The iPhone is here

So it’s official: Apple now is a phone manufacturer. With the announcement of the Apple iPhone, we can now finally assess that new product and I have to say, color me impressed. The company has managed to overcome a lot of the problems surrounding existing mobile phones and created a device that is close to what geeks like myself want: 2 megapixel camera, MP3 player, video player, phone with integrated address book, calendar, email, web browser, SMS, notepad, google maps, and support for other widgets, which makes the whole platform more extensible.

It’s a very smart move on the part of Apple, which highlighted the change in the way the company is operating by changing its name from Apple Computer, Inc. to Apple, Inc. , reflecting the fact that they are no longer just a computer company.There were a few interesting items of interest, though.

For starters, no mention of how the phone will sync up with a computer. Are we to assume that it’s Mac Only or will it synchronize with computers running Windows too? If so, does that mean that a new set of applications will be available to Windows users to sync their address book, calendar and email with systems like Outlook or will the device require to manage those things specifically using Apple applications on Windows?

The other thing that was interesting is the announcement that the phone will run on quad-band GSM and will be using EDGE network. This means that the phone will get decent but not great data service. Perfect for email and light web browsing but not quite fast enough for video streaming. However, the introduction of WiFi in the device, which many other companies have avoided for fear of losing battery capacity, could take care of that.

The other interesting thing is that the operating system on this device is OSX. This seems to point out to two possible issues: First, what does that mean for PortalPlayer, which has traditionally provided Apple with the operating system (embedded on a chip) for the iPod? The second question is what does it mean in general: What Apple has introduced is basically a mac in a small form factor, which could easily compete with the UMPC specifications introduced by Microsoft. It’s pretty clear that Apple has a lot of plans in the future for that device but they didn’t say much about the significance of OSX, providing it almost as an aside (and what does it mean for the next version of OSX, which was not mentioned during this keynote at all, a surprising omission in itself.)

Who loses?

Judging from the reaction on the stock market, it’s pretty obvious to see who loses: Palm (makers of the Treo), RIM (makers of the Blackberry), and Motorola and Nokia will obviously not be thrilled with the entrance of Apple in this market. The exclusive deal with AT&T (ooops, sorry, Cingular) will also have a negative impact on Verizon, Sprint, and T-mobile as Verizon will see a number of users switching to them in order to get their hands on this device (in informal discussion with a number of fellow geeks, the disadvantages of moving to Cingular were far outweighted by the coolness of this device).

Let’s take a quick look at specs and see how the difference devices fare against this new entrant:

Apple Motorola Nokia Palm Rim Samsung
Consumer Device iPhone Q E-62 Treo 750 Blackberry Pearl Blackjack
Price $499-599 $299 $149 $199 $199 $199
Dimensions 4.5 x 2.4 x .46 inches 4.33 x 2.52 x .45 inches 4.61 x 2.76 x .63 inches 4.44 x 2.3 x .8 inches 4.2 x 1.97 x .57 inches 4.4 x 2.3 x .5 inches
Weight 4.8 ounces 4.06 ounces 5 ounces 5.4 ounces 3.1 ounces 3.5 ounces
Screen size 3.5 inches 2.4 inches N/A N/A N/A 2.3 inches
Screen resolution 320 by 480 (at 160 pp) 320 by 240 (65k colors) 320 x 240 (16 million colors) 240 x 240 (65k colors) 240 x 260 (65k colors) 320 x 240 (65k colors)
Operating System OSX Windows Mobile Symbian Windows Mobile RIM Windows Mobile
Storage 4GB or 8GB 64 MB + MiniSD up to 2GB 80MB + miniSD up to 2GB 128MB + SD up to 2GB 64 MB + MiniSD up to 2GB 128 MB + MicroSD up to 2GB
Phone Service GSM Quad-band (MHz: 850, 900, 1800, 1900) CDMA dual band (Mhz: 800 and 1900) GSM Quad-band (MHz: 850, 900, 1800, 1900) GSM Quad-band (MHz: 850, 900, 1800, 1900) GSM Quad-band (MHz: 850, 900, 1800, 1900) GSM Quad-band (MHz: 850, 900, 1800, 1900)
Data Service Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) + EDGE 1x-EVDO/aGPS GPRS + EDGE GPRS + EDGE + UMTS tri-band (850, 1900, and 2100) GPRS + EDGE UMTS/HSDPA dual bank (Mhz: 850 and 1900)
Bluetooth 2.0 2.0 2.0 1.2 2.0 2.0
Camera 2MPP 1.3MPP N/A 1.3MPP 1.3MPP N/A
Battery talk time: 5 hours / other: 16 hours talk time: 4 hours / standby: 212 hours talk time: 5.5 hours / standby 14 days (336 hours) talk time: 4 hours / standby: 250 hours talk time: 3.5 hours / standby: 15 days (360 hours) talk time: 5.5 hours / standby:11 days (264 hours)

