Move On, Rumormongers: The iPhone Is Finally Real

from the looks-like-an-iNewton dept

Steve Jobs finally fulfilled the wishes of a million Apple fanboys by today announcing the iPhone in his Macworld keynote address. As you’d expect, it’s flashy and a little bit different: a 3.5-inch hi-res screen that covers the entire face of the device — and it’s a touchscreen, so there’s no standard keypad or keyboard. The music, video and photo functionality looks pretty great, and if the iPod’s anything to go by, syncing the device with a computer should be pretty simple. It also features a version of the Safari web browser, and it’s integrated with different Google and Yahoo services in what appears to be a pretty nice way. Some basic specs are out — GSM/EDGE support, two-megapixel camera, Bluetooth and WiFi — but plenty of questions linger, especially for some details about Jobs’ statement that the device runs OS X. Battery life is going to be a significant concern (though Apple claims it will get 5 hours “of talk time, video, and browsing”, or 16 for audio only), and the multi-touch user interface (which uses fingers instead of a stylus for pointing) looks like it could be a bit too complex for many users. For instance, dialing a phone is no longer the straightforward tapping of a keypad; it requires calling up a virtual keypad, then tapping on the screen, with no tactile feedback. The iPhone, overall, seems pretty slick, but at first glance, this device seems to be a really advanced iPod with a phone bolted on, more than anything. Surely that will impress a fair amount of advanced users, but for the vast majority of people whose primary interest is in having just a phone, it’s overkill — particularly when it’s going to cost them at least $500 and a two-year contract for service from Cingular when it’s launched in June.


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Comments on “Move On, Rumormongers: The iPhone Is Finally Real”

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53 Comments
Petréa Mitchell says:

Re: Re:

“It looks like a PSP and an IPod had a baby”

It looks like my PDA, with better resolution but without the stylus interface I love so much. I wonder how many people are going to destroy their $500 phones trying to clean the screen after it gets all smudged and oily?

(Now, if I could actually make occasional phone calls from my PDA for a reasonable price, that would be neat…)

Michael Long says:

Not for everyone, but...

I agree it’s not for the “I just want a phone” types, but it is a pretty heavy shot across the bow for Treos, Blackberry’s, PDAs, and WinCE-based “smart” phones.

None of which are really known for their user interface’s either. Heck, how many buttons, clicks, and so on do I need to make a simple address book phone call on my RAZR?

Anonymous Coward says:

Touch screen no good

Forget about changing a song or turning down the volume on this thing while trying to hide it in your pocket.
Forget about making a call while driving (I know one shouldn’t do it, but we all do – and the reason we’re able to is because of physical buttons).
Not for me, that’s for sure. Also, $500 WITH a 2 year contract….. ouch!

Bumbling old fool (profile) says:

Re: 2 megapixel cam? Meh.

No you wouldn’t. The optical technology has not yet caught up to the point that the 5 megapixel image would actually look any better than the 2 megapixel image.

There is a finite limit to the ability of those tiny lenses. Sadly, 2 megapixels is already on the other side of that limit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: 2 megapixel cam? Meh.

Wow, that’s pretty interesting. Care to share a link to more about this information or are we just supposed to accept that you’re the end-all be-all of camera lens guru’s? Sure would be nice… you know, to help out those of us who aren’t quite as intelligent as you.

sceptic says:

Re: Re: Re:2 2 megapixel cam? Meh.

Although you are right, you didn’t have a link to back up your statement in the first place, so just telling him to shut up because he doesn’t have support for his questioning your unsupported statement… that’s just silly.
But yeah, 5 mega pixel cell phone cameras are useful for taking pictures of noise.

Witty Nickname says:

Smart phones

I remember when my boss asked me to try out the latest batch of Smart phones from Cingular and decide which one the company should purchase for IT and Execs, I got to try out 6 phones for 3 days each. In that time I decided I would NEVER choose a touch screen phone.

I would sit on the couch, lean up against the arm rest and the couch touched the send button, happened several times and called the last dialed number, my wife was very irate until the couch hit the speaker button and I realized what was going on.

