Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Apple iPhone Revisited: The Keynote Presentation

Last night, as I was trying to explain to my wife why I needed to find a way to pay for a $599.00 phone that I wouldn't even use as a phone, I pulled up the Keynote Presentation that Steve Jobs had given himself. Why? Because I wanted her to see it in action to understand why I would want it, and also because I had not seen it. The streaming service was so busy before I headed to work that it wouldn't play.

Seeing the presentation was far more impressive than reading any play by play from any website. The information they gave was correct, but it wasn't complete. Very important features were left out, because they didn't have time to write everything out. Nothing against them at all! But nothing beats viewing the presentation yourself. So, here are my revised views:

What I Didn't Like
Yes, even though I really want to have this device, there was something I didn't like. I didn't like the fact that the Calendar was not demonstrated. I wanted to see something that was impressive based on iCal, but instead Steve missed it. It was even on his agenda. I'm sure those that were there personally had a fairly decent idea, but the streaming presentation had such a poor resolution that one couldn't see it properly to see what the differences are from the various smart phones that were listed.

Also, the price is really high, in my opinion. Granted, I'm speaking as a fairly stereotypical Scot in that regard, but $499.00 is not a price I would pay for a phone. That being said, I would (and have) paid that for a Pocket PC, even without phone capabilities. So it was an internal conflict, but as this is basically a PDA that has just about everything I wanted from an Apple phone, I can justify the price.

Finally, there wasn't an option for video chat on this device, though I can see why. The device doesn't have full 3G capability, but just EDGE (which is fast, but not as fast as 3G). The good news is that Steve said specifically that future phones will have full 3G capability, which I hope will also support video conferencing within the device.

What I Liked and Missed
The interface is amazing, and only done justice from watching it. I had wondered how a quick scroll would happen, and the demo on the Apple website wasn't as clear. Multi-touch UI is wonderful, and I'm glad it's out there, as I do see it becoming the new standard within all personal multimedia devices.

The 2 megapixel camera was also a surprise, as it wasn't pointed out in the reviews that I had seen, nor on the website. I probably could have noticed it if I had paid attention to the icons listed, but regardless I had spent most of my time thinking about widgets that could be developed for the device. It's not the video conferencing camera that I wanted, but it's still pretty cool.

It's running OS X.. not embedded, but pure OS X. That's exciting. Of course it's streamlined, meaning that they left out some development tools that are available for the desktop (i.e., Carbon), but it does support Cocoa applications. Good news? High quality applications that run natively. Bad news? Cocoa is for Objective-C and Java only, and therefore limiting the development platforms that can utilize it. But that being said, Steve Jobs didn't seem too phased when he read the quote about serious software companies developing their own hardware. Basically, they don't mind that their software development is limited. It means that they can control the software that runs on the thing, and therefore supporting it is that much easier.

WIDGETS!!! In case you didn't catch it before, it has WIDGETS!!! For those that don't want to develop full programs for the phone, they can produce a widget that will work. Specifications have not been set for the iPhone as of yet, but once it is set the development will be in full motion. What does it mean for me? I'm looking for an eBook reader that can read one of the major formats through Java or JavaScript, and then convert it to a widget for the phone. At that point the last major requirement I have for a PDA has been met. I will be a happy camper.

This will probably be the last time you will hear about the iPhone from me, until I purchase it. Then I will write up a full review. Until then, we all have to be patient... Argh! ^_^

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