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The Perfect Phone Storm? 567

Posted by Zonk
from the perfect-is-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder dept.
peter deacon writes "Is the iPhone the next Segway, the next Zune, or the next iPod? The Perfect Storm offers some iPhone details that aren't secrets, but tend to be lost upon the analysts and journalists cranking out hit pieces on the iPhone. Why is everyone from Gartner to Gizmodo calling for a boycott of the iPhone? An interesting take on how Apple's new mobile phone will push to open up the web as a mobile platform for every mobile device on the market with a standards-based browser, and how Apple 'hacked the hackers' by releasing Safari for Windows in advance of its new phone."
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The Perfect Phone Storm?

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  • AT&T (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The_Morgan (89220) <exadeath@y[ ]o.com ['aho' in gap]> on Sunday June 24, 2007 @02:47PM (#19629203)
    AT&T really has the power to make or break the iPhone. If the network doesn't support fast enough connections to enable fast safari apps the device is sunk. But I like the articles brief coverage of the other non-issues that the iPhone haters are using.
    • by TubeSteak (669689)
      FTFA:
      "Gizmodo called for an iPhone boycott "for the foreseeable future" as a righteous protest against AT&T, a brand it associates with "Microsoft-style anti-competitive maneuvers and anti-privacy efforts á la RIAA." "

      But I like the articles brief coverage of the other non-issues that the iPhone haters are using.

      I agree, AT&T giving your internet traffic to the NSA is a non-issue.
      Consumers, please continue consuming.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by XxtraLarGe (551297)

        I agree, AT&T giving your internet traffic to the NSA is a non-issue.
        That wasn't the point of the comment from the article. His point was that Gizmodo is calling for a boycott on the iPhone, due to AT&T's "Microsoft-style anti-competitive maneuvers and anti-privacy efforts á la RIAA.", but the same Gizmodo was doing backflips over the Microsoft Zune, a product with which Microsoft collaborated with the RIAA when it came to designing the DRM...
    • Re:AT&T (Score:4, Insightful)

      by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Sunday June 24, 2007 @04:26PM (#19629701) Homepage Journal
      I disagree. The iPhone supports EDGE and Wi-Fi. In virtually all cases Wi-Fi will be faster. (And, therefore, preferred by the user.)

      I'm going to get an iPhone unless the service is too expensive. I have Wi-Fi at home and at work. I don't anticipate using EDGE unless I'm pulled over to the side of the road loading a map. In which case I'll be so happy to have it that I won't really give a shit if it is slow.

      As a side-effect, the typical iPhone could end up putting substantially less strain on the EDGE network than the typical non-iPhone EDGE device, since, for example, most email syncs will happen over Wi-Fi. (Consider that my phone spends at least two-thirds of every week day either at home or the office. That's half the hours of the week, assuming I never go home on the weekends!)

      It think that this is a master stroke on AT&T's part. They're going to ding every iPhone buyer for data every month, and nobody is going to use it!

      -Peter
  • by nikanj (799034)
    I think we should have a cap for shameless slashverts per week per product..
  • Article text (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hungus (585181) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @02:49PM (#19629215) Journal
    Apple has dropped just enough information at just regular enough intervals to create a level of anticipation for the iPhone that can only be described as off the hook. Amid all the opinions--and the frantic warnings of doom from certain analyst groups--are a few details that have been largely overlooked.

    Here's a deconstruction of a few myths that have failed to take these unhidden secrets into consideration, along with the final aspect of why Apple released Safari for Windows, as I promised to reveal in the last article. It has something to do with the iPhone, of course.

    Segway Segue, or AirPort Runway?
    The levels of both enthusiastic hype and detractors' hate over the iPhone appear to have handily eclipsed one of the last ultra-hyped new devices of the tech world: Dean Kamen's Segway personal transporter.

    Back in 2001, the Segway was presented sight unseen as the mysterious, revolutionary invention Ginger. It was privately shown to a handful of luminaries--including Steve Jobs--who all seemed excited about its potential. When actually revealed to the public, it was met with a mix of interest and ridicule, in part due to its steep price tag. After all, if you can't afford it, it must be silly and impractical.

    Kamen's claim that the Segway would change society and that cities would be reconfigured to account for a world mobilized by two wheeled robot transporters didn't work out as planned.

