iCenter? Wishing, not predicting

An Apple iCenter could be the personal iPhone server linking home life to work life to the world - and I want one.

Lots of people have been speculating about what, if anything beyond the upgraded iPhone, Apple will announce during the June 9-13 Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Some people think it'll be a games console to compete with Nintendo's Wii; others that it might be a tablet with iPhone like functionality.

I have no idea - but I do have a fervent wish: I want them to announce an iCenter - a base station for the iPhone.

Obviously this would combine Apple's TV/DVR style functionality - program the thing remotely, play back to your iPhone, use it for video conferencing with your family, and stuff like that.

More subtly, however, it would take over functions like message storage and push linkages now handled by the telco - and more importantly it would do things like connect local over the air calls to longer distance VoIP or POT service.

Most significantly, however, it could take over more of the back end functions people now use traditional personal computers for - things like managing extended contact lists, processing larger Office documents, managing big image collections, and interfacing the iPhone to traditional computer systems as well as standard keyboards and screens.

It would provide, for example, the processing power enabling the iPhone to convert dictation to text; host and pre-process "rich experience" materials like video clips, and offer the low cost connectivity bridge needed to link the individual iPhone user to entire networked communities.

Bottom line: an iCenter could be the personal iPhone server linking home life to work life to the world - and because that's the next step away from the PC, it's a step I hope Apple will take as soon as it can.