Wednesday, August 02, 2006

iPhone - probably not

While I doubt this is the long-awaited "iPhone" (or, as this person calls it, "iChat Mobile"), it got me thinking about something.

One of the design challenges with an iPhone is making room for a keypad and the iPod scroll wheel because any iPhone worth its salt would, of course, have iPod capabilities which would entail the famous scroll wheel.

Or would it?

One of the big complaints I read about this photo/mock-up is that it would be a nightmare to navigate using the controls from the existing Front Row remote. Perhaps. But what if there was a new, better way to navigate than the scroll wheel?

Embed a version of Spotlight for your iTunes library. Just tap in the first two or three letters of what your'e looking for with the keypad (ala text messaging) and use the directional pad to select from the list Spotlight brings up. It could actually be comparable in speed to using the scroll wheel, if not faster. From that point, the iTunes interface would be the same as it is now in phones like the SLVR.

Of course there'd probably have to be a step before that to specify that you were searching for music in iTunes and not your phonebook or for a picture. Even then, I think about how many menus I have to click through to get to pictures on my phone (and I'm using a Sony Ericsson which has one of the best UI's out there) and I'm convinced it would be much faster to do a text-based search using something like Spotlight.

So there ya go. It's my prediction that the iPhone will not have a scroll wheel.

Other thoughts about the above picture:

• iChat Mobile? Interesting. Makes me think VoIP? If not, you'd have to have a streaming connection which 1. would cost a fortune and 2. drain your battery like crazy.
• Camera on the back? Makes sense for taking pictures, but not for video chats. Could it be that Apple has implemented it's in-screen camera, meaning that the "iChat Mobile" would have two cameras?
• No battery compartment. Not entirely surprising since none of the iPods have battery compartments either. BUT, that also means one of two things: 1. This is going to be a CDMA phone or 2. it was an oversight by whomever mocked this up. I wonder if Apple would go with Cingular based on their history together. If you're doing streaming content (video chats, incoming chat requests, etc.), Helio is already doing that with Sprint's CDMA network.

UPDATE: The above image was later shown to be a fake, as previously suspected. However, I think my case for a non-click wheel iPhone is valid.