device would be compact, but not small enough to make it difficult to dial. The screen would be similar to today’s iPod. A high resolution, high contrast black and white screen that is easily viewed in daylight conditions, with a back-light for darker locations. A more expensive version with a colour screen could incorporate the photo in the Address Book entry for caller ID purposes. I also want to see a click-wheel, similar to the current 4G iPods. Under the click-wheel would be a standard numeric keypad.
I am not a fan of flip-style phones, but if the click-wheel, plus numeric keypad, plus screen make the phone entirely too big, a ‘flip’ style phone could separate the click-wheel and keypad from the screen. This would necessitate the addition of a second screen on the outside to view caller ID information without opening the device.
Of course, for the truly minimal, I would like to introduce the iPhone Shuffle. Much like its musical sibling, the iPhone Shuffle will sport an ultra-compact, screen-less, speaker-less shell that has only a single button: “call”. It will then place a call to a random person in your Address Book. Click it again to end the call. Incoming calls would have the same TTS capabilities of its larger sibling, but routed to the mandatory (sold separately) Bluetooth headset. I imagine this being used just after “last call” at the pubs.
Earlier: On the <DL>
Later: The Reverse Trackback