Mobile Mavens

The PocketGamer.biz Mobile Gaming Mavens: iPhone 5 special

The PocketGamer.biz Mobile Gaming Mavens: iPhone 5 special

The PocketGamer.biz Mobile Mavens is our panel of experts drawn from all sectors of the mobile gaming industry.

With Apple expected to unveil the next iPhone in a matter of hours, we thought we'd have a quick sweep of the Mavens to find out their take on what could and should make the cut with Apple's next handset.

So, we asked:

What kind of features, fixtures and fittings would you like to see Apple unveil with the iPhone 5?

 

Oscar Clark Consultant, Co-Founder Fundamentally Games

Oscar Clark has been a pioneer in online, mobile, and console social games services since 1998. He is also author of the book, Games As A Service – How Free To Play Design Can Make Better Games.

From once being an iPhone fanboy, I've now become quite disillusioned with the whole process.

The constrained experience will make it hard for me to go back - and the reliance on an icon-based UI to me is just outdated.

Most of my issues with Apple are software or platform based such as a desire to see widgets, proper multitasking or to resolve the App Store's discovery barriers. However, these are some items which might tempt me to come back.

1. True 16:9 display - and probably a bigger screen. I love my Samsung Galaxy S3 - but is that screen the right size for everyone?
2. Micro USB connector - will never happen, but wouldn't life be easier with a standard plug. Could they do as much with that though?
3. NFC support - don't get me wrong I'm not a huge fan of NFC, but it does offer a range of innovation if Apple catch-up with this.
4. True video calling support - something open would make a lot more sense that FaceTime
5. Full HTML5 WebGL Support - again won't happen as it might kill off the App Store.
6. Twice the battery performance - I don't need it to be thinner.
7. Native support for gaming buttons - dual thumbstick plus doubled up shoulder triggers. They don't have to be physically on the phone, just in the OS - again no chance!

Andreas Vahsen CEO / CCO / Game Economist MachineWorks Northwest

The new iPhone needs a bigger screen and better battery life.

Dave Castelnuovo Owner Bolt Creative

More storage. I need 128GB.

Jussi Laakkonen CEO / Founder Applifier

Things that make me excited and that could actually happen:

1. Substantially faster A6 processor with a new GPU that enables more immersive games.
2. Worldwide 4G/LTE support to enable new type of bandwidth heavy experiences on the go.
3. Better battery life - going from iPhone 4 to iPhone 4S killed the "load over night, use full day without worries" experience for me.
4. Bigger screen with 16:9 aspect ratio.
5. Substantially improved camera for especially low-light shots/fast moving scenes e.g. with kids.
6. App Store with a properly working Genius for app discovery, that uses also social signals from the Facebook integration.

Things, that I'd love but that are unlikely:

1. A full redesign of the hardware to make me go "Wow, this is something new!". How long do we need to wait for that LiquidMetal stuff?
2. Substantially larger screen - echoing Oscar, bigger is better.
3. Revamp of the UI with live widgets. Windows Phone looks like a breath of fresh air compared to the sea of app icons with (10) notifications each.

Brian Baglow Executive Producer Team Rock Games

I can only echo a lot of the ideas already mentioned.

A better battery life. This is key. A day out of the office is getting increasingly difficult. Forget using your phone to play music if you want to check e-mail, or work. And games are right out...

Revision of iOS. The icons were great before apps could live update and all manner of online services could push information your way. Now it's just looking messy. Especially if you group apps.

Those two alone would make me happy.

However, if we're crossing our fingers and wishing really hard. A new version of iTunes, which isn't bloody awful would be thrilling.

Oscar Clark Consultant, Co-Founder Fundamentally Games

Oscar Clark has been a pioneer in online, mobile, and console social games services since 1998. He is also author of the book, Games As A Service – How Free To Play Design Can Make Better Games.

Definitely should have said more disk space. Why not 160GB, like the old iPod classic? Or maybe even more?

Keith Andrew With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

The iOS 6 beta suggests any grand revision to the platform's UI isn't on the cards.

I've been saying iOS looks archaic for some time now. Problem is, changing it in any meaningful, progressive way would be a Windows 8 type risk for Apple.

Not sure it's willing to take that risk.

Jussi Laakkonen CEO / Founder Applifier

As a side note, what would it take for Microsoft to add a application compatibility layer for Window Phone 8? For example, make it possible to run Android apps on it?

Apart from swallowing its pride, if Android apps can be brought to Meego (via Jolla) and to desktop PCs (via Pokki), why not Windows Phone 8?

They may not deliver optimal experiences, but most games wouldn't need live tiles or widgets and given the headache of supporting Android variants anyway, would this be feasible for devs if Microsoft made it possible?

Keith Andrew With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

I don't think there would be much advantage for Microsoft there.

Windows Phone already has 100,000 apps - second only to the App Store in reaching such a milestone so quickly - and so there's little need to bolster the marketplace. Pretty much all the big apps are there now.

