I have found the iPhone to be a good smartphone even though it may not do everything every other smartphone does; it doesn’t necessarily make it any less of a device. All of the devices we have grown accustomed to and use today started out the same way… at the bottom and fighting for market share. The iPhone is no different and in this case Apple seems to have taken the approach to the smartphone from a slightly different angle. It first created a 100% finger touch user-interface wrapped around a media player, web browser and phone housed in a well designed package to create a consumer device. Now that the iPhone has proven to be popular and a hit among consumer, it’s time to move on to the enterprise market while still increasing its presence in the consumer market. In a few days the updated iPhone 2.0 software will be released and the App Store will be open to help accomplish this task. The App Store will hopefully get filled with software in the next coming months that will increase the usefulness of the iPhone beyond what we do with it today.
Third party software is a necessary tool of todays smartphone. It’s part of what makes or breaks a smartphone and the platform it runs on. If Apple wants the iPhone to remain a contender in this market they need to approve as much quality software as they can within the next 6-18 months. I think 18 months is reasonable considering devolping software is not an easy nor quick task and with the new iPhone software many will be more concerned with it’s stability, security and new features known and unknown. So this actually gives developers time to get their application out to the App Store.
Here are a few software categories I think Apple needs to get filled within the next 6 to 18 months after the opening of the App Store. I have put together this list by what I’ve seen and read in various forums, polls and my own use of mobile devices over the years. Nothing scientific going on here just my own thoughts on what I’ve seen. These categories may not be important to everyone but they appear to be the most talked about and most wanted, to new and old smartphone users alike. I think these will give the iPhone a very good foot hold in the smartphone market.
- eBook Reader: This is the only way to have your books available to read whenever your ready. The iPhone has an excellent screen with great scaling capabilities so it should be taken advantage of.
- Education: with the ever increasing use of computers in the classroom and the more recent PDA and smartphone use this is proving to still be an evolving category. Modality is bringing some learning software to the App Store but since education has such a vast range and reach no one company can cover even half of this.
- Games: Just about everyone loves to play some type of game and the iPhone is an excellent, and unique gaming platform. Spore by Electronic Arts and Kroll by Digital Legends Entertainment appear to be great upcoming games for the iPhone. There’s alot of catching up to do in this category but if companys like EA can create truely imaginative games as well as the classics loved by many we will have a lot to look forward to here.
- List Manager: For those who just need a list for everything. From CDs, DVDs, to grocery lists a good list manager will help you keep all organized. Ilium Software will also bring it’s ListPro software to the iPhone.
- Medical Reference Software: This one’s mainly for those in the medical field but it has played an improtant part in the development of mobile devices and will continue far into the future. Epocrates has created an online version but a downloadable one would be much better. MIMvista is developing medical imaging software for doctors which is quite interesting. Hopefully it doesn’t stop there.
- Office Software: Many mobile warriors need this. Being able to view documents, spreadsheets, etc. just doesn’t cut it. Editing files is where it’s at and the only way to truely interact with your files from work.
- Personal Finance: A great way to really take control of your personal or business accounts.
- Personal Information Manager: While the builtin PIM may be adequate for the average user many require a more robust tool that also includes tasks, project management and more configurable options and alerts. Pocket Informant by WebIS another great application coming to the iPhone should help fill in the gaps.
- RSS Reader: News comes fast and doesn’t stop. There’s always soemthing going on somewhere and a quick way to navigate through all of it is with good RSS reader with just the news your interested in.
- Secure Information Management: Storing sensitive information such as credit cards, website logins, etc. needs to be securely locked in its own file separate from what the device offers. Ilium Software is stepping up to the plate on this with their excellent eWallet software.
- Streaming Media Player: With its ever growing popularity and the vast amount of media that is being thrown at us all the time, how are we to carry it all with us. If Apple really wants to shine here then I suggest SlingPlayer from Sling Media is the way to go. If not, at least collaborate with them and incorporate it into Apple TV to let us what watch what we want when we want it (I know I’m probably hoping for the impossible but one can dream).
- ToDo List Manager: Everyone has something they need to be reminded of and with the ever increasingly busy world we live in a good ToDo List separate from your calendar is a must have.
While there are alot of great online services that can do what I have listed here, there is really is no replacement for having the software and information you need loaded on your device for anytime, anywhere access. Online is nice but it does you no good when you end up that one time with no signal and no wifi to connect to like subways, some buildings, tunnels or you just happened to find that one spot in the city where there is just no signal until you cross the street.