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Why the iPhone Keynote Was A Mistake 507

Posted by Zonk
from the should-have-worn-a-hat dept.
jcatcw writes "Mike Elgan at Computerworld lists six reasons why it was a mistake to make the iPhone keynote at Macworld. He argues that extremely high expectations can only lead to disappointment for consumers and investors. The focus on the phone during the keynote also took away from the Apple TV announcement, put iPod sales at risk, gave competitors a head start, and (perhaps worst of all) ruined the company's talks with Cisco over the iPhone name. From the article: 'The iPhone, despite its many media-oriented virtues and its sweet design, will do far less than most existing smart phones. The problem Apple now faces because of Jobs' premature detail-oriented announcement is that of dashed expectations. When customers expect more and don't get it, they become dissatisfied.'"
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Why the iPhone Keynote Was A Mistake

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  • 6 months! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Realistic_Dragon (655151) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @06:46PM (#17705504) Homepage
    The worst thing is the amount of time there is for your significant other to hear about the new iPhone and hide the credit cards before release day.
    • Re:6 months! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CleverBoy (801540) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @08:40PM (#17706384) Homepage
      The announcement was fine. Given the breath of reports on this phone (competing phones, trademark disputes, other), to NOT make an announcement is to simply NOT CONTROL the perception of the news when it breaks. Seriously. I can respect that the author of this article sees problems with the announcement, but the benefits FAR outweigh the detriment. To miss that is to miss the point.

      1. Cingular gets to gauge consumer interest
      2. Customers can plan accordingly with respects to their phone agreements (big point)
      3. Customers can plan accordingly with respects to their savings (medium point)
      4. They answer HIGH expectations around a new iPod release (big criticism)
      5. Accessory makers have 6 months to plan (avoiding the criticised "shock" effect)
      6. Customers can educate themselves about product expectations

      --And the list goes on. Wait until the phone comes out before prenouncing "what went wrong", especially if there's no indication that anything isn't going according to plan. 6 months is a long time. We're still in month 1. There'll be plenty of time to second guess this month 3-4 months from now.
      • Re:6 months! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheoMurpse (729043) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @09:21PM (#17706642) Homepage
        4. They answer HIGH expectations around a new iPod release (big criticism)
        And this is why I expect a widescreen iPod announcement sometime this year. The author of the article argues that this phone will eat into iPod sales this year, because it's not supplementary, but rather a direct competitor to the iPod line. However, Apple has now proven that they have the desire and technical ability to put out a pretty-looking widescreen iPod. Now they just need to put out one with a large hard drive. I suspect this year will see an iPod 6G with widescreen and a very large hard drive (hasn't the hard drive manufacturer hit 100 or 120GB now?).

        And if I'm wrong, at least I still get modded +5 Insightful ;)
      • Re:6 months! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 21, 2007 @10:32PM (#17707026)
        You fail to consider the large quantity of people who are NOT on Cingular, yet have a contract that will end in the next 6 months. By announcing the iPhone, you attract those people to Cingular, or at the very least, they will stay month-to-month with another provider until the iPhone release.

        The iPod market, as we've been hearing for the past months, is saturated. iPods are everywhere. There's more competition from other manufacturers. How much longer do you expect Apple to sit and sell the current batch of iPods? The cell phone and DAP markets have been merging for the past 2 years. Do you really think Apple is going to sit back and ignore that market? Apple isn't going to give up on the DAP market, but they can't ignore the PDA/MP3/cell phone market either.

        The functionality of the iPhone might be less than the current batch of PDA's, but what functionality is most important? Is Apple going after the business market? Are they expected to go after Blackberry? Or Palm? I have a Treo 700W. I can play MP3's and video. I have a 2gig SD card. If I had the opportunity to switch without penalty, I'd do it.

        Frankly, Apple will do well with the iPhone. I'm normally an early adopter. In this case, I'll be tied to Verizon for another year, and even then, my employer may not be excited about supporting an iPhone. Which leads me to my last point... the iPhone isn't going to penetrate biz markets much... but it will cause people to WANT to change... and that will alter the way the PDA/Phone market develops over the next few years. The Blackberry's around work do not play MP3's. They don't play video. Some of them browse the internet. But the functionality is limited to mostly email. If it came down to a Blackberry or an iPhone, I'd take an iPhone. If it came to an iPhone and a Treo 700W, 700P, or 750P, I'd take the Treo.
        • Re:6 months! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by IANAAC (692242) on Monday January 22, 2007 @12:37AM (#17707730)
          The Blackberry's around work do not play MP3's. They don't play video. Some of them browse the internet. But the functionality is limited to mostly email. If it came down to a Blackberry or an iPhone,

          You might want to take a look at the current crop of Blackberrys. I own a Pearl and it does everything you say it can't. Effortlessly. And what you say is "limited to mostly email" can't be discounted. It's quite important to many people, an Apple is counting on its success with its own phone as well.

          On a side note, when I went to the Cingular store to buy by Pearl, there was a woman there that was talking about waiting for the iPhone. She saw my phone and started asking questions. Once she saw waht it was capable of, she bought one too. She said she still will consider buying an iPhone in June when they're released, but frankly, if the iPhone doesn't offer significantly more than the smartphones already on the market, I don't see how it'll survive. Especially at the price they're quoting for a two year contract.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by DikSeaCup (767041)
            In addition, this is not a company who will stand still ... I wonder what their beta products look like? WiFi maybe? Course, it will have the FCC to contend with ... but so will all the other WiFi capable cell phones coming out ...