    San Francisco--one of the few cities to have enough flush nerds to warrant opening up a Segway dealership--actually banned the device on its sidewalks in a frantic, spastic panic about public safety concerns.

    On the other hand, there have also been runaway hits that initially received little hype, criticism, or attention. Apple's AirPort introduced a mainstream audience to WiFi wireless networking. Apple wasn't the first implementation on Earth, but it did offer a pioneering set of products that delivered ease of use on a level that is still unmatched.

    The iPod was also greeted with passive yawns and dismissed as too simple, too expensive, and uninteresting by critics, only to build into a phenomenon that changed the music industry, made Apple's simple music players a household name, and established the company as a top consumer brand.

    The Devil in the Details.
    Unlike the Segway, the iPhone isn't a hyped tease. Apple introduced the device six months ago with a full demonstration of how it actually worked, assigned it a firm price tag, published its technical specifics down to the millimeter and gram, and provided a comprehensive look at its features and underlying technologies.

    In comparison, Microsoft's Zune--which had been in the news just a few months earlier--was presented from the start as having an unclear feature set. Fans made broad assumptions about its capabilities, resulting in great disappointment. Analysts overreached to claim that Microsoft would eat up Apple's iPod market share by offering a highly subsidized unit, or even offer it for free with a subscription plan, neither of which actually happened.

    As the "iPod Killer" got closer to release, its price was still a secret and its key features were revealed to be more limited that anyone imagined. Its highly touted WiFi became nothing more than a way to squirt advertisements to friends, exploiting "the Social" in an attempt to sell music in Microsoft's new PlaysForSure-incompatible version of its impossible to crack Janus DRM.

    Only its violent failure could silence the giddy critics that gushed about its supposed game changing, iPod killing impact that never happened. The Zune made the Segway look like a runaway hit.

    The Desperate Panic of the Apple Haters.
    It is therefore interesting to compare the news sources that gushed over the Zune--with little information from Microsoft--and encouraged their readers to blow $250 on one, because they are today providing a non-stop emergency warning siren that ignores everything we've been told by Apple about the iPhone to instead present a
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 24, 2007 @02:50PM (#19629225)
    Site seems down, but if it's from Roughlydrafted, I don't even need to read it. I'm guessing it's about how misreported/misunderstood/misrepresented Apple is by this and that media outlet and how some Microsoft conspiracy or Apple detractors were trying to put them down, but Apple's brilliant strategy will allow them to prevail nonetheless. Probably intermixed with lots of photoshopped illustrations and "witty" sub-headlines.

    Yeah, I know, ad hominems are bad, but every Roughlydrafted article is like that. That guy is probably minting AdSense-gold from people who get too worked up about Apple (both pro and contra).
  • by rueger (210566) * on Sunday June 24, 2007 @02:54PM (#19629247) Homepage
    Segway? Zune? ... Zune? Segway?

    Zuneway!
  • Apple zealots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @02:57PM (#19629267) Homepage Journal
    Jesus Christ, why are you still giving this shill a platform? I mean, I know flamewars create ad impressions, but come on. This isn't global warming or terrorism. This is people treating a corporation like a religion! You're better than this, slashdot!

    He was caught gaming Digg, you know. [googlepages.com]
    • by tsa (15680)
      I always wonder if there are people who see Bill Gates as their God like many Apple fanboys do with Steve Jobs, but I never dare look for them.
    • by suv4x4 (956391) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @10:57PM (#19631863)
      Jesus Christ, why are you still giving this shill a platform?

      In Jesus Christ's favor, he was at one point considering literally taking away this shill's platform right from under his feet, so to speak.

      But then he thought and said "let he who is without an iPod, throw the first stone". Everyone stood still.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @03:04PM (#19629303) Homepage Journal
    can it just come out already?! Apple has all but abandoned it's desktops(there hasn't been a significant refresh in over 9 months of any of the desktop lines) but pimps this stupid $500/600 phone like there is no tomorrow. I'm just hoping that once this damn thing is released Apple will remember that it makes computers too.
    • by bluk (791364) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @05:22PM (#19630081)
      While I also think Apple has focused a lot recently on the iPhone (for good reason), they did update their Mac Pro line recently. Furthermore, if you notice on sites like http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/ [macrumors.com], every long drought has brought about a significant update. New enclosures, processor generation jumps (i.e. G4 to G5).

