iPhone misses Live Web integration opportunities

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.

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TOPICS: iPhone
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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. ...

Topic: iPhone

Denise Howell

About Denise Howell

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.

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3 comments
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  • Designing your devices.

    I admit I use an inexpensive cell phone. If it does more than make and receive telephone calls, I haven't looked. For me, to each device its own.

    I have considered a different phone with the ability to take photos, mostly because I have my phone with me more often than my camera. But, and I recognize the irony, until I miss the chance to take a prize-winning photo, I won't miss it.
    My camera works better than a cell phone would, so long as I leave it on the generic settings.

    So, why are you anxious to have the (highly expensive) phone?
    Is it about use, design, something else?
    Anton Philidor
    • re: Designing your devices

      I've used various iterations of the Sony Ericsson line for years, and I guess I'm the opposite -- I *want* a single device that can deliver, and deliver well, the functionality I get from the handful of devices I tend to slug around with me. The iPod is key among that handful. The phone is key too, because with the Sony Ericssons I've been able to successfully marry phone and email for some time (I've never used or wanted a crackberry or Treo). Since the iPhone will have a good browser, usable SMS, will function as an iPod and sync contacts from my Mac, it stands to be a great improvement over my current system. I'll definitely use all its features and lighten my device load. But it doesn't make sense to me to build something like this without connecting its text entry and photo (and hopefully eventually video) functions more tightly and seamlessly with Web publishing.
      Denise Howell
  • its a firmware update.

    I think integrating with live web services nothing more than firmware update(except for video blogging)..

    Recent Nokia Nseries promising very similar to your expectation...but I guess only with Vox, pls check it out
    http://go.vox.com/nokia

    Kind rghrds
    Saravanan
    saran945@...