Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

New iPhone update: What's still missing

October 31, 2008: 9:37 AM ET

There's a little joke at the end of Charlie Sorrell's nicely illustrated 8 Things to Expect in the Next iPhone Update on

The last item in Sorrell's list of known fixes (cobbled together from leaks from iPhone Firmware 2.2 Beta 2) is improvement No. 8:

Copy and Paste

Kidding! You didn't fall for that one, did you?

The irony of Sorrell's joke is not just that the one fix users have been asking Apple (AAPL) to make since Day 1 hasn't been addressed. It's that none of these improvements top anyone's wish list.

Here's an eye-opening exercise: Compare Sorrell's iPhone 2.2 feature list to the first eight items (of hundreds) in the user-generated wish list being assembled at Please Fix the iPhone, which began soliciting suggestions 12 days ago and has already generated more than 270,000 responses:

Note that not one of the iPhone's new features appears on the user-generated list. In fact, you have scroll down to No. 18 -- "Walking directions," a new Google Maps feature -- to find anything that matches.

A publicist for FullSix, the "relationship marketing" agency that created Please Fix the iPhone, talks about a growing trend in which companies use customer feedback to drive product development -- citing as examples My Starbucks (SBUX) Idea and Dell's (DELL) Idea Storm.

Steve Jobs prides himself in taking the opposite approach. He believes customers don't really know what they want until they see it. "I skate to where the puck is going to be," he says, quoting Wayne Gretzky. "Not to where it's been."

But you can wear Steve Jobs down. "We heard you," he'll say at a keynote, when he introduces a fix that users have been clamoring for.

If you have improvements you'd like to see in future iPhone firmware updates, it's not too late to add your vote -- or your ideas -- to Please Fix the iPhone here.

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for

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