Richi Jennings

Stevenote launches Apple iPhone (and complaining Brits)

January 09, 2007 4:50 PM EST
Boom! It's IT Blogwatch, in which Steve Jobs asks us not to drool on his new toy. Not to mention how the British complain in a restaurant...

Ken Mingis and Yuval Kossovsky have the scoop:
Apple Computer Inc. CEO Steve Jobs took the wraps off of the company's long-awaited "iPhone" today ... The entire front of the quadband GSM phone serves as the screen ... The phone, with a screen that measures 3.5 inches diagonally, plays video and includes a 2-megapixel camera. The screen offers a higher-than-normal resolution of 160 pixels per inch ... iPhone has a proximity sensor so that when it's held up to a user's ear during a call, the user interface is turned off ... the phone will offer WiFi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity [and] comes with the company's Safari Web browser ... The iPhone does not use a keyboard, nor does it use a stylus, as many smart phones do today. The device uses new technology, called Multitouch
...
The device, which will be sold by Apple and Cingular Wireless LLC, is priced at $499 for a 4GB model and $599 for an 8GB model. It will be available in June.
Peter Cohen was there for Macworld:
Following a recording of James Brown singing, "I Feel Good," the lights of the keynote hall dimmed and Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage to thunderous applause from the crowd ... "This is a day I've been looking forward to for two and a half years," said Jobs ... "Well, today, we're introducing three revolutionary products ... a widescreen iPod with touch controls ... a revolutionary mobile phone ... a breakthrough Internet communications device. These are not three separate devices ... This is one device. And we are calling it iPhone."
Michael Santo and Alice Hill add:
It’s interesting how excited people were that he was wearing his turtleneck again. At any rate ... the phone will run OS X. There will be no keyboard. Jobs made a point of how hard keyboards are static and cannot be changed ... Yahoo! will be offering push-email (IMAP) free to iPhone customers
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Don’t know how they are going to call it iPhone unless they made a deal with Linksys since they own that trademark. I’m also not sure about no keyboard. It’s easy to dial by feel with a real keyboard, but without one? Will they simulate the feel? Voice dialing will work for most, but the lack of static keyboard says no enterprise users ... this is one nice looking phone. But as with all Mac products, where oh where is the OFF switch!?
Robert L. Mitchell calls it a, "Trojan horse":
With the iPod-on-a-phone, Apple also wheels its own walled garden - iTunes - into the carrier's domain ... the iTunes service is a full-on competitor to the carriers' music download services. One that, ironically, leverages the same type of closed, proprietary architecture ... From the consumer's standpoint the weakness of this model is obvious: if you buy the iTunes song you get only the iTunes file format, which is of lower quality than a music CD. Plus you have to put up with the awkward digital rights management restrictions ... [or] you can buy the Music CD for the same price, rip the songs and load them onto the iPod in MP3 format, a portable industry standard format. In the event that, someday, someone actually makes a music player that's as cool easy to use as the iPod, you're good to go - and you have the high fidelity version for the CD player.

So why buy iTunes, which delivers a lower quality, proprietary and nonportable file format with DRM strings attached?
Jason Fried:
Apple makes history not by leapfrogging everyone in terms of functionality and bells and whistles, they do it through elegance, simplification, clarity, and practicality. I see no reason why they won’t follow that strategy with their phone. It will change the game, but not because it does more than everyone else’s phone ... Apple will execute on the basics beautifully. Just like they did with the original Mac. Just like they did with the iMac. Just like they did with the iPod. The mobile phone world is littered with crap. The interfaces are tragic. The materials are cheap. The build quality is marginal. And of course the sound sucks.
...
The basics are the secrets of business. Execute on the basics beautifully and you’ll have a lot of customers knocking at your door. Cool wears off, usefulness never does.
Larry Dignan charts the winners and losers:
Winners:
  • Cingular: By becoming the exclusive carrier for the iPhone, AT&T's wireless unit is going to hit rivals such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint hard ...
  • Apple: The iPhone is likely to give the company another iPod like revenue stream to ride for years to come ...
  • OS X: ... As a mobile operating system it’s really great.
  • Accessory makers: There's a whole cottage industry around iPod accessories. There's no reason to think that the iPhone won't have similar tag alongs.
Losers:
  • Motorola: Company is struggling amid low-margin phone devices ... I'm already looking at my Q like its an Edsel.
  • LG, Samsung et al: These phone makers have made a big push by bundling in music with phones. Apple is going to use its iPod/iTunes juggernaut to raise big problems for other phone makers ...
  • Windows Mobile OS: Microsoft's Windows Mobile is serviceable, but it's less elegant ...
  • Sprint: The company is already struggling ... Don't be surprised if a "for sale" sign goes up on Sprint soon.
  • iPod: Huh? Don't be surprised if at least some iPod sales get cannibalized by the iPhone. After all, the iPhone is basically a bundle of phone meets iPod.
  • Research in Motion: A week ago, RIM's Pearl, also sold by Cingular, was going to be the must have phone of 2007. That title didn't last long ...
  • Palm: Company can't hit its numbers or its product timelines ...
  • The UMPC: This product category was sketchy from the beginning. Now? Looks like the iPhone may be a rival.
Over at Computerworld's new Shark Bait thingy, there's a heated debate:
It had better be able to sync with MS Exchange if they want corporate users.
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Cool gadget, but $500? And whatever fee Cingular charges? No way my boss will pay for that, unless its a business type smartphone (treo, crackberry).
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Dang it looks cool and since I was already wanting a phone/pda type device this fits the bill perfectly ... My only complaint is the built in storage size being pretty small for a device that will be able to play video.
Chris Seibold:
An unoriginal name for a very original product ... the entire auditorium was bathed in the invisible but nearly palpable Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field.
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Unbelievably cool design aside the iPhone is at its heart a smart phone, replicating the functions of the current crop of smart phones (an ever-changing-never-satisfying lineup) ... The iPhone is still a thing of compromises, but these are beautiful compromises. Seeing the iPhone and comparing it to a current smart phone is like comparing the first amphibian that crawled from the primordial muck to Aphrodite.
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Steve argued that cell phones sold almost a billion units last year which dwarfs the market for iPods or even computers. Thing is that the iPhone won’t, at a $499 price point, be competing in the cell phone market. The iPhone will be competing in the smart phone market, a much smaller market indeed.
The Grauniad's Bobbie Johnson notes that nobody can touch it yet:
Just one model on the show floor that's inside a glass case ... keeps the little blighter in a dust-free, smudge-free, finger-free place. I want to see it in use... after all, most people will remember how the nano scratched up, and if you're using a touchscreen it's even more important to keep it clean and clear.
John Scalzi drools:
I'm Walking Around With a Towel Under My Chin. Man, words really can't express how badly I want one of these new iPhones. I hate the way Apple does that -- just make you drool stupidly for something you don't actually need. But, damn it, now I'm drooling. Stupidly and uncontrollably. Guess I'll start saving my pennies.

Take a look at this thing. Tell me I'm not the only one who feels ashamed at how easily Apple has made him a slavering fool.
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And finally... How the British complain in a restaurant
Richi Jennings is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. Contact Richi at blogwatch@richi.co.uk. Less cake; more carrots.