Thoughts on Apple iPhone and Apple TV

Thoughts on Apple iPhone and Apple TV

Summary: [Updated: Jan 10, 2007 @ 4.00 pm Breaking News - Cisco sues Apple over iPhone trademark] So, after months of speculation, Steve Jobs announced the iPhone at Macworld.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Apple
27

[Updated: Jan 10, 2007 @ 4.00 pm Breaking News - Cisco sues Apple over iPhone trademark

So, after months of speculation, Steve Jobs announced the iPhone at Macworld.  And from a tech perspective it's a sweet-lookin' gadget.  We also get more information in Apple TV, previously known as iTV.  One common thread, all try to tie you firmly to iTunes.

First surprise - the name.  iPhone.  I wonder what Cisco has to say about that?  It was pretty obvious that it was going to be called iPhone but when Linksys beat them to the name with the VoIP handsets, I did wonder whether Apple would reconsider.  [Updated: Jan 9, 2007 @ 1.55 pm Looks like the issue over the name is sorted]

[Updated: Jan 10, 2007 @ 3.55 am Looks like the iPhone will use Intel processors - no surprise there]

[Updated: Jan 11, 2007 @ 8.05 am Oh no, Intel isn't supplying processors for the iPhone.  Word has it that it's an ARM processor]

From a specifications viewpoint the iPhone is a pretty unique and cutting-edge.  In keeping with the iPod line, it's small - 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.46 inches / 115 x 61 x 11.6mm - and light - 4.8 ounces / 135 grams - but packs a large 3.5 inch 320 x 480 multi-touch screen capable of 160 ppi.  The touch screen doesn't need a stylus and can detect multi-fingered gestures.  The phone has a proximity sensor which disables the touch screen when the phone is in use and also ignores unintended screen contact.

[poll id=63]

iPhone

It also comes fully-loaded with 4GB or 8 GB of storage, 2 megapixel camera, Bluetooth with EDR and A2DP, WiFi, and quadband GSM.  Battery life is quoted as being 5 hours talk/video time, 16 hours of music (no word on standby mode life).

What else?  Oh, yeah, it runs OS X.  That means Widgets, Safari and, of course, iTunes.  That's going to be a big selling point for existing Mac users, while introducing Windows-based iPod users to OS X.  Users will be able to make use of Google Maps and rich HTML email.

Price?  The 4GB model will retail for $499 on a two-year contract while the 8GB will hit you for $599. 

Provider?  Well, I said that it wouldn't be network-free (that would have killed the project).  The iPhone will be exclusive to Cingular.  This will please some users and annoy others. 

Availability?  The plan from Apple is that the iPhone will be available in the US from June, in Europe some time in the fourth quarter and in Asian markets in 2008.

The downer?  It's still just a smartphone.  I used to have high hopes for them but I've now come to expect a certain level of disappointment.  If it's not battery life it'll be some aspect of the interface - SMS messaging, contacts, complexity when it comes to settings ...

To complement the iPhone, Jobs also announced a Bluetooth headset.  Details are scarce - small, one button, black. 

Next -->

We also got more details on the other big thing from Apple - Apple TV.  Apple TV is intended to be the link between iTunes and your living room. 

Apple TV

The Apple TV box was a logical progressing for Apple, especially now that movies are on the iTunes menu.  Here's the spec:

  • Works with both PC and Mac (no surprise there)
  • 40GB hard drive (holds 50 hours of video)
  • USB2, Ethernet, 802.11b, g and n)
  • HDMI and component connections
  • Apple remote
  • Allows content to be synced from a single PC
  • Can stream content to 5 PCs
  • $299

Apple TV is already on sale but won't ship until February. 

[poll id=64] 

What's the common thread between the iPhone and Apple TV?  It's iTunes.  Love it or hate it (and to be frank, I hate it), it's pretty clear what Steve Jobs wants iCustomers to do - buy DRM-loaded content from iTunes so that you're locked into Apple hardware later on down the line.  While I'm starting to really like the iPod (I've gone from not owning an iPod to owning an 8GB nano to then adding a shuffle to the collection), I hate the locked-down nature of iTunes.  I don't buy from iTunes and strongly recommend that others don't (if you happen to like iTunes, then that's your choice) but I can't help but feel sorry for the millions who are going to be suckered into iTunes by theses new gadgets.  The technology excites me, but the DRM makes me sad.

Thoughts?  Views?

<-- Home -->

Topic: Apple

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

27 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Phone yes, tv no

    The phone is awful sweet looking, although the price is daunting. Then again, it might be worth it, just for a phone that works really well, and that synchs well with my various Macs. We'll have to see how it actually works once it hits the street.

    As for the AppleTV, no interest whatsoever. Not sure what good this thing does, other than paying $300 to let you buy content from the iTunes store. No thanks, even if it were free.
    tic swayback
    • Yeah, the iPhone does sound sweet ...

      ... but the price tag is mighty high, and top that off with a 24 month contract, that's an expensive way to discover if it does what you want.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • I'm already with Cingular

        And my contract has run out. You generally have to sign a 2 year contract with them to get a good deal on a phone. Their service works well where I live. I guess if the phone ends up being crappy, you can always pull out the sim card and drop it into a better phone.
        tic swayback
        • Ditto on that one tic...

          ...my contract runs out in February - I will be waiting for this phone (and have been
          for a very long time - asked Palm for it many times - they did not listen and so my
          much loved T5 will soon be history to me).

