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15 changes Apple should include in the next iPhone

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

10. Add a flash to the iPhone camera

While we're talking about the iPhone's camera, how about a flash? The iPhone's camera does surprisingly well in low-light situations, particularly compared to similar (or even higher-resolution) cameras on other phones. But there is only so much any digital camera can do without adequate lighting.

A flash would significantly improve the indoor and night-time use of the iPhone's camera. The trade-off, as anyone who's owned a camera phone with a flash knows, is that a flash can significantly drain battery power. As much as I'd like to see a flash on the iPhone, I'll admit that Apple's commitment to a long battery life makes it a bit unlikely.

11. Provide push email

Most smartphone platforms offer an option for push email (email delivered to the phone automatically as it arrives) that can be configured through a service provider or corporate email system. The iPhone offers push email only when you use a Yahoo Mail account. You can configure access to other email accounts, but you won't receive emails as they arrive. Instead you need to actively check for new mail using the iPhone's Mail application or set up the auto-check option, which allows automatic checking only at 15-, 30-, or 60-minute intervals.

By default, Yahoo Mail doesn't offer access via a traditional POP/IMAP mail client. If you want to be able to access your email outside Yahoo's Web mail interface, you need to purchase one of Yahoo's upgraded email plans. Although not terribly expensive, Yahoo's upgrades are an extra cost, and they don't offer access to a corporate email account (or for that matter any other existing email accounts you might have).

The other alternative is to forward an existing email account to your Yahoo Mail address. This isn't a perfect solution either, because it requires you to remember to enable and disable forwarding. What's more, any responses you send will come from the Yahoo address unless you then explicitly reply from another account, which means you won't be able to quote back the original email (since there is no mechanism for choosing an account when replying and no copy/paste function on the iPhone). Finally, company privacy policies may prevent you from forwarding your work email through an outside provider such as Yahoo.

Apple should produce an add-on component for existing mail servers to offer push email - or at the very least it should push email through the company's .Mac service. In contrast to Yahoo Mail, .Mac offers both webmail and POP/IMAP access as part of its package. In fact, it's a little surprising that Apple chose to partner with Yahoo for push email rather than add value to the .Mac package.

While it might be a little much to expect Apple to produce an add-on for every mail server platform on the market (although it is worth noting the RIM produces a number of such products for BlackBerry users), it is conceivable that such an option could be added to Mac OS X Server. As with adding push e-mail to .Mac, this could add much value to Mac OS X Server's mail services, which have traditionally been very basic.

12. Synchronise to-dos with iCal or Outlook

The iPhone's calendar is one of the most user friendly I've seen on a mobile device, but one commonly used feature is missing: the to-do list. It's the one feature that I really miss on a daily basis.

Using third-party options is possible, but it's nowhere near as convenient as it would be to simply sync the iPhone to an existing calendar tool (most likely iCal on Macs and Outlook on Windows) and have to-dos updated along with calendar items, contacts and so on. Once more, this is something that Apple could easily address in both future and current iPhones.

The calendar is highly user-friendly, but where is the to-do list?

The calendar is highly user-friendly, but where is the to-do list?

NEXT PAGE: Why can't it sync notes with a PC?


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