iPhone misses Live Web integration opportunities

Summary:Apple touts the forthcoming iPhone as a 'breakthrough' Internet communications device. Maybe so when it comes to browsing, email, and SMS, but the iPhone appears primarily to concern itself with consumption, not production. Apple further appears to be passing on the opportunity to tightly integrate and leverage Google's innovations in email, blogging, and document management.

Don't get me wrong:  I want an iPhone, and will own one just as soon as is humanly possible.  But the thing that most surprises me about the device as I've followed along with the coverage is the extent to which Apple appears to be leaving Live Web opportunities on the table with its "breakthrough Internet communications device."  Where was the Live Web in yesterday's product introduction?  Largely absent, except for the fact the device can sync other people's podcasts and videocasts.  I kept wanting to see:

  • A video camera to accompany the still camera, and
  • Integration with .Mac, iWeb, GarageBand and potentially other companies' Web services — e.g., integrated tools for text blogging, photo blogging and/or sharing, video blogging and/or sharing, and podcasting.

Hopefully you can at least call up the iPhone's keypad for text entry while using Safari?  Unlike say Helio, Apple seems to see the iPhone as a device primarily of consumption, not production.  Which is a bit off, if this Internet communications device is to be truly "breakthrough."  It's further inconsistent with Apple's iLife approach, which is all about easy alternatives for publishing one's words, photos, audio, and video. 

It's interesting that while the iPhone will affirmatively incorporate Google Maps, it apparently will treat Gmail as just another POP3 service, and relegate Blogger and Google Docs and Spreadsheets to the status of just other Web pages (though depending on the Safari functionality, that may work just fine).

For more iPhone critiques, see Dan Warne, Top 10 things to hate about the iPhone, and DKS Weblog's Jared, Oh Magnificent iPhone.

Updated, 1/10/07 6:20 p.m.:  Wow, so it seems those negotiations about Cisco's iPhone trademark have broken down.  In the most litigatory possible manner.  (Thanks, WGC.)

Updated, 1/12/07, 9:01 p.m.:  More from Marty Schwimmer (My Annotation of 'How Apple could Fight Cisco') and the Wired GC (iTalk, iPhone, iSue) on the trademark issue. 

Also, if the iPhone isn't for the hard core webophile, and if it isn't for the hard core company (wo)man, then who is it for?  "Everyone else" is a fully sufficient answer, and it'll probably lure plenty of the others to boot.  I like this line from David Pogue:  

Predictably, the torrent — and I do mean torrent — of iPhone commentary from the citizens of the Web is practically outflooding spam this week. Most of it comes from people whose shirt fronts are practically drenched in drool. ...

Topics: iPhone

About

Denise Howell is an appellate, intellectual property and technology lawyer who enjoys broad industry recognition for her expertise on the intersection of emerging technologies and law. For further details please see her professional background and speaking schedule. Denise's career is characterized by her passionate engagement in intell... Full Bio

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