So looking at it, this phone is pretty expensive (you pay for the Apple premium) but packs a lot more features than other phones in the same category. It’s got a better camera, more memory and a larger screen as well as WiFi. It’s talk time (for the category) is actually pretty good (only bested by Nokia’s E-62) and it is a little heavier than the competition. For a first entry in the market, I’d say that Apple has a winner on its hands.

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I believe that the phone will sync to the computer via iTunes (at least that is what I understood from the keynote). That should at least solve the music/video syncing on the PC. It is still not clear how the address book and photos will sync on the PC.

Regarding the syncing – Steve mentioned that it will sync via iTunes and will work on both Windows and Macs, much like the contacts and calendars sync with iPods on both platforms today.

Except that it won’t be available for 6 months by which time each of those others will have something else on the market.

That said, the extra cost for the iPhone is compensated for by the overall integration of all the features, and the patented user interface which I think makes everyone else’s look like toys.

Other than the really cool UI, this phone is a ripoff, especially compared to the Nokia E series. I have an E70, and it has -more- features, and is not locked to any provider, particularly a sh*t one like Cingular (I used to be a victim/customer of theirs). Steve’s crap about ‘first full browser’ was a bit of a lie. Safari? Oh come on already! The Nokia E70 has a great browser, and does Google Maps too. The killer feature for me is the SIP -over-802.11, which works great. And I can put whatever damn SIM card in that I want. It cost me $300. unencumbered by contract.

That predictable bile deposited, I have to say that what will be interesting about this phone is what is NOT revealed at this point. Can it be unlocked? Can it take 3rd party software via a reasonably open API? How about a SIP client? (I’m -very- happy that roach-motel-ware Skype did not come to this party). Does it have His Steveness’ disease with respect to changing the battery? How will the touch-screen surface look after a few weeks of greasy fingerprints and pocket-scratches?

I suspect this phone has one feature that none of the others have:
it’ll integrate well with the Mac. The smart phones and PDAs I’ve used
for the last decade have all sucked when it came to working with any
system that wasn’t Windows. Windows Mobile in particular comes to
mind: they castrated the bluetooth so that it wouldn’t talk to most
devices directly, so while I can swap files, print, and otherwise use
my Nokia 6682 with most anything that did Bluetooth, the Windows
Mobile phones couldn’t. But the nokia doesn’t stack up so well either
– the only way to get text into the “Notes” application on the phone
is via Outlook (*not* Outlook Express) on a windows box.


I think you should be comparing the iPhone to real consumer phones, such as the Nokia N80. Your Nokia example is basically a business phone – one that is a stripped down version of the E61for the Americas. without Wifi only because Cingular wanted it that way.

The N80 for example, has Wifi and a 3 megapixel camera. The real innovation of the iPhome is most likely in the touch-screen.

I think that Apple has taken a lot of features that are available elsewhere and made a very nice, clean package with a kick-ass UI. The only things that can be considered “innovative” are the light and proximity sensors and the accelerometer.