          If it does not work out, I can always drop my sim card back in the old phone, but I
          don't see that happening...
          ladyirol
    • re: Not sure what good this thing does

      what it does and what it will do is compete with msft's iptv. it's all about control of your living room.

      gnu/linux...giving choice to the neX(11)t generation.
      Arm A. Geddon
      • And ...

        "it's all about control of your living room."
        And about sticking a suction pump in your back account and sucking until only moths remain.
        Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
        • Wait and see

          I already Use cingular Service, but have to wait and see what service plan does cingular offer with iPhone. It has to be high-end as it provides Internet with EDGE. What does the subscription cost for such a service and with out such a service most of the features are of no use, just a normal iPod and basic phone service.
          5ri
        • funny but true (nt)

          :-)
          Arm A. Geddon
        • You have the wrong company...

          ...that is your cable tv company doing that...

          This will allow you to move your media around without cables - seems like a plus to
          me!
          ladyirol
      • But it doesn't do nearly as much

        Hey, I'm as big a fanboy as exists, but I still don't see the point of one of these puppies. No tuner card means no broadcast tv. Doesn't seem to function as a DVR either. All it seems to do is wirelessly accept content beamed from a computer, most likely from the iTunes Store. Since I don't shop there, is there any point in owning one?
        tic swayback
        • re: no tuner card

          exactly why I wouldn't buy one either. a person could build an entertainment system throughout their home or their own pvr, as I have, at a much lower price. 40gbs storage? what's up with that? maybe in time the appleTV will include the tuner. me, I've wanted them by now to have a tv tuner card in their imacs.

          p.s. yes tic(previously vic), I've known you through the years as probably the biggest apple fanboy here. of course, you know, that's a compliment. ;-)

          gnu/linux...giving choice to the neX(11)t generation.
          Arm A. Geddon
        • you can still take you DVDs convert to favorite format...

          (H.264, MPEG4... whatever) import into iTunes (exactly as you do with music) and beam to your TV/entertainment center... and put your DVDs in a closet somewhere... this is exactly what you do with music right now... or download movies and import into iTunes... why do you feel you need to get any video content what so ever from the iTunes store?

          time to start looking at 1 terabyte drives... for my iTunes folder
          doctorSpoc
          • What's the point of streaming video?

            With the streamed music, I'm offered all kinds of new functionality, playlists, smart playlists, quick access to thousands and thousands of songs.

            With DVDs, are you really in need of a mixed playlist? What's the advantage of streaming a dvd from your computer to your tv?
            tic swayback
          • Thats right

            How many people have iPods populated entirely from the iTunes store? can't be that many.

            I have 5Gb of music in my iTunes library, but only about 12 tracks were from the iTunes store, the rest were ripped from CD's I already had.

            I always rip my content from CD, and I'm starting to do the same with DVD's (there are enough programs that convert to iTunes friendly formats.)

            I am seriously considering the Apple TV as my wife, 2 teenage kids and myself all use iTunes for pretty much all our digital content.

            Puzzles me that the "proprietory iTunes" thing always comes up, iTunes handles plenty of different formats for movies and audio.
            BobF_z
    • AppleTV does...

      ...for the Apple what the Slingbox does with more simplicity and grace. As an Apple
      user who loves her tiny Airport Express (router, print server, network extender, music
      server - all in one very tiny, very portable 4" box) - this will complete my need set.

      Also, I don't buy cable tv - I buy my favorite tv shows (without commercials) and this
      will mean that my computer doesn't have to be housed next to my tv.

      Works for me and I am sure it will work for others too!
      ladyirol
      • No, it doesn't

        The Slingbox lets you watch tv from different remote locations. It let's you watch your tv on your laptop, even when you're on a different continent.

        The Apple TV does nothing of the sort.
        tic swayback
  • you can still take you DVDs convert to favorite format...

    import into iTunes (exactly as you do with music) and beam to your TV/entertainment center... and put your DVDs in a closet somewhere... this is exactly what you do with music right now... or download movies and import into iTunes... why do you feel you need to get any video content what so ever from the iTunes store?

    time to start looking at 1 terabyte drives... for my iTunes folder
    doctorSpoc
  • Where's the innovation?

    I'va had an O2 Atom with Windows Pocket PC for over a year. It has all the features of this AND is unlocked AND has the standard Windows Office pocket apps.

    The only innovation here seems to be a new way for Apple to take your money.
    TonyMcS
    • How's your

      multi-touch display with finger controls going? Must love the accelerometer
      automatic changing from landscape to portrait and the proximity sensor that dims
      the display as you hold it to your head?

      Then Mac OS X doesn't have any features over the well respect windows Pocket PC
      like visual voicemail, safari and widgets (sorry rolls around on floor laughing)...
      Richard Flude
      • Richard, as much as I usually LOVE to disagree with you . . .

        I think you're right on this one. What Apple has actually done, is show the viability of OSX as a Pocket device OS . . . and how lame Wondows mobile can look . . .(and I own a Dell Axim, and love it, too). . .

        I think that Apple may just license this version of their OS to outside parties (Deep pockets, and the ability to put a LOT of product on the Market NOW). Maybe Dell? Maybe I'm reading too much into this (like I haven't done THAT before <snicker>), but Dell's been dragging their feet about updating the Axim line . . . Maybe there has already been some talking . . .

        Or daydreaming by me . . .
        jlhenry62