Future (& Current) Mobile Tech

in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
This is a thread to collect what I (and anybody else who wants to contribute) consider interesting/useful upcoming (or, um, already in Japan) mobile technology that could be added to the iPhone and Apple's laptops. Below is a quick discussion of the stuff I think is good, but it's certainly incomplete.

Location Services

For those who don't know location services is the name given to applications that depend on your location to function.

For example the Starbucks google search done at Macworld by Jobs could be done by just typing Starbucks, and the device finds the nearest Starbucks to your location instead of typing in your current location (as Jobs did).

You might ping your friends, and they'd accept and you could know where they are. Likewise you could attach your current location to any text/email/phone call you make if you needed to, or during a conversation hit a button and that person gets a text/email with your location, their location, and directions—or directions to a third specified location.

You can tag your photos with your automatic location, your phone can tell you all the stuff in the surrounding area and offer you the option to download their ads/menus/services/etc…

Oh, and much cooler social networking sites if you're into that thing.

This generally requires a GPS chip for good accuracy, but in the US at least you get 300 metre accuracy without it using tower triangulation.

I say add a GPS chip to the iPhone and all the laptops, and get to work Apple. Ideally an open framework could be built that it is operator-independent and standards based (but, if possible, with some kind of gatekeeper/filtering) or if not, an iTunes model would be acceptable—all the current players in the game pay a small % of anything they make to Apple in return to exist on one standard platform.

Anyway, I think location services is very interesting, and I'd love to others ideas about it.

Privacy is, of course, a concern but making it a user controlled on-off feature should suffice. After all the NSA & associates listens to everything regardless, so if you want privacy, um, live like a hermit (yeah it sucks, but so does life).

Barcode (QR) everything

In Japan a great deal of things sport QR codes. It's a 2D barcode that your scan with your phone's camera, and you then get information from them (duh .

They are commonly used on ads, in magazines, on flyers, on business cards, and so forth.

You get around 4000 characters (more with just numbers, less with Kanji) to use and you can even use Design QR so as to have an image in the barcode without changing the information.

See a flyer for a band, scan the QR code and all the data is saved into your phone. Scan your business cards into your phone, and have all the details filled in automatically. Heck, something QR coded could have multiple languages in one code, so you scan stuff in foreign countries and get it back in the language of your choice.

There's a reason it's huge in Japan.

RFID everything

This one is simple too, tag everything with RFID chips and you can know the locations/data of everything in the universe. Never lose your keys, have the price of everything you shop for automatically calculated as you add stuff to your cart (linked to your phone).

The problem, of course, is privacy/encryption which at the moment I feel is too large to go ahead with an RFID feature—I can live with barcodes for now. A phone that know it's location is different from everything you own knowing it's location, and broadcasting it to everybody.

e-cash (mobile wallet)

Link your credit and debit cards to your phone (with PIN & biometrics [fingerprint, but eye is probably doable] for verification) and pay with everything by pulling out your phone.

Luckily the operators are actually working on an international standard, so this is totally plausible (and widely used in Japan).

Mobile TV

Widely used, and quite popular, in Japan and South Korea. There are four current standard—one for Japan (one-seg), one for North America (MediaFLO), one for Europe (DVB-H), and one for South Korea that also sees some use in Europe ([T-]DMB). They all require dedicated spectrum, or satellite (S-DMB in South Korea).

Also there is an alternative using the standard UMTS (or other 3G) network—MBMS—, which is not in market at the moment.

Although no one seems to have done it yet a quad chip is possible (currently there is a tri chip that does all but the South Korea standard).

Regardless this the major feature Japanese and South Koreans want when they upgrade their phone, so it will probably do well elsewhere.

Downsides are power, general teething problems (needs good signal, doesn't work very well at speeds above walking), memory requirements, & processor speed of which the iPhone is fine on the latter two compared to most phones, and no worse then most for the first two. Not to mention a nicer screen then most mobiles outside Japan and you have a very nice experience.

I imagine this will wait on larger memories and transition to a download/streaming model instead of the current streaming model as it currently doesn't seem fast enough.


