Fifty possible iPhone features: What we know and don’t know about them

20 06 2007

It’s one week before the iPhone arrives. Here is a list of fifty of typical smart phone and iPod features, and what we know and don’t know about them when it comes to the iPhone. It’s going to be fun finding out what’s in this thing!

Accessory Car Charger

Accessory Car FM Transmitter

We know that most accessories that plug into an iPod docking connector should also work with the iPhone. So as long as the accessory physically fits, there is a good chance it will work.

Alarm Clock

Time Zones

We know there is a clock icon on the home screen, but we have never seen it. It seems likely that the clock will have at least one Alarm. We also know there is a Calendar icon, but we have not seen that application, either. It seems obvious that the calendar will include appointments with alarms. Will the clock show multiple time zones? Will the phone adjust itself to whatever time zone you are in? This seems likely, as the cellular system can adjust the phone to local time.

Bluetooth Phone Headset

Bluetooth Stereo headset

We know that the phone has Bluetooth + EDR. As an iPod, it seems likely that stereo Bluetooth will be supported. We know Apple will be offering at least two in-ear Bluetooth headsets that are monaural. We don’t know if Apple plans to sell any stereo Bluetooth headphones.

Bluetooth ModemBluetooth is supported, but will you be able to tether your laptop using Bluetooth such that your laptop can connect through it to the internet? We don’t know. I suspect this capability will not be included in the first model.

Battery Life

Apple has given us claims for battery life. These are maximums, but it looks to me that in the real world, the battery life will not be a major point of complaint. If you are like me, you’ll be using your iPhone constantly. WiFi, audio, and video use a lot of battery, and there never will be enough.


We know there is a calculator icon on the home screen, but we have never seen the application. Will it be a simple four banger? Will it have advanced math and programming features? Will it be a graphing calculator? We don’t know.

Camera FlashCamera Low Light PerformanceThe camera has no flash. We don’t know what kind of performance it will have in low light. My guess is the camera will perform about as well as the iSight cameras on Apple laptop computers. That’s fairly good for a fixed focus camera without a flash.

Camera Autofocus

Camera Image Stabilization

Camera Macro Focus

Camera Video

Camera Zoom

We don’t know about any of these features. Will there be video, can 

Connect to international carriers

Connect to other US carriers

The phone uses the GSM standard, and it has all four possible frequencies. AT&T only uses two of the four. Since the other two exist, it only follows that the phone is International and should work outside the USA. But can you put in a SIM card from another company and have it work? We do not know. I suspect not on this model, not unhacked out of the box.

Dialing by Voice

Can you do voice dialing? There has been no hint of this feature anywhere.

Document Viewer

We know there is a Notes icon on the home screen, but we have not seen the application. Is it utterly simple, like Stickies or the notes function on the iPod? It is straightforward with a bit of simple formatting like TextEdit? Will it open or edit Word, RTF, spreadsheets? I suspect it will be able to display PDF files, at least.  The fact that this application exists implies that there is a document system of some kind. Are there folders where we can save our notes? Can we download or transfer files and see listings of our documents? We do not know.

EMail Periodic Check

EMail Push

EMail to groups

We know we have EMail and that it supports POP and IMAP. It seems likely that you will be able to set it to periodically check for new mail. What about push mail, which notifies you instantly when mail is sent? We know Yahoo is going to give us free push mail on the iPhone. But what about other systems? We do not know the extent of what we can connect to with the Mail system. Can we collect contacts into groups and EMail to a group?

Firmware Updates

We do know that the software in the phone will be updated from time to time. It seems clear that updates will be obtained on your home computer via the Internet, and then will be synced into your phone through iTunes. Thus, it will work exactly like iPod updates. I suspect we will see rather frequent updates, and that they will add very significant new features.

Flight Mode

Most phones have a flight mode, which turns off the cellular radio, while still allowing use of other functions such as playing music. It seems obvious that there will be some kind of flight mode on the iPhone – there are many non-phone functions that could be used.

