Steve Jobs at MacWorld: iLame

January 10, 2007

Wow, the world is so surprised: iPhone and AppleTV. Certainly whilst the phone looks somewhat appealing, taking a hard look at the product specs for both under whelm, and certainly you’d think that at the end of the day the hype was totally undeserved…but then again maybe I’m not drinking from the same Apple Kool Aid fountain that most of the blogosphere and MSM are drinking from.

Lets take a look at each product.

iphoneiPhone

It’s a phone…running Mac OSX. Wow (not). But it’s made by Apple so it must be the best thing since sliced bread!

Touch Screen

The all in one touch screen is being touted as a major first for mobile phones, and yet any half arsed geek can tell you that this sort of touch screen technology has been around for years, although be it perhaps not always in such a small and thin package. Did you ever wonder why other mobile hardware firms aren’t using this technology? easy, it’s not real world friendly. Where’s the iPhone cover or slide device to cover up the screen? there isn’t one. So when it’s sitting in a pocket, a briefcase or a handbag, what’s going to happen with the touch screen? Easy, you’re going to get phantom button pushing, and you’re also going to get a screen that scratches something bad (and as we know Apple has a history of products that scratch easily). Other mobile firms know how people use phones in the real world, Apple doesn’t.

Memory

OK, so 4gb and 8gb is fairly big memory for a mobile phone, but this isn’t just a mobile phone. The sales pitch for the iPhone is that it’s the swiss arm knife of mobile phones. 4gb and 8gb isn’t going to go very far with a decent music collection or a couple of movies. And from what I can see from the product specs, there isn’t an expansion slot either, so you can’t add memory to the device…and vice versa, if you take a pile of pictures you cant take a memory card out of the phone to get those shots printed at the local camera shop, or to easily access them on a friends or your own computer. If this last statement seems odd, go and watch your non-geek friends with their camera phones and digital cameras, or even go to a local printing store and watch how 99% of the time people use a memory card to transfer photos. Mind you, with only a 2mgp camera maybe not all that many people will be using the camera features, after all most top of the range phones start with a 3mgp camera and there are even higher resolution products coming onto the market.

GSM, but no 3G

If there is one outstanding feature (or lacking feature) that should cut through all the hype, it’s the iPhones lack of 3G. Of course I can hear everyone saying that 3G doesn’t really exist in any substantial form yet in the US, but the United States isn’t the rest of the world. A quick look on Wikipedia shows most of the Western World, plus a whole pile of the rest of the world now has 3G networks. In Australia, network carriers such as Telstra (the nations largest) no longer sign people up on GSM plans, it’s all 3G. GSM has become the fall back when there is no 3G coverage, as my own phone on the Optus network switches between the two (I don’t live in a Optus 3G area). Apple has designed a phone with a near immediate redundancy across huge areas of the planet…and yet it’s being promoted as an internet device! 2.5 GPRS might provide marginal surfing speeds, but without 3G it’s not a high speed internet device. But it’s got WiFi you say! Great, but free WiFi isn’t highly spread outside of the US either (or should that just be San Francisco?) Can you imagine Nokia launching a brand new phone that ran only on 2G?

appletvAppleTV

Steve Jobs is taking the piss right? Apple TV? Where exactly does it do TV? Let’s see, you can stream stuff onto your TV. You can download stuff from iTunes and watch that on your TV…or can you, the main product page talks about syncing with your computer? So what is it exactly? It’s a media extender with a pissy little 40gb hard drive that provides no actual TV functionality at all.

I suppose the question is why? why are Apple so adverse to adding a TV Tuner, a decent hard drive and some PVR functionality. That’s the TV box not only of the future, but of the present. DVD recorders with built in hard drives are one of the biggest growing segments of the retail market. Straight PVR’s themselves continue to grow, particularly in the US through the tie ins with TiVo and similar services with the Cable TV companies. Windows XP MCE boxes already do all of this and more.

There is nothing exciting about AppleTV except the ridiculously high price tag: $299 US. $299 for a media extender? You’d be better off buying a XBox 360, you’d be looking at a similar outlay, and it least you could play games on it as well!

 

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4 responses to Steve Jobs at MacWorld: iLame

  1. Even as an Apple fanboy (well more of a Mac fanboy to be accurate) I have to agree with you about Apple TV. It’s not up to the job, and there are better alternatives.

    In the UK there’s barely anything on iTunes, which is where most of this miraculous streaming video is supposed to come from. No-one is going to convert all their DVDs to iTunes so they can stream them when they’ve a perfectly good DVD player sitting underneath their TV to play films on. 40GB is pathetic – most PVRs come with at least 80GB, if not 120, 160 or more – having said that not much gets stored on the HD apparently because it’s all streaming from your computer (great for the environment, eh? keep two computers running to show you a film)

    I do like the iPhone, proviso being that it’s a 1st gen model, and by the time it creeps out of Apple’s backyard (America) it’ll be 2008 and beyond, by which time maybe a 2nd gen model with the features a modern phone really needs will be ready – with more storage, better connectivity, etc.

    You knew it was all gonna go mad, though, didn’t you? It’s what Apple events spark off. I’m more disappointed there was no meat about the OS or other machines, but then this is a consumer show seeming to be aimed as much (if not more) at non Apple people as Apple diehards.

  2. Steve did an excellent presentation of that iPhone! I mean, I wasn’t there, but even the tiny quicktime movie on the apple site sent shivers down my spine. And I suppose Google, Yahoo, Cingular and all the other “partners” in the iPhone universe felt the same. Because that’s what the iPhone really is about: Selling services. Lots of services. This iPhone is turning each owner into a milkcow; it’s the portable equivalent of the good old “cheap printer – expensive ink” marketing concept. I’m pretty sure that every single feature, or lack thereof, on that iPhone is geared towards maximising the constant flow of cash from the iPhone owner to Apple and its partners.

    But it’s still an amazing gadget with a few nice innovations in the UI. I can’t wait to put my fingers on it. Oh wait, I’m in Europe! Well, I guess by the time the iPhone is available here, Nokia will have come up with an answer. They usually do.

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