It’s That Time of the Year Again

Web 2.0 is like Christmas every day.

Can you believe it’s already that time of the year again…?
Apple iPhone rumor time-of-the-year that is!

I’m sure you remember back in early 2007 when I predicted Apple was about to announce the iTunes Mega Store, the iPod Crumple, and the iTV (which actually did get announced as Apple TV, but was missing the video games part).

Well, to not risk my perfect 0-3 record, this time I’m NOT making any predictions (after all, everybody already knows it’s just going to be the same phone but with 3G, GPS, more memory, 3rd-party apps, thicker, more expensive, and pretty colors). No, instead I’m just going to make a standard run-of-the-mill wish list.

After giving away an iPhone last year, I eventually got (a used 4GB unlocked/jailbroken) one for myself. And I gotta admit, it’s pretty durn good. I generally hate Apple, OS X, their stores, their ads, their employees, their employees shirts, Steve Jobs, and everything he stands for, but it seems like their design “mantra” just works for a portable device. Perfectly.

Except for three things. Well, four. Well, really zero.

The phone is just fine how it is.. but I just think it could be slightly better if it could only….

The 3G iPhone?!

1. Control iTunes!

If your iPhone is on a wi-fi network and sees an iTunes share, then the iPod app should show a little select box at the top and let you toggle between music on your actual iPhone and music on the iTunes share. Plus, if your iPhone sees any remote speakers connected to Airport Expresses on that same wifi network, it should give you another select box to choose beetween outputting the music to your headset, the remote speakers, or both!

It’s stuff they already do with iTunes on a computer; if they just added it to the iPhone (and iPod Touch), they’d have a pretty dope competitor to the Sonos Digital Music System that everybody raves about.

The new 3G iPhone?!?!

2. Print!

Yeah, I know.. who prints anymore? I don’t that much.. but when I do it’s always an email attachment somebody wants me to sign and fax back to them.. and the office printer/fax is kinda far from my office.

Just this week there were forty-six times when I’ve gotten all the way to the printer, only to realize that I somehow missed printing the eighth attachment! Or even worse, got a PC LOAD LETTER! Of course, from there I can still VIEW the attachment right there on my iPhone, but I sure as toner can’t print it.

But forget me, if Apple allowed printing directly from an iPhone (again, by seeing a bonjour-enabled printer on the wireless, perhaps via an Airport Express), the iPhone could become a complete computer replacement for millions of parents and grand-parents world-wide!

Think about it… what do people over 55 use a computer for (if they use one at all) these days? Email, web browsing, photos, to do lists, maps… that’s pretty much it. The iPhone is honestly a completely passable way to handle these things, especially in the low quantities required by The Greatest Generation.

The only thing missing is, these people love to print. LOVE IT. L. O. V. E. I. T.
Web pages, email attachments, notes, maps, calendars, photos, whatever… if it deserves to be seen, then it deserves to be printed.

If all you had to buy your dad for Father’s Day was an iPhone, an Airport Express, a printer and some speakers for your folks to have a painless “Internet and Digital Music Experience”, I think that’d be a pretty solid value proposition. Especially with gas prices how they are these days. Or something.

It's called 3G because that's how much it costs!

3. Support UMA!

Unlicensed Mobile Access is the thing T-Mobile’s HotSpot @Home uses… it’s the technology that allows for “seamless” switching between free VOIP calls (when you’re on wi-fi) to regular cell network calls (when you’re not), all at the same phone number! I had it before my iPhone, and I loved it… since it meant I had great (not to mention unlimited free) reception in my house, office, and datacenters; all of which normally do not.

Unfortuantely, the iPhone was too awesome, and I dropped the HotSpot @Home service. But now when I’m in the office (where reception is spotty) I’m forced to set up call-forwarding to a Skype-in number that rings on my computer. Which is almost as annoying as it is stupid.

So hey, Apple… add UMA support to the iPhone! I know AT+T doesn’t support it, but think of the millions of people who’ve unlocked their iPhone and use it on a network that does. This feature alone would probably mean the switching of our entire admin team over to iPhones, since they all need “smart phone”-type devices and spend a lot of time in underground data centers where there’s wi-fi but no cell reception.

Will an iPhone keep you warm on those cold, cold, lonely, nights?

IN FACT.

I hereby officially offer a $10,000 bounty, (payable by DreamHost) to anybody who releases a UMA application (it can be an official app or only work with jailbroken phones) for the iPhone! The only requirement is that it work with T-Mobile’s HotSpot @Home service as well as any other UMA phone does. Ideally, once installed it’d just seamlessly run in the background, and if you’re on wi-fi it would just change your little “T-Mobile” carrier name in the top to the name of the 802.11 network you were on.

If you make this UMA app, feel free to charge whatever you’d like for it, but for the $10,000 BOOTY, DreamHost gets an unlimited license to use it for all their employees. Deal?

The 0.001G iPhone?!?!

(4. Be a Universal Remote!)

Okay, this isn’t really something I expect Apple themselves to add, but it’s an app I think somebody should make. Or if somebody already has, please let me know in the comments.

I want to completely control my home entertainment system from my iPhone. I barely dare imagine it… no more six remotes sitting on the coffee table in the living room, just the one iPhone I already have in my pocket!

The system would have a single wi-fi/IR receiver/transmitter that hooks up to all your entertainment components. You would program that with all your current remotes, then throw them in the attic until their day on eBay comes. That base station thing would then serve a web page at some IP (which it’d show on an lcd screen) where you’d go to customize the interface and commands for your particular system.

(Personally, I’d just need a power button, volume up/down/mute, and an Xbox 360/Wii/cable toggle. If it was on cable tv, then there’d also be guide button, as well as fast-forward/rewind/pause, and a d-pad with a select button…)

I guess then your iPhone could just visit that web page to control the system, but it’d probably be a much slicker experience if there was an actual app that did it. Then you could do stuff like use the physical volume and mute buttons on the iPhone to control the TV! And change channels / navigate menus using motion gestures!

GOODBYE!

In Conclusion

If the iPhone could just do these four things, I would buy a mac. Well no not really, but I would control my TV, music, printer, as well as make free unlimited phone calls (with good reception) all from the same stupid device from the same stupid company that makes stupid macs.

Convergence, baby!

It’s what $200 stock prices are built on.