Adventures in Nomadic Serendipity
Just because there is a beaten path, that doesn't mean you have to take it...
The iPhone is closed?!?! 
12th-Jan-2007 04:32 pm
face
My biggest unanswered question concerning the iPhone seems to have been answered:

Mr. Jobs is moving in that direction, too, but it appears that he wants to control his device much more closely than his competitors.

“We define everything that is on the phone,” he said. “You don’t want your phone to be like a PC. The last thing you want is to have loaded three apps on your phone and then you go to make a call and it doesn’t work anymore. These are more like iPods than they are like computers.”

The iPhone, he insisted, would not look like the rest of the wireless industry.

“These are devices that need to work, and you can’t do that if you load any software on them,” he said. “That doesn’t mean there’s not going to be software to buy that you can load on them coming from us. It doesn’t mean we have to write it all, but it means it has to be more of a controlled environment.”

[NY Times]

Egads - what is Apple thinking?!?! At the very least it seems like it would be a no-brainer to allow for an open user-installable widget architecture. You could do that without ANY risk to the stability of the phone.

Apple made a big deal during the iPhone launch about how the iPhone is running OS X - but they now tell us that they have all that power locked away out of reach. This is such a cruel tease... Apple now has the best mobile hardware and software platform out there - and if they were to let developers on it amazingly innovative things would emerge from big and small developers alike. But by making it a completely walled garden, they are throwing all that potential out the window.

Macintosh fanatics are
NOT happy, and an anti-iPhone backlash is starting to emerge now that the launch euphoria is fading.

Having the iPhone be a locked down device is probably the one thing that will keep me from standing in line to buy one the day it comes out.

I am NOT happy about this. *grrrrr*
Comments 
12th-Jan-2007 10:12 pm (UTC)
Egads - what is Apple thinking?!?! At the very least it seems like it would be a no-brainer to allow for an open user-installable widget architecture. You could do that without ANY risk to the stability of the phone.

They were thinking that coffee's for closers.

Apple made a big deal during the iPhone launch about how the iPhone is running OS X - but they now tell us that they have all that power locked away out of reach.

Let's be real for a moment. You and I both know that whatever is on that phone is not "real" OS X. It may have some parts of the OS X kernel, and it might support the OS X system call API (within some limitations), but the reason for saying that the iPhone is running OS X is to comfort Mac users in believing it's compatible with what they have.

This is such a cruel tease... Apple now has the best mobile hardware and software platform out there - and if they were to let developers on it amazingly innovative things would emerge from big and small developers alike.

Actually, it's emerged that the hardware profile is probably the Blackjack chipsets with a couple of tweaks and an iPod hard drive. In addition, isn't it a little presumptuous to call something "the best" based off of a video of Jobs showing it off? I realize you're in love with the thing, but if I showed you video of me driving a new car that looked all fast and awesome and gadget-ey, would you declare that it had already beaten all the other cars on the market?
12th-Jan-2007 10:38 pm (UTC)
They were thinking that coffee's for closers.

Huh?

Let's be real for a moment. You and I both know that whatever is on that phone is not "real" OS X. It may have some parts of the OS X kernel, and it might support the OS X system call API (within some limitations), but the reason for saying that the iPhone is running OS X is to comfort Mac users in believing it's compatible with what they have.

It is certainly a trimmed down version of OS X. The key reason to announce OS X inside would be to excite developers, not comfort users. Users could care less. Developers have built up expertise and IP. Apple teased them with an opportunity, then locked them out. Cruel. I can think of a few reasons for this tease from a strategic standpoint though....

Actually, it's emerged that the hardware profile is probably the Blackjack chipsets with a couple of tweaks and an iPod hard drive. In addition, isn't it a little presumptuous to call something "the best" based off of a video of Jobs showing it off?

If you took a BlackJack and added a HVGA high-contrast beautifully bright screen, a very nice 3D acceleration chip, and 4GB of fast flash memory - I'd be calling that hardware platform the best as well. Minus the lack of a HSDPA radio, I have not seen such a nice hardware package demonstrated anywhere.

And as for "best" software platform - I am way too familiar with the strengths and weaknesses and internals of PalmOS, Windows Mobile, Symbian, and mobile Linux. Though it is hard to know for certain based on what little information is out, "Mobile OSX" has the potential to be one hell of a mobile software platform, particularly for developers.

- chris
12th-Jan-2007 11:22 pm (UTC)
Huh?

It's a line from a classic film about cutthroat business. The monologue is now a standard. It loses a lot of the impact to say it this way, but it basically means "you seal the deal, or you're out."

It is certainly a trimmed down version of OS X. The key reason to announce OS X inside would be to excite developers, not comfort users. Users could care less.

I don't think so. Apple said it's OS X for the same reason Microsoft calls it Windows Mobile. Microsoft doesn't call it Windows Mobile for the developers. They call it that because it assures everyone that it's "in the Windows family."

If you took a BlackJack and added a HVGA high-contrast beautifully bright screen, a very nice 3D acceleration chip, and 4GB of fast flash memory - I'd be calling that hardware platform the best as well.

