Apple unveiled the iPhone 4 to the world this week. Though somewhat drowned out by the Apple fanboy fapping, the results were largely underwhelming. This is at least partially Gawker’s fault; everyone and their cousin was aware of the new iPhone’s specs about two months ago, after the double-secret, super hush-hush prototype was left in a bar in California (note to Apple: places that serve alcohol are not advisable locales for super-secret hardware, even if it’s cleverly disguised as not super-secret hardware. Seriously, if you’re looking to test reception, use an elevator. Or a government building. I can’t ever get cell service at the DMV. What’s up with that?)
Still, I can’t help but feel like Apple’s really let me, and most of the consumer world, down this time. Truly, the only thing about the new model that sounds impressive is the screen resolution. However, since I don’t do a lot of art restoration or cinematography critiquing via phone, this means nothing much to me. Sorry, Apple, you’ve dropped the ball.
You see, Steve Jobs (I think I’m just going to call you Steve. I hope that’s cool), when you released the iPod, you changed the way we handled our music. Before that, mp3 players were clunky and ridiculous; they were hard to operate and had to have three different programs to put any music on the damn thing. The iPod got rid of that mess and made it easy for us to play our tunes and brickbreaker at the same time. And we loved you for it. Years passed and the iPod got more awesome (color screens? Plays video? Wifi? Oh, Steve- you spoil us!). It slimmed down, got sexier, and held more. But, really, what else could you do? How much more awesome could a simple mp3 player get? The next step here is obvious: make it a phone.
Thus the iPhone was born. It was the apex of phone development to that point. Touchscreen reliant, user-friendly, one-button technology. Anyone could use it; the trap of multiple menus and hidden options was avoided elegantly. You changed the way America used phones. Blackberries, formerly the cutting edge, quickly lost out to the iPhone’s awesomeness. Go, Steve!
Fast forward three years to the iPhone 4: it’s like the first iPhone, but instead of being totally awesome and revolutionary, it’s boring and same-y. This isn’t totally your fault. We’re only humans. For the most part, we’re deluded in our own awesomeness and expect smarter humans (that’s you, Steve), to make contraptions that enhance our pre-existing awesomeness. And we got used to you changing the way we do things every few years. Unfortunately, when you don’t change everything, we get a little disappointed (then, we cheat on you with Google. Sorry, it’s how we roll).
So, what would work? How do we bring the zazz back into the iPhone? I’ve given it some heavy thought since I started bashing the new iPhone (and catching some flack from the aforementioned fanboys- Steve’s got some loyal groupies) and I’ve developed a list of things that would compel me to buy a new iPhone (full disclosure: I do currently own an iPhone. It’s ancient by tech standards, an 8GB 3G, but I can do crossword puzzles and find a good fish taco recipe on the fly, so it’s suiting my phone-desires pretty well at the moment). In no particular order, I give you qualifications for the new face of iPhone technology.
-Bring back unlimited data. This is the biggest crock of horse shit I’ve heard relating to the release of the new phone. Seriously, how is ATT not totally your bitch? Do they have any idea what the iPhone has done for them? They should be feeding you grapes and fanning you with palm fronds, not charging your users out the ass for data. This isn’t communist Russia. Get on it.
-If you, for some unknown reason, can’t get ATT to do what you want, cut them loose. Get rid of this exclusivity nonsense. You can make up the difference for whatever cash they’re giving you by making it so that anyone can have an iPhone. ATT’s customer service sucks, their coverage is iffy on a good day, and they are dragging you down with them. Don’t start polishing the brass on Randall Stephenson’s Titanic, man; just let it go down.
-Make your predictive text learn curse words. I know, we should all be speaking the King’s English with all the information we have access to, but if I send another person a text message telling them how “ducking pissed off I am” about these ATT overages, I’m going to throw this ducking piece of shot into a lake. Which brings me to my next point…
-Durability. I’ve dropped it before, and it’s survived with most of its functionality, but you’re Steve Ducking Jobs. You need to push the envelope. High school juniors need to be able to use your technology to successfully cradle an egg on a five-story drop (don’t even act like you don’t know exactly what physics project I’m talking about, Steve. Let’s not play games). At the very least, allow the drunk in me to fearlessly drop it off of my third story balcony. Science needs to know whether or not it falls faster than a beer.
-On the note of drunkenness, the iPhone should keep people from driving drunk. I’m not talking about some sort of skills testing app to make sure you’re competent to drive. I could do that shit sitting in a bathtub of vodka while smoking crack (probably). We have to technology to identify how much alcohol someone has consumed through sweat. Make it work. How? If I knew, I’d be as rich as Steve. At the very least, keep me from drunk texting people I shouldn’t be talking to at all. I know I’m not the only one with this problem.
-I want to be able to tell my phone what I’m out of, like paper towels. Then, I want the phone to know when I’m at the store, and tell me I’m out of paper towels, so that I remember to get some. Extra points if I can program the reminder to say, “Bitch, you need more paper towels! Grab that shit!” Clearly, that shouldn’t be the default setting, but it’s not a bad option to have.
-Same with bills. Make me get on that, phone.
-I need to be able to program the contents of my pantry into a program and have it generate recipes for what I can make with what I already have. I literally have this problem almost every single day. Everything I’ve seen that claims to do this sucks (especially you, Kraft. Were your algorithms developed by a five year old? When I say tuna, cheese, and rice, I’m looking for something a little more inventive than tuna melts. You really believe I haven’t already thought of that? Ignorant fools.) I’m counting on you to fix this.
-Make a phone that will iron and lint roll my clothes somehow. That’s an area where we need to change the way we do things. We’ve been putting something hot on top of wrinkled spots and rubbing it around for years. It’s time to make that process simpler. If you do this, I will buy your phone. Hang the cost, I want clean, pressed shirts with no effort.
-Would it kill you to have app store suggestions? Maybe I’m just running on an old version (I resist software updates that require rebooting, because frankly, I’m probably in the middle of something), but if I’ve already downloaded some things, you can probably guess what I might like to download later. Amazon’s been doing it for years. Are you better than Amazon?
-Be more charitable. Donate, like, 10 cents for every app I download to some reputable charity. In case you were wondering, the Steve Jobs Botox Fund doesn’t count (although, if you’re going to keep doing these publicity things, having a Botox Fund may not be the worst idea). You can do this without releasing a new phone. Don’t you want to help the children?
-I certainly wouldn’t take issue with a phone that cleaned my apartment. Just saying.
This should be enough information to get you started. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so I don’t expect anything immediately. This is the kind of thinking you should be doing. The current creative process doesn’t seem to be working out completely, so I hope you’re taking suggestions. Meet customer demands, and watch profits soar (just don’t forget about the children).
On a personal note, from me to you, I have one very serious recommendation, Steve: the next time you announce something, for the love of God, if the screen behind you is black, do NOT wear a black turtleneck. I’m being serious here. The black on black look under the harsh presentation lights flatters no one; for you specifically, it creates a ghoulish effect. There, I said it. Steve, you look like a zombie. Stop scaring kids and start putting your creativity towards your fashion choices. If that’s not your bag, hire a stylist. It’s not as though you don’t have the cash for it.