      I would be more concerned if there wasn't a notebook update. Desktops are "dying" so to speak for consumers which is where Apple targets. http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/07/06/22/appl e_snatches_14_percent_of_may_notebook_sales.html [appleinsider.com] Apple notebooks updates come out about the same time as other PC manufacturers (in terms of shipping actual product and not just announcing).

      This push for the iPhone will in fact help Mac users and possibly standards users. If the iPhone is very successful, Safari / web standards compatibility will be a requirement. I don't have to keep wondering when the top hit list will ever change over (http://webkit.org/projects/compat/hitlist.html). More services will open up for the Mac; for instance, push IMAP instead of proprietary Blackberry protocols may become standard which would allow desktop apps to take advantage of. Better synchronization support for OS X. H.264 may become a "de facto" standard which would stop the Windows Media only sites I keep encountering. There are many reasons for you to care about the iPhone as a Mac users that aren't directly related to the phone.

      People who just tend to focus on Mac OS X are missing the bigger picture. I may not get an iPhone but I understand and do care about its success. And its coattails may not be limited to just Apple. Everyone benefits from a more open and standards based web. It might just take an iPhone like phenomenon (or hype machine) to nudge webmasters and other parties in the right direction.
  • Well... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Realistic_Dragon (655151) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @03:09PM (#19629323) Homepage
    I thought getting an iPhone might be interesting, but to be honest the barrage of media coverage has been *so* excessive I'm already sick of the damn thing and it hasn't even been released!

    So, the answer would be no. Besides it's only pretend geek phone - a real geek phone would fit in a CF socket so you could drop it into any device you like, and come with an unlimited high speed data plan as standard.
  • by Aminion (896851) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @03:16PM (#19629357)
    Blogs "articles" such as this one make me cringe. Talk about fanboys taking their obsession far to serious. I mean, a Gartner report is the last thing that's going to stop the iPhone from being a massive success. Furthermore, so what if Engadget and Gizmondo have slightly negative writing on the iPhone, that's just 2 out of 3.1415 googol blogs and sites which are giving the phone great marketing for free.
  • Wow. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zebra_X (13249) * on Sunday June 24, 2007 @03:16PM (#19629359)
    Some have already said this - but the bias level of this article is higher than an out of whack PID controller.
  • how interesting

    wow im so excited, its like im living in the future or something :|

    how is this a big selling point?
    ive been doing this since the the turn of the century
  • Let's count the previews that mention this massive issue for serious users of email.

    I can't find ONE.

    • by BKX (5066)
      Probably because the iPhone DOES have tactile feedback. Using some tricks with the vibrator that took something like ten years to develop, the iPhone can trick you into thinking that are real buttons on the screen. It's probably the most innovative thing Apple has ever done, actually.
  • biased (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fermion (181285) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @03:39PM (#19629483) Homepage Journal
    While the article is certainly biased, it pose a reasonable question. Why are highly paid professionals begging people not buy iPhones? What is the huge threat to civilization?

    Is it like walmart, in which every mom and pop shop is going to have close, adn the big guys, like target, are going to have find innovative ways to compete?

    Is it like SUVs, in which individuals are unfairly taking advantages that were meant to for farmers and laborers, thus forcing those that choose not to take advantage of the tax code to subsidize their lifestyle?

    Is it like the american automaker, refusing to put put profits into R&D, seeing it's stock turn to junk.

    Or is it as simple as the wackos on street corners who scream at people as the walk or drive past, imploring them not to visit a particular place because they will be putting their immortal souls in jeopardy.

    I may not get an iPhone, but given the amount of money that has been spent begging people not to buy it, I look forward to how it will transform the US mobil phone market as well as the Blackberry/MS fight over the enterprise mobile market. Given the level of fear, I expect that transformation to be significant. I see IT personal having to go to training, kickbacks disappearing, and perhaps, in a perfect world, more webpages that can be read by browsers other than IE.