According to CNET and Information Week, it's got the same video processors as the Blackjack. Where are you reading about an extra 3D acceleration chip?

And as for "best" software platform - I am way too familiar with the strengths and weaknesses and internals of PalmOS, Windows Mobile, Symbian, and mobile Linux. Though it is hard to know for certain based on what little information is out, "Mobile OSX" has the potential to be one hell of a mobile software platform, particularly for developers.

I believe nothing in this industry until it's in my hands or at least in the hands of someone I trust, so you'll forgive me if I withhold enthusiasm until I see that it's not more of the same.
13th-Jan-2007 03:01 am (UTC)
According to CNET and Information Week, it's got the same video processors as the Blackjack. Where are you reading about an extra 3D acceleration chip?

Does the Blackjack have a 3D-capable video chip in it? If it does, there clearly isn't any software that is taking advantage of it.

The iPhone is very clearly using hardware accelerated graphics for all the whiz-bang interface.

Dell shipped (maybe they still are) some Pocket PC's with a very nice little 3D chip in them. It was sad - it went totally unused other than a few bundled games.

The key is to have both the hardware to do the acceleration, and the software architecture and UI to take advantage of it.

- chris
13th-Jan-2007 04:25 am (UTC)
The key is to have both the hardware to do the acceleration, and the software architecture and UI to take advantage of it.

Do you honestly think that after an all-but-dissertation doctoral program and a year of nothing but writing drivers that I don't know that?

You didn't really answer my question. Was your 3D accelerator comment based on your own speculation, or did you read it somewhere? What's your source?
13th-Jan-2007 05:10 am (UTC)
No source - my own speculation.

Based on the style of visual transforms they were doing - I would say with 95% certainty that they are being hardware accelerated though.

You may technically be able to drive that sort of eye candy with raw CPU power, but the battery impact would be extreme.

Does the BlackJack have 3D acceleration?

- chris
13th-Jan-2007 06:25 am (UTC)
I don't work for Samsung. I don't know what their specs are, nor have I done anything other than cursory looks for their chipsets. You acted like you knew, so I assumed you knew.

The battery impact would be extreme? Were you watching the same demos I was? The CPU intensive parts didn't last that long. There's only so many circuits you can turn on.

I believe nothing from trade show demos anyway. They're marketing events and nothing more. I believe even less from MacWorld.
13th-Jan-2007 06:43 am (UTC)
Every instruction executed by a CPU is a tick off the battery. Having a graphics accelerator can easily amount to extreme decrease in CPU workload. 10x, 100x, even 1000x.

The dynamic image scaling, the 3d album cover flow, and all that other eye candy looked very much like graphics accelerator hardware at work.

- chris
12th-Jan-2007 10:31 pm (UTC) - The more details come in - the more I don't like what I hear
Anonymous
Hi Chris,

I also read somewhere (I think from David Pogue) that you won't be able to open Word and Excel documents with it. The more I read about the Iphone the more it looks like an super cool Ipod with a phone built in. But I am not sure anymore if it could be considered a as smartphone.

The good thing is it's gonna whack all the other vendors from their laziness !

Sylvain
12th-Jan-2007 10:42 pm (UTC) - Re: The more details come in - the more I don't like what I hear
Third party developers would flock to this thing if it were open. DataViz would have Documents to Go on it within 6 months, giving a great mobile Word / Excel experience.

I saw comments on a Palm Developer forum from some developers who reported that they started getting requests from their customers for an iPhone port of their applications before the keynote had even finished!

- chris
13th-Jan-2007 12:03 am (UTC) - Yup it is locked
Just to follow up (did you see my David Pouge blog comment to you?) but talked to one of the Apple reps there on the floor.

It is locked. Widgets may (and they emphasized may) be opened up in the future, once the phone has been out in the wild for a bit.

Though I am sure that some enterprising coder out there will crack it as soon as they get their hands on one.

probably the one thing that will keep me from standing in line to buy one the day it comes out.

Though after seeing it in the bell jar, up close and personal...can I have your place in line on the day it comes out *G*
13th-Jan-2007 12:28 am (UTC)
Having the iPhone be a locked down device is probably the one thing that will keep me from standing in line to buy one the day it comes out.

Gee, you were still contemplating standing in line even after the relevations about non-replaceable battery, no expansion slot, and non-removeable SIM tied to CNG's expensive plans for years? Damn, you're persistent.
13th-Jan-2007 02:53 am (UTC)
Battery: My car already has an iPod charger built into. So do many cars now. And I will also be able to charge anywhere there is a USB port. If I needed a special charging dock or wall wart I would be annoyed, but iPod chargers and charging accessories are everywhere. If they really can offer five hours of talk time, I think I'd willingly trade off a removable battery for the slimness.

Expansion Slot: Nice to have - but with 8GB built in, the expansion slot isn't particularly useful. Can the Treo even make use of 8GB SD cards? What about SDIO WiFi? *poke*

SIM Card: I thought the pictures of the top of the iPhone showed a SIM card tray - so I think the SIM is removable. I sure hope so, I like to keep my old beater t68 phone around to pop a SIM into when I go into harsh environments. The iPhone though will be locked to Cingular, and is sold only with a two year contract. I'd prefer unlocked, but what phones aren't sold carrier locked anymore? If I buy a Treo 680 or 750 from Cingular, it will be just as locked for just as long, right?