This is no different than Macs and OS X. All the same things are available in machines running Windows or Linux, but Apple’s forte is design–that’s what you’re paying for.

Also remember that price of the iPhone needs a two year contract.

Personally I try not to buy revision A products, and as spiffy as the iPhone is I would probably go with the Nokia N95 when it’s released given the choice.

P.S. I tried to have my e-mail address as “dmagda tnl” (which is valid according to the RFCs), but it said invalid.

I think it’s pretty cool and agree with Apple’s claim that it represents a major innovation in the phone market. This will have a big effect on what the other phone vendors do over time.

The one question I have about it’s usability is will it be possible to make a call with one hand? Most phones make this easy and I wonder if having to hold it in one hand and use the other hand to use the screen will prove to be hard to use. Or is it possible to hold it in you hand and use your thumb to select a contact and make a call.

Also, comparing it to the Nokia E61 instead of the E62 is probably better as it also includes WiFi and UMTS.

One question the talk time numbers bring up is whether Apple can integrate a battery capable of providing hours of music along with hours of talk time. If this is going to serve as both a phone and an iPod, users will have to either put up with a huge battery (which equals weight) or carry around a lot of chargers. Any phone needs to make it through the day without dying, and the “other: 16 hours” number makes me wonder if the iPhone will run out of battery life before dinner each day.

I’d have to add that the Treo – at least my 650 that runs Palm – can use WiFi using either the Palm card incert or a third-party “sled” the Treo fits into.

Treo also runs “full internet,” albeit with a limited or nonexistent cache. And runs a multitude of business apps that justify its price.

Oh, and Cingular? To come out worst and second worst in ratings by Consumers Reports indicate that no matter how well Apple designs it, the service will always be a HUGE limiting factor. (not to mention, ridiculously expensive).

I’m interested to know how the voicemail works for the iPhone – if CIngular can offer it, then Cingular can offer it on ANY phone, no matter how visual.


Cool device. But bit costly.
I think Nokia N80 also have Wi-Fi and it also costs less.

What makes the device cool is iPod & Video Player integrated.
Actually fed up of using SmartMovie Player in Nokia Symbian phones.

The price can be justified for this reason only.
Moreover, its APPLE, so can’t be lower price tag one.

They will have to sell the iPhone unlocked in Europe and it will have to include 3G. That’s probably why they are delaying the European launch. There is no way Apple can compete with Nokia’s Wi-Fi enabled multimedia phones in Europe without a 3G, unlocked phone. So, if you all wait till late fall 2007 or early 2008, you can get an unlocked phone from a European store.

What I’m waiting for is Version 2. If the launch of the iPod back in the day is anything to go by, the first phone will have a 4-hour battery life and only work with Macs. Then, six months later, we’ll get a bugless one that works across all platforms with a 40-hour battery life, no need to sign up to Cingular, and compatibility with PC’s.


I wonder if Apple thought of this:

I was just planning to buy a MacBook — until I saw this. If I already have a computer at home that obviously has all the features I need there, but really wouldn’t need to use anywhere else much, why would I want to pay that much money to take all those things I don’t need with me when there’s a device that has all the things I need to take with me that I can sync with my home computer? It’s smaller than a laptop, and it’s freakin’ awesome in almost every way (especially the UI). I could just buy one of these sweet puppies for much less money and not have to carry around a stupid purse full of crap.

Apple has effectively cut the amount of money I will be contributing to their company as a customer significantly. This makes me super happy, and them as well, if you saw the comparison chart in the introduction video that gives a little concept of how much they will be profiting by entering the mobile phone market.

The only thing I’m not completely satisfied with this introduction is the exclusive (did he say 2- year) exclusive contract with Cingular for service. Maybe that’s the only way they could make this even remotely affordable? I just hope other mobile companies follow suit to improve their networks. I would like to see mobile companies competing to offer services/rates for this device.

