Pre-WWDC iPhone Yearnings

Tomorrow (6/7/10) is the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Fransisco and I'm all sorts of fired up for it. The iPad announcement found me hold up in my car on 3G since the company internet connection wasn't letting me reload Engadget's liveblog fast enough. I suspect a similar situation with the WWDC keynote. Jobs better blow his iPhone load in the first hour of the keynote, as I have a pesky meeting to attend at 2PM. Who schedules things during WWDC? Dumbphone users, that's who. 

Without a doubt, Apple will be announcing the next iPhone, just like they have in the past 3 WWDCs. It looks like most of the surprises have already been blown due to the lost iPhone in California, and a slew of other next gen iPhones and components popping up around the world. 

There are four really important things that we know for sure about the hardware:

  1. The look and feel of the phone has been totally redesigned
  2. The screen resolution is now 960x640
  3. It's running an A4-ish Apple-designed processor
  4. It has a front facing camera (woot!)
As for the software, we already know about OS 4.0, but there will additional announcements with regards to the software supporting the new hardware features. In particular, it will be interesting to see how they handle video chat, and if AT&T is going to want to screw you over for the service. The screen resolution chosen is very clever, as old apps don't need to be redesigned. Current apps will simply look like they do on the 3GS and below since the new resolution has busted each pixel up into 4 separate ones. When developers start reworking their apps, they'll be able to cram in 4x the pixels in the same area; it's going to be beautiful. Currently, the screen on the current generation iPhone looks like a joke when compared to the Droid or any of the higher end Android phones. This increased pixel density will be very well received.

My main gripe with the iPhone 3GS, besides the screen resolution, is the weak GPS. I run with my phone all the time to track my pace and course, and find that when it is in my arm band it gets poor GPS reception, resulting in a sad tracking and pace calculations in the 'Runner' app. Hopefully the new design allows for better GPS reception in this position. However, I don't expect this to be the case, as turn-by-turn navigation, a killer app for this device, should have the reception optimized for the opposite orientation. Best case scenario, they pop a much nicer GPS receiver in there and I never have to hear my phone confidently declare "10 minutes completed, 351 minutes per mile" anymore.

The latest iteration of Andriod, Froyo, has all sorts of really amazing features that I'm concerned the iPhone just won't get. Specifically, the ability to turn the phone into a WiFi hotspot, pushed application installs, and overall speed improvements have pushed Android much closer to being able to overtake iPhone OS 4.0. Combine that with a really compelling piece of hardware, like the EVO 4G, and you've got yourself a competitor. By the end of the keynote it should be clear if Apple has again raised the smartphone bar out of the reach of Android and WebOS again or if it's possible for Android to put tech junkies that just want the best smartphone experience, like me, in a position to toss our iPhones in the trash. 

I don't expect too many surprises tomorrow, but I'm hopeful that Steve has a few more things up his sleeve. Who knows, we could even have a release to another carrier like Verizon!

Oh, and I'm calling the name: iPhone HD. I'm about 80% confident. My other 20% goes to iPhone 4. They can't do iPhone 4G unless this thing is LTE or WiMax.

All in all, I really doubt they'll disappoint tomorrow.