Dissecting Apple's iPhone 4.0's sources of 'me-too' inspiration

Dissecting Apple's iPhone 4.0's sources of 'me-too' inspiration

Summary: Apple launched its iPhone 4.0 OS today and the big news is that it now multitasks. Why didn't I jump out of my chair? Because other mobile operating systems can do that. Much of the iPhone 4.0 buzz revolves around me-too features.

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Apple launched its iPhone 4.0 OS today and the big news is that it now multitasks. Why didn't I jump out of my chair? Because other mobile operating systems can do that. In fact, many of the iPhone 4.0 buzz revolves around technologies I vaguely recall elsewhere.

Let's recap the highlights:

Multitasking: Apple CEO Steve Jobs noted that the company wasn't to the multitasking bandwagon first, but will be the best. In any case, Google Android, RIM's BlackBerry, Nokia's Symbian and Palm's WebOS also do the multitasking shuffle.

Customized wallpaper. Sam Diaz can explain this one from his live blog.

A quick demo of how to customize wallpaper for the home screen, the lock screen or both. It’s pretty easy and also pretty widespread on other devices - but Jobs has a way of making it look like innovative breakthrough technology from Apple.

A unified inbox. The iPhone now allows for more than one Exchange account. You can also organize email by thread. And attachments can be opened with apps. Inspiration here: RIM's Blackberry and Android.

Gallery: Apple adds multitasking to iPhone 4.0

iBooks and e-book reader for iPhone OS. Your iPad books will now come to the iPhone and iPod touch. There will be wireless syncing to hold your place. Sound familiar? See Kindle Apps.

Better data protection and enhanced encryption. VPN support. Inspiration: BlackBerry among others.

Social gaming experiences. You can invite friends to play games with you. Inspiration: Xbox Live. Nintendo DSi.

Add it up and Apple's latest iPhone 4.0 push has a lot of me-too features involved. If you swapped Steves (Jobs for Ballmer) at this keynote, the guy from the Redmond would get crushed with these features. The Steve from Cupertino gets applause. The best item from Apple here is the iAds app advertising by far. That's original thinking. As for the rest of the event, Jobs should have linked out to the mobile platforms that had these features first.

Topics: BlackBerry, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones

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271 comments
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  • Now he can sue the other maunfacturers

    for infringing on these innovations he just added to the iPhone :)
    GuidingLight
    • Nice :-)

      nt
      rikasa
    • Comparison To Ballmer

      "The unkindest cut of them all"
      yobtaf
      • He's right

        Maybe unkind, but true. Apple gas great hardware, resaonably good software,
        but money wise they are no longer the underdog and the fact they are steadily
        climbing in marketshare makes them the microsoft of the future employing
        many of the tactics ms used and was crticized for.

        Let the flaming begin...lol
        striker333
        • Nothing To Flame About

          How would you like to be compared to Ballmer?
          yobtaf
        • From the early days of the PC, Steve Jobs ...

          ... was always praised for using exactly the same tactics as (then IBM and now) Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer use.

          Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer look like, and sound like, geeks. Steve Jobs is polished and comes across as <i>anything but</i> geeky.

          That, and Steve's brilliant marketing, is why Apple has the hearts and minds of its well-healed customers.

          Jobs can sell refigerators to eskimos but has no idea how to win the hearts and minds of enterprise customers.

          Conversely, Microsoft's customers are OEMs and the enterprise. Ballmer doesn't want the consumer to buy Windows from Microsoft for $200, he wants you to buy it from Dell or {insert your OEM of choice} for $50.

          In the end, Microsft hasn't a clue how to market to consumers. Thus, while there is brand loyalty among customers of OEMs, there is little, if any, brand loyalty to Microsoft.

          Most consumers buy Windows PCs based upon price and features. The enterprise buys based upon price and performance.

          Apple's customers like Steve Jobs and they <i>love</i> the sexy whiz-bang products Apple sells - regardless of the fact that others make functionally identical products at a lower cost.
          M Wagner
          • Have you actually heard Steve Jobs talking?

            [i]Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer look like, and sound like, geeks. Steve Jobs is polished and comes across as anything but geeky. [/i]

            He sounds pretty geeky to me; not that there's anything wrong with that...
            tikigawd
          • What illness or injury did they have?

            Besides the suspected heavy blow to the head, that is... To be Well-Healed, they had to have spent some quality time in a very good hospital recuperating from something.

            To be Well-Heeled, OTOH, means they have lots of money.

            [b]Conversely, Microsoft's customers are OEMs and the enterprise. Ballmer doesn't want the consumer to buy Windows from Microsoft for $200, he wants you to buy it from Dell or {insert your OEM of choice} for $50. [/b]

            And that does tend to make sense. It costs Microsoft LESS money that way. OEM copies are supported by the OEM. It's also a win for the customers. They get a machine that's preconfigured with all of the appropriate drivers preinstalled. It should fire up without any problems when the customer plugs it in for the first time.

