It's just a (3G) phone

Update: The keynote video is now available in iTunes, for those of you who prefer decent quality.

Knowing stuff in advance kinda spoils the fun, but nevertheless I found the WWDC keynote (or such aspects of it as could be made apparent from here) entertaining in several regards.

Even before Steve made the specs for the 3G model a matter of public record, I seriously considered going through my monstrous iPhone link collection (only about half of which is public) and pointing out the most extreme cases of fanboyism (a good deal of which came to the forefront during the past weekend).

But then I started envisioning all the “shock and awe” posts about how it is still the best thing since sliced bread despite having practically nil hardware enhancements, and decided it wasn’t worth my time. There are going to be all sorts of naff rationalizations about why the 3G model is the way it is, and believe me, most of them won’t have a clue as to why.

Of course there are a lot of people who won’t care about the flat feature curve – i.e., same camera, same pretty much everything except for a US$0.30 GPS chip and (I can’t believe people cheered this) a decent headphone jack1.

Not really a major upgrade, right? Yep. But it’s available in white now2.

And that’s about all I can legitimately say on the matter, except for two things:

  1. it all makes perfect sense, in an Appley-twisty-strategy sort of way. Most people just haven’t figured it out yet, and believe me, it doesn’t take any inside information to do it – you just have to think back and remember how Apple tackled new markets over the years (not that most people remember).
  2. with the 2.0 firmware and Exchange support, it now makes perfect sense for me to use one on a daily basis, although I still think not building in MMS support is a faux pas of colossal proportions as far as the European market is concerned. It is just tremendously useful in a way that e-mailing photos can’t possibly match.

Update: Regarding MMS, for the naysayers – just because it isn’t immediately useful to you doesn’t mean it isn’t in (very) common use elsewhere. One of the major driving factors for its adoption has been the availability of “send as MMS” options in most modern cameraphones, and automatic or factory-set settings by mobile operators that know what they’re doing (full disclosure: I work for Vodafone Portugal – all our phones are shipped in this way, and MMS is pretty popular in my family and friend circles).

It’s The Price, Stupid!

But, of course, the Nokia-bashing price point is the one thing that is going to make all the difference.

At $199 maximum price, even I am going to buy one with my own money and be a “regular” user for a change. My birthday isn’t due for a few months, but an 8GB iPhone is likely to be (at least) less than half the price of an E71 (which is what I believe to be the best Nokia device for me at this point).

Now I believe they’ll sell 10 million this year. Even though it’s a drop in Nokia’s ocean, it’s going to be interesting see exactly how many they do sell.

Two more things I’d like to cover before I dip offline again3:

The SDK and Sample Apps Don’t Matter

Games. Super Monkey Ball. OK, fine. I own a Wii, I know “Nintendo”“:com/Nintendo has proven that casual gaming is on the rise, I can dig the potential market share. And at $9.99 a pop, there’s some interesting revenue in there.

But one thing to keep in mind is that no matter how cool today’s apps are, they won’t be the ones making the platform. The real killer apps are the ones we don’t know about yet.

Update: Since some people didn’t quite get what I meant, allow me to rephrase: today’s SDK and demo apps are meaningless, and the real news about the SDK broke out months ago anyway. It’s pretty much obvious that what matters is the platform (there, I said it). That is what their competition needs to worry about, since only Android seems to have comparable technical glitz and new developer mindshare4.

The real news for me today is the push notification service, which means Apple is in touch with all iPhones anywhere (and maintaining persistent connections, which has interesting implications for mobile networks).

Privacy nuts are going to have a field day with this one (and XMPP nuts are going to start crawling out of the woodwork any second now saying it ought to be done their way…). Still, I’m mostly concerned by the effect on the mobile network, even though it shouldn’t be worse than push e-mail is today.

I’m also curious about other stuff regarding apps (the possibility of doing OTA downloads under 10MB and the enterprise app distribution model, which bypasses the AppStore), but those can wait until I get a device for myself or upgrade my iPod Touch (again, but for a slightly more sensible $9.99).


Just FYI, redirects to Apple as of, oh, half an hour ago or so. I’m not especially thrilled by it, although I suppose it is what Apple hinted at when they told me they were improving things a few weeks back.

But there is an interesting tidbit I didn’t mention publicly yet.

You see, as part of the .Mac complaint I sent Apple a while back, I included a link to my .Mac missed opportunities post. Which, if you’ll take the time to read it in a pre-iPhone mindset, pretty much nails down all the basics – it’s only a couple of years off.

So yeah, the first thing that crossed my mind when I read the rumors about MobileMe was “finally, they get it”.

The second was that I sure hope they use SSL this time around – it’s not in the FAQ they just posted…

1 Some people would jump off a bridge if it had an Apple logo on it, period.

2 The best comment on the availability of a white model so far came from pfig, who asked if people who owned white iPhones were members of the Space: 1999 cast…

3 Despite my being on vacation this week, in between unpacking, cleaning, housekeeping, the kid building up a slight fever (and a monumental temper) following an inoculation and my having actually dozed off for a bit during the afternoon, the WWDC wasn’t that much fun – I expect that when I get decent video of it I’ll find it truly entertaining, provided I have time to watch it…

4 And please don’t go on about how Symbian or Windows Mobile have such and such number of developers or existing applications. Both of them are over the hill development-wise, and new developers want different things, including a brand new, “green fields” market where anyone can make it big.

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