in Mobile Phones

Shall we write about iPhone ? Well, yes!

20060110iPhone.jpgI think that 90% of the posts I’ve read today are iPhone related. Yesterday I was following the Steve Jobs keynote and while I was listening at him my first reaction was “I want one of those. Now!”.

This was emotional. When the speech ended and emotions started to fade I came up with some more detailed impressions on the iPhone.

What I (really) like:

  • Design: It’s one of the most impressive phone design I have seen in years.
  • Screen: 3,5″ with 320×480 pixels resolution and 160dpi make this a big guy. From the photos I’ve seen on the internet it looks very sharp. I think that durability will need to be verified over time (Rememeber the iPod nano scratch issue)
  • MultiTouch: with some reserve. We should really try to understand how it works before saying anything. From a User Experience point of view not having tactile feedback from key presses is not a very good thing.
  • WiFi and Bluetooth: even if it’s not really clear which functionality they will support.
  • Internet Apps: Safari, Widgets, Google Maps, Yahoo e-mail push.
  • Sensors: not really new technology but great use in this device.
  • Max OS X: Cool. Even if it will be a stripped down version of the OS it’s a great choice. Some implications need to be considered. Will third parties be allowed to develop applications for this handset ? The great success of Symbian based devices really comes from this. Will these developer will be willing to add another platform to their current offer ? A final observation on the implementation of Mac OS X. At the end of the day it’s a Unix based OS derived from BSD. We see plenty of Linux based portings to small devices (Linux on iPod just to say one) so it does not seem a big deal to me.

What I do not like:

  • GSM/EDGE: Well if we want to talk about Mobile Internet you should look at something different. The main point is that U.S. is not Europe and I think this was the only approach they could take on this subject. Actually Steve Jobs said that 3G will come later.
  • The battery could not be removed. Probably this a consequence of the design in order to spare some space on the device. It’s going to be an issue for heavy users that will need to send their phone to service when the need to change the battery will arise.
  • No room for memory expansion. You could not use any kind of memory card on this device.
  • No support for Miscrosoft file format like Powerpoint, Excel, Word. (Maybe this will solved if third party developers will be allowed to develop applications for this)
  • No support for Exchange based e-mail. (Maybe this will solved if third party developers will be allowed to develop applications for this)
  • No integrated TV: what it can be, DVB-H, MediaFlo, DMB.
  • No integrated iTunes store download over the air.
  • I have not seen mentioned MMS but only SMS.
  • 2 Megapixel camera: I think this is pretty low quality. The standard for this on this kind of devices seems to be 3.2 Megapixels.
  • 2 years contract with Cingular.
  • I do not really understand how the MultiTouch interface could work on a web browser when you will need to select a link. Possibly the only key on the iPhone will be a rocker but I have not been able to find out if it’s a rocker or not.

Other considerations:

  • Steve Jobs said that “Voice is the killer application“. Is this a soft way to say to other operators that they will keep all the money coming from iTunes purchases ? Since the iPhone will be seen from iTunes as an iPod it’s quite clear that it will not be able which purchases will be sitting on the PC and which on the iPhone. So, no money for operators.
  • Can the iPhone be considered a Smartphone? I think no, at least as it was presented yesterday.
  • Switching between WiFi and GSM/EDGE. It’s not really clear what this means. I presume it will be only for data connections since there was no mention of any different mean to make voice calls. This can be an issue for operators too.
  • The iPhone is going to be an icon for consumer market just like Blackberry is for the business market. Apple has lot of brand power to spend of this and they will spend. Not sure what will come after. It’s such a different product that they will need to make a clear roadmap for future development if they will want to capitalize as they have done with the iPod family. Just wandering if Steve Jobs is thinking that customer will have to change their iPhone once a year as he said for iPod a while ago.
  • We will need to wait some months to understand how the iPhone will be introduced in the Euopean and Asian market. Will they gor for exclusivity with some operator with operations in different countries? (Vodafone, Tim, Hutchison, etc)
  • It’s quite clear that the brand power and the features of this phone will be able to beat any issues on usability and functionality.

Will I buy it ?

Well, that’s sure, but I’ll wait for 3G and, possibly, HSDPA.