Where do you get a Treo 750 for $199? I’ve only seen $649 w/o contract and $399 w/ 2 years.

At those prices, I’ll get a 750 and an iPhone 😉

> “They will have to sell the iPhone unlocked in Europe and it will have to include 3G.”

Yeah, cos everyone here has been falling over themselves to get 3G phones. Except they haven’t.

Let me know when Nokia makes a phone with a UI as delightful as this, that plays music and video and displays photos as well as this.

I don’t understand those meaningless ancient units of measurement used. I believe my grandparents used to use those, but they’re long dead now.

While I think the iPhone is cool and I am a bit sad that I just bought a Treo a few months ago… I do agree with the comments that having the service on Cingular is a bit limiting. But if I read the reports correctly (not being able to see the Keynote), it sounded like Cingular was going to be upgrading their network as a result of this deal. If that actually happens, who knows?

Additionally, I think the pricing at this point is interesting. Again, not hearing what Steve actually said, but reading what’s on Apple’s site and others, almost every phone at time of announcment carries a huge price premium that the end user NEVER pays. For example, the Treo 700 is a $599 phone… but the end user only pays $299 or less as a result of the deal between the carrier and the manufacturer. So I’m guessing (hopeful?) that Apple’s “retail” price will be knocked down at the time it gets to Cingular stores. So I wouldn’t be shocked to see that the iPhone will be in direct competition with everything else at $299 with a 2 year contract.

Uh, why is no one commenting on what has got to be a showstopper for many of us – a *virtual* keyboard?! If you use your phone for email/sms on a daily/hourly basis, I can’t see how this phone will be acceptable to you. Sure, it’s kickass in a half dozen ways, but if it can’t fulfill its basic function of letting you touch type your messages quickly and without error, the kickass amounts to nothing. I can compromise on nifty bits like video quality, camera pixels, or many other things, but not text input. I suspect my opinion will be shared, if it isn’t already, by most potential business users.

What a miss.

My only problem with the new iPhone is that it will be released through Cingular, the worst cell phone company in my area. I have yet to hear of one person liking Cingular’s service — dropped calls, poor reception, crappy customer service. I’m not sure why Apple chose Cingular, but whoever made that deal within Cingular probably sells ice to eskimos as a hobby.

That being said, I think that you’ll be able to get the iPhone through other cell phone companies very soon. Give it a year — I can’t imagine Apple locking themselves into a deal with Cingular for any longer than that. By then, they’ll have worked all the bugs out of the iPhone, too.

As far as the comparison, I’d gladly pay that price for something that has a screen that large, can hold all of my music, make all of my calls, and surf the internet. And with the other apps that you’ll be able to add to an OS X run, it’s almost like having a full computer in your pocket.

Just a brief response to Glomph regarding the Nokia E70’s “great browser”. Somewhat ironically, that browser is built on the same foundation as Apple’s Safari, in the form of their open-source WebKit project.

This is very US-centric. The European market looks very tough for Apple.

For example, in the UK, the Nokia E61 has Wi-Fi (802.11g) and 3G, and it’s available for free from almost all of the opertors. You can even get it bundled with Tom Tom GPS for less than £100.

It’s very hard to sell a connected data device for more than $200 here. One without 3G is a non-starter.

Thanks for playing, Apple!

Part of my reasoning in terms of using the particular phones I had on this list is that they are the ones that are offered by Cingular. The reason I had to go with Cingular is that if we want to do price comparisons, we now have a price point we can compare. In yesterday’s keynote or follow-on interviews, someone asked the Cingular president for more details and the $499-599 price point is after discount and with a 2 year contract.

Now, for the features: yes, there are phones in Europe that have as many if not more features. The browser on Nokia N and E series is actually pretty impressive itself and Nokia, at its developers conference showed it own idea of the next generation interface (YouTube video here) and Synaptic’s been demoing their own version of the interface (YouTube video here) and they all appear similar to what Apple is offering in terms of UI. However, by the look of this, Apple will be first to market with this new type of interface.