            Funny thing about the BlackBerry; they don't have a touchscreen. From what I understand, they don't need it, and their testing probably indicates that the standard scroll wheel interface they use now is just "better", and the less you have things touching the screen, the bett

          • But then again... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Xcott Craver (615642) on Monday January 22, 2007 @11:02AM (#17710336)
            The functionality argument could always be made for the iPod as well. The iPod lacked features that could long be found in competing MP3 jukeboxes, and yet it was a commercial success. In fact, some of its comparative deficiencies are the same that were listed here for the iPhone. Yet consumers didn't reject it for the things it couldn't do. I think a big part of Apple's target market are people who want to have the cool gadget like an MP3 player or a smart phone, but who don't already have so much experience with them so as to expect specific features. I mean, who's the bigger market, people who already own Blackberrys, or people who have regular phones and are sick of not remembering how to set up a 3-way call, or which unlabeled button turns on speakerphone?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by slippyblade (962288)
        Oh my god, you are a funny man. If you have EVER worked in a retail environment then you'd realize half of your comment was a waste of bytes. Consumers, as a general rule *DO NOT DO ANY OF THE FOLLOWING*!

        2. Customers can plan accordingly with respects to their phone agreements (big point)
        3. Customers can plan accordingly with respects to their savings (medium point)
        6. Customers can educate themselves about product expectations

        "Plan accordingly" and "Educate themselves" are the last thing the average Joe S
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cayenne8 (626475)
          ""Plan accordingly" and "Educate themselves" are the last thing the average Joe Sixpack does in this society. The sheer number of idiots I deal with on a daily basis asking questions like, "Xbox games work on the PlayStation, right?" proves to me that planning and education are far down the list of consumer priorities. "Get eyebrows waxed" has higher priority to todays consumer!"

          Largely.....I agree with you.

          However, I think the consumer that can easily afford an iPhone would be a slightly different case.

        • Re:6 months! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by shmlco (594907) on Monday January 22, 2007 @12:34AM (#17707710) Homepage
          ".. the average Joe Sixpack .."

          Which, BTW, is NOT the target market. Not to mention the fact that Joe Sixpack also tends not to be an early adopter.
      • Re:6 months! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mabhatter654 (561290) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @11:26PM (#17707340)
        the most important thing is that Apple has to submit the device to the FCC for approval on all those radio frequencies. At that point most of the details become public as the FCC testing notes are "public record" so it's better for Apple to nip the rumor mill and take all the media hype for itself.

        that said, the [Apple]TV really got the short stick this round. That was supposed to get the spotlight and Steve dropped the ball. They didn't show us anything about it we didn't already know, so all the fan hype has been very negative. And we can't even BUY it yet!!

      • You don't understand the media "pundits", grasshopper. Their job is solely to sound all smart and knowledgeable, make all sorts of comments on a know-it-all tone, make some wild predictions and take credit only for the ones that come true.

        E.g., if you predicted that Apple will make a PDA... some 5 years ago, do take the iPhone as confirmation that you're smart and predict stuff like the Oracle of Delphi. If you predicted that Intel will buy Apple (don't laugh, one idiot predicted just that), well, carry on
  • still (Score:3, Insightful)

    by polar red (215081) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @06:47PM (#17705510)
    I still think the iphone will sell a lot, apple is still riding the coolness factor they created with the ipod.
    • Re:still (Score:4, Insightful)

      by pboyd2004 (860767) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @06:50PM (#17705534)
      The author really isn't trying to make that argument. He's just saying the announcement this early in the game was a bad idea.
      • Re:still (Score:5, Informative)

        by mrchaotica (681592) * on Sunday January 21, 2007 @06:56PM (#17705606)

        The trouble is that Apple apparently had no choice, because it needs FCC approval which would have made the device public anyway.

        • The trouble is that Apple apparently had no choice

          The trouble, such as it was, was that nothing was ready to announce, which is to say, ship. It's all vaporware, albeit very likely to appear eventually vaporware.

          Leopard wasn't ready; iPhone wasn't ready; iTV wasn't ready; no improvements to the laptops, minis, desktops... nothing. Not even an iPod variant. So what was Apple to do in the face of high customer expectations, ongoing stock and accounting scandals? Announce vaporware, that's what, and t

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by fredmosby (545378)
            The trouble, such as it was, was that nothing was ready to announce

            They do have the Apple TV [apple.com] and the AirPort Extreme [apple.com] both shipping in February. Apple didn't even announce the new AirPort in the keynote. Apple tends to release consumer devices at Macworld and operating systems at WWDC [wikipedia.org]. So they announced their new gadgets at Macworld, and they'll announce their new OS at WWDC in a few months.
          • by el americano (799629) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @09:17PM (#17706616) Homepage
            I agree that those announcements that end in, "and you can buy them in stores today" are much more powerful. I recall the Intel-based Macs were announced that way. Clearly the iPhone didn't miss MacWorld due to development delays, they announced it now to make the biggest splash. I thought it was overdone at the time - especially as they completly ignored the 11n AirPort upgrade - but who can argue with the incredible PR it brought them and the 5% stock bump, all ahead of another jump at earnings announcement. And they beat the LG/Prada phone to the punch. This was less an analysis of the unqualified success that it was, and more a prediction of the failure that iPhone is going to be. These journalists seem to be rewarded for making wrong predictions, because they're labeled "controvertial." Adjust accordingly.

            I still want a AirPort Extreme though.

          • by Rodness (168429) on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:04AM (#17707848)
            The trouble, such as it was, was that nothing was ready to announce, which is to say, ship.

