Apple is going to start producing the next iPhone this quarter, a recent news report says, with the goal of releasing it during the summer.
It’s expected to be a boring internal upgrade.
No big screen.
No massive price chop.
No amazing new features that will make people hyperventilate and then faint dead away.
Just the same old iPhone 5 with a slightly speedier processor and maybe a new software widget or two.
That’s the pattern Apple established with its interim upgrades a few years back.
That’s the pattern Apple is expected to follow this time around.
Yes, it would be great if Apple accelerated the introduction of a big-screened iPhone and a cheap iPhone. These products, after all, are likely to be increasingly important to Apple’s ability to compete with Samsung and other handset manufacturers in the fastest-growing segments of the market (emerging markets) as well as developed markets like the U.S. in which consumers are rapidly coming accustomed to big-screened phones.
But expectations are low for this summer’s launch.
The big iPhone and cheap iPhone aren’t expected until the end of the year.
There is one improvement that Apple could make to the existing iPhone 5 that would turn some heads, though.
It’s an improvement that, ironically, Google hardware boss Dennis Woodside mentioned on Google’s last quarterly conference call.
It’s not an improvement that will make anyone gasp, or cause Apple fans to hyperventilate.
But it’s an improvement that would radically increase the pleasure, simplicity, and usefulness of the iPhone 5.
What’s that improvement?
Much better battery life.
When you’re using the iPhone 5 to its full potential–namely, setting the screen to be bright enough to read, using maps and other location-based apps, doing a lot of email, checking news frequently, watching some video, listening to some radio, taking a lot of pictures, and so forth–the iPhone 5’s battery life is, at best, disappointing.
If you’re not careful, you’ll drain the phone completely in an hour or two.
And then, if you’re out and about, you’ll be s.o.l. for the rest of the day.
Yes, you can implement conservation measures–and have to, unless you want to stranded connection-free.
And, yes, you can learn tricks like only firing up apps for a few seconds and then shutting them off completely, keeping the screen dim and switching it off the moment you’re done, and so on.
If you do all that, you can make it through a day.
But who wants to do any of that?
Most iPhone owners, and Galaxy SIII owners, and Google Nexus owners just want to use their phones the way they want to use them all day long, without having to worry about running out of power.
So much better battery life is a feature that would be worth getting excited about.
So, how about it, Apple?
Could we maybe skip the faster processor, et al, and just focus on the battery?
That would be a great innovation.
That would breathe some life into the boring smartphone market.
That would be worth getting excited about.