iPod + mobile phone + little tablet Mac = iPhone

Wow with a capital wow. Apple’s iPhone turns out to be a cross between an iPod, a phone and a tablet Mac. It’s a widescreen iPod with a touch screen, and from the stuff Engadget’s throwing up right now (including the image below) it’s possibly the sexiest device ever made.

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The keynote’s still going on as I write this so I’ve no idea of price, availability etc. I hope it’s coming to the UK and doesn’t cost a bomb.

A few minutes later…

If this is as good as it looks, the iPhone could be more important than the Mac. Because it’s an OS X device it’s got a proper version of Safari, so you can do things like Google Maps and other AJAX goodness. Proper email and push email too, and Dashboard-style widgets. Blimey.

Update again…

There have been a few rumours that this might be Steve Jobs’ last keynote. If so, this is turning out to be a hell of a final performance.

69 thoughts on “iPod + mobile phone + little tablet Mac = iPhone

  1. Stephen says:

    It does look pretty damn amazing. Can’t wait to actually see one!

    Also interesting is the way Steve is pushing Google and Yahoo. A grand alliance against Microsoft?

  2. Gary says:

    Looks like Xmas for us. Hope the price isn’t dollar to pound, or the 8 gig’s going to be £600.

  3. Gary says:

    Well, I’m a bit happier about my Xmas iPod and the Sony Ericsson W950i that turned up today :)

  4. Gary says:

    Looks like the pricing’s contract-dependent too. That plus greedy mobile network data charges (in the UK at least) could make it a serious wallet frightener.

  5. Gary says:

    Purchase. Haven’t played with it properly yet but first impression is a worthy upgrade to the W810i I’ve had for a while. Main difference is 4GB internal flash for music instead of memory sticks. And it’s a stylus job with a blackberry-style thumbwheel for navigation.

  6. Gary says:

    Is this blog turning into one of those pro-anorexia sites the papers have been worrying about? ;-)

  7. Squander Two says:

    > Because it’s an OS X device it’s got a proper version of Safari

    … so you can watch lots of sites fail to display properly, fail to be able to buy things from many popular commercial sites, and find that the buttons on some forms simply don’t respond. Woopee.

    I am the last person left alive who thinks that Safari’s shite?

  8. Gary says:

    I prefer Firefox, certainly, but not all of the problems with Safari are Safaris. The button problem was fixed (for the sites I used, anyway) in a recent update but the incompatibilities are usually – not always, but usually – due to lazy design rather than the software itself.

    And bear in mind we’re comparing Safari here with Pocket Internet Explorer :)

  9. mupwangle says:

    I dropped safari after less than an hour. ;-)

    Gary’s right though – the comparison here is with pocket ie and the like on smartphones. pocket ie is really, really bad. Opera mini is better (except you can’t actually do anything but html) and full opera is much better. However they are still pretty inconsistent.

    I’m not sure what to make of this iphone nonsense. Other than some of the UI stuff there isn’t anything that you can’t already get from a Nokia or HTC/MS device. The whole thing in the keynote about how limiting a proper keyboard is – I’ve got a phone with a soft keyboard and it just feels really wrong to use. Pretty much every subsequent device has come with a pull out keyboard.

    If the iPhone is still only 2.5G at launch and isn’t free on contract then I can’t see it taking any market share from Microsoft, let alone Nokia.

  10. Gary says:

    David, the new opera mini (v3) is mighty – it does secure sites and RSS now. Free, too.

    > If the iPhone is still only 2.5G at launch and isn’t free on contract then I can’t see it taking any market share from Microsoft, let alone Nokia.

    If they sign an exclusive deal with o2, it’s doomed :)

    I do think it’s likely to sell shedloads (depending on pricing/contract details – I’ll be amazed if Apple lets anybody discount it) but not just because of fashion. It’s an iPod and a video iPod too, and while loads of phones can do music and video it’s often a major pain in the arse. Getting video onto a Sony Ericsson, for example, is a bloody nightmare. Can’t comment on recent Nokias (jo?) but windows mobile and Sonys still suffer from pretty horrible UIs.

  11. Stephen says:

    >I’m not sure what to make of this iphone nonsense. Other than some of the UI stuff there isn’t anything that you can’t already get from a Nokia or HTC/MS device.

    Other than some of the UI stuff, there’s nothing in an iPod that you can’t get from a Zune or a Creative player. Other than some of the UI stuff, there’s nothing in a Mac that you can’t get from a PC. Helloooo! That’s the whole point of Apple. Not stuff no-one else has. Just stuff done right.

