Coveting the iPhone

Yeah, I’m gonna get one. And I’m getting one despite all the haters out there. I need another iPod (I have an old 10g pre-video model). And this thing does everything my Blackberry, Cell Phone, and iPod do now. I love my iPod. The other two, I’m not so much in love with. My Blackberry is utilitarian, but it isn’t very good at what it does. The iPhone looks like a much better message and mail handler, along with a much better web browser (which is roughly half my Blackberry usage) and is such a terrible phone that I carry a Nokia along with it. That’s three things in my pocket, three things that I have to keep charged, and two of the three that I carry simply because they suck the least out of the market.

Even at that, the things that people are complaining about don’t bother me.

The price

An iPod already costs $300-500. I paid $100 for my phone, ALONG with signing up for a 2 year contract (with Cingular, luckily.) My Blackberry likely cost the company several hundred dollars. I can get an 8gig iPod and still be coming out ahead. It is not overpriced if you are actually going to use it.

Wireless Sync

No thank you, I would rather have my data on my iPhone than your data. Think about it. Syncing means being able to replace or delete or read every bit of data on the device. When you sync an iPod, you own it (as in pwn). How do you defend against this? Make users verify on the device that they want to sync? BZZZZZZZ. Yeah, I really want to get 9 million “Do you really want to sync your iPhone with ‘BIGGER PEN!S N0W!!!!!!’?” messages when I happen to wander into a hotspot (either set up by an asshole or pwned by a botnet.) No thanks.

Put a password on it? And what? Hope that your phone (and if you are really using it, your life) can withstand a dictionary or brute force attack? Hope that there isn’t a vulnerability in the syncing protocol? Hope that it can’t be sniffed when you do it at home by the guy in the next apartment over, or the one driving by on the street? That’s a lot of hoping, buddy. I don’t think it is such a big deal to plug in a cord that you have to use to charge it anways.

No G3

Yawn. You’re going to be using it in hotspots most of the time. When (not if) this thing takes off, businesses are going to be climbing all over each other to put hotspots in so you don’t leave and go next door. Malls will start having hotspots covering the whole mall so the kids don’t all try to pack into the Starbucks. More importantly, this would be a tech support nightmare for Apple. I don’t mean that it is unreliable. I mean that people are dopey.

People get “WiFi”. They know what hotspots are. People don’t know the difference between different wireless data protocols. Apple will put G3 in when the carriers make G3 universal like Cingular has done now. Apple is not going to waste money dealing with tech support calls of “why is my iPhone super fast when I am at my friend’s house, but super slow at my Aunt’s house?” And they are going to ask, “is your aunt within the EDGE coverage area or the GPRS area?” And the caller is going to say, “WAAAA, MY iPHONES IS BROKED, FIX IT!!!”

Nah. Jobs is smarter than that.

Cingular

So a lot of people hate Cingular. First, qq more and then grow up. All networks suck. If you think yours is great, you just haven’t been on it long enough. So what do I speculate that the deal is with Cingular? I think they are riding the tiger. Jobs is in the driver’s seat. This thing is going to he huge and anyone with half a brain in the industry knows that. Apple could slap it’s logo on a turd with one of those curly pigtail antennas shoved in it and make $20 million on it. The only question is who else gets a cut of that?

First, I don’t think Apple gave them a sweetheart deal. I think that Cingular agreed to update its voicemail to match Apple’s specs, and in return, they get to sell the first 10 million units to fanboys like me, and all they get is the regular retail markup like retailers get on iPods. And if they don’t like it, they can get a ROXR shoved up thier ass sideways and Apple will back out of the deal. They aren’t even saying if they are giving a discount if subscribers take a 2 year deal. And I think that is because not only is Apple not giving them a big discount (if any) but I doubt Apple has given them any guarantees to plug up holes that people use to unlock it.

Apple probably told them, “yeah, we will give you units that are setup to work on just your network.” And Cingular said, “good, and you will push out updates to fix it if someone unlocks it, right?” And Apple probably said, “…” And Cingular said, “Right?” And Apple said, “you know what, you don’t get it, so never mind. I’m gonna call this guy at T-Mobile…” and Cingular said “Wait! Wait! We’ll do whatever, just let us have this money.”

Third Party Software

Two points on this. First, the tech support issue. This thing is going to use all the horsepower it has just doing this. I’m also betting that there is another flash chip hiding in there beyond the storage (1gig? 2 gig? 4 gig?) holding the system and apps. Apple is very controling of the Experience. Hell, that is what I am planning to buy. Apple does not want to deal with calls from people who can barely figure out how to run an iPod about why thier iPhone is running slow, or even worse, crashing. When Apple tells them, “you need to stop reinstalling Hello Kitty Island Adventure every time we have to do the factory reset and fix it”, it’s QQ time again.