            Remeber, Apple doesn't get to schedule Macworld around their product readiness, it's on the calendar a year ahead of time. If a product isn't ready, I'd rather them take the extra time to make it ready than to rush it out on a specific target date like so many other companies -- notorious for making shit products -- that I could name.
        • Re:still (Score:5, Interesting)

          by squiggleslash (241428) * on Sunday January 21, 2007 @09:42PM (#17706744) Homepage Journal

          I think the FCC argument is dubious, to be honest.

          Apple needed to have their device approved by the FCC, who'd have made some details of the device public. However, Apple could have had a third party (for example, their manufacturer - Apple doesn't generally make their own products) enter the product, and from the point of view of people watching the FCC lists, all they'd have seen would have been a stylish touchscreen camera phone with EDGE and 802.11, coming from Hon Hai, a company not immediately associated with Apple. Even if people put the pieces together and assumed Apple was involved, the FCC would have published no details of the software, which arguably is the most important aspect of the iPhone concept, and the part Apple needed to keep secret.

          Here's what I think. I think Steve Jobs got very excited about a product, far more so than he normally does, and felt MacWorld was the opportunity to reveal it. It's that simple. I think Jobs, in common with much of the media, has overblown the importance of the Apple communicator. It's an original machine, but then original phones come out every year. It's not innovative, in that it will not introduce a technology to a mass audience (the definition of innovative, which is not a synonym for inventive), it's too expensive for that, but it may end up influencing many devices to come. But ultimately, it's a very large phone that, nonetheless, has many nice features but none that the majority of people will see as worth the price tag and Cingular handcuffs, and it'll be relegated to the designer product niche.

          Meanwhile someone will popularize the genuine advantages. They'll not produce a product that's as desirable, but it'll be "good enough" and much cheaper and more accessable, just as Microsoft/Commodore/Atari and Palm did to Macintosh and Newton respectively.

          But I'm getting off the subject. The point is that Jobs became convinced that this was an important product. That's why it was presented at MacWorld. Not because of the FCC, not because of a lack of other products, but Jobs being overwhelmed with excitement.

          • Re:still (Score:5, Insightful)

            by RedWizzard (192002) on Monday January 22, 2007 @12:16AM (#17707626)

            It's not innovative...
            I don't disagree with your argument, but I would like to point out that the iPod wasn't really innovative either. And for that matter neither was the iMac. A lack of innovation has never troubled Apple products in the past as their major selling points are easy of use and style.
      • Re:still (Score:5, Insightful)

        by vought (160908) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @08:34PM (#17706350)
        The author really isn't trying to make that argument. He's just saying the announcement this early in the game was a bad idea.


        Something Apple has been held to task for here before - the company is notoriously secretive and known for not sharing future product details, much to the displeasure of IT professionals. Yet now, preannouncing is a mistake.

        Poor Apple. Can't have it both ways, and gets criticized no matter whether they announce ahead of time or on the day something ships.
        • Something Apple has been held to task for here before - the company is notoriously secretive and known for not sharing future product details, much to the displeasure of IT professionals. Yet now, preannouncing is a mistake.

          Poor Apple. Can't have it both ways, and gets criticized no matter whether they announce ahead of time or on the day something ships.

          You're kinda missing the important point that it's not the same people arguing the two sides, and it's for vastly different reasons. This time it's not som

  • FCC leaks (Score:5, Informative)

    by zero-one (79216) <jonwpayne@gmailBOHR.com minus physicist> on Sunday January 21, 2007 @06:52PM (#17705554) Homepage
    Right at the start of the presentation, Jobs says something like "When's it going to be available? We're shipping them in June -- we're announcing it today because we have to go get FCC approval... We thought it'd be better to introduce this today rather than let the FCC introduce this".

    Judging from all the rumours about the Zune the future iPods that have been helped along by FCC documents, I think they made the right call.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by modecx (130548)
      Judging from all the rumours about the Zune the future iPods that have been helped along by FCC documents, I think they made the right call.

      Exactly. The author of this article is a num-head.
    • by Mike1024 (184871) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @07:31PM (#17705910)
      Judging from all the rumours about the Zune the future iPods that have been helped along by FCC documents, I think they made the right call.

      If I was a big apple I'd submit a few dozen fake products for approval just to throw people off. When the documents about the Apple Bananaphone and the Apple ipod/condom become public, people will start taking these rumours with a bigger pinch of salt.
  • Good Point (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Greatmoose (896405) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @06:52PM (#17705556) Journal
    I hadn't thought of the iPhone cannibalizing iPod sales. Seems as if they are forcing thier customers to pick on or the other: a lot of features (iPhone) or a lot of storage space (iPod). Perhaps if they offered a much larger capacity iPhone, they wouldn't have that problem. Of course, it'd be $1,000 or something...
    • Re:Good Point (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @07:12PM (#17705760)
      iPhone cannibalizing iPod sales

      That doesn't make much sense to me. First the author says it's going to be hard to sell many iPhones and uses the facts that RIM only sold 5.5M blackberrys last year and the iPhone will be Cingular only. Then he says that people aren't going to buy ipods in order to wait for the iPhone. I'm not sure how he can have it both ways there.

      Now, if he wants to make a case that people may hold off on a new ipod to see if the ipod line may get the touchscreen interface I might buy into that line of reasoning.
      • Re:Good Point (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sandor at the Zoo (98013) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @07:47PM (#17706000)

        Yeah, this article smacks of "how can I dump on Jobs to get page views?"

        I've a friend who is a definite Mac geek and will be paying an early termination fee on his Verizon cell plan just to get an iPhone. That didn't stop him from buying two 80 GB video iPods last week (for him and his wife).