I suspect that the biggest challenge (beyond the virtual keyboard, as MB points out, because of lack of tactile feedback) is going to be battery. WiFi generally sucks up a lot of juice and backlit displays do too. I was surprise the face wasn’t OLED but I guess that’s because you wouldn’t be able to have a touchscreen in that case (if I’m wrong and there are touchscreen OLEDs, please correct me) and I wonder how they will manage power on this device. I suspect that the first generation of the iPhone will have some battery issues similar to the ones that caused the problem on iPods… or Apple has some new power management tricks up its sleeve.

On the Cingular issue, the best piece I’ve read is Tom Evslin’s, who’s been in the telecom business for a long time and understands that this is not a reinvention of the phone as Apple decided to go with the most old fashioned approach to the market with a carrier lock-in. I suspect that the lock-in will only exist in the US and there will be a secondary market for people in the US who want to get unlocked phones.

On Mac Integration (as per Mike), I’m actually excited about that piece. The Missing Sync has been a great piece of software in terms of syncing with my Treo but there’s still a few gaps in it here and there. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the integration between mac and iphone will be as good as the one bewteen mac and ipod.

Just a few observations from what little I know about phones:

Note: Images are linked from the Engadget keynote article at and they have plenty more.

BATTERY No one is proof-positive about the battery removal (as I heard it, the units are under glass on the show floor; for good reason!), but a side view (back shots are nonexistent so far) show a black-colored panel near the bottom, suggesting a battery bay (I cant justify it otherwise (SIM is elsewhere on the side), certainly not as a design element), to wit:


OS MATTERS PortalPlayer doesnt provide the OS, it is loaded off of HD/Firmware, not hardwired in the PP/ARM package, AFAIK. In any case it was a PP OS developed by an outfit named Pixo, built to Apple’s specs originally for the 1Gen/5Gb iPod and later moved in-house, as I understand it. (Pixo was acquired by Sun; but no word if the iPod OS was part of the deal… search for ‘Note on Pixo’ here:

In any case, OS X is all Apple née Next. I doubt this is running a dual-core ARM like the iPods… this could very well be the application behind Job’s perfomance-per-watt reasoning for the Intel transition roadmap. I expect dev info including target architecture to be released once dev interest is frothing-a-the-mouth (see next item).

SYNCHING/DEVELOPMENT Will be provided on the Mac and Win platforms by iTunes, but no doubt a slew of third party Linux and Win ‘conduits’ will show up in no time flat, as well as, at very least, some method for shoehorning new widgets in there (although I sincerely doubt Apple is blind to the drooling hordes of developers who are already thinking of new apps for this device’s slick UI/form factor ready to launch in the summer)… this is as I see it… a platform.

THUMBS Given the device size, I see no impediment whatsoever for one-handed thumbing, judging from the UI pics, the buttons are either A) big to begin with (1st link below) or… B) images suggest that the proximity sensor GROWS the key nearest your fingertip…. borrowing from the Mac OS X Dock’s Magnification feature which responds to a hovering mouse cursor (C).

See Engadget images:


Knowing Apple’s attention to detail, big buttons for functions likely to be used sight-unseen will likely fall repeatedly in the same general area (one can already see that they also have primary color cues that don’t demand scrutiny to aim at them).

SAFARI As for the fella waxing poetic about the great browser on his Nokia E70… he unwittingly props Safari as Nokia is usings Apple’s Webkit (E70 uses S60 OS uses webkit, from some fast Googling). Nokia made a big to do about this a few months back.

Typng this helped me understand some of the issues myself, thanks for reading!


Complaining about the touch screen keyboard is pretty shortsighted. You have to think of this in terms of the current iPod rather than current phones. The iPod accessories market is huge, and I’d expect it will be even bigger for this phone – next year’s Macworld will likely be dominated by iPhone accessory manufacturers just as the past couple years have been dominated by iPod accessories.

