Advantage iPhone

I know it’s not out yet and no one has really touched or used it who can say anything but there are a few details I think will seriously make a difference in favor of iPhone vs other devices. 

First, all other features aside, if it gets even close to the battery rating Apple has released it will be the only phone in this class and makes for an impressive device just on that merit. Of course companies tend to exaggerate these numbers a bit so we’ll see. 

The Apple “just works” design philosophy. You know that the iPod portion will just work as you already know today’s iPod does but with the added benefit of the new multi-touch design. You’ll easily be able to manage photos, video and podcasts, contacts and calendars all within iTunes. iTunes sync works. 

I predict that Apple has nailed device memory usage. Today I use the Nokia N95 and if I have Jaiku and Gmail running and try to launch the browser something has to give. When that something gives (one of the two apps usually is forced to quit) I am only then able to run a single small web page. If I load a page from “the full internet” I will likely run out of memory. I may get lucky and find my first page loaded fine, but if I open a link to a second page it’s game over. The iPhone will support opening 8 web pages! 

My previous bump on the iPhone, included mention of what I am currently used to on the N95 and what’s missing – 3G, MMS, Video recording, ichat and only web apps. There’s also no Flash or Java / J2ME. Thinking further about this, it seems that all of these issues are potentially resolved with software updates. We’ve already been told to expect to be “surprised and delighted” with updates. The first is here now with the release of H.264 support for YouTube in the iPhone and AppleTV. Quicktime handles the media portion on the iPhone and seems to enable instant full-screen playback which certainly optimizes the viewing experience. 

The initial development for the device is annoying I’ll give you that. I don’t find bookmarks applications, but something I heard on TWIM yesterday got me thinking that perhaps there’s more coming. The initial device is not the final product and there will likely be changes which enable the experience to grow – again surprise and delight. The other end of the browser apps deal is Google Gears. There’s already a Webkit version and now Eric Schmidt come out with this nice helpful quote: 

“What you are really asking is to see my iPhone,” he quipped before producing a handset from his pocket. “iPhone is a powerful new device and is going to be particularly good for the apps that Google is building. You should expect other announcements from the two companies over time,” he said. [Cnet]   

It’s quite likely that the iPhone will actually be using some level of your local storage at all times for apps – things defined as applications, perhaps from Google initially given their close partnership, but who knows where it’s going. Think about GMail, Google Reader and Gmaps all working with some degree of offline access. 

The N95 also has GPS which the iPhone lacks yet there’s been so much done with A-GPS and Cell-ID lately it’s still totally possible to have Location Based Services. The GMaps they demo is certainly proof of this working. 

The 2MP uncovered camera is untested and will surely pale against the N95’s 5MP Carl Zeiss covered optics, but we’ll have to see how it really snaps. My N73 has a terrific 3MP camera – though also with Carl Zeiss optics. 2MP is still far more than the average phone user is accustomed to having and I’m sure they’ll dig it. 

Think that only really leaves one considerable omission… 3G. All I can think of here is software-defined radio. There’s just no way they can sell you a 2yr contract in 2007 without some path to 3G service. It’s not like AT&T is some also-ran carrier or that cellular radios have not been previously updated. 

So yes I am completely seduced by the iPhone. I’ve rationalized and justified it to myself. At minimum, it’s an iconic consumer electronics / mobile moment, but it’s more than likely to actually be a killer device. I want one!

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15 comments for “Advantage iPhone

  1. 6/21/2007 at 4:07 pm

    As a mobile gadget addict, I want one too. Yet, with my current situation I don’t know if I can rationalize the cost to switch my family to the AT&T family plan. I have been VERY happy with T-Mobile and I already have very powerful mobile devices. Dang, though I love my MacBook Pro, my wife and daughters have iPods, I am probably getting my wife a Mac soon too and I have been an Apple user since 1989. Those dang iPhone ads don’t help either 🙂

  2. 6/21/2007 at 4:27 pm

    I was just reading that there will be iPhone specific data/voice plans and this has me a bit concerned because I want the flexibility to pop my SIM into a Nokia or Windows Mobile device if I find I am not that pleased with the touch screen only iPhone functionality.

    Do you think the data plan will be locked to just iPhone use?

  3. 6/21/2007 at 6:07 pm

    If l lived in the US I’d be camping out to get one – I simply cannot remember the last time there was this much buzz about a new device, mobile or otherwise.

    I truly believe that Apple may have pulled off a master stroke here – their timing is exquisite, if the price of the AT&T plan is appropriate, then I cannot see how it can be stopped.

    To be honest I don’t want Apple or the iPhone to be stopped, I think that a successful iPhone will be good for the entire Smart Phone market. Nokia certainly seemed to have garnered at lot of mind space seen the iPhone.

  4. 6/21/2007 at 7:08 pm

    Matt — The ads have been killing me! It’s just so slick!! No idea on the data plans yet – not sure anything is public just yet. My hope is that they (and that being ATT) don’t force certain apps to only work with cellular data vs wifi. As we know on the Nokia phones you can choose connections per app.

    They do sell Palm (PDA) plans now, but you can swap the sim and get service with other devices as I’ve done in the past. Same with BB though some things may not work – like email access. I have unlimited data on my plan with Cingular today. I’m hoping their is not some special unlimited+ plan to make us pay for premiums like maps etc… kind of how ATT does it though looking at their recent announcement on video share calls.

    James – The iPhone is definitely going to push people harder. The amount of common citizen (non geek) excitement for the device is unrivaled. I hope it means other devices makes like Nokia will have some success pushing their higher end units through without having them turned into things like the E62.

  5. 6/21/2007 at 9:07 pm

    Sadly, the deciding factor for me AGAINST this phone is Cingular. Simply no service from them at the house. As my home is my office, this is a dealbreaker.

  6. 6/21/2007 at 9:11 pm

    That’s hard to get around for sure… Too bad there’s no known VOIP option.

  7. 6/22/2007 at 12:27 pm

    Here’s a more comprehensive video tour from Apple (includes Google Maps):

    The iPhone does truly look amazing — the UI and functionality of the device is brilliant. And this is coming from a guy who historically hasn’t been a big Apple fan.

  8. 6/22/2007 at 12:30 pm

    I had just posted that actually – just amazing!

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