Do I Even Care About the iPhone 3G?

Steve Jobs is one of the best presenters you could ever hope to see. He’s great at tapping into that part of your brain that makes you just want whatever it is he’s holding. But this time, it was a little different.

You see, I already have an iPhone. I bought one in February. I didn’t buy the very first model that came out because it was lacking some stuff that was really important to me – most notably, it only had Apple apps, which was severely limiting, and IMAP support was limited to Yahoo! accounts, which was absurd. With those two obstacles out of the way, I found it useful enough to spend my employer’s money on, but not my own. In the end, it was a business decision, and I still think an iPhone is a better deal than a Blackberry hands down. Especially the new 3G, which has addressed some “enterprise” concerns. Thing is, I don’t care about any of that.

I want some really really really simple things that I haven’t heard anything about, and I want one thing that is perhaps slightly harder but essential.

The slightly-harder-but-essential thing is voice commands. I can hardly believe that we’re on the third generation of a phone without having voice commands. You can get a $30 Nokia made in 2002 that has voice commands for crying out loud. Without voice commands, it’s unclear to me how this phone is useful in a hands-free environment at all. Have I missed a feature somewhere? Is there something I can plug my iPhone into while I’m driving that will parse the voice commands and do the right thing with the iPhone? I know that if you have an Acura TL the car itself parses the voice commands, but I don’t know if there’s some generic thing that *doesn’t* cost $40k that’ll do the same basic job? Anyone?

The other stuff consists mainly of small application features:

  • The ability to bookmark or otherwise somehow save “Directions” in the Maps application. This way, if I’m driving, following the directions in Maps, and need to search for a gas station or coffee shop, I don’t then have to go back and punch in the information again to get my directions back.
  • Why the heck doesn’t mail let you read in landscape mode?!?!?!
  • I’d *REALLY* like to be able to send and receive photos in text messages. I don’t use it often, but when you need it, you need it.
  • The ‘.com’ shortcut should pretty much *always* be visible on the keyboard.
  • Make email alerts a per-account setting instead of only alerting for the default or for all accounts or whatever it is the iphone does now. Let me treat email accounts like phone contacts and assign different alert settings for each account just like I set different ring tones for different contacts.
  • Let me bookmark phone numbers so I can just hit a button on my home screen to dial them (in the absence of voice commands).
  • Make the bluetooth support do some neat trick that’ll make it be actually worth turning on.
  • I do a lot of system administration, and I’d love a usable, locally-installed ssh client that I don’t have to perform surgery to install. I don’t want to hack my phone, really. I also refuse to use a web interface to access an ssh client. If you’re doing that, stop right now, and go change every password you have.

On the development front, it would actually be really nice if they supported maybe *one* parsed scripting language for iPhone development. Even if they did like AppEngine and provided a somewhat stripped version of Python it would be something I could use. But that’s a rant for another day. :)