So what kind of keypad do you want? A side-slider? A case that flips open with the keyboard on the inside of the cover? A one handed, wrist-worn wireless keyboard? A jacket with softkeys on the sleeve? How about a split keypad with rows of keys on either end of the phone in landscape mode? Dual bluetooth chording boards with straps for your recumbent handlebars? How about no keys at all – maybe a directional pad on one end and buttons on the other, like a psp – but now it’ll have motion-sensing games like wii/ps3. How about a 2lb, 12″ widescreen thinbook with a dock for the iPhone where the trackpad would usually be, with expanded storage and extended battery life?

It’s a computer – a platform. It’s not a phone. You’re not going to see the accessories I just described for anything from Nokia. A couple similar things are currently out for Palm. But I can pretty much guarantee you’ll see most – all – probably many more – for the iPhone by this time next year.

The one thing I see very few people commenting about is the fact that this phone is only able to use Edge, and not HSPDA. The Blackjack, which only costs $199, is able to use the higher speed data access (1.5 mbps ) of HSPDA, but the much more expensive iPhone, which appears to have much better multi-media features, is limited to the 384kbps rate of Edge. It doesn’t make any sense. My Motorola Q, which only cost me $99 on Verizon, will run internet circles around this thing.

“One question the talk time numbers bring up is whether Apple can integrate a battery capable of providing hours of music along with hours of talk time.”

There’s speculation that it actually has two batteries, one dedicated to phone and one to everything else, so that your entertainment doesn’t drain your (critical) phone battery. Even though this is really just protecting people from themselves, I actually think it’s a good move since it will minimize dead battery irritation.

Does anyone know…will you be able to download music directly from the iPhone (via wi-fi)to your iTunes library. In essence, forgoing your Mac?

I wonder if Cingular will have some sort of deal on the iphone along with a contract. It seems it would be a good way to drag in a bunch of customers!

Kirby, I wouldn’t compare the iPhone to an actual, Mac computer. Sure, it does have impressive functionality BUT there’s no word yet on what kinds of applications it would support (for example, could you open a Word document using the iPhone?) or why the phone is only EDGE. Cingular has rolled out HSxPA in a number of markets so the phone really should have been designed for the faster 3G market instead of EDGE. Also, it doesn’t have push e-mail, which would be very irritating if you used the e-mail function full-time instead of using it as a complement to a desktop/laptop. And, finally, I’m not sure that the $500-$700 price tag is going to be such a deterrent — after all, the RAZR first debuted at $500…

I believe by the time this iPhone’s actual introduction rolls around, you will see Apple announce:
1) additional lower cost models (to be available some months later),
2) additional service providers (to be available following the “exclusive” Cingular period, and
3) 3G


I agree totally, more than a few times, Apple has bumped the specs even before a product ships (’98 iMac modems: spec’d at 33.6k shipped 56k, 2002-ish all Powermacs bumped to dual processor with no price changes… 2006 Mac mini silent upgrades.. Macbook Pros, announced as 1.67/1.83Ghz shipped 1.83/2.0/2.16Ghz. Current C2D models billed as 802.11b/g, actually b/g/n with the enabling driver delivered gratis yesterday.

Anyways, how many times has a cingular exclusive been limited to a model or color? Apple can ship a different model tailored to a different carrier and the iPhone we saw yesterday is still Cingular/ATTs baby. Certainly something tech/cost/cingularwise precluded 3G… certainly this important first foray would have been triply-clobbered had 3G meant abysmal battery life.

Every other manufacturer pounding out myriad variations hand over fist can afford to make some lackluster tradeoffs to appease everyone, Apple cannot afford to, even if it mean that first iPhone wont be yourPhone.

Coming full circle, theres a lot about the iPhone that is not yet known; which may tie in with what has been admittedly withheld about Mac OS X Leopard. Underpromise, then overdeliver.

