AppleTV and iPhone

Apple iPhone

I couldn't go to sleep without saying something about the Apple announcements today.

So first up the Apple TV. This for me was disappointing, I was hoping to have something which maybe I could upgrade to. But for now my XBox running XBMC will still have a spot under my TV. I had expected something a little cheaper and cleverer. Its a worthy device which I would recommend to others but the software on it is underwelming. For example no 1080p support, yes its a very high standard but with shows going out on the net in
1080p (macbreak for one) and with the xbox 360 and PS3 supporting it. You would have thought Apple would get on board too. Anyway hopefully its a software upgrade. I'm also hoping someone ports XBMC or something better to it. Frontrow doesn't seem to have been upgraded that much and looks simply boring compared to the open source efforts of XBMC. Final thought for now, great hardware underwhelming software.

And now the iPhone or Apple phone. I do like what Apple's done. It seems like they've taken a HTC Windows mobile device and built a much better interface for it (multitouch). Finger based instead of Stylus, ok cool but not revolutionary. The features of the phone are good, I'd expect they will have 3G for the European (Q4 2007) and Asia models (2008), and it has most of the stuff you see in current phones – EDGE, Wifi, Bluetooth, etc. These
may sound amazing to the usual phone buying people but nothing special to a Windows Mobile owner. For example the fact the music pauses when a call comes in is nothing new. My Ericsson T28 use to that with the MP3 attachment, most phones do that. Matt at work didn't believe me and Ii showed him and earned myself a pound in the process. People wondered how Googlemaps could pin point your location without GPS, well Wifi and GSM can be used to pin point location. Oh one more thing the Proximity sensor isn't a new
thing either. My old gold bar Ericsson had that feature, so you could answer the phone by waving your hands over it and it wouldn't do anything to the buttons while its next to your ear.Widgets on your phone, been done by Opera already. Multi-session text? Sounds like IM to me. High DPI screen is nice but the Nokia's also have high DPI screens. 8 or 4gig, well teh Nokia N91 had 4 gig over 12months ago and Samsung already have a 8gig phone. Suprised Apple didn't go with just Yahoo or Google instead of both. Also
very surprised Google didn't offer Push email. There was no mention of Java support, or its poor 2 mega pixal camera. Lessig talked about read/write ability a while ago, well this is certainly a read device, it certainly doesn't feel like an empowering device for writers.

Don't get me wrong, all the tweaks to software and hardware to add up to a great phone which I would buy if it came out sooner that Q4 of 2007. The price point is not too high, but I expect it to be at least 250 pounds on Orange with a 18 month contract. Would I say Apple will put some more spice back into the mobile market and force mobile and software makers (Microsoft pay attention) to spend more time looking at the functionality of simple things like text, email and voicemail. For example Microsoft don't
actually provide a MMS or voicetag client for Windows Mobile 5, so you get some 3rd party solution which usual suck and is totally inconsistent with the rest of the phone. Visual voicemail makes sense and is one of those tweaks which I can imagine not living without once you have it.

So overall, yes I wouldn't mind one but I'm not holding my breath or rather next upgrade decision for it. I'll get one in Q2 of 2008 when its been tried and tested and Apple have upgraded some of the lows like Battery life.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.