  12. Stephen says:

    Um, I was. At the end of the keynote, I remembered that Apple also made these things called computers, and they suddenly seemed a bit last year. And it’s a bit weird that Apple (Apple!) devote an entire keynote to two products that you can’t buy yet!

  13. mupwangle says:

    My opera-mini capable phone (W810i) is fecked at the moment. Need to send it to the phone doctor.

    A thing I saw this morning was commenting on the fact that there is no ability to upgrade memory and no indication that third party software can be installed. That could put it at a disadvantage. MS and HTC roadmaps don’t indicate exactly what they’re up to either other than form-factor so by european launch they may have something better.

    I think it will only sell if, on contract, it costs the same as the equivalent nano. Otherwise people will get a free nokia and buy a nano. Don’t forget the near fanatical fanbase that Nokia have. There are massive numbers of people who won’t even consider using any mobile that isn’t Nokia. You might trust someone to make your music players but that doesn’t necessarily translate into phones. Look how little success that Sony had in the mobile sector until they bought Ericsson, despite their phones being much nicer in design and having a pretty good OS. (This being well before Sony started to suck at everything)

  14. mupwangle says:

    >>absence of leopard

    Not particularly since the last couple of builds were reportedly nowhere close to a final release.

  15. Tony Kiernan says:

    Still no built in tuner. What’s the problem, these things cost buttons. And, the W950i has no camera? Surely what I look for in a phone isn’t that niche? Oh well, suppose and upgrade to the 850 will be cheap now.

  16. tm says:

    >Helloooo! That’s the whole point of Apple. Not stuff no-one else has. Just stuff done right.

    Once again, stephen brings objectivity, perspective and not one iota of mac fanboyness to the debate. Oh goody!

  17. Stephen says:

    >Once again, stephen brings objectivity, perspective and not one iota of mac fanboyness to the debate. Oh goody!

    Once again, tm resorts to snide name-calling instead of honest debate. Not good, actually.

  18. Squander Two says:

    > Can’t comment on recent Nokias (jo?)

    They’ve got it sorted. The music player on the E series is very nice (and is now, with a tape adapter, my car stereo). Transferring files is a piece of piss: Nokia have finally figured out that their PC software’s shite, so have allowed users to bypass it: plugging the phone into a USB port on a PC or a Mac causes it simply to act as a standard card-reader for the memory card; Bluetooth transfer works fine; from my (Yay!) new Macbook, I can browse both the phone’s memory card and its inbuilt memory. It’s basically brilliant.

    I hate Opera, but Opera-mini is very good indeed.

  19. Gary says:

    Hmm, sounds like I should have got a nokia. The keypad on the new Sony is *awful*, particularly for texting, and the UI’s pretty horrible. Bah.

    > My opera-mini capable phone (W810i) is fecked at the moment.

    If it’s going to cost money, don’t bother. You can have mine, complete with 4GB memory stick.

  20. mupwangle says:

    Should be under warranty, I just have to get my arse in gear to send it away. It does mean that I’m back with the PDA so back to touch screen typing. One main reason why I’m not interested in the iPhone in the slightest.

  21. Gary says:

    One of the things that strikes me about that video is how quick the iPhone runs. Faster than my iPod, it seems.

    Visual voicemail is a great idea btw.

  22. Squander Two says:

    > So how’s your new MacBook?

    Need you ask?

    Let me put it this way. Vic is not and has never been a Mac fan — doesn’t dislike them, just isn’t interested enough in computers to give a shit about the operating system wars. After I’d had the Macbook less than an hour, she decided she wants one. Urgently.

  23. Stephen says:

    Let me put it this way. Vic is not and has never been a Mac fan — doesn’t dislike them, just isn’t interested enough in computers to give a shit about the operating system wars. After I’d had the Macbook less than an hour, she decided she wants one. Urgently.

    I’d like to say that I have seen this dynamic many times, but I can’t, because I’d be labeled a fanboy again, and that would just hurt too much.

  24. Squander Two says:

    Just spent the evening and half the night installing various things and generally getting it set up. What a joy to use.

    One quibble: Why the hell can’t you disable automatic-marking-emails-as-read in Mail? I hate that. That being said, apart from that, Mail’s a gazoolion times better than when it first surfaced.

    Now to transfer everything I need off the old year-2000 iMac and reformat it as an OS9-only machine. I still rather like OS9, and there are some very nice things that won’t run on X.

  25. Gary says:

    Mail’s a gazoolion times better than when it first surfaced.

    It is, but I still prefer – heresy alert! – Entourage. Particularly with SpamSieve installed.

  26. tm says:

    >but I can’t, because I’d be labeled a fanboy again

    Yet risking being labelled a drama queen is ok?