You can lock the touch screen, but then it is a hassle to make a call. Ended up getting blackberrys with the thumb wheel.

Maybe there is a solution to where the phone could tell if it is in the holdster, or maybe sensors to detect the heat of your hand so it knows you are holding it? I hope Apple has found a way around this problem, it was VERY annoying to me, and I was happy I was only stuck with the phone for a few days and had not spent hundreds of dollars on it.

misanthropic humanist says:

mmmm iphone, mmmm

Amazing screen resolution. I bet the manufacturing process to get the pixels fail rate down for consistent quality was a tough one. And the styling, so sexy. No antennas or bits flopping out, no folding hinges to break, very star trek. Simplicity = robustness, though I wonder how that screen weathers – wasn’t that the problem with the first iPods? If you lose the touch interface (presumably capacitive) you lost the whole input to the device.

No talk about battery life afaics, so I think that’s the hidden gotchya.

It’s not saying “portable computer” to me either. Where’s my xterm so I can ssh into a server, wheres vi and screen 🙂 – no seriously those are the tools I want first and foremost, not to actually code on but a quick login to check a server status or something.

A bit on the pricey side though too, you’d want to insure that. I guess I might get one in 2008 when iPhone2 comes out and this one has proven itself.

Very disappointing to see Jobs gloating about patents though. As if the technology didn’t speak for itself. Don’t they get it that when we see “patents” it puts us OFF a product.

Anyway, sexy hardware, so even if the software is crap and inflexible we can look forward to when the python bindings come out and a Linux kernel will run on it 🙂

John Anthony Evans says:

Re: mmmm iphone, mmmm

battery life is right there, 5 hours for voice, video etc, 16 hours for audio (I assume music)

It says it runs OS X, even being as cagy as possible says the kernel and most probably everything else to a point so I am sure there is a shell and python bindings.

IMHO I would guess that the apps can be basically dashboard widgets as they are now; XHTML, CSS and JS with bindings to deeper functionaility. They seem to be pushing this device as something that developers and users like too.

Also to everyone talking about its price etc, its Apple, its aimed at a very specific market not the mass market, I think Jobs mentioned 1% of the whole mobile market as a target.

Personally I think this thing is going to be a big hit in the same way as the iPod. Wait for iPhone nano in 2 years 😉

Witty Nickname says:

Cisco

This was taken directly off of cnn.com

There was some question as to whether Apple would be able to use the iPhone name for the device. But Cisco Systems (down $0.09 to $28.54, Charts), which owns the rights to the iPhone name, said Tuesday it expects to reach agreement with Apple later Tuesday on using the name for its device.

“Given Apple’s numerous requests for permission to use Cisco’s iPhone trademark over the past several years and our extensive discussions with them recently, it is our belief that with their announcement today Apple intends to agree to the final documents and public statement that were distributed to them last night and addressed a few remaining items,” Cisco said in a statement obtained by CNN. “We expect to receive a signed agreement today.”

Rose says:

Sweet!

Well, I went to the presentation page, scrolled down through the entire presentation and have to admit I’m impressed!

I like the user Interface, I like the idea of calling up the keyboard and other applications.

I own an iPod so the touch screen is a “no brainer” for me.

Also, I already have Cingular so it would mean an easy transition to the iPhone for me, with no need to change my number.

I’m sold! Someone buy it for me? Please?

blackrim says:

why isn't there more outrage at the price...

people were outraged at the PS3 price ($499 and $599) and this is a phone?!
also, they seem to be missing a big part of the market share where people don’t pay a dime for their phones (me and everyone i know), and have nice (cheaper than $499) 40-60Gb handheld media players.

Bumbling old fool (profile) says:

Re: why isn't there more outrage at the price...

I was… then I read all the details about the phone.

The price doesnt seem outrageous, it just seems high. I havent decided if its more than I am willing to spend or not, but I will tell you that I dont think its overpriced.

Whereas I DO think a gaming console is WAY overpriced at 600$. I balked at buying an xbox for 200$ (I was not an early adopter), and since then, my N64 has seen at least 10x more usage. No way would I spend 3x that much to buy a PS3.

