Thoughts on Apple iPhone and Apple TV

[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.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

[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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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?

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