        Since the iPhone has 8 GB max, I don't see that people who want to store their whole music collection (let alone video) are going to hold up a purchase, even if they plan on buying an iPhone in 6 months.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mspohr (589790)
          I think the number of fanbois with more money than brains is somewhat limited. This might not be a good business model.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by StrahdVZ (1027852)
          Especially after reading the interesting postscript note on the last page:

          Mike Elgan is a technology writer and former editor of Windows Magazine.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 21, 2007 @10:11PM (#17706910)
          This has to be the least impact and most important cellphone news of the past year, and no one seems to be able to remember it. New rules got passed last december. It was covered here and on most of the major tech sites. The telcos can't as in "NO", restrict the use of any phone as along as it is frequency capable. You can unlock them, they are now portable if you so choose. Apple saying it is cingular only is mass consumer FUD now. That might be their contract they have with AT&T, but it isn't the law for individuals. Tell your friend he shouldn't have to switch if the iPhone hardware is compatable. Scroll to section five, clear as day, cellphones are now portable, legally, they can't stop you

          http://www.copyright.gov/1201/index.html [copyright.gov]

          "5. Computer programs in the form of firmware that enable wireless telephone handsets to connect to a wireless telephone communication network, when circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of lawfully connecting to a wireless telephone communication network."

          I have posted this a few times now on cellphone theads, hopefully it will stick this time

          With that said, I would encourage anyone to support open moko and the neo1973 instead of the iPhone,it is pretty close to half the price, totally open, no restrictions of note, free as in speech.

              Support hardware vendors who support open source (and it is a sharp looking phone, and there will be a ton of apps for it, unlike apple's big FU to consumers and devs)
    • When you announce a product too early you you're telling the customer that anything they buy between now and then is not as cool as the iphone. You're buying something obsolete and uncool (until in 10 years it's retro). Since a significant part of the iphone/ipod story is coolness, overhanging an out of date/obsolete product is a bad idea.

      Then there's the fact that people get bored quickly. Announce a product and, even if it is not available, people still start to get used to the idea. When you finally rele

  • by gravesb (967413) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @06:52PM (#17705558) Homepage
    All valid points, but it will affect competitors as well. Right now, people in the consumer smart phone market will be at least tempted to hold out and wait for the iPhone. Since those companies are already in the market, and Apple is not, who will it hurt more? Also, I think its good to announce 6 months out, with the 2 year cycle of cell phone plans. This gives consumers enough advanced notice to decide about entering into a new plan now, or just extending their old plan until the iPhone is available.
  • Nice job (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SilentOneNCW (943611) <silentdragon@g m a i l .com> on Sunday January 21, 2007 @06:55PM (#17705590) Homepage
    Wow, kudos to the submitter and the article writer -- while speculative, it makes logical sense and uses existing evidence to predict future events. See, this is the sort of story /. needs more often. ...

    Having said that, I think that no force in the world (not Microsoft, not even Apple) could make iPods stop selling -- I don't think that by having the main attraction of the keynote be the iPhone makes the iPod any less the world's most watched MP3 player. Apple TV may be a little less stable and visible, so that getting hurt is a more legitimate concern, but it doesn't make sense to delay the announcement -- who knows what Apple is going to spring on us next?
  • by d3ik (798966) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @06:56PM (#17705602)
    "He argues that extremely high expectations can only lead to disappointment for consumers and investors."
    In that case they shouldn't ever announce any cool products ever again. Seriously, what kind of logic is that? Apple makes cool things so people put unrealistic expectations on them. People do the same thing with Google, but Google still releases new services. The new stuff might not match the hype but Google and Apple can't change how much people obsess about them.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kithrup (778358)
      Worse, he seems to be saying that the "detail-oriented" presentation -- in which Jobs talked about and demonstrated what the device could do -- would leave consumers disappointed... that it can do what was claimed it could do?

      While he may have some valid points, it does seem to reek of "jumping on the attack-SJ-dogpile."
    • by William_Lee (834197) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @08:22PM (#17706262)
      "He argues that extremely high expectations can only lead to disappointment for consumers and investors." In that case they shouldn't ever announce any cool products ever again. Seriously, what kind of logic is that? Apple makes cool things so people put unrealistic expectations on them. People do the same thing with Google, but Google still releases new services. The new stuff might not match the hype but Google and Apple can't change how much people obsess about them.

      Apple is a public corporation and as such is supposed to put their shareholders first. Jobs announced an actual penetration target for the iPhone that some Wall Street analysts and investors are likely to take as gospel. The stock now has a lot of expectations baked into it. If Apple doesn't succeed wildly with the iPhone, the stock is likely to be punished severely as a result. The target is very aggressive based on pricepoint, lack of features, and Cingulair only distribution.

      That's why it's not a good idea to set up such an aggressive target. In terms of Wall Street, they're better off under promising, and over delivering. Time will tell, but I think the article makes a lot of interesting, well thought out, and potentially valid points.
  • Negotiating Position (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Sunday January 21, 2007 @06:57PM (#17705614) Homepage Journal
    The seemingly obvious explanation is that Steve Jobs needed a better negotiating position for something. So he announces it, gets a major media circus, half a billion eager buyers, Wall Street ready to punish anybody who doesn't jump on this product launch, and then goes back to his negotiating partner with a much stronger position.

    It could be the 3G network - Cringely's written a bit about Cingular insisting on selling its own music store items over 3G, which is why Apple is on EDGE only. Maybe the iPhone trademark... he made a point of boasting about patents (read: patent suit). Maybe something else - I haven't finished watching the whole keynote yet.