However, that phone seems a whole lot more justified in it’s higher price.

Or at least thats how I feel today. We’ll see how I feel in 6 months when my VZW contract expires.

drjones says:

Re: why isn't there more outrage at the price...

I dont get why people are suprised at the price???

Look at the other smartphones with similar feature sets today, and theyre in the 600-750 range (granted they have UMTS, usually). This price isnt out of the norm at all. Hell, anytime nokia comes out with a high end N series phone, they can go up to $800+ and people buy them en mass..

NoxiousFumes says:

“people were outraged at the PS3 price ($499 and $599) and this is a phone?!
also, they seem to be missing a big part of the market share where people don’t pay a dime for their phones (me and everyone i know), and have nice (cheaper than $499) 40-60Gb handheld media players.”

Well, that aspect of the US market pisses a lot of us off, and I know I personally would have been happy to buy a phone that I can use with a variety of major carriers and go month-to-month instead of a plan.

However…

I can’t see any sane person buying for a phone that 1) requires a 2-year service contract; 2) costs $500-$600 and 3) can only be used with one carrer. No freaking way. One of those issues would be OK, but not all 3.

I’m guessing they realize that only the hardest core of Apple fans will sign on with these terms, and that this is in effect a self-selecting beta testing population. If they want this to gain acceptance, they probably need to open it up to more carriers. Failing that, it needs to be cheaper if they’re going to play vendor lock-in.

Doug (user link) says:

Hmmm … that quoting didn’t work out quite so well.

QUOTE
—–
I can’t see any sane person buying for a phone that 1) requires a 2-year service contract; 2) costs $500-$600 and 3) can only be used with one carrer.
—–

If you recall recent history, when the RAZR first hit the streets and was available for general purpose — it’s price point was … wait for it … $499! Subsidized!! So, the market already knows that people will pay $499 for a subsidized phone. It’s been done plenty of times.

The point about one carrier is an unfortunate one, but at least they chose the largest carrier … and one with HSDPA. (I’ll need to switch, but am willing to do so)

Doug (user link) says:

QUOTE
—–
Do some research before making an asinine comment. Apple’s newest toy supports push IMAP, the technology behind both Blackberry and Microsoft Push. I wouldn’t expect a Windows fanboy to educate himself past what an article tells you though. Carry On.
—–

Uh … um … ok, so there’s a verb in IMAP known as “IDLE” which is what lets you maintain a persistent connection to your IMAP box, which gives you that “push” type of mail delivery everyone uses.

I can guarantee you … RIM and Microsoft do *not* employ IMAP IDLE as a part of their push mechanisms. Try again.

Chris Maresca (user link) says:

Pretty much a clone of my BB

Well, I have to say I was underwhelmed. If you saw the presentation, you’ll have noticed that Jobs often wipes his fingers, mis-types stuff when using two hands to type and often has to wipe the screen clean from grease. That’s the drawback of a touchscreen in the real world, like the poster upthread noted.

Never mind the fact that my Blackberry can do 90% of what the iPhone can do (including Google maps, but also TelNav with voice prompts) and is available now for $200. And it has EVDOr1, which was loading the pages Jobs was browsing as fast as his WiFi connection.

Plus it’s smaller and has true push email, not battery sucking IMAP IDLE, which also requires you to have a constant data connection… I’ve used IMAP IDLE on 3 different phones and you do NOT want that, it’s terrible, esp. compared to RIM’s service.

I’ve had smartphones for almost 10 years now, first Ericssons, then a whole string of Palms and now a Blackberry. The BB was by far the easiest to learn, setup and just generally works. It’s to phones what the Mac was when I first got one in 1989 and it’s hard to see how the iPhone significantly improves on that, at least for business users.

Honestly, while I generally like what Apple does, and this phone will probably be popular with consumers (if only because it cuts the number of devices you have to carry), I can’t see that businesses will care all that much about it. Esp. since you need a extra thing to charge it, instead of a generic USB cable (one more thing to drag through airports).

Chris.

P.S. I have SSH on my BB. You don’t need either vi or screen on the phone as those run on the server….

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