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15 changes Apple should include in the next iPhone

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

7. Let me use my iPhone as a hard drive

Apple needs to bring one of the most overlooked iPod features to the iPhone: the ability to use it as a storage device. Via an option in iTunes, every iPod, including the iPod Shuffle, is able to double as an external hard drive, which allows it to be used for carrying files between computers, for making quick backups and even as an emergency start-up disk.

Even though the iPhone connects to a computer via USB and syncs with iTunes in a similar manner to the iPod, the disk-use option is not enabled in the iPhone. As a result, there is no supported way for an iPhone to be mounted as a hard drive.

Use as a hard drive is a great feature in itself, but on an iPhone it could be even more useful. It would allow you to load documents (PDFs, spreadsheets, word-processing documents and so on) on the iPhone for easy viewing rather than having to access them by email. Combined with third-party applications for editing documents, this could make the iPhone a pocket-size office for users on the go.

The risk, of course, is that this would open the iPhone's file system to modification and easier installation of third-party applications. As long as Apple maintains the iPhone as a closed platform (officially closed, anyway), there is little hope of Apple fully implementing file access. However, a single well-guarded folder on the iPhone that has no access to any system components should be doable and would allow for use of an iPhone as an external hard drive.

8. Let us phone home with Bluetooth

The iPhone includes Bluetooth support for hands-free devices only. This is a very limited use for Bluetooth and is surprising, given that Mac OS X allows you to sync data with other mobile phones and mobile devices using Bluetooth. Bluetooth support for syncing the iPhone seems like a no-brainer.

Bluetooth would make syncing easier and reduce the cables that users need to have on hand (particularly helpful for laptop users). It would probably also encourage users to sync their iPhones on a more regular basis. While it probably is safer to attempt iPhone software updates using a wired connection, that alone isn't reason enough not to offer syncing via Bluetooth.

Since Bluetooth already exists in the iPhone in a limited capacity, there is hope that Bluetooth data syncing might not only exist in future models but could be turned on via an update in existing iPhones as well.

9. Where's video capture?

Another somewhat surprising omission from the iPhone is support for recording video using the built-in camera. Many phone manufacturers support video as well as still shots. Video would be a very welcome addition to the camera capabilities of the iPhone, and it's another feature that should be possible not only in future iPhone models but also in existing iPhones via an update.

Given the iPhone's existing integration with YouTube (as well as the upload support to YouTube included in the latest versions of Apple's iLife and iWork suites), it isn't a stretch to imagine being able to record a small video segment and upload it directly to YouTube. Likewise, the .Mac Web Gallery support already packaged into the iPhone's camera application could easily be extended to support video.

The iPhone is already well integrated with YouTube

The iPhone is already well integrated with YouTube


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