    Unappreciated gem from the Keynote - Jobs made the audience a point of showing them pictures of penguins on the iPhone. I don't think anything Jobs does these days is uncalculated. Oh, and Mach/xnu is slow...just sayin'.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Watson Ladd (955755)
      L4 would be a much more rational choice then Linux. It's basically a faster Mach. And Apple might want to take advantage of the 4 security layers of the x86 processor, something Linux doesn't do. Also, Apple would need to port IOKit to Linux. Since L4 is written in C++ it would be much easier. Or OpenSolaris. Since Apple is integrating a lot of OpenSolaris features anyway, the might as well take the whole hog.
  • by 88NoSoup4U88 (721233) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @06:58PM (#17705616) Homepage
    It's already dead in the water for me if they stick with being limited to one carrier. I don't care if it's possible through some loops to make it work with other carriers; If they limit my choice from the start, I won't be wasting my money on it.

    Then again, it is also a very nice bottle opener [youtube.com], an electronic razor, a blowdryer, a mousetrap......
  • As Jobs Said... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Kickboy12 (913888)
    Steve Jobs clearly explained why they announced it so early in his Keynote. They needed FCC approval, so if Jobs didn't do the keynote this early, then the FCC would have been the one to announce the iPhone. This probably would have increased anticipation, and possibly even increased the amount of dissatisfied customers.

    Some of the things the author talks about that the phone can't do, nobody really uses anyway. Voice Dialing? My old phone had voice dialing, and it was the most worthless piece of crap techn
  • might as well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pdwestermann (687379) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @06:58PM (#17705628) Homepage
    just mention right away that the ipod does far less than pretty much every high end MP3 player you can buy. How many happy ipod users are there? I think as long as the iphone does what it advertises and does it with style and ease (like the ipod), it will be a great success.

    i dont think apple is really going after the IT crowd with this, they are the only ones who will complain because it doesnt have feature X, rather than focusing on how well it performs the things it can do.
  • by NiteShaed (315799) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @06:59PM (#17705634)
    put iPod sales at risk

    From the moment the iPod was announced it seems that a commentary on Apple isn't complete without some suggestion that the iPod is in terrible danger. Eventually, maybe it'll get supplanted by some other cool little gizmo, but for now it ain't in danger guys. If he's referring to the idea that people will stop buying iPods waiting for the iPhone, I doubt that would be all that big of a sales hit....the iPhone will, for a while at least, be more far more expensive than an iPod, for far less capacity. I won't be trading in my 30GB iPod any time soon.....unless it's for an 80GB.
    • the iPhone will, for a while at least, be more far more expensive than an iPod, for far less capacity. I won't be trading in my 30GB iPod any time soon.....unless it's for an 80GB.

      Tell me: how easy is it to place a phone call from an iPod?

      Way to compare apples and oranges...
  • ...I am pretty sure by the time the iPhone comes out, there will be significant spec improvements. I don't know how much "wiggle room" they'll have after being granted FCC approval, but I would expect them to use it to the maximum possible effect.

    It's a sure thing that by the time it's released, their major competitors will have produced similar (if not quite as slick) devices at markedly lower prices, so Stevie J. likely has a plan.

    Or maybe this is just naiveté about business! We shall see...
  • at this point i have a nano,
    one of the free cell phones (POS) one gets when they sign up for service,
    and blackberries / windows mobile devices are over priced and under powered

    so the idea of the iphone really excited me, until I thought about. This is not a consumer product, at least no more than the average smart phone. There is no way I can affored the 1000+ real-dollars the iphone is going to cost in its 1st year of service.

    What apple needs to do is release another iphone, only without the phone, kinda
  • by Lerc (71477) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @07:05PM (#17705700)
    I was talking to someone pre-iPhone announcement about what cell phones should be.

    One of the key features I wanted. make something that doesn't do all of those things I don't want but does the things I do want well. Phones have been developing crazy unusable features like mad for years.

    Do less but do what you do well.

    • Thats one way to see it, but that wouldn't be a smartphone anymore. A key feature of smartphones is a wide selection of user installable apps. So far nothing have been announced so we don't know yet what we have to choose from. I guess 99.99% of the world don't need an ssh app so I'm propably out of luck there.
  • The iphone is a play against the "merging" of phone and ipods. Thats all. Its a long term play, as they expect to get the price down and more service providers over the years.

    I love the way all pundits are smarter than jobs, yet the company's track record is amazing (I'm a stock holder since the 90s).

    Its cool to know the best
  • by Vengeance_au (318990) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @07:10PM (#17705748) Homepage Journal
    Compare and contrast
    iPod launch [apple.com] (wiki [wikipedia.org] - little to no pre-publicity
    with the iPhone - where we are seeing every last bit of information from tech specs, usability, form factor down to projected price points. I believe the iPod launch worked because even though there were plenty of detractors [37signals.com], ultimately the device was in peoples hands and proving itself. The pre-launch on the iPhone opens up too much opportunity for competitors to steal ideas and be at market in a similar timeframe, and worse it lets everyone make a decision about the product before they get one in their hands - which is ultimately where hearts and minds are won.
    I believe apple makes some of the most user friendly devices around, and they should focus on getting them out to market (and THEN hyping the mother-loving goodness out of them).
  • Carriers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Effugas (2378) * on Sunday January 21, 2007 @07:12PM (#17705758) Homepage
    Dear god, you guys are actually making me defend Apple. And Cingular.

    Wow.

    Guys, there are only two GSM carriers in the states -- Cingular and T-Mobile. You might have heard of T-Mobile, they have this rather popular device called the Sidekick that only works (really works, anyway) on their network.

