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The waiting game
Patience, especially when it comes to buying electronic devices, typically is not one of my stronger attributes. That’s why I’m surprised I still have a two-year-old iPhone 3GS. Temptation almost got the better of me this week when, thanks to Jetsetter, an online travel site with a new mobile app, I learned that the iPhone 4 has a gyroscope that my older phone does not.
Jetsetter users with iPhone 4 devices can tilt the smartphone to rotate a 360-degree image without touching the screen. What else separates my phone from the newest model? With an iPhone 4 I could call a retailer that’s implemented Apple’s video chat software called Face Time to answer my query or resolve a customer service issue.
What I’m really holding out for, though, is the next iPhone, rumored for release in the next several weeks.
Speculation abounds that the next iPhone might include a Near Field Communication chip that could enable a two-way wireless connection between the phone and a device, such as a payment terminal or a tag on a poster. That connection could enable a contactless payment or the opportunity to get more information or special deals. Google Inc. already has demonstrated how that might work with its NFC-enabled Nexus S smartphone in its Google Offers service. Set to launch on a broad scale this fall, Google Offers could enable a consumer to tap a Nexus S phone against an NFC tag and sign up for special deals, get coupons or similar incentives, and make a payment at a store.
Even without NFC, the next iPhone may require retailers to adjust their sites and apps. It could have a larger screen with greater resolution, calling for better quality images. The phone’s software might have a different way of accessing video that retailers need to consider. If equipped with a faster processor, the new iPhone might have an easier time using augmented reality apps. Augmented reality technology enables consumers to change imagery or see information projected onto a phone’s display using a smartphone’s camera. OverstockArt.com’s app is a good example of a retailer that uses this technology; the app shows what a piece of art might look like inside one’s living room, for example.
Whatever the capabilities of the next iPhone, I doubt I’ll be disappointed. The impatient aspect then will be waiting to see how retailers take advantage of the device’s latest features.