  • Given how pro-Apple Roughly Drafted is, they rank on the order of The Pigpile.
  • by bwy (726112) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @03:44PM (#19629507)
    It is no wonder that there is a lot of curiosity and anticipation of this device. To spite what geeks/nerds might think, the current products on the market today are a mess. Look at these things with dozens of buttons, thick and ugly, with thrown together interfaces, everything is basically a one-off kludge. Consumers see the potential in handheld devices but they know that nobody has yet realized this potential. Will it be the iPhone? I don't know. But if it isn't, we might be in trouble- I don't know of another device on the horizon with as much potential.
  • Web (2.0) Hype (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tom (822) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @04:26PM (#19629703) Homepage Journal
    I don't know why everyone's getting so hyped up over a small part of the iPhone. I know I want one because a) it syncs with iCal and addressbook and b) it has good chances to being the first ever actually useable smartphone. I've looked all over the market about a year ago, and to be honest, every smartphone sucks, just each one in different ways. From what I've seen, the iPhone has the lowest "suck factor" by far, and a couple really nice features. I don't think the web-browsing will clock in a considerable part of the time you spend with your phone for most people.
  • by tcampb01 (101714) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @04:27PM (#19629707)
    Columnists don't necessarly bash products becasue they hate the product. They're in a ratings business. If everyone writes articles that praises a product, we'll all yawn and nobody will bother to read them. By bashing a product -- especially if it's a product that everyone else loves, this creates controversey.

    We see this on slashdot all the time... we call it 'trolling'.

    As for the iPhone we'll have to wait and see. While I can find things to criticize in Apple's products (as the saying goes.... you can't please all of the people all of the time) they do have a reputation for good products.

    Did anybody *really* have high hopes about the Microsoft Zune? Maybe fan-boys did, but most people in the industry have come to expect that getting software from Microsoft is almost like getting software from the former KGB (it's loaded with 'bugs' and they maintain more control over your device than you do -- why should the Zune be any different.)

    The high expectation about the iPhone is because so far most phones suck. It would be really nice to have a phone that sucks less than the one I have now. That phone is a Treo 650 that used to crash 3 times per day. Now it only screws up a few time per week and for some strange reason I am happy with this because I fear that every *other* phone will be just as bad and I'll just end up locked into another contract.

    Speaking of contracts... AT&T (Cingular) says they plan to reelase "new phone plans" on June 29th which go with the iPhone. Having a very low opinion of phone companies, my assumption is that this will be a plan intended to rape buyers, but make up for the high price tag by offering poor service. (Please God tell me it isn't so) My hope is that since Apple was successfully able to keep the music industry from charging more than .99 per song the iTunes Music Store, that maybe Apple's exclusive deal with AT&T came with a clause that also limits what AT&T can charge for the rate plans on the phone in order to keep that exclusivity. I expect to have my sanity challenged for even being willing to consider such a possibility, but remember that since AT&T stands between Apple and Apple's customers. They can totally make or break the success of this product. Apple has a lot at stake and is generally not stupid when it comes to negotiations, so I'm hopeful that their agreement with AT&T keeps AT&T in check or gives Apple the right to sell the product through other carriers if AT&T can't perform.
  • by FJR1300 Rider (888176) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @04:32PM (#19629735)
    But seriously, what I really feel will limit iPhone's adoption, at least on this side of the pond, is the non-serviceable battery. What's up with that? That's borderline demented! All the mobiles I've had since 1995 had interchangeable batteries! And batteries these days are notoriously piss poor, they only endure a few hundred charge/discharge cycles, after 6 months or so they start holding maybe 70 or 60% of their initial charge, after a year or less they're good to be replaced. At least with my Nokias I can just ride down to the store, buy a new battery and plug it in. Voilà, it's as good as new.

    I wouldn't buy an iPhone because of that reason alone. I have two or three batteries for all my phones, and usually carry a second freshly charged one with me, because I'm not always sure I can go home everyday, or will be able to find a place to charge the phone.

    I go through a new mobile maybe every two or three years, but I buy new batteries yearly or less. My phone is very important to me, I just checked and my five and a half year old Nokia 6310i has a little over 715 hours of talk time; my three year old Nokia 6230 has a bit over 482 hours; and the new Nokia 6233 I bought in December to retire the 6310 already ranks over 230 hours. Even with the 40% increase in battery time (what, it'll last 45 minutes now?), the fact I can't change the battery is still makes it a toy. Thanks, but no thanks.

    Well, that, and the piss poor data rates are also laughable. What is this, 2002 all over again?

