By: Hillel Fuld
Today is the big day according to most industry experts. I am referring to the day on which Steve Jobs himself (with the help of his black turtleneck of course) will be announcing the new generation iPhone. According to the latest Web chatter, the new iPhone will be called the iPhone HD and they supposedly have a picture from the WWDC to back that up. I guess Apple figures everything else was already leaked, so why not leak the name too?
With the extreme competition Android brings to the game, I have no doubt that Jobs will step it up and bring us a few surprises today. We know what it will look like, we know a lot of its specs, but knowing Steve Jobs, he is going to have that “Oh, and one more thing” moment with a new feature we knew nothing about. I sure hope that is the case, otherwise a lot of geeks are in for some major disappointment.
So everyone seems to be talking about the new iPhone and its features, and I do intend on possibly replacing my long lasting BlackBerry love with some Apple lovin, but the more I think about this new device, the more I realize it it going to be a huge success on more than one front. Yes, consumers will love the experience it will provide, but I am of the opinion on a larger scale, the already absurd numbers of app downloads are going to increase significantly. While some of the new features will simply provide a better mobile experience, others scream to developers to create new apps that take full advantage of them.
The following are five iPhone HD features that are sure to provide a boost to the App Store and the number of apps people download:
- BackGround Apps (OS): This is a no brainer and the most important feature of the new iPhone OS. This is of course completely independent of the hardware of the new iPhone and is already available in iPhone OS 4.0. The lack of multitasking on the iPhone 3Gs is pretty much the equivalent of the lack of copy/paste in the first generation iPhone. People want it, and cannot understand why Apple has not enabled it. I can think of a few reasons why Apple has waited this long, but at the end of the day, just like copy/paste, Apple seems to have perfected app multitasking. This of course means a lot of things for iPhone users, but putting that aside, I believe this will increase app downloads significantly. People now seem to be thinking, what is the point of having an IM app that cannot run in the background? Same goes for Twitter apps, music apps, or many other examples. With the ability to run apps in the background, I believe the average iPhone user will have a lot more apps on their phone.
- Secondary Camera: When the first camera phone came out, people were skeptical. In fact, even today when cameras are so common on phones, I still hear people saying “I am the kinda person who wants a phone to make calls, I don’t need a camera on my phone”. Having said that, these people are the minority, and camera phones are becoming more and more crucial in the way people use their phones. With 5,8, and 12 megapixel cameras on the market, there really is almost no reason to carry around a standalone camera (unless you are a pro and using an SLR). I believe this will be the case with video calls as well. This is a technology that has not taken off despite its availability, and besides the technical issues such as bandwidth and coverage, I do not understand why that is. With the new iPhone boasting a front facing camera, I am convinced that a whole new category of apps will be populating the App Store. There are going to be thousands of apps that will take advantage of this second camera, whether they are silly mirror apps or highly sophisticated apps that enable you to video conference with people across the globe.
- App Folders (OS): When Apple announced that the new iPhone OS would provide the ability to create app folders on your screen, I don’t think people realized how huge that was. With the previous iPhone operating systems, there was a limit to how many apps you can install on your iPhone. Albeit, it was not as limited as BlackBerry or Android platforms, but I believe it was 9 home screens. Yes, I know what you’re thinking “Who needs more than nine screens of apps?” The answer is me, and many other mobile geeks out there. Yes, I know we are not the average user, but with the more than 200,000 apps in the App Store, seems kinda silly to limit users that way. With the new folders feature available in iPhone 4.0, you can create directories of apps on your home screen and categorize them based on type of app or how much you use those apps. This is a fundamental shift in the way users organize their apps and the immediate result of this new option is going to be a heck of a lot more downloads.
- Battery and Processor: This is a no brainer as well. Not much to say here, but with the new extended battery life we expect to see in the iPhone HD as well as the iPad processor (latest rumors are that the iPad and iPhone HD will use the same 1Ghz A4 processor made by Apple itself), the new iPhone will be capable of handling much more when it comes to app usage. Apps will work faster, graphics will run smoother, and users will not have to worry about going home on an empty iPhone battery because they played a little Doodle Jump that day. While the iPhone battery in the 3Gs satisfies the average user, the iPad’s 10 hour monster of a battery has everyone showing it off to their friends. I, for one, hope and believe that is what Apple is aiming for with the new iPhone HD’s battery life.
- Game Center (OS): I have to be honest, I am not the biggest gamer, and I do not even own a video game console. However, the numbers are undeniable. The iPhone, as a platform, is a huge disruptor to the gaming industry. It is giving companies like Nintendo and Microsoft a real run for their money. Last I checked, the vast majority of apps downloaded on iPhone or iPod Touch were games. One of the new features in the iPhone OS 4.0 is the Game Center. Like I said, gaming is not my thing, so I am less excited about this, but the addition of a social layer to the tremendous number of iPhone games is a guaranteed success. With the addition of leaderboards, achievements, and a friend system, there are going to be a lot more iPhone gamers out there competing against their friends. I can think of at least two companies that should be worried about this new feature since their entire business is offering this social gaming interaction on the iPhone. If any of the above features will bring about the biggest increase in app downloads, this might be the one.
In conclusion, the iPhone HD is going to be an exciting device with or without that Steve Jobs surprise. However, as excited as I am as a user, I am even more pumped as a blogger for a leading site in the app developer community. Appboy provides the only social network for app developers, and with the millions of new apps that are sure to be developed once this new iPhone is released, we are all very excited to meet some new and talented developers.
What are your thoughts on this upcoming announcement of the iPhone HD? Will it disappoint the tech community or will it give phones like the Evo 4G and the HTC Incredible some serious competition? Please let us know in the comments.