    Lame? You bet.
  • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @07:13PM (#17705768)
    and (perhaps worst of all) ruined the company's talks with Cisco over the iPhone name

    I don't think Apple feels they where going anywhere with Cisco, and that they had nothing to loose. There is some speculation that Apple thinks Cisco abandoned the trademark, and that Apple can win that point in court. Cisco needs Apple, not the other way around. Apple can name the phone device something else with little or no loss in visibility or branding power.

  • The public had a extraordinarily high expectation of the keynote. If Mr. Jobs hadn't announced the product there would have been disappointment anyway. This probably would have hit the share price as the iPhone was factored in already.

    Secondly, he couldn't keep it secret anyway. He has to go to the FCC anyway and their disclosures would have announced the product instead.

    WRT to Apple TV, on the surface the dilution of that announcement does not appear to have hurt sales in any way. If he had announced
  • by xtal (49134) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @07:16PM (#17705802)
    Apple's brilliance is often in reducing the cruft and useless features from common, everyday gadgets. The ipod wasn't first, it wasn't second, and it STILL isn't the most featureful. Features are added as they mature and the right way to do it (according to apple) is found.

    You're free to use whatever phone you want - but a lot of people will take a look at the iphone because of Apple's track record in the past. I love my Razr, but there's a lot of crap on there I'll never use.

    Sometimes, less IS more, reality distortion fields aside.

  • by porky_pig_jr (129948) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @07:16PM (#17705804)
    who knows how to run Apple better than Steve Jobs.
  • by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <sherwin@amira n . us> on Sunday January 21, 2007 @07:20PM (#17705838) Homepage Journal
    Why will the iPhone (rev 1) suck?

    Simple. It's an EDGE "smartphone". And you have to deal with AT&T come Cingular. And you have to pay $$$, in addition to signing a 2 year contract.

    I must admit, I'm very attracted to the idea of an Apple phone; but EDGE really sucks, and AT&T sucks worse. Once you've gone EVDO, HSDPA, or even UMTS, you'll never go back to EDGE/GPRS. It's a gigantic step backwards, and considering that Verizon/Sprint now have an additional 6 months to pursue a high-end smart phone, I would be shocked to see the iPhone succeed in any big way.

    Certainly a phone utilizing yesterday's data technology will not muscle it's way to the top of the market. No video downloads over EDGE, and audio downloads will pause while you are speaking on the phone. Furthermore, it doesn't even seem that it will have a J2ME stack.

    I don't have high hopes for this phone, and I'll be damned if I have to deal with AT&T to get one.
    • Simple. It's an EDGE "smartphone".

      Wrong. It's a WiFi PDA, that also happens to be able to make use of the most widely deployed data network in the US as well in-between deep WiFi data pools.

      That's why no-one understands why it's going to be a success, because they don't understand that finally someone has done a followup to the Palm Pilot, adding cell phone ablities, that people would want to actually buy.

      Those of use who liked Graffiti, those of us who dispaired when so much of a Palm form factor was suc
  • by gilesjuk (604902) <.ku.oc.nez. .ta. .senoj.selig.> on Sunday January 21, 2007 @07:33PM (#17705918)
    On the other hand, there are now people who are putting off buying another phone and are waiting for the iPhone. This has to be good for Apple.

    Of course, the wait in the UK for this phone is excessive as ever, we're always behind the US and Japan even though mobile phone ownership here has been ahead of the US as a percentage of the population. In Europe 70% of the population use mobiles, 63% in Canada and in the US 55%.
  • by McFadden (809368) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @07:36PM (#17705942)
    For me, it's not that Jobs didn't focus on the iPhone. It's the fact that he DIDN'T focus on Macintosh. This is a fundamentally bigger point than hyping the device, or building expectations too high. This is more or less a copy of post I made on another site, but I think it's worth repeating.

    The launch of Vista is literally days away. What does this mean?

    1. Average Joe is going to start thinking about whether he needs to upgrade.
    2. If he decides to upgrade to Vista, he may consider buying new hardware.

    Apple should be adding a third point to this:

    3. Since he's upgrading, and considering a new hardware purchase, why not tempt him to look at some of the alternatives out there?

    The Vista upgrade release is a fundamental, time-lined opportunity for Apple to win converts. With Bootcamp they can even offer that upgrade with the comfort of knowing that you can still run Windows if you need to. Macintosh should have been absolutely FRONT AND CENTER of the keynote.

    If a consumer upgrades buys new non-Mac hardware, that's it. Apple has lost them for *at least* another couple of years until they decide to go through the process again.

    Jobs missed a golden opportunity at this keynote. Given the momentum and the increased buzz around Apple, their slowly increasing market share, more developers on board, Bootcamp etc. he could have finally presented Apple as a serious and viable alternative to Microsoft. For everyone. But instead he decided to go with a f**king phone, which doesn't even launch until the summer in the US, end of the year in Europe and 2008 in Asia.
    • by modeless (978411) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @08:25PM (#17706294) Journal
      Joe Average doesn't go to Apple.com to watch Steve Jobs's keynote in streaming Quicktime. Joe Average watches primetime TV, where he sees the new Mac ads that do in fact take aim directly at Windows Vista.
    • by jamrock (863246) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @11:19PM (#17707298)

      "Jobs missed a golden opportunity at this keynote. Given the momentum and the increased buzz around Apple, their slowly increasing market share, more developers on board, Bootcamp etc. he could have finally presented Apple as a serious and viable alternative to Microsoft. For everyone. But instead he decided to go with a f**king phone"

      I disagree. There's been so much buzz about the iPhone that only a few people have been asking about Macs and Leopard, and why Jobs didn't even so much as mention them. I must admit that I was pretty dazzled by the iPhone's interface, and it took me a couple days to start sorting out the implications.