    And besides, what idiot had the brilliant idea of leaving out 3G in a handset marketed towards hip, young, urban people? That's the key demographic target of 3G! Leaving it out is an egregious mistake if I ever saw one.
  • Price. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hamster Lover (558288) * on Sunday June 24, 2007 @05:00PM (#19629931) Journal
    The iPhone costs as much as PS3, but that won't phase the rabid early adopters. And as cool as the iPhone is, I just don't see the value when I can buy a low end laptop for the same price.

    Just as the original iPod was outlandishly over-priced for my tastes, so too is the iPhone. Give it a few years and the price will drop and the design and UI will be perfected, just like the iPod.
  • by moosesocks (264553) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @09:22PM (#19631403) Homepage
    Can we please stop issuing story after story on this thing until it actually comes out?

    I'm a big fan of Apple's products, and have been almost exclusively using apple PCs since the 90s. Granted, I'm not loaded with cash, and don't rush to the nearest store anytime Apple releases a product (the longevity of their machines perhaps the biggest selling point for me. My 1999 450mhz PowerMac G4 is still chugging along, running the latest release of OS X 10.4. It's outlived my car.)

    But I digress. The level of press coverage the iPhone is receiving is insane and disproportionate. I could easily deal with a flurry of press coverage around the time of the announcement, and shortly after the release (reviews, and first impressions). However, the level of hype and idle speculation building up is absurd for a product that hasn't even been released yet.

    Yes. I appreciate that the iPhone is one of the first smartphones to get a properly-designed UI that wasn't created by a group of telco accountants (anybody who's ever had to deal with Verizon's "standard" UI knows exactly what I'm talking about). It could even very well revolutionize the mobile phone industry, (finally) bringing it into the data age.

    It's also extremely expensive, and there's no way in hell I'll be able to afford one, or even remotely justify the cost. Remember that the iPod didn't achieve massive widespread popularity until the prices dropped considerably.

    However, none of this has happened yet. It hasn't been released. Let's just hold onto our horses, wait a week, and conclusively answer these questions once the damn thing is in stores. You're all setting yourselves up for a massive letdown.
  • by nanosquid (1074949) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @10:57PM (#19631865)
    The way I look at it is the following:

    + nice UI
    + nice screen
    + small
    + nice music/video player
    + looks good

    - very expensive compared to other phones
    - no 3G
    - no unlocking or portability to other carriers
    - no GPS
    - forced to use, and register with, iTunes
    - no touch typing
    - bad camera
    - two year lock
    - very limited programmability
    - I don't like being lied to by Jobs about why the iPhone isn't programmable

    Lack of programmability means that I don't get a number of things I have had on every phone for the last several years: an open source password safe, an SSH and VNC client, and a good e-book reader.

    I expect that there will be a whole range of really exciting new phones coming out, some of which have been in the pipeline, and others inspired by the iPhone. I think this is the wrong time to lock myself into a 2 year contract, in particular at that price.
  • by gordon99 (1119773) on Monday June 25, 2007 @06:45AM (#19633905)
    The reason the iPhone will work is the exact same reason the iPod did. Its nothing to do with having a million features and supporting every standard there is. The iPod is one of the most simple Mp3 players there is- and before I got one I hated the thought of it and bought a 20GB iRiver that has ogg, optical in and optical out, had radio, a mic etc etc. It did pretty much everything and yet all i used it for was to play music. I bought an iPod mini for a present for someone and once I tried it I had to get myself one. And did I miss ogg, radio, optical in/out? Not at all.

    The iPhone isn't for geeks (though im sure most geeks will love it). Its for my mum, and my brother and my sister and aunt etc. Its going be simple and its going to work. Why would apple create some complex super phone for the small geek market when it can create a simple but brilliant phone for the masses? I love having lots of features, its why I have the N95 phone, but all I use it for is Voice, Text, Camera and Wi-fi. The 1001 other features it has is never used and the phone is unresponsive and slow and crashes. I just want a phone that can do the main features GOOD, and I'm guessing that most people (non-slashdoters that is) will want the same.

    UI is everything. The iPod demonstrated that, and for all the people that complain there is too much hype over this phone, remember that apple didn't create this hype, its the reputation of their past products that did.

Any sufficiently advanced bug is indistinguishable from a feature. -- Rich Kulawiec

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