So yeah - all those other problems you mentioned are pretty easy to overlook. Being a closed device - argh. That will be a tough one...

- chris

13th-Jan-2007 03:32 am (UTC)
Battery: As someone who suffered catastrophic iPod failure of *both* battery and hard drive after 15 months of owenership, I am much more interested in the ability to replace a bad battery without having to pay Apple lots of $$ than I am in the charging scenarios. I tossed the iPod and got a Creative Zen Nomad with 20GB more storage space for the same $250 Apple wanted to fix the iPod. Feh.

Expansion: I have nearly 60GB of music. This device would have to be in addition to a music player if I wanted my whole collection. And even if I narrow down to my "favorite songs", we're still at a playlist of about 5GB. But hey, since they're not going to let any 3rd parties develop software AND they're not going to support Office, I don't need to worry about taking up that free 3GB with other software or files huh?

SIM Card: Not totally sure about removeable or not... thought I'd read somewhere that it wasn't, but I haven't been extensively following the feature/rumors sites. I think the exclusive lock to CNG is bad all around. It will make it tough for them to offer ROW options and CNG has pretty poor customer support and expensive data plans.

I'm not claiming that the Treos are the end-all-be-all for smartphones, but this device certainly isn't either. Call me when they get around to v.2.
13th-Jan-2007 04:28 am (UTC)
Expansion: It's worth noting that 4GB is pretty much "entry level" these days, too, so the cheaper iPhone is barely scraping along. I have a PSP with a 4GB memory card. A good friend bought 4GB of SD storage for $50. Next year, they plan to outfit my grandmother with 4GB of storage, too, with a Firewire interface. It's a guaranteed senility cure.
13th-Jan-2007 06:35 am (UTC)
Entry level?

I'm not sure I've seen any other phone with so much built in storage.

It would be nice to have an expansion slot in addition to the built in storage - but that really isn't Apple's way.

And a lot of users would agree. They'd rather have the simplicity of the whole device put together right out of the box than having to figure out what to buy themselves.

Mainstream users crave simplicity. You'd be surprised how many users would actually consider an expansion slot a negative. We'd see results like that all the time in our market research at Palm.

- chris
13th-Jan-2007 05:16 am (UTC)
Battery: Yeah - I've experienced plenty of dismal failures of all sorts of hardware. I try to not expect more than 2 years of use out of anything mobile. But for the iPhone - it will be hard to consider it so disposable...

Expansion: 8GB is roughly the cutoff point of being "enough" for my music collection to have with me on the go - but it would be a big step down from my current 30GB iPod. I have been impressed at how easy it is to set up iTunes to "give me a random 6GB of music from my favorite artists, and all my new music from the past 90 days." The random sets then stay fresh with every sync.

SIM: Apple is free to do deals with other carriers around the world - and I do imagine the same greymarketers that sell unlocked European phones in the US will probably also end up importing unlocked iPhones. But - you'd be giving up your warranty and customer support. No thank you.

- chris
13th-Jan-2007 04:07 am (UTC)
Battery: My car already has an iPod charger built into. So do many cars now. And I will also be able to charge anywhere there is a USB port. If I needed a special charging dock or wall wart I would be annoyed, but iPod chargers and charging accessories are everywhere. If they really can offer five hours of talk time, I think I'd willingly trade off a removable battery for the slimness.

It's a bit different to have an iPod drain on battery. If it does.. worst case, you're not able to listen to music until you can find juice. Frustrating, but not the end of the world.

Risking being without my phone, my contacts, my calendar, my internet, my contact with the world? ... hmm... no thanks. I always carry a spare battery with me, despite having easy USB charging on my xv6700... and I've had to use it on a number of occasions. So many more opportunities for a phone to drain battery juice.. go in and out of signal for a while? Amazing how fast they can drain without you knowing it. Need to be online longer than anticipated... now empty. Oh, wait.. no 3G on iPhone, don't have to worry about that. *snicker*
13th-Jan-2007 09:47 pm (UTC) - Anti-iPhone campaign
Just look at that! Anti-iPhone arguments!

http://www.spymac.com/details?1794322

It'Fun and at the same time serious discussion...
Cheers :)
15th-Jan-2007 07:42 am (UTC)
Hmmm, locked out where people can't access it or do anything with it.
Yep, that's pretty much my entire problem with Apple right there.
:)
16th-Jan-2007 04:22 am (UTC)
how long do you think it will take 'til somebody hacks it (like installing XP on the Intel Macs) and they end up opening it to at least Widgets
16th-Jan-2007 05:33 am (UTC)
It will probably be a rather tough hack, but certainly eventually accomplished.

Though - odds are likely that the hack may require a hardware modification, like is necessary to run Linux on an X-Box.

And even if a hack is accomplished, it will probably be wiped out by every minor OS update that comes from Apple.

It is a losing battle if you just want a simple phone that always works....

- chris
29th-Apr-2007 07:24 am (UTC) - Hello people
Anonymous
Peace people

We love you
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