As a Muslim, the most sacred days in my calendar are Eid-ul-Adha and Eid-ul-Fitr, but a Macworld Stevenote is right there in bronze position.
So it doesn’t have a matter transportation pad, captive singularity fuel cell or time travel UI, but the mythical iPhone is finally with us…so significant, it gets its own tab on the Apple site.
So what can this baby do?
It’s an iPod, it’s a phone and, I guess, it’s a web tablet (I’m trying not to say c*nvergence). Remember all those Apple patent filings? Apple’s squeezed many of them into its iPhone…it’s actually strangely reminiscent of the FIC-GTA001.
The iPhone’s two-megapixel camera, wifi, Bluetooth and quad-band GSM radios are of less interest that the software, UI layer and integration with OS X. Apple’s ability to reimagine the user experience around a bunch of commodity technologies is, I believe, their real strength.
iPhone’s iPod experience remains the same, but adds ‘Coverflow’ visual navigation from iTunes 7 as well as automagically managing volume levels during incoming calls.
The phone itself is really the killer-app and seems to remove some of the pain points of mobile handsets…
- clever call management, using gestures to conference calls together.
- visual selection of voicemails for playback (is this carrier dependent?)
- an iChat-style SMS application with onscreen keyboard.
Notably, the phone UI utilises the same metaphors as the OS X desktop, particularly synchronisation with iPhoto, iTunes and Address Book as well as widgets analagous to Apple’s Dashboard.
As mesmerised as I am by the iPhone, I can’t help thinking that it hasn’t really moved telephony along that much today. I wonder…
- How open is the hardware and software for third-party developers; as open as Dashboard or as closed as iPod?
- Why Apple didn’t include GPS?
- Will developers be able to replace or bypass Apple’s onboard software?
- Why Apple didn’t bypass carriers and go straight to consumers with unlocked phones - maybe they’ll still do that?
- Will we see Skype, GTalk and other VoIP/VoIM services ported to iPhone?
- Can I run Windows Mobile using Parallels (just kidding!)?
- Any possibilities to build crowdsensing applications?
- Can developers get to the basic telephony data and APIs to really reinvent telephony.
- Will Apple address the 10 Things I Want From My Phone and My Cellco.
- If I drop it will it scratch? ;)
- Is the enclosure a fingerprint magnet like the black iPods, or a sweat-repelling metallic sheen like little nano?
- Will I need bigger pockets?
The themes of openness and hackability are the basis of Emerging Telephony, it’s not clear whether Apple has launched some emerged telephony in a shiny box, or really has changed the game enough for carriers to alter their entrenched positions. Now if Apple come along to ETel, we’ll know they’re serious :)
If I was still employed by Orange, I’d be compelled to make an incompatibility metaphor about ‘Apples & Oranges’…but if you’re listening Jobs, I’ll happily take one of the shiny little fellas off your hands :)