In regards to one question posted- it seems pretty certain that you cannot purchase music without a host at, uh… T minus 6 months… dont be surprised if thats hammered out before then… again, you might want to compare Apple vs Carriers in the same light as Apple vs Labels and understand why one must tread lightly one has some numbers to wield, eh? Getting a US major to deal with a hardware manufacturer on a eye to eye basis is a COUP. This will ripple out to other handsets and carriers and who will we have to thank?


P.S. Again NOT knowing a dang thing about phone hardware, ive always wondered why the radio portion couldnt be standardized as say, a PC Card (or ExpressCard, CF, whatever is feasible) so you could swap out CDMA, GSM with just a little abstraction layer in between… Bleh, answered my own question… would make it insanely easy for third parties to profit at the expense of HW makers and carriers.


A lot of interesting reading. What I se is a lot of comaping it products on the market that are something else – phones with ad-ons that do not work well. This is a new beast in the market. I will get one as fast as possible when they get to Europe. I used my SE m600i for couple of months now. I got it beacause of the feature set matching my needs as well as a nice formfactor. But the OS is C R A P. Unlogical, slow, looks awkward etc. etc. It is even worse than it was on the P910i that I had before. I payed for a downgrade:-(



I suspect it includes only the slower EDGE in order to keep down the monthly fee.

True broadband speed over cellular usually requires add-on data plans with hefty monthly fees (e.g. $60 w/ a voice plan, $80 w/o for Verizon EVDO)

This way you pay one fee but are stuck with speeds about 2x-3x dialup (when away from Wi-Fi networks)

So if you’re used to broadband internet, you won’t be using the iPhone for traditional web surfing, but it will be fine for email and WAP sites via EDGE.

Robert NIcholson
January 11, 2007 12:38 pm

Apple missed an opportunity here to delivery audio/video chat over Wifi. Clearly Cingular wouldn’t like it but their 3g network doesn’t even support video calling. Apple had an opportunity put a smart isight in the phone and give people an VoIP experience unseen today when using wifi connections but instead have pandered to Cingular. This phone isn’t going to sell very well outside the US where customers expect 3g like features today not tomorrow.

You really need to compare this to the O2 line of phones, these are all dumbphones

This is a phone for America. The US has a seriously disfunctional mobile phone market and this shows in this product. The interface is great unless of course you want to write emails or send texts- the palm like handwriting recognition of the sony ericsson smart phones is surely faster than hunt and peck, whether on a traditional keypad or a virtual one. And as for no 3G speed, it just won’t hack it in Europe for web browsing. But the basic concept is great- the next generation should be a real contender.

I;m in Europe where we text a lot. I would not move to a touch pad screen because I can text with teh phone in my pocket by feeling the keys. I would’t be able to do that with the iPhone. I have a Nokia N70 which works wonders as a personal phone (text/camera) and a business phone (email/browsing). And for a fraction of the cost.

Also I’d be worried about scratching the big screen. Obvisouly Steve doesn’t keep his in a handbag!

One possible reason for the lack of 3G is that Apple doesn’t own any of the patents required to build and sell products that adhere to the 3G standards. Nokia, Motorola, Ericsson and Qualcomm own the patents and ahare them through a pool, where they pay only small net payments to each other.

One of the key reasons Sony paired with Ericsson in the phone business was this very reason. I don’t know the specifics any arrangements Apple may have, but I’d assume that the same logic applies here that applied at Sony: if Apple added 3G to the iPhone it would have to hand over around 10% of the selling price for each unit to Nokia, Motorola & co. This applies to EDGE too, by the way – Apple is going to pay royalties to the established vendors.

Taking the N95 as an example, it’s data rate is around ten times faster than the iPhone owing to HSDPA, which comes in handy when downloading of streaming.

The fact that 3 of your 6 example run Windows CE demonstrates the execrable, sorry state of the current “smart” phone marketplace. I encourage people to watch the iPhone segment of Steve Job’s keynote– it’s a riveting demo. These babies look pretty amazing. I bet they WILL follow it up with the first practical/desirable UPMC.