Also, there's no money to be made that way. Microsoft's future Windows business is about getting people to write apps for Windows 8/Windows Phone 8. It's the reason why it's a closed platform, with no third party marketplaces allowed.

Will Luton Luton & Son Founder

The way iOS looks really is an industry invented problem - it's still very usable, especially in comparison to Android and Windows Phone.

Of course there will be piecemeal updates of faster, more, bigger and longer, but they aren't in my wishlist. What I'd like to see - not necessarily what I think we'll get- on the hardware side is:

1. Eye tracking/face detection - this could open up massive new possibilities in game design and impaired users.
2. Rear touch - a nice feature of the Vita, and it would be great to have on the iPhone for navigating 3D games or games where fingers obscure play.
3. Better AirPlay/AirPlay certification for 3rd party TVs - mobile on TV is a mode of use for game I believe will take off when the tech is right and well distributed. It isn't yet. This fits with the rumoured 16:9 screen, especially if it is 1080p.
4. Wireless charging/syncing/updates etc. With the rumoured new dock connector and Apple's push to a "post PC era" this makes bags of sense.

Keith Andrew With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

I don't think it's fair to say it's an industry invented problem. I think it's just a case of developers - and, indeed, Mavens - spotting that the UI is fast going out of date ahead of the consumers.

At some point, it will need a major change.

Will Luton Luton & Son Founder

OS X is over 11 years old now. Has had minor visual updates over its evolution and managed to stay fresh and popular in the face of competition.

What's more important is how usable it is. To my mind iOS wins out over everything else.

Keith Andrew With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

Hmm, but what market share does OS X boast these days? I don't think that's the best example for iOS to follow.

It's all personal preference, to be honest, but I don't think iOS 'wins'. It's certainly easy to understand - consumers are used to it, and used to the early Android skins that mirrored it so closely - but that doesn't mean it's the top performer.

It's functional, yes, but it's also rather dated. A plain Jane, really.

But, yes, personal preference and all that.

Will Luton Luton & Son Founder

About 8 percent.

My point is, just because Microsoft did something shiny, Apple don't need to panic. iOS is very usable and, as Keith points out, well known. And that's key.

Keith Andrew With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

You have to stay on your toes, though - in this business more than any other.

Symbian – though hard to think now – was similarly well known and comfortable once. This industry is all about the bleeding edge.

Dave Castelnuovo Owner Bolt Creative

Not only longer lasting battery but also quicker charging battery.

My iPad 3 suffers from this - the battery still lasts that same amount of time as my Ppad 2, but if I ever let it drain down to 0 percent, it takes forever to charge. I need to allow it to charge overnight to get back to 100 percent.

If I’m stuck early in the day with 10 percent I will run out of charge unless I can sit next to a plug throughout the day.

About the UI, I don’t know if there is really a better solution than icons.

Windows Phone is definitely one solution, but it only works for a small number of apps. I literally have hundreds of apps on my iPad and phone and it already takes a long time to scan through folders and 11 pages to find apps. I couldn’t imagine having more pages of larger content aware widgets to navigate through.

Maybe a single page of the ones that are most important to me and then icons for the remainder, but to completely get rid of app icons would introduce a bigger issue that looks nice on paper but is horrible for power users.

One thing I would really like to see is iCloud backup of individual apps that I can then remove from my device and reinstall at any time. I would also like to organise my app purchases that may or may not be on my device.

I'm constantly running out of space and have to remove apps that I hardly use, but would still like to hold onto certain apps for future reference. As an example, I would like to make an iCloud group called "runners" that has my current state for all runner apps that I have purchased and played.

At any time, I can delete those apps from my device and reinstall them from iCloud if I ever want to check out my favourite runners again. It would be a bonus if I could publish that list to my game centre account so my friends can see what apps I own and check them out for themselves.

Keith Andrew With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

Dave, what you suggest - "a single page of the ones that are most important to me and then icons for the remainder" - is actually how the Windows Phone UI already works.

It's only the front page that has the live tiles.

Jani Kahrama Founder Secret Exit

I second that iCloud suggestion.

It always seemed strange that to recover the saved data of a single app from an iCloud backup you need to restore the entire device unless the developer of the app has separately implemented support for iCloud documents.

As for hardware, we can always want bigger, faster, and more, but from my point of view things have been great since the 3GS days as far as gaming capabilities are concerned. The iOS device base these days is good to work with.

It will be interesting to see how discoverability in the App Store is improved.

If you'd like to join the Mavens, drop your details in an email to keith.andrew [at] pocketgamer.co.uk.


With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

Comments

1 comment
View options
  • Order by latest to oldest
  • Order by oldest to latest
  • Show all replies
Dave Mitchell Founder at Two Tails
I think what's important is for Apple to improve the App Store discovery process. However they do this, it needs to bring in some new techniques - social
recommendations, see what my friends have bought, change rankings to account for usage and more. Unfortunately I'm expecting I might be dissapointed.