It is much better to sell them apps (from the iTMS) that Apple knows work (and gets a cut of.) This is also where they can really kick Sony and Nintendo in the ding-ding, if they can get some really cool MMO games on it. Not only that, there are some killer apps that I expect to see Apple selling real soon, like iSims (my mother would never put the thing down. And Apple already sells EA games for iPods.)

How is Apple going to kill with this?

The same way they killed with the iPod. First, it is the first thing of its kind that doesn’t suck. My Blackberry can do nearly everything the iPhone is going to do, in a sucky, shitty, aggravating way. Just like MP3 players before the iPod. And what is going to, more importantly, lock people into the iphone? Accessories. The Dock Connector.

Apple already pushes audio, video and data through it. What else are we going to get? Things that the haters are bitching about. More storage. GPS. Battery power. Not only that, but Bluetooth is going to take off, too. If I had a hardware company, I would have a crash project running to make an iPhone case that has a fold out Bluetooth keyboard on it. I don’t see mice being a big deal if the screen works well (and I really doubt Apple would bother releasing it if it didn’t. We would instead see a big click wheel made out of the edge.) Bluetooth car adapters (for both the phone and the music.) Bluetooth wearable cameras. Dock connector game controllers. Dock connector VGA outputs. Dock connector HDMI outputs. An army of accessories, all either optimized and labeled for the iPhone through Bluetooth or the Dock.
Here’s my killer accessory. A dock connector that wirelessly transmits SVGA with a little dongle receiver. Match that up with a copy of Keynote on the phone. Hell, that might even put a serious dent in Powerpoint. (Although I’m sure a PPT viewer would follow quickly.)

Apple is going to start printing money come June.

9 Comments

  1. DA says:

    There’s a lot to like, but the following quote isn’t one of them for me: “Apple is very controlling of the Experience.”

    That doesn’t work for me. Obviously, it will for millions of others. My best hopes for the iPhone is that it will spur other companies to wake up. Hopefully they don’t take away from Apple that they know how I should use my phone better than I do, but otherwise there are a lot of lessons to learn.

    I get why. But I want no part of being treated like a Hello Kitty fan. Hawkins has something in the works (for several years now it seems) to be announced this year, and I’m hoping it gives people like me an alternative. The iPhone is drool-worthy, but it has some deal-breakers.

  2. Phelps says:

    Yeah, like all those really cool MP3 players out in since the iPod changed the market? Let me know how this plan works out in the next five years.

  3. DA says:

    Jeff Hawkins at Palm has been reportedly working on a new 3rd device, not a smartphone and not a PDA. A lot of people were theorizing that it would be a device like the iPhone. At the end of last year, they said they would announce it this year. It would have (if indeed it is a similar device) an inferior OS compared to Apple, but I’m otherwise hopeful. I’d rather have an inferior OS that I can use as I please than a legendary one that’s locked up.

  4. triticale says:

    What do you have to say about the allegation that the ciscoPhone doesn’t have a user-replaceable battery? Aside from being another Apple insult to the rest of us, this would make it unuseable for me.

  5. Phelps says:

    I don’t see it as a big deal. I’ve never had to replace a battery on a cell phone (three in ten years) or an iPod (2 in four years.) All of them have had other mechanical problems. Even at that, replacing an iPod battery isn’t that big a deal. I already have two car chargers and two wall chargers for iPods, so I won’t have any problem keeping one charged.

    (Cell Phone 1: Broken battery latch, wouldn’t hold any battery
    Cell Phone 2: Toilet encounter
    iPod 1: Dropped in parking lot, click-o-death from HD)

  6. DA says:

    The biggest advantage of user replaceable batteries is the ability to swap spares on the road (and 3rd party extended life batteries). Palm has also been historically stubborn about making that possible. It’s never stopped me from replacing and even upgrading the battery, but I don’t really have the time to pull out my uber-tiny torx screwdriver and do surgery under those circumstances.

    Apple can make up for this with a quick-charge battery extender, basically an external battery that hooks up for 5-10 minutes to recharge the internal. Not that big a deal.

  7. Phelps says:

    They already have external batteries for iPods. I’m sure they will work with iPhones.

  8. R says:

    Yeah. I agree with this post.

  9. […] So I guess I was right when I described this deal: Apple probably told them, “yeah, we will give you units that are setup to work on just your network.â€? And Cingular said, “good, and you will push out updates to fix it if someone unlocks it, right?â€? And Apple probably said, “…â€? And Cingular said, “Right?â€? And Apple said, “you know what, you don’t get it, so never mind. I’m gonna call this guy at T-Mobile…â€? and Cingular said “Wait! Wait! We’ll do whatever, just let us have this money.â€? […]