About the iPhone

Hey Jay, this post is for you. 🙂

First, let me be perfectly clear. The iPhone is an extraordinarily wonderful technical achievement. iLust. What was unusual about this years Macworld keynote is that my wife started watching the keynote as well. And she was interested.

The truly striking part was watching Jobs actually use the iPhone. There were very different aspects about the phone that wowed her and others that wowed me. The ease of using all the devices is likely the phones most endearing feature, but I’m not in love. Yet. First, my list of pros, cons, and questions:

Pros:
Ease of use.
Multi-touch
Wide screen iPod!
Switch between portrait and landscape via accelerometer
Sync contacts from Mac or PC
Fully functional web browser (yes, I have Opera on my mobile)
Text message context bubbles (ala iChat)
WiFi

Cons:
Painfully slow data access (EDGE).
Cingular only
No tethering (with a PDA / laptop)
Expensive.

Concerns:
SSH client (this is a must have)
Does email support multiple IMAP accounts?
Is there support for IMAP SSL/TLS encryption?
The Google Maps did not have traffic info in the demo, but is a claimed feature.

I will not be buying a v1.0 iPhone for two reasons. The first is past bad experiences with Cingular, and the second is lack of useful data plans. One of the “killer apps” for me and my mobile phone is being able to tether with my laptop and have the ability to manage my internet based business anywhere, anytime. Until Cingular has HSPDA rolled out to the degree that Sprint and Verizon have EVDO available, Cingular is not even a consideration.

When the 2nd generation of iPhones hit the market and include 3G mobile networking, I will consider the iPhone if Apple adds tethering support. I care little about the visual voice mail (its my mobile, I normally answer it) and the push IMAP. I’d much rather have an unlocked 3G phone I can use on the carrier of my choice (Sprint).

For myself, the iPhone is not quite “there” yet. But, that only accounts for me. The iPhone might just be the perfect phone for my wife.

13 Replies to “About the iPhone”

  1. I’ll admit, I’m a little baffled by the deal with a single carrier, though the “visual voicemail” technology and getting even one carrier to buy off on all of Apple’s demands sight unseen was probably the root reasoning. But why take something so “revolutionary” and limit your audience? Is the visual voicemail THAT vital? Did Cingular bring anything else to the table? Maybe I just don’t understand cell phone service well enough to know detail.

    But it sure is sweet looking. 😉

  2. If I were to hazard a guess, I’d venture to say that Apple’s entry into the cell phone industry is not too unlike its entry into the music industry. When iTunes Music Store debuted, Apple only had a few major labels signed on.

    They weren’t “limiting” their audience, they simply could not (because of market forces) fully reach their entire audience out of the gate. Once the iPod and Music Store proved a raging success, getting buy-in from the other music labels became much easier.

    The fundamental difference between the iPod economy and the iPhone economy is that with the iPod, we all had access to our piles of CDs to rip. Remember “Rip, Mix, Burn?” With iPhone, there is no equivalent way to bring along your own mobile phone coverage. So Apple targeted the largest provider to start with.

    If Apple addresses the technical issues that the übergeek early adopter crowd has been raising, they will still sell millions of iPhones despite the Cingular handicap. When a significant portion of customers call Sprint/Verizon/T-Mobile/Trac to cancel their accounts, because they are going with AT&T to get the hot new iPhone, those companies will beg Apple to make them an iPhone.

    The mobile companies learned this lesson well with the Razr and Blackberry. Leaps forward in technology will sell mobile accounts. This lesson is still fresh in their memory. If they are paying attention, the decision makers at Cingular’s competitors are making phone calls, last week.

  3. Excellent analysis as usual, Matt. One can only hope, as I don’t believe Cingular is an option in the northern reaches of Michigan. Sprint, on the other hand, actually has a store downtown, so I assume their coverage is decent.

  4. I don’t know how northern michigan you are talking, Jay, but my Cingular service works fine in Mesick, Interlochen, Traverse City, Cadillac Areas. Don’t have too much reason to go off the beaten trail too much, but from what I’ve experienced Cingular has much better coverage up there than my Alltel phone 1 1/2 years ago.

  5. That’s interesting, Martha — but if Cingular doesn’t offer plans for this area, getting a plan via another address (say, through a parent in the Detroit area or something) would eventually backfire when they drop you for using your phone “outside of network” too often.

    Or at least that’s what I’m reading on Cingular’s site.

    (And why don’t they let you get the phone wherever you want, and use it wherever? What do they care if you’re using someone else’s towers? Isn’t that just one more customer? Someone enlighten me.)

  6. There is a big difference between having coverage and offering service. Just because it works doesn’t mean they offer service.

    If it works, it means it works via a roaming agreement. Which means Cingular pays more when you are calling from there because you are using someone else’s network. Cingular doesn’t mind, that’s part of the cost of doing business. But when you buy a plan elsewhere and use it all the time in an “out of service” area, they lose money. They don’t like losing money.

  7. I’m dutifully enlightened.

    Not sure why I didn’t realize that of course they have to pay more if you use other companies’ towers.

    D’uh.

  8. Been a while since you updated your page. I’m sure the youngins at your house keep you pretty busy. I am having trouble emailing out – keep getting error messages that my mail doesn’t work in port 597 – somehow we need to fix that. hints are welcome. also the new laptop needs to download dad’s word processor programs and we may need some advice – can you give us a call later tonite? when your dad is home – say 7 or so? hopefully you check this page – from your reply to Heather’s email I believe you do – hope to get this to you. love ma

  9. I sent the wrong port # the message popped up again and says cannot be contacted on port 587. i was using my memory to coach me this morning. works much better to have the popup on the screen. love you – me

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