I like web apps as much as the next geek around here, but I find the decision (or lack therof) to make the iPhone DevKit the “Safari Engine.” Unless there’s some nifty way to make things work offline in cached mode, users are going to get frustrated quickly with the way things work. I know I’m saying all this before it’s even real, but in my experience with the various devices I’ve used (plenty… please feel free to search!) It’s much better not to have to rely on a net connection for getting things done.
Just think about the basic every day challenges of losing a connection in your browser while trying to do things like Gmail, RSS Reading, Calendaring any of the GTD web apps… and on and on. Dedicated apps can do far more often not just because they are not running in a browser (though that helps) but because the local filesystem can take full advantage of a device’s available resources. VOIP in-browser will be a no show though I’m sure that was part of the plan with ATT. No iChat for actual chat – so you are forced to use SMS. Google’s Gears which works on Webkit might make some of this better — but you need (currently) to remember to go offline first so that things sync. Otherwise, you’ll have nothing …
The latest bit is that there is limited to no flash support – perhaps the real reason behind the YouTube h.264 changes. I can’t see how running Safari in OSX will go on the majority of sites we all like to visit without Flash.
I find the iPhone very compelling, but I just keep bumping into rather annoying issues – No 3G, No iChat, only a 2MP camera, No MMS and now only web apps? $600 is a lot of cash for a device that you’ll be locked in on for 2 years when we will likely see a 2.0 release within 6 months. Apple stated they’d be looking to surprise and delight people … well there’s plenty of room for that.