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Tech Monday, September 9th 2013 at 3:48 pm

8 Features Apple Could Announce for the iPhone 5S That Might Win Me Back

I recently switched to Android, but I could still be swayed.

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I was a loyal iPhone owner from the original version through the iPhone 4, which I replaced with a Samsung Galaxy S3 last November. I’m pretty happy with my S3, but it’s not perfect and when it’s time to upgrade I’m not really sure which way I’ll go. Here are some features the iPhone 5S could have that might win me back.

Tim Cook is almost certainly announcing new iPhones tomorrow, and it’s largely known what they’ll have in terms of features, but Cook could have a “one more thing” moment up his sleeve to try to win wayward ex-iPhone users like me back.

These are some things the next iPhone could do that would certainly grab my attention:

1. A Giant Screen

I switched from the iPhone, but my wife didn’t. She still has the 4 and whenever I need to use it for anything it feels like a tiny child’s toy in my hand, and I wonder how I ever lived with such a little phone. I could have upgraded to the 5 in November, but even the slightly larger screen felt dwarfed by its competition, and screen size was a major factor in my switch.

Besides that, I’m rapidly becoming an old. My eyes just ain’t what they used to be. I need something I can see. 5-inch screen minimum if you want me back, Apple.

2. Be Indestructible

I am incredibly gentle with my phone. I do not drop it in the toilet, throw it at walls, or generally do anything where I need to worry about breaking it, but even so, most phones are incredibly fragile.

The extent to which the glass on my iPhone 3G shattered when my wife knocked it off our two-foot-high coffee table was unbelievable, and I’m willing to bet my S3 wouldn’t fare much better.

Better materials exist. Use them.

3. Work as a Wallet

Passbook is something, but it seems like an afterthought for not including NFC, but even phones with NFC like my S3 don’t use it to its full potential. This is more about business deals than the technology, but I want to carry as few things on me as possible.

Make those deals happen, Apple.

4. Have A Laser

When Samsung was announcing the Galaxy Gear I joked on Twitter that I would wait for a future version with James Bond’s laser watch from Goldeneye before picking it up. I certainly wouldn’t mind one on my phone either. It doesn’t necessarily have to cut through metal, but I mean, I wouldn’t hate it if it did.

5. Finally Address Your Terrible Battery Life

This is not a unique problem to Apple. Terrible smartphone battery life is a pervasive problem, and it’s because we expect a lot of phones, there’s an idea that each new version needs to do more things and still be thinner than the last version.

Stop this.

No one really care how thin their phone is. I would carry around something as thick as Zack Morris’ phone if it did all the things I want a phone to do and could still actually make it through a day on one charge.

I realize the laser thing would probably drain the battery pretty quickly, but that’s a concession I’m willing to make.

6. Promise Me Better Photos of My Daughter

I’ve noticed a trend in the last few major phone release presentations I’ve seen, and that trend focuses on the idea of never missing a moment with your camera’s phone. The most obvious shortcut for that is showing pictures of adorable kids doing adorable kid stuff, and I’m frankly a sucker for it.

Any new phone feature that says it will result in better pictures of my daughter instantly has my attention, even though most of them are pointless and no one will ever use them. This is a failing in the chemistry of my new-dad brain.

7. Projectable Keyboard

Typing on phones suuuuuuuuucks. I’ve gotten used to Swype with my S3, but even that’s not ideal. I want to type like a human not a teenager. In fact…

8. Just Make it a Computer

I want to plug my phone into a monitor, have the phone’s screen act as a touchpad, and type on a projected keyboard, or even a wireless physical one, and have that setup as closely resemble an actual computing experience as possible.

So there you go, Apple. Some of these are stupid, but some of them are actual things that would make your product better, and frankly if you can’t sort those two things out then you’re in bigger trouble than I thought.

(image via Adam Fagen)

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