      I'm convinced that Leopard's new interface will support multi-touch technology (MTI). Am I the only person who believes that Apple has already thought of vastly more expansive uses for MTI than a mere smartphone display? Hello? Mac Tablet anyone? The iPhone interface is merely the tip of the iceberg of possibilities. Take a look at the video demo [nyu.edu] at the Multi-Touch Interaction Research group's site and imagine some or most of these capabilities, or even greater capabilities, in Leopard. Interestingly, there's a note on the site that says they saw the keynote, and that they have some more exciting stuff coming up soon.

      Jobs said nothing about new Macs, new displays, or OS X 10.5 for one reason: he believes that what he has up his sleeve will make Vista look like ancient technology to Joe Consumer, and he's deliberately waiting for Microsoft to launch their expensive media blitz introducing Vista before dropping a Leopard-spotted nuke on them. His aim is to embarrass Microsoft. And I believe that Microsoft came to that conclusion while the keynote was going on, but they still have no choice but to kick Vista out the door.

      Joe Consumer has already seen the iPhone's interface, courtesy the mainstream media. He'll be primed for multi-touch interface on a personal computer, and I foresee PC salespeople having an interesting time in the aftermath of Leopard's introduction: "Yeah, that's a pretty cheap machine, but how come I can't just drag things around with my finger like the guy at the Apple Store showed me?"

      As many here have pointed out, Macs don't do anything that PC's can't do (much less if you count games and enterprise apps); iPods do less than many other available DAP's; the iPhone won't offer any capabilities unavailable on other, existing smartphones. The difference in all three cases is how Apple pulls the interface together in ways that appeal and make sense to average users i.e., non-Slashdot readers. I believe that Jobs has high hopes that Leopard will present an interface that will finally, clearly, distinguish Macs from PC's in the minds of the average consumer, in the same way that their respective interfaces distinguish the iPod and iPhone from competing devices. I believe that Jobs honestly feels that 2007 is the year of destiny for the Macintosh.

  • by torpor (458) <ibisum AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday January 21, 2007 @07:36PM (#17705946) Homepage Journal
    All the other "mistakes" of the keynote can be forgiven; except this one rule, and Jobs broke it.

    In the hardware world, and I say this from the perspective of the music-hardware (synthesizer) segment, where the rule has been proven again and again and again, there is a Cardinal Rule:

    Never announce a product until you can actually ship it.

    None of these other factors mentioned in this article would have any effect on Apple in the short, mid- and long-term, if but for the fact that there was a huge, deeply felt "Awwwww...." on the part of the audience when he announced the shipping date. That moment was when the hype balloon lost a lot of its gas.

    And no, I dont think the FCC-would-announce-it-for-us is a good enough excuse to pre-emptively announce a product. A company like Apple should be ready to take orders the day the FCC approvals have been aquired .. 48 hours from the "FCC discovery", Apple can be in a position to announce the product itself, and ship and take orders then and there.

    Big mistake, but courtesy of us mac fanboix, maybe not a ship sinker .. nevertheless, I personally still look forward to seeing Apple get some competition in the iPhone space ..
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Sunday January 21, 2007 @07:48PM (#17706008) Homepage Journal

    If I were a columnist for a computer publication, I'd sure as hell be writing about the iPhone. It's an easy target. Fantastic intro by Jobs, lots of oohs and ahs, and plenty of time to come up with reasons why it's going to Suck Like A Hoover.

    I don't know if the iPhone is going to be a success or not, but all of the back and forth about whether it will revolutionize the world or be the biggest flop since the Cube are rather irrelevant. We don't know how durable the iPhone will be in actual use. We don't know if the spiffy interface really will be that much of an improvement over existing phones. We don't know what Cingular's iPhone plans will be like six months from now.

    I am not at all satisfied with existing cellphones, because I always feel like I have to relearn things that should be simple every time I get a new phone. If there was ever a device crying out for an Apple makeover, it's the cellphone. I'd like it to succeed, if only so I can enjoy using my cell the way I enjoy using my Mac. If it doesn't succeed, at least Apple is trying something radical, instead of sticking with the same annoying interface standards that have made cellphones such a pain in the ass for so long. Apple doesn't need to own the market in order to succeed, either. Just look at the Mac. Microsoft beat Apple handily in the marketplace, but where are all the MS-DOS fanboys now? They're using an interface remarkably similar to Macintosh.

    It is also rather appalling that a journalist missed the obvious fact that Apple merely wanted to control the unveiling of the iPhone. They're all about controlling the message, and it seems to me that Steve giving the iPhone keynote was better than Apple going after the countless bloggers who would have taken the FCC filing and run with it.

  • by 2ms (232331) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @08:51PM (#17706452)
    The keynote did not give competitors any lead time they would have otherwise not had. The iPhone's design, by law, was apparently practically entirely layed out and spec'd as part of process of obtaining FCC approval, and FCC approval takes over 6 months. The competitors already had all the details of its design. This is fact. One could argue that the iPhone's incredible awesomeness when witnessed in real life might have lit additional fire to the heals of competitors, but even that would be of dubious merit because it's doubtful there's ever been personal electronic device that's induced nearly the same chatter, speculation, anticipation, and general buzz ahead of time -- the competitors were on it you can count on it.

    Six months is not that much time. When you look at the details of how Cisco got the trademark, how they renamed an already existing phone practically a day before the trademark was going to expire just to create the future conflict, and various other details, it's clear that there really wasn't any doubt that Apple would and will eventually get the name.