            But then again, Microsoft DOES sell Windows directly to consumers. I got my copy of Windows 7 directly from MS. It got here on release day.

            [b]In the end, Microsft hasn't a clue how to market to consumers. Thus, while there is brand loyalty among customers of OEMs, there is little, if any, brand loyalty to Microsoft. [/b]

            Uh... Right. Then what are all those "I'm a PC and Windows 7 was my idea" ads all about? Ok... So these ads aren't like the Mac Vs PC propaganda ads. They shouldn't be. But they do a pretty reasonable job conveying ideas that sell the product.

            As far as the 2nd part - the brand loyalty to Windows is pretty much a given. It's something that comes with the PC regardless of which OEM's hardware you choose.

            So yes, it is the OEM's job to sell their wares. And why shouldn't it be? Why should Microsoft do ad campaigns for them?

            As far as Apple customers go... Gotta wonder about them. Seriously. If Steve Jobs took a pile of his crap and bronzed it, called it the iCrap and called it the most revolutionary POS (literally) there ever was, there'd be lines forming at Apple stores on release day. And a year down the road, when he releases the silver plated iCrap 2.0, those same people would be in line. Repeat for the iCrap 3.0 (gold plated).

            Apple gets by on HYPE. Never mind the device is crippled. The apps are crippled, the device's lifeline (Wifi) has issues getting a signal more than 5 feet from the router. It doesn't matter. And yet, it's STILL the greatest thing since sliced bread - EVER.

            NOT!

            It's bright, shiny and Apple. That is about all that matters to the people who flock to the Apple stores to buy them.
            Wolfie2K3
          • 1

            Ideally stated. +1
            masterurmind
          • Hmmm... looks like, smells like, good thing we didn't step in it

            <i> Most consumers buy Windows PCs based upon price and features. The enterprise buys based upon price and performance. </i>

            Most consumers buy Windows PCs because they are not intellectually capable of making Linux work, and cannot afford the Mac. Performance? Really? Lack of a choice. Ultimately.
            wave_man
      • World's Worst Patent Terrorist! Osama Steve Jobs'in! lol

        I think this might cut a bit deeper. I think the twin
        Steves w/ Balmer's Chair toss and Steve's finger
        shake at Google makes Bin Ladin look like a peacenik!

        Google just can't help but pizz these morons off!

        Next statement from this Apple terrorist, will be "We
        Will Bury You"! ....any threat from a Fascist like
        Steve should never be ignored. While with a
        communist like Khrushchev you could promise him a
        trip to Disneyland. I guess that's why he stayed so
        mad for so long..... never got it! ;)

        So.... yeah prepare for the Chair tossing contest
        now! lol
        i2fun@...
        • miss your lorazepam ?

          get a grip.....your hatred is down right scary
          masterurmind
          • Hatred? ....it's FEAR!

            Sorry, but I do NOT do drugs, alcohol and
            especially stay away from Apple products. A lot of
            people compare Apple and it's fans to a Religion.
            To me, they're actually closer to Cult! .....look
            it up. If you aren't too seriously afflicted, you
            may even see the Truth!
            i2fun@...
  • Everybody does it.

    Why would Apple be any different?
    Sleeper Service
    • apple's approach is different!

      Jobs at the event today: "if you see a task manager, they blew it."

      of course the whole reasoning behind apple's approach (battery life,
      performance) is hard to grasp for zdnet pundits.

      it's a totaly different implementation.
      bannedfromzdnetagain
      • It is a task manager.

        You hit the home button twice. A list of apps appears. You select the one you want. If you want to kill an app you hold it and a red minus appears which you press to kill the process.

        That's a task manager.

        Also, when we actually have comparisons of battery life then we can talk. In the meantime there's no evidence to suggest it's going to be any better or any worse.
        Sleeper Service
        • But...

          ...it's not *called* a task manager or "Task Manager", so it doesn't FAIL!

          "This is not the Task Manager you were looking for..." <hand wave>
          M.R. Kennedy
      • Different implementation

        Yeah, it's so different that you don't *need* to shut down other apps that are running but no longer need to access! Just run another app! And another, and another, and another...

        Only El Jobso knows when they'll shut themselves down, and he ain't saying.
        M.R. Kennedy
      • Oooh, it's [i]DIFFERENT[/i]!

        Now I get it!!!

        Of COURSE! Apple is awesome.
        tikigawd
      • Totally agree and more

        I totally agree that the ms pundits just do not get it. The most
        popular program for ms phones is a program to kill apps running in
        the background..... What does that say about other forms of
        multitasking.??

        Apple does not do things unless they can do them better. Also the
        author says that other features are copied from elsewhere,

        this one from gaming,
        this one from Rim
        this one from Palm
        this one from Android,,,,,,

        Hey so Apple does them all but others only do one or two......

        sounds pretty great to me.:-)

        Just a thought,
        en
        eldernorm