This may seem a little late to weigh in on the iPhone, but this blog didn’t exist when it was announced, so I’m finally going to put down my perspective on the iPhone.
As background, I’ve been an Apple enthusiast since the mid 80’s and run a popular Mac rumor site (MacRumors.com). I think what also gives me a different perspective is that I was a fan of the now discontinued Newton — Apple’s first PDA.
I was at the keynote, and the reaction to the iPhone in the audience was jaw-dropping awe. For those rumor-mongers out there, it was as if Apple had answered every dream-scenario possible in one single device announcement.
Did anyone really expect to see multi-touch technology incorporated in the iPhone? I didn’t.
But as the initial surprise and awe wears off, I saw some complaints start rolling in. Here’s the MacRumors iPhone reaction thread which triggered over 1000 comments. In general, however, the response is more favorable than the original iPod reactions.
The complaints range from cost, carrier choice and implementation of specific features. These details, however, are not relevant… not in the big picture.
Much like the iPod, which was released in 2001, the iPhone will evolve. The most striking part of this release is that it is a “first in class” device. What that means is that this is only the beginning. The iPhone itself doesn’t even excite me nearly as much as what will be coming down the pipe from Apple. Multi-touch technology is the new buzz-word, and Apple is pushing it as a major new feature.
This will not be the only multi-touch form factor that Apple will be introducing.
Some individuals have tried to compare the Newton to the iPhone. As a Newton fan and collector, I know that the Newton ultimately failed in a number of areas which led to its untimely demise… however, I feel the most important factor to its slow adoption was one simple item: connectivity. It was remarkably difficult to sync the Newton data with your computer. This was one area that Palm leapfrogged Apple in a huge way during that time.
Fortunately, Apple seems to have learned from that mistake. The iPod demonstrates they how good they have become with connectivity — in fact, I’d argue that seamless connectivity was the main reasons the iPod has been so successful. I hope that Apple could carry this success over to other data, such as contacts and calendar events.
In an ironic twist, one of Apple’s main competitors with the iPhone is Palm again. The Palm Treo is at considerable risk from eroding marketshare if Apple’s iPhone takes hold. Fortunately for Palm, Apple’s 3rd party development restrictions on the iPhone may slow enterprise adoption.
I hope that Apple reconsiders this decision to limit 3rd party development on the iPhone, lest it become the iPhone’s achilles heel.