A wider viewing screen. Faster video streaming. Another row of icons and an expanded onscreen calendar.
For a TELEPHONE!
I miss the days of soup cans and string. The only options were tomato or cream of asparagus.
Back when I was a kid, running through the tar pits with my pet brontosaurus, Rover, telephones hung on walls or perched on tables. They did not move.
There were only three things you could do with them - talk, listen or thwack your little brother with the receiver. Option 3 was the most fun, but you had to wait for your mom's back to be turned and your little brother to be in the very short range of the phone.
To take a picture with a phone, one would need a Kodak Brownie and duct tape. Duct tape a Bell & Howell 8 mm movie camera atop that, and you had video. Musical ringtones would take a 45 rpm record player, a lot more tape and a backpack.
This is why we pretty much used telephones for talking only. Unless Mom's back was turned.
The downfall began with the introduction of answering machines. Suddenly, nobody picked up their phones because they'd recorded sickeningly cute and clever messages.
Telephones had become toys.
When cellular phones were born, about 87 percent of all conversations began with the phrase, ''You'll never guess where I'm calling from.''
After that, phones just got weird.
Texting turned the phone into a typewriter. A 30-second conversation the old-fashioned way - talking - now could be handled in 15 minutes. For difficulty points, automatic spellcheckers were added to substitute words and change the meanings of messages.
Your little brother now thwacked you for saying something you didn't know you said.
People filled their toys - I mean, telephones - with apps. Telephones morphed into devices on which you read your daily Tribune Chronicle, play Angry Birds, map routes, scan bar codes, take photos, spin karaoke, look up movie times, find scores for sports you didn't know existed, track your pregnancy, and even use your phone as a flashlight.
One friend said, ''The only thing I don't use my phone for is to make phone calls.''
So how come any one of the three people who still actually talk on their phones do so while sitting in a restaurant booth behind me? Trust me, the rest of us patrons don't care to hear the details of Aunt Gertie's gall bladder surgery as a side dish to our spaghetti.
Let's go back to soup cans and string.
True, that will make it harder for the office to track me down. And that's just the beginning of the benefits.
With soup cans and string, once again phones will be used only for their natural purpose - talking.
And you can eat in peace. Most restaurants discourage you from bringing your own food into the establishment. Soup cans count. But if an obnoxious cell soup caller tries it, a string is no match for a steak knife.
I just have one bug to work out - how will I ever know what time it is without looking at my phone? If only there were small, wireless clocks you could carry about your person, say strapped to your elbow or something. ... Let me make some calls and work on that.
----- Message Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring him on on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.