    >this dynamic many times

    As, indeed have I. In fact it will prrbably cost me about the price of macbook shortly. Of course I have also seen the the alternate dynamic where after a while they realise, you know it’s not *that* much better, and it has it’s own set of annoying, difficult to remeber quirks.

    It is interesting that people seem to overlook the awfulness of two of the core applciations that the mac supplies – Safari is not great, Mail is simply terrible (I would rather use outlook express. no really.) – when judging the mac. of course the easy availabily of free, better replacements like firefox helps.

  27. Squander Two says:

    > Mail is simply terrible

    Out of interest, what’s your problem with it? I worry that I may be liking it simply because I’m all caught up in the fun of newness, and would like to know of the pitfalls ahead. Hopefully, it’s just stuff that you think is vital and I don’t care about.

    > Safari is not great

    Safari, in my book, is one of Apple’s biggest mistakes ever. Not only is it shite, but it halted the development of IE for Mac, which was fantastic. Bastards.

    > the easy availabily of free, better replacements like firefox helps.

    Well, yeah, but exactly the same can be said of Windows. My point would be that, given that both operating systems have their annoyances and both have some crap software bundled with them and both have cheap or free alternatives to that crap software, I much prefer the Apple’s operating system.

    Especially now I see that they’ve built in customizable hotkeys. That was, for me, Windows’s one big advantage over Macs: not having to use the mouse. Mo more.

  28. mupwangle says:

    I can’t say exactly what is was, but something about mail annoyed me and I went to thunderbird. Thunderbird annoys me that when you reply it always starts the reply at the bottom of the message rather than the top and I don’t know how to change it.

    My impressions of mac os after a few months using it as my main OS is that is is different. I can’t say that it is better or more reliable than XP as it hasn’t been.

    One thing that does annoy me a bit is that you are forced to use the mouse more than in windows. You can’t, for example, highlight a file a hit enter to open it. You can’t do the same with delete.

    Other things…When you have a kernel panic there is absolutely no indication as to the cause, etc.
    Getting video to work is a nightmare. I rarely have to use XP but that is one thing that just works.
    Keyboard randomly stops working in Firefox.
    The mighty mouse is absolutely awful

    A lot of things that I know how to do in Windows I know that I need to work out how to do in mac as it can do it under Darwin. Those things I won’t whinge about.

    Not to get into the handbagging between tm and Stephen, but I don’t think that the “Just done right” is right. “Done Prettier”, perhaps.

  29. tm says:

    >I can’t say exactly what is was,

    Yeah. Strange but I can’t actually put my finger on any one thing, yet the more I use it the more I realise that it isn’t very good at all. I guess I haven’t really thought about it, I’ve just let my subconcious come to the conclusion it’s rubbish and moved on. To be honest I don’t use my mac often enough for e-mailing for it really get to me.

    Oh – the spell checker completley giving up and not identifying mis-spelled words as being wrong is one of the more obvious bugs. You fix one spelling mistake in a sentence and suddenly another one pops up later in the same paragraph. Of course if you type better than I do you’ll never notice that one. I may be the ultimate test case for that one…

    Like Gary said though it’s a lot better now that in 10.3 – so maybe the next version will be fantastic.

  30. Squander Two says:

    > You can’t, for example, highlight a file a hit enter to open it. You can’t do the same with delete.

    Command+O and Command+Delete respectively.

    Well, Mail’s not upsetting me yet (apart from not being able to switch off automatic marking-emails-as-read, which is minor). But I really loathe Thunderbird.

  31. Stephen says:

    >but I can’t, because I’d be labeled a fanboy again

    Yet risking being labelled a drama queen is ok?

    Being labelled incorrectly by the irony-impaired is something I shall have to live with, alas.

    Regarding the free apps in OS X: yes, none of them are perfect. I don’t use Mail myself, and I only use Safari for Gmail, so I can easily switch to my mail without hunting through tabs in Firefox. And OS X has its annoyances, no doubt. (Finder, anyone? And “Mail” has to be the stupidest name for an app ever.) But I think it’s more than just prettiness that sets OS X apart. As John Gruber argues, good user interface design is very hard to achieve, and it’s very easy to overlook it (if it works, you tend not to notice it) and dismiss it as just “prettiness”. The feeling I get from using a Mac is that the designers have tried, first and foremost, to make using the computer as easy as possible. That’s not to say they always succeed. But so often when using a Microsoft product, one gets the feeling that other priorities have come first. The plethora of dialog boxes seem to be intended to shield Microsoft from liability, or influence you to take actions that are in Microsoft’s interest, rather than your own. What user cares whether a driver has been “signed” by Microsoft? She just wants the darn mouse to work without having to worry about such nonsense. We won’t even go into all the steps it takes to shut down or sleep your computer in Vista. And even the menu at the top of the screen in OSX is a help: it makes it much easier to select items, because it’s impossible to overshoot the top of the screen.