ProfilesAre there profiles? Profiles typically change a collection of settings, such as silent mode, flight mode, wallpaper and other stylings, ring tones, and so on. We do not know if there is any type of profile system in the phone.


There does not seem to be a GPS chip in the phone. This does not necessarily mean the phone doesn’t know where it is. All modern phones, in conjunction with the carriers, have a way of locating the phone, at least within a few hundred feet. It is possible that the phone might know what town it is in, for example. While not good for turn by turn street directions, this could still be useful in locating nearby places of interest. No such feature has been announced, however.

iPod Games

iPod Graphic Equalizer

iPod On the go playlists

iPods have these features, so why not the iPhone? Game software is specific to the CPU chip, so the games that work on iPods may not work on an iPhone. I suspect iPod features such as graphic equalizers, speeded-up speech, and on the go playlists may appear on the iPhone. There have been no announcements.

iPod Portrait Video

We have seen photos, Internet pages, and record album covers change their orientation and appear in both portrait and landscape modes. But we have only seen video in landscape mode. It appears you will not be able to see video in portrait mode. On a related note, we have only seen demonstrators change from portrait to landscape mode by rotating the phone counter clockwise. Can you also rotate it clockwise? Does it adapt or do you get an upside down image? Also, does the phone have to be vertical when you rotate it? Will it sense rotation if it is laying flat on a table? We do not know.

Keyboard Predictive Text

Keyboard Dictionary Customization

We know that the keyboard uses a dictionary to make corrections as you type on the flat screen. But can you add your own words to the dictionary? We do not know. I suspect so, otherwise it will be difficult to type unusual words.

Keyboard in Landscape Mode

We have not seen the keyboard come up in landscape mode. What if a web page is being displayed in landscape mode, and you tap on a text field? Does the screen force itself to portrait mode as the keyboard appears? We do not know.

Record Phone Calls

Record Voice Memos

Obviously the phone has a microphone. Can you use it to record phone calls? Can you record voice notes? If the camera records video, does it also record sound? We do not know.


Ringtones Per Contact

Ringtones Per Group

We do not know much about ringtones. We have heard two different ones in demonstrations. Can you add your own? Can you use any of the tunes you have loaded into the iPod section of the phone for a ringtone? I suspect you can. Can you associate different rintones with different callers or groups of callers? We have seen that in iTunes itself, on the iPhone sync screen, there is a Ringtones tab. We have not seen the contents of this tab.

Safari Cookies

Safari Flash

Safari Java

Safari Javascript

The Safari browser is known not to support Java or Flash. It seems obvious you can’t have a browser without Javascript, and cookies will also be necessary. What kind of limitations are there? Can you limit the kind of cookies you accept? We do not know.

Safari Tabs

The Safari browser on the phone is known to support up to eight pages at once. These can be flipped thought like tabs.

Screen saver

The phone has wallpaper, and you can use any of your photos. But is there a screen saver? Can animated wallpaper or screen savers be used? We do not know.

To Do List

We have not seen any To Do list functionality. However, we know that Leopard has To Do items in iCal and in Mail, and we know the phone has both calendar and mail applications. So it seems very likely that there will be some kind of To Do function.


The phone does seem to have a vibrate function.



Though these functions do seem to be possible with the phone hardware, no functionality of this type is announced, and it will be up to Apple to allow such functions in the future if they wish.

WiFi N mode

The WiFi seems to support b and g modes only, not the faster n mode. This makes some sense since the n mode generally likes to use multiple antennas to implement its high speed links.





3 responses

20 06 2007
What We Know About the iPhone : The Last Podcast

[…] help us all out,Lepton has written up a list of fifty features that are/might/could be part of the deal when you buy your iPhone next […]

20 06 2007
What We Know About the iPhone : The Last Podcast

[…] help us all out,Lepton has written up a list of fifty features that are/might/could be part of the deal when you buy your iPhone next […]

20 06 2007

Great article.

I hope you can take us through the answers to these issues once the phone is released 🙂

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