iPhone 3.0 – An Untethered View

To all those I know who are Apple-onians (or is it Apple-ites?) –

First, let me say that I think the iPhone is a very cool device. I may even end up with one. Soon.

But before I drink the Kool-Aid and join the cult, while I still have a teeny, weeny bit of objectivity left, I have to stifle my snickering for a moment and point out a few things from the Apple launch web page for this new model http://www.apple.com/iphone/iphone-3g-s/   (link  kindly provided by my friend and Apple Guy – Floyd).

First, and the winner by a landslide is: “Cut, copy, and paste words and photos, even between applications.” Imagine that, “even between applications.” Earth shattering. Now if I could only have more than one app open at once…

A close second is: “You can even forward one or more messages to others.” I hope you were sitting down for that one.

My personal favorite, but the irony would probably be lost on most: “Internet Tethering – Surf the web from practically anywhere. Now you can share the 3G connection on your iPhone with your Mac notebook or PC laptop.

Tethering is not currently offered in the U.S. and some other countries. See your carrier for availability.”  

Unfortunately, I don’t have a font small enough to approximate the 2 point used on the web site. Only in America. Or perhaps only on AT&T’s sclerotic  network already overwhelmed by all you iPhoners sending each other photos. Or Facebook updates. Or Twitter feeds. Or whatever it is you do with those things. Just wait until iPhone users jailbreak their way into clogging the network with all the videos they can shoot with the new model. Can you say “All circuits are busy now. Please try your call again later.”? I think you can.

A somewhat techie thing: Maximum operating altitude: 10,000 feet (3000 m). It’s a really good thing we didn’t use an unlocked iPhone as our GSM phone in South America. It would have exploded at the altitudes we were at.

A somewhat more techie thing.

Q. What is missing from this list?:

Video playback

Video formats supported: H.264 video, up to 1.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Low-Complexity version of the H.264 Baseline Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; H.264 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Baseline Profile up to Level 3.0 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

 A. Flash support. Adobe Flash is the web standard used for video, animation and applications. It is by far the ubiquitous standard for video playback on the web, e.g. YouTube, etc., with over 90% market share. I think there’s some deeply rooted emotional scarring around Apple’s competing Quicktime standard being among those sharing the remaining 10%. Consequently, I’m not holding my breath for Flash on the iPhone, as much as millions would like to see it.

There’s lots more that’s missing from the iPhone platform, even with 3.0, but it’s hard for people who are already down the rabbit hole to appreciate that, being addled by the apps as they are. If you are wondering what the iPhone could be, in the way of capabilities, OS functionality, business tool synch, etc., spend a little time with a Blackberry tied to a corporate BB server or, better yet, take a look at webOS on the Palm Pre. They are way ahead in areas that matter. But then again, so was Beta, but we all bought VHS.

Yes, the iPhone definitely has sexier apps, and the AppArmy will ensure that it will dominate in that area from this day forward, mark my words, unto the end of time (as we know it). So no matter what, iPhone owners will always be able to just shake it and it will do something incredibly cool and fun. Even if it’s just to entertain the kids, as our friends Jay and Alice demonstrated to stunning effect for us in NYC last week. iPhone as kid tranquilizer. Who knew?

And before you all start burning crates of apples on my front lawn (as if I had a front lawn), I’d like to remind all of you that I used to write software for Macs. I’m not an Apple basher. I’m just not a member of the cult. Yet.

One thought on “iPhone 3.0 – An Untethered View

  1. Gary

    You make some very valid points regarding the iPhone. Actually, the arguments you make regarding the lack of features or “grandstanding” of features that are really commonplace in other devices are arguments die-hard apple fans have been making since the iPhone’s introduction. While I’ve never really been a “Mac Guy”, I did buy the iPhone on the first day of its release. After using the old iPhone for one day, I knew it was something that would change portable computing and communications forever. That is a bold statement, but let me point out several factors that brought me to that conclusion. First, the overall design was something never seen before (publicly) in a phone or computers. The design is simple and clean. It lacks buttons, lights, bells, and whistles. So visually it is not intimidating. Second the operating system is intuitive and “clean”. The iPhone never came with an owner’s manual….remember the Motorola RAZR? The RAZR had a manual the size of the VDEG! I think anyone can pick this thing up and start using the basic functions without any assistance. Finally….and I hate to mention this one, but it’s all the iTunes media and support. I broke my first iPhone while off-roading (wasn’t pretty), but when I bought my new one, brought it home and plugged it into iTunes….VIOLA!!! all my contacts, music, documents, etc. popped into the new phone like nothing ever happened. As for the iTunes media….I’ve taken classes (via podcasts) from UC Berkley, I’ve taken Spanish lessons (also from podcasts), I’ve bought music, and RENTED movies…….movies I watched on my TV by plugging the iPhone into the TV using composite cables!!!! So there’s my justifications, however your arguments about the lack of features…..I put the blame solely on us…all Americans. Asians and Europeans have been using GSM and 3G technology for several years, probably since the mid-90’s. In fact, I’ve read stats where 70% of all South Koreans are watching digital TV via cell phone. Asians and Europeans are “early adoptors” generally speaking. They’re willing to try new technology and accept change. Look how long and difficult it has been for the US to complete the “digital TV transition”. In fact, look how long it took to get digital TV! Americans usually “stick to what has worked”. Computer literacy in this country is lacking. Powerful societies, economies, and countries have always been driven by technology. So let me hop off this soapbox and get back to the iPhone. It is my opinion that the features are incrementally introduced because that is the pace we (Americans) will accept it at. Like I said, the first iPhone was revolutionary…had Apple thrown in GPS, compasses, video, 3G, video conferencing, etc……it would have been sensory overload for most people……..maybe even me, since I’m an American!