Apple iPhone wannabes don’t even come close to what Apple has built

Apple Store“Whatever you think about Steve Jobs, you must admit the guy knows how to steal a show. Of the hundreds of gadgets on display at [this year’s] CTIA Wireless trade show—the year’s big cell-phone confab—the only one with real buzz was Apple’s iPhone, a product that won’t be available for months. The iPhone appeared only briefly at CTIA, but it incited a near tug of war between an AT&T exec and the chairman of the FCC. Other phone makers spent the show trying to explain away Apple’s unstoppable momentum. ‘There’s nothing like having someone come out and validate your vision,’ one Nokia representative gushed unconvincingly,” Paul Boutin writes for Slate Magazine.

“The truth is that Nokia’s vision—and everyone else’s—has been surpassed. None of the combo cell-phone/media/Internet devices at CTIA came close to what Apple has built: a pocket personal computer that runs a bona fide operating system. Rather than stretching a cell phone to accommodate a video player and browser, Apple squished a Mac into a smaller box with a touch screen, rather than a keyboard. All computer geeks need to know is that it runs Unix. For the less nerdy, iPhone runs Safari, a full-featured browser that’s a whole let less buggy than some “mobile” browser that can’t parse most of the Web,” Boutin writes.

Boutin writes, “I don’t expect anyone but the most overpaid of my Mac fanboy buddies to rush out and buy an iPhone.”

MacDailyNews Take: Why not, Paul? AT&T has received 1 million Apple iPhone inquiries so far – March 27, 2007

Boutin continues, “What Samsung, Nokia, and Apple’s other competitors fail to understand, however, is that in a do-everything age, there’s a downside to trumpeting new features. By announcing that your phone does two or three cool new things, you’re also implicitly admitting that there’s a universe of things that this particular gadget can’t do. And that’s why the iPhone is such a breakthrough. When Jobs touts the iPhone as three devices in one, he’s selling it short: It’s a computer, not some limited, specialized gizmo. That means that rather than a fixed set of applications—music, video, Web browsing, chat—it can, in theory, run any program that works on a Mac. The iPhone’s killer feature, then, is probably something that doesn’t even exist yet. It has the potential to spawn a mobile application as mind-blowing as the Web browser… Once the third-party application restrictions start to loosen, the iPhone won’t be just a phone. It’ll be a platform.”

Apple’s iPhone “interface looks and works more like the computer you use all day, blurring the distinction between the two. There’s nothing else like it in the pipeline,” Boutin writes.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “LinuxGuy and Mac Prodigal Son” for the heads up.]

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  1. If iPhone wasn’t shackled to Cingular/AT&T, I’d get one in a heartbeat.
    Goodbye Palm. Fare thee well Sony Ericsson.

    I’d still keep my 80GB iPod, though. A handful of symphonies would fill up the iPhone’s meagre 8GB pretty quick. Let’shope for an iPhone ultra with a 100GB drive!

    As it is, most of my friends and family all use T-Mobile for the free calls. And worse, I’m the one who convinced everyone to go with T-Mobile.

  2. ” A handful of symphonies would fill up the iPhone’s meagre 8GB pretty quick.”

    I see the iPhone serving the same niche the Shuffle fills as far as music goes- I use mine for the walk to work- I autofill it every Sunday and that nicely fits my week. Main music storage is on one’s home computer, ain’t it? Likewise for video- temporary storage of ‘to-do’ viewings. 8 gigs is fine for this, as is 4. And this tech will improve as flash media improves. Then again, I don’t like the form factor of the iPhone as a phone. You can’t please all of the people all of the time.

  3. @MadMartian

    I just moved to Vermont from Boston, and I have Cingular. They don’t even cover Vermont, but I live on the VT/NH border, and can get a good signal in the WRJ/Lebanon area, but that’s about it. Oh… I can get a good signal along most of i89 and i93 in NH. I’m dying to get an iPhone, but not as along as Cingular is the only carrier.

  4. In a sense, his vision is the most interesting of all.
    In fact, the iPhone comes out of his analysis as the very same thing iTunes is: a massive trojan that will infect millions of Windows users with what we’ve known for a very long time, i.e, nothing comes close to the Mac experience.

  5. This is the first portable computer that I really want to own. I never liked laptops (too much to carry around), or PDA’s (the stylus ruins it for me).

    Soon I will be able to just whip this baby out of my pocket to search wikipedia, take notes for class, and access any file on my computer at home (I’ll set up an ftp server and access it through Safari unless apple develops a way to make it easier)

  6. @Wiseguy

    What are you on today? Thats the second inexplicable post of yours I have read…

    What are you saying here? Laptops are going to disappear and we are all going to have Mac Pros under our desks at home doing all the computational work for the iPhones in our pockets?

    If this is what you meant, I don’t see it. Laptop sales are going through the roof, and both Intel and AMD have been able to maintain high performance with low power consumption. This was the main reason stated for Apple’s move to Intel – they needed high performance processors for their notebook range.

  7. iPhone is a game changer – no question. Like many people though I think Apple is artificially holding it’s adoption back by tying it to one cell phone provider. If they want to keep it on GSM in order to keep development simple & cost effective, fine – GSM is the most widespread anyway. But make the iPhone open to ALL the GSM networks. Like in Europe, allow people to pop a symcard in and be done with it. Making it available to all providers also means the cost of the plans they’ll sell for it would be lower. There’s no doubt in my mind that Cingular will take advantage of it’s exclusive partnership & offer pricier plans than otherwise.

    I’m not on Cingular and have no desire to be. I won’t switch for the iPhone – it’s going to have to switch for me.
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  8. Come on MDN. Nobody has said yet that you can add applications later on down the line. There’s a POTENTIAL for that happening, sure, but with the first iPhone’s RAM and battery power, we can’t say one way or another what the potential truly is.

    I’m really hoping that Cingular/AT&T will step up to the plate and offer improved services, now that Apple has combined forces with them. If you can’t have a fast Internet connection, then who is going to want an iPhone anyway? I’ve heard that Cingular stopped building cell towers, waiting for their merger, so perhaps we’ll see improved coverage some time soon. Still, this is a lot of hoping and wishing.

    There’s a lot of potential here, but everybody needs to step up and do their job to deliver on the goods. I’m quietly watching and hoping for the best.

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