  32. tm says:

    >But I really loathe Thunderbird.

    Strange isn’t it – Firefox is great but TB is the like the results of some horrible genetic experiment between Firefox and every mail program you ever really, really disliked. It’s like FF crossed with GroupWise then washed in a bath of lotus notes. try as I might I can’t love it.

    >because it’s impossible to overshoot the top of the screen.

    I’m clearly physically impaired too – since I find it impossible to overshoot the bottom of the screen either.

  33. Stephen says:

    I’m clearly physically impaired too – since I find it impossible to overshoot the bottom of the screen either.

    Not sure of the relevance of this, given that we’re talking about pulldown menus, which, because they are found below the title bars of windows in XP, are never at the top of the screen or at the bottom…

  34. mupwangle says:

    >>And even the menu at the top of the screen in OSX is a help

    I don’t like having the menu at the top of the screen. I actually think the windows approach is more user friendly and less visually confusing as there is no requirement to hide unused applications. I don’t think I’ve ever accidently clicked on a different program in a windows environment.

  35. Squander Two says:

    > I don’t think I’ve ever accidently clicked on a different program in a windows environment.

    Fair point. I think this is one of those things that neither side does better, just differently.

    Personally, I’m just glad there’s competition in the market. Can you imagine how crap Windows would be without Apple? And, without Windows, Apple would probably still be somewhere around OS8.

  36. tm says:

    >no requirement to hide unused applications

    Yeah. Expose is nice, but it should be a hint to them – when you have to write and entire suite of software for you OS so people can sort out their windows that probably means that their not easy enough to sort out in the first place.

    Still once you get used to hitting F9 it’s great.

  37. Squander Two says:

    The F9 thing is just superb. I think Apple used to be open to criticism on the Window-sorting front (though not a whole lot more than Windows, to be honest), but F9 has sorted it. It is by far the best window-sorting navigation type thing I’ve ever seen.

  38. Gary says:

    > We won’t even go into all the steps it takes to shut down or sleep your computer in Vista.

    To sleep or lock the PC in vista: two clicks
    To sleep or log out a Mac: two clicks

    To choose a different shutdown option in vista: three clicks.

    It’s hardly a major obstacle.

  39. mupwangle says:

    Other than hibernate – what’s the difference?

    The mac has log off, switch user, sleep, restart and shutdown and lock is in another menu. There are multiple keyboard shortcuts too.

  40. Squander Two says:

    I didn’t say the Mac was brilliant in this regard; I said it was a problem with Vista. One small problem I have with the Macbook is that I like to shut the lid of a laptop without having anything happen at all, and I can’t figure out how to disable the automatic sleep-when-the-lid’s-shut.

    Personally, I reckon Spolsky goes a bit too far: the difference between restart and shut down isn’t confusing for anyone. But he’s right about sleep and hibernate and log off and switch user. And he’s quite an amusing writer.

    I reckon the Mac’s defaults for its power button get the balance about right: press the button and you get shut down, restart, or sleep. Nice and simple. I think it’s a fair approach to have lots of options in menus and such for the techies as long as you have a nice simple interface for those who can’t be bothered, and as long as the simple interface is the obvious one that you can’t help but find first. The problem with Vista is that all the potentially confusing options are the up-front defaults, and none of them are significantly more obvious than the others.

  41. Gary says:

    I still don’t see it as a problem. Sleep seems like a sensible default option to me, and you can change it if you don’t like it. You can also change what the physical power button does. I think vista’s power management options are excellent, personally.

  42. Gary says:

    Actually, while we’re on the subject of OS moans: the inability to resize OS X’s icon grid. Gaaah. Gaaah. Gaaah. Etc.

  43. Squander Two says:

    > I still don’t see it as a problem. Sleep seems like a sensible default option to me, and you can change it if you don’t like it.

    The likes of you and me don’t see it as a problem. I think the point of the article was that the default options should be so good that people who aren’t so good at these things and so can’t figure out how to change it don’t have to.

  44. Gary says:

    Oh yeah. I do think there’s a big difference between Apple and Microsoft’s approach: MS goes “do you like this? What about this? Now? What else would you like? Yes? More of that too? Two of them? Sure! We can do that! Please like us!”. Whereas Apple goes “here’s what you’re getting. If you don’t like it, fuck off”.

  45. Squander Two says:

    Heh heh heh.

    These days, though, I think it’s more “We’re open source now. Here’s what you’re getting. If you don’t like it, fuck off and program an improvement yourself, give it to us for free, and then we’ll sell it back to you.”

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