Will the Next iPhone Home Button Have Gesture Recognition?

If you’ve ever used a Macbook Pro, you know that nothing beats the gesture recognition feature on the Macbook Pro trackpad. Swipe three fingers left on the trackpad to go back in the browser, swipe four fingers up to reveal the desktop, and swipe four fingers down to see thumbnails of all your open windows (the Mac OS X Exposé feature).

iPhone Home Button Gestures

Well, rumor has it that the next iPhone home button may feature a gesture area with similar functionality. If the rumors are to be trusted, this home button gesture feature could signal the next revolution in smartphone technology.

With all the competition in the smartphone market, a gesture area on the iPhone home button would help the next iPhone stand apart from Android smartphones and other competitors. The iPhone screen already has decent gesture recognition — pinch to zoom, swipe left and right to move from one home screen to the other, etc. — but expanded gesture recognition would open up a new world of possibilities for the iPhone 5, or whatever the next iPhone is called.

Imagine swiping left on the iPhone home button to go back to the last app you had open, or swiping down on the home button to bring up a list of your recent notifications. The possibilities would be abundant.

What do you think? Would you consider home button gesture recognition a good capability to add to the list of potential iPhone 5 features?

Five iPhone 5 Features That I’d Like to See

iPhone 5 Features

In my iPhone 4 review, I claimed that the iPhone had finally come of age. While I once touted an expansive list of things wrong with the iPhone, now that Apple’s device has matured, I am satisfied with it overall, despite my decision to jailbreak and add certain features here and there.

Nevertheless, there are still some features left to be desired. So here is a list of the top five features that I would like to see in iPhone 5:

iPhone 5 Features I Want

  1. iTunes Streaming. I would like to be able to listen to music without having to use up many of my precious gigabytes for iPod media storage. That’s why I love my Grooveshark app (which was unfortunately removed from the App Store 5 days after it was approved). There have been rumors that Apple will introduce a cloud-based iTunes music streaming service, but nothing has become of those rumors yet. Hopefully iPhone 5 will bring this much-awaited music streaming feature.
  2. Touch-Sensitive Bezel. About a year ago, it was discovered that Apple filed a patent for a touch-sensitive bezel. Possibilities include a bezel that senses when you remove the iPhone from your pocket and automatically unlocks, or a bezel that lets you increase or decrease the display brightness with a swipe.
  3. FaceTime on 3G. FaceTime is virtually useless to me if I can’t use it on the go. I hope to see Apple enable FaceTime video chatting over 3G, instead of keeping it limited to Wi-Fi.
  4. Thinner Hardware. Who wouldn’t want a thinner iPhone? It would look cool and be easier to handle.
  5. Dual Core Processor. As fast as the iPhone is already, a dual-core processor like the A5 chip in the iPad 2 could make the iPhone twice as fast.

Do you agree with my most-wanted features for iPhone 5? What would you add to the list of desirable iPhone 5 features?

Seven iOS4 Mini-Features You May Not Be Aware of

iOS4 Features

I assume you already know about the major features in the iOS4 iPhone update like multitasking and folders, but what small changes has Apple made to the iPhone in this update?

Here are the seven iOS4 features that have intrigued me the most — note: I own an iPhone 3GS:

  1. Whenever music is playing in the background, you can bring up rewind, fast-forward and play/pause controls by swiping right in the multitasking panel. (To go to the multitasking panel, double-tap your home button.)
  2. To lock your iPhone into portrait (vertical) orientation at any point, go to the multitasking panel by double-tapping your home button, swipe right, then tap the lock to fix your iPhone’s orientation in portrait mode.
  3. To add Bing as your default search engine, go to Settings >> Safari >> Bing. I am not a fan of Bing myself, but Apple has added Microsoft’s search engine to the iPhone for those of you who are.
  4. A section has been added to the Settings to add or remove certain types of searches from Spotlight Search. For example, you can now exclude notes and messages from Spotlight for privacy or convenience purposes.
  5. You can now turn off all cellular data in Settings >> General >> Network. Whenever I’m low on battery, I temporarily turn off 3G, but EDGE always used to remain on. Now, I can turn off all cellular data to preserve my battery for important uses only.
  6. If someone who is in your Contacts emails you, you will see their photo next to the subject heading.
  7. Perhaps the coolest “mini-feature” is the ability to zoom in the camera viewfinder. Simply tap the screen when in Camera and a zoom bar will appear at the bottom. Slide the zoom bar to zoom in and out.

What do you like most about the latest iOS4 iPhone update?

Voice Memos on iPhone 3.0 [Video Demo]

Watch the video below to see the new Voice Memos app in iPhone 3.0.

Voice Memos is a simple, useful iPhone app. But frankly, I don’t know why it was necessary for Apple to create it, since there are other recording apps in the App Store that closely resemble Voice Memos. I use Griffin’s iTalk, for example.

This raises the question I asked over a year ago before the App Store’s debut: Will Apple compete with its App Store developers?

iPhone 3.0: Now With Text Message Privacy

iPhone 3.0 SMS privacy

One of the problems I used to complain about most was iPhone’s “SMS Preview” feature, which prompted you with an excerpt of any incoming text message you received. You can imagine — or maybe you’ve actually experienced — the awkwardness when a raunchy text message from your significant other pops up on your screen while a relative or coworker is using your iPhone.

SMS Preview and the lack of text message privacy on the iPhone caused embarrassment for a lot of my readers, who left comments about inappropriate text messages popping up on their screens at the worst times — pretty funny, you should go read them.

After TWO YEARS of complaining about this extremely irritating issue, Apple has finally heard our pleas and given us the option in iPhone 3.0 to turn off SMS Preview for incoming text messages.

Just go to Settings >> Messages to turn SMS Preview on or off. That’s it, no more unnecessary text message drama.

Update: Mark writes,

I do not agree that this solves the problem. I actually think Apple needed one more SMS privacy preferences option to completely suppress pop ups for text messages, don’t you? Complete suppression of text messages would be I don’t get any popups about any text messages if desired.

I agree. I noted this as a concern in my post 6 iPhone Privacy Issues You Should Be Concerned About.

iPhone 3.0 Shake to Shuffle [Video Demo]

Here’s another feature that’s new to iPhone 3.0. Shake your iPhone and it shuffles your iPod. Watch my video demo of iPhone 3.0’s shake-to-shuffle feature:

The iPhone will shuffle once shaken regardless of whether you have the iPod app open. Stay tuned for a full review of iPhone 3.0.

Update: Deda adds, “I just tried the shake/shuffle feature. You can’t return to a previously skipped song if you choose to shake the phone.”