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January 09, 2007

Now we know what all those patents were about

We've got 6 months to chew on Apple's new iPhone, and there's still quite a bit that's unknown: How Cingular will bill for data, the battery's standby life, and about 100 different things about the phone software. Here's a couple quick nuggets:

•I suspect the low contrast, no-container interface (look at the Safari screen shot image here for an example: The forward and back arrows sit directly in the navbar, without a containing rectangle, like Safari today) will appear on the Mac, maybe as soon as Leopard.

iPhone photo• Nobody seems to have any details about the phone running “OS X.” You can bet every Mac developer is working any available angle to find out more. I've seen one report that says it's a closed ecosystem and Apple's not even naming the processor (Update: make that two reports). Even if it is “OS X,” it's not OS X as we think of it -- you wouldn't be able to go buy FileMaker and run it on the phone. It's possible there's a super-secret version of Interface Builder and a compiler for the iPhone architecture running around in Cupertino, and Mac developers will have to redesign in the new IB and recompile for the new architecture. It will be really interesting to see how the “desktop class iPhoto, iTunes, and Safari” differ from the real thing. It may just be that, because Apple defines OS X, this phone runs OS X by definition, and the applications on the box are all it has or ever will have. If Microsoft can label every OS they sell as Windows, Apple can have three different OS X's (OS X, Server, and iPhone).

• When Jobs said the company was releasing 3 new devices, in one package, he really said a mouthful. The iPhone represents the most profitable, but by no means the only, combination of the widescreen, the touch pad, the phone, the iPod, and OS X Micro. Drop the phone, and you've got the widescreen video iPod most folks were expecting today. Drop the phone, add a keyboard, and you've got the Mac equivalent of a Pocket PC, only much cooler: it could include the multitouch interface and other touch screen goodness.

• I suspect the reason this was released as a single product, instead of a product line, is the continued success and profitability of the iPod. There are only two price points ($399, $449) between the current video iPod and the low-end iPhone, so to introduce an iPod Widescreen at $449, by dropping the radios from the iPhone, would cannibalize iPhone wireless revenue (and I'm sure Apple gets a taste of that), when Apple is confident they'll continue to sell as many video iPods and as many iPhones as they can turn out. If sales don't stack up, we'll see new combinations of the iPhone package sooner than otherwise.

Personally, I find the price high for a phone, and have never liked Cingular's data pricing. On the other hand, my previous phone lust object was the Nokia E61, which is available unlocked for between $375 and $450. Given the way the iPhone makes previous phones look like they have a crank, that may be a fair premium.

There are almost 2,000 (exactly 1984 at the moment, appropriately enough) photos tagged iPhone at Flickr tonight.

January 9, 2007 in Apple, Apple - iPod, Phone tech | Permalink

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