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15 changes Apple should include in the next iPhone

Give us a 3G iPhone with push email and office apps

4. Landscape-oriented keyboard, every time

Safari is currently the only application to provide users with a wider keyboard when the iPhone is tilted on its side for landscape view. Most people find that accurately typing in portrait view requires one-finger typing rather than two-thumb typing because of the narrow width and tight spacing of the virtual keys.

In landscape mode, the keys are both wider and slightly farther apart, which makes one-fingered typing more accurate and allows for faster, two-thumbed typing. Even if it isn't feasible in every application because of the size of the iPhone screen and the data being displayed, extending the landscape keyboard into most iPhone applications would be a significant improvement.

Landscape mode makes typing easier

Landscape mode makes typing easier


Let third-party developers in on the fun

In June, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that the company would welcome the development of third-party applications for the iPhone, but these apps would have to run over the internet via Apple's Safari web browser, rather than natively on the iPhone platform (a specialised version of the company's Mac OS X operating system). Because of this, Jobs said Apple would not be providing a software developer's kit (SDK) for the iPhone. Apple's expressed rationale for the limitation is that opening the iPhone to development presents security risks to users and to the carrier's mobile network.

But there is a significant developer community that scoffs at the idea that running web apps through Safari is the best way to serve iPhone users. These developers are already creating a wide range of native applications for the iPhone. The problem is that installing these apps requires users to hack into their iPhones, and what's more, such apps might become disabled at any time by an iPhone software update from Apple.

Rather than taking either a hostile or an indifferent approach to these developers (and potentially undoing their efforts with each iPhone or iTunes update), Apple should embrace them and allow iPhone owners to install additional applications without the need to "jailbreak" their devices. Creating an SDK and working with these developers not only serves users better but also serves Apple's expressed desire to maintain the integrity of the iPhone as a platform and wireless device.

6. Give us mobile iChat

It is shocking to think that the iPhone doesn't come with an instant-messaging application. Most other smartphones (and even many entry-level mobile phones) either come with built-in instant messaging applications or offer them as add-ons. Given the consumer and internet focus of the iPhone, a mobile version of iChat is a must.

True, there are web-based messengers out there for the iPhone (I like Mundu, which offers the ability to simultaneously chat on AIM, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger and Google's GTalk), as well as some native instant messengers for those comfortable with jailbreaking and installing third-party applications on their iPhone.

This should, however, be something that's built into the iPhone, not something that requires either a web-based service or hacking the iPhone to install an application that Apple might disable at any time with a software update.

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