Obviously this isn't on the iPhone because it isn't big on the UMTS network in North America yet.

However Europe and Asia (as always excluding China, which has wonky standards for everything) are huge on this, and nowhere near North American WiFi penetration.

Hence the iPhone will shortly acquire this feature using UMTS (as that's what GSM networks use, you may also have heard of it as FOMA, WCDMA, HSDPA which are various speeds/interfaces of UMTS).

There are three main UMTS bands used:

2100 Europe/Japan/Australia/most world UMTS deployments.

850/1900 North America/Australia

(Also, 1700/2100 T-Mobile. Note not the same as world 2100.)

Therefore any iPhone 3G model should include all three (850/1900/2100) or two models, one with 2100 for the world and one with 850/1900 for North America and possibly Australia depending on how the idiot telecom there sorts it out.

This allows video calling (meh myself, but lots of people like it), broadband like speeds for data (because the current iPhone EDGE is basically dial-up), allows one implementation of Mobile TV, and better voice.

Remember WiFi in Canada/USA is much more common then elsewhere, because elsewhere in the developed world has full 3G coverage instead of a scattering of wireless hotspots. Hence the iPhone WiFi is much less important/useful outside North America.

They should also add to their laptops an optional internal 3G card with the option to pick EV-DO or UMTS tri-band as that would save using the card slot and be popular in Europe and elsewhere (in Japan/Asia it only matters if Apple ever makes a bloody subnotebook).

Japanese survey data on features

On next phone upgrade you want:

Memory card 29.4%

One Seg television\t23.2%

Music playback\t 20.0%

Infra-red 16.6%

electronic cash\t 14.0%

Water resistance 11.1%

GPS 10.3%

Full browser\t 8.6%

FM Radio\t 6.2%

Bluetooth\t 4.8%

AM Radio\t 3.3%

Wireless LAN 2.9%

Document viewer 2.6%

Analogue television\t 2.4%

Digital radio\t 2.4%

Changeable face plates\t1.8%

Electronic compass\t 1.6%

Other\t 1.6%

Nothing in particular\t 35.0%

Between the 27th and 28th of April 2007 exactly 1,000 members of goo Research’s online monitor group who were mobile phone users successfully completed an online questionnaire. 54.0% were female, 2.3% in their teens, 18.4% in their twenties, 41.3% in their thirties, 23.1% in their forties, and 14.9% aged fifty or older.

Electronic cash

Are you currently using an electronic cash service? (Sample size=1,030)

All\t Male Female



About how often do you use electronic cash? (Sample size=528)

Almost every day 21.8%

Three or four day a week\t 21.0%

One day a week\t 25.0%

Two or three days a month\t17.0%

One day a month 7.2%

Less than one day a month 8.0%

Between the 9th and 10th of April 2007 1,030 members of Macromill Monitor group resident in Tokyo or the three surrounding prefectures completed a private online survey. The group was split exactly 50:50 male and female in each of the five age bands: 20.0% in their teens (between 15 and 19), 20.0% in their twenties, 20.0% in their thirties, 20.0% in their forties, and 20.0% in their fifties.


So what do you want in upcoming iPhones, what of these technologies do you think are interesting, and what other technologies would you add?

(oh, and if a mod wants to stick the word discussion in the title, that would be cool—as it stands it looks like just me rambling about mobile technology which is not at all how I wanted to go on).


  • Reply 1 of 1
    mrpiddlymrpiddly Posts: 406member
    The only feature i would ever want, and its not going to happen anytime soon, is being able to use the iphone to wirelessly run any data on your computer from anywhere in the world. Your computer would stream its screen images to the phone. Idealy, you could control the computer using the phone. This way, demanding apps could be run on your computer but you would feel as if they were on your phone. Just imagine running something like crysis on the iphone.

    Of there are some technology items that would have to be sorted out. And the iphones screen is rather small for computer apps, and you would have to use a bluetooth mouse and keyboard.

    Right now the only thing i can do is wish.

    It would be nice if the iphone had a projector that would project the screen onto a wall. That would work well with the streaming data thing i mentioned above.

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