    Announcing things way ahead of time is a proven effective strategy for introducing new products. It creates so much anticipation that people are practically nuts for it once it comes out. Look at what people did to get their hands on PS2s and PS3s -- two actually pretty mediocre products -- certainly no things so wonderful as to be commensurate with the insane appetite consumers had for them once they were finally able to get their hands on.

    Moreover, by announcing 6 months ahead of time, a lot of people are going to be able to say "hold on, maybe I shouldn't sign another two year contract with whoever other provider, or buy the latest "Chocolate" or other Korean knockoff of some $800 Nokia. Maybe I can bear not having the latest phone out there for about 6 more months if it means I will be able to get this iPhone thing which will be leaps and bounds better."

  • by dr.badass (25287) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @10:07PM (#17706882) Homepage
    'The iPhone, despite its many media-oriented virtues and its sweet design, will do far less than most existing smart phones.'

    That's a smug way of saying "I don't get it.".

    The "many media-oriented virtues" blow every other smartphone out of the water on that front. Plenty of phones will play music, videos, photos -- but they universally do a poor job of it, either because the feature was just tacked on to be a bullet point on a feature list, or because it's designed as a cash cow for the wireless provider (Verizon's V Cast, etc.). Maybe they come with only 64MB of storage, or don't let you load your own content over Bluetooth, or only support tiny 3GPP video, or don't support playlists at all, or have that fuck-you 2.5mm headphone jack--I've seen all of these faults. The iPhone, on the other hand, does everything that the world's best-selling media player does, and more. Brushing all of that aside in a sentence is probably the dumbest thing I've read in weeks.
  • by jpellino (202698) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @10:38PM (#17707062)
    "will do far less than most existing smart phones"

    For specific tricks, maybe. But it will apparently DO all the things all these other phones promised.

    The Cisco situation is far from solved, and it's not a slam dunk for Cisco, they did made hay with it that day - it certainly served to promote something no one is buying.

    Publishing this article on how the iPhone keynote was a mistake... was a mistake.
  • by gig (78408) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @11:53PM (#17707484)
    > The iPhone, despite its many media-oriented virtues and its sweet design, will do far less than most existing smart phones

    Two words: "Pocket-W3" and "iPod-connector".

    First, "Pocket-W3" ...

    The iPhone does a lot more than any other smart phone because the iPhone has the actual World Wide Web in it. When you point it at amazon.com or any other site on the Web, there are no compromises. WebKit is world class desktop browsing, not smart phone class browsing. Your iPhone has complete (COMPLETE!) support for HTML 4.01, CSS 2.1, JavaScript 1.8, DOM Level 1, PNG 1.0, JPEG 1.0 and also there will probably be some MPEG-4 in there, as much as has been created yet (MPEG-4 is the standardization of QuickTime). It has the best typography you will see on a screen anywhere other than Mac OS X. (Typography is kind of an old science to completely forgo just because of digital, wouldn't you say? Shouldn't the Web have typography? Shit.) Also this is the third major version of WebKit (Panther, Tiger, Leopard) and it is open source ... you will be schooled in its quality if you haven't been already. So you don't have to run a Java app to play MineSweeper ... you can play it off the Web. You don't have to run some proprietary software to download ring tones ... you just download them from the Web. Lots of the stuff that is on smart phones today is completely negated if you add the real Web.

    The reason the Google CEO was there joking about merging with Apple is that this is the device that Google wants people to have to correspond to their massive "cloud" servers. You aren't supposed to run Google Maps on a PC ... you're supposed to run it out of your pocket. Same for everything Google, ultimately. The reason so much of Google's stuff is in beta is that Google sees the whole Internet as being in beta. The iPhone probably represents some significant point in Google's business plans ... they've been waiting for it. The iPhone is the real "Pocket Web" in the same way that the iPod was the first real "Pocket Music".

    Second, "iPod-connector" ...

    The iPhone does a lot more than any other smart phone because it has an iPod dock connector which enables you to use something like 3000+ accessories just by plugging them in, or easily synchronize with iTunes to get music or movies or other data. There is no software to install, or drivers to install. You just plug stuff in and it works. iTunes manages the device in the same way as with iPods and other devices.

    There will probably be over 100 iPhone-specific accessories by the June. They're designing and building them right now, wherever fine iPod accessories are made. If some kind of "missing" thing is identified, there will be a number of solutions that you can plug on in no time.

    Finally, do not underestimate the value of the thing actually being oriented towards making calls as its number one app. The contacts list, the ability to conference with a single button push, even the ringer turning down music playback when you have a call, are all reasons why people will buy this just to use as a phone and everything else really will be extra. Although being able to go to the actual Web while on a call is a great calling-feature in its own right.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647)

      It has the best typography you will see on a screen anywhere other than Mac OS X.

      While Mac OS does indeed have an impressive font renderer, at small font sizes - like those used in a smartphone - Microsoft's renderer, combined with their boring-but-readable fonts, make for an impressively readable display.

      Your iPhone has complete (COMPLETE!) support for HTML 4.01, CSS 2.1, JavaScript 1.8, DOM Level 1, PNG 1.0, JPEG 1.0

      So does Opera 8 for mobile phones (Windows Mobile and Symbian). Seriously - has anyone tal

  • by dangitman (862676) on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:16AM (#17707900)

    The focus on the phone during the keynote also took away from the Apple TV announcement, put iPod sales at risk, gave competitors a head start, and (perhaps worst of all) ruined the company's talks with Cisco over the iPhone name.

    He went on to say that the iPhone keynote would also cause "Fire and brimstone coming down from the sky, rivers and seas boiling, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together and mass hysteria."

If Machiavelli were a hacker, he'd have worked for the CSSG. -- Phil Lapsley

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