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The 10 functions the 3G iPhone still needs

Basic tools that Apple's smartphone should have

While Apple's App Store offers loads of new gadgets and gizmos that will make the new 3G iPhone even better, there's still a few features that we really wish came as standard on the handset. Check out our list.

Horizontal keyboard for email and notes

Another annoyance for writers and a confusing omission, given the capability of the iPhone's on-screen keyboard to flip horizontally for some applications but not for others, is the fact that the touchscreen keyboard doesn't rotate to a landscape orientation when using the Notes, email or Maps applications. Those also happen to be the three most writing-intensive apps on the iPhone, which makes the necessary one-finger hunting and pecking required by the portrait-mode keyboard all the more annoying if you use those features a lot. Over time, using your thumbs to type versus holding the phone in one hand and poking at the keys with one finger is a lot more significant than you might think.

Improved predictive text (or the ability to turn it off)

The iPhone's predictive text feature (where the phone 'guesses' what you're going to write after you enter a few characters to eliminate typos) does a decent job of streamlining typing. However, it has only an 'opt-out' feature, which requires hitting a very small 'x' to deselect the word it suggests. This is where that feature fails. The time it saves in correcting miscues sometimes pales in comparison to the frustration it causes in forcing you to repeatedly deselect words. And there's no way to turn it off or create a keyboard-based shortcut to deselect the predicted word.

Integrated IM application

Here's the first thing on the list that the new App Store's offerings fixes, at least if you're an AOL Instant Messenger user. There's still no IM client preloaded onto the iPhone. That said, with email, text messaging, voice calling, and a host of third-party mobile web-based messaging offerings (Twitter comes to mind), do we really need another form of communication built into the 3G iPhone? Well, maybe a fax machine.

Flash support

Sadly, no one really knows when being able to view Flash animations or films will be a reality on the iPhone. This big wish-list item for the second-gen version is still missing from the 3G handset. Even though YouTube clips are in Flash format on the web, they've been converted to QuickTime format specifically for the iPhone-centric version of YouTube. When it comes to YouTube clips embedded in blog posts or other pages Safari shows a Play button and clicking this launches the clip in the iPhone's YouTube app.

NEXT PAGE: We also want A better camera and a camcorder

  1. Basic tools that Apple's smartphone should have
  2. The iPhone's missing horizontal keyboard for email and notes
  3. We also want A better camera and a camcorder

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