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Jan 9

technolust #1 - iPhone just launched.

Steve Jobs has just launched the iPhone at Macworld 2007. Wow.

All I can say is that bloody iPhone had better have a developer program for it!!! :-)

As I mentioned in my last post, the iPhone has had a rumour mill for a long time, this almost indicating how much people desired such a beast. They wanted it so much and it seemed such a good idea that it had to happen.

Well from what I can see of it here sat at my desk watching Steve Job's keynote, this thing looks like a classic Apple product. Well thought out, useful and most of all desirable. It really really looks wonderful. However with any product the real proof of its greatness will come with user experience of it in daily use. So let's try and remain calm. Try.

For something that may end up in a lot of pockets, the thing that I most want to see for it is a developer program. I want to see people empowered to make mobile applications and widgets that serve major and long tail needs. It would be the chocolate sauce on this ice cream. If you look at the huge third-party accessories market for the iPod then imagine what a software market for this device would be like. From early indicators it looks like OSX desktop widgets or something very similar can be created and distributed by users. We will have to use the OReilly FOO network to verify some of these claims and make sure we get our hands on a handset at some point. I also hope that they make unlocked versions available for sale internationally.

One of the reasons that I am hoping for a developer program is that I love is to see people taking things that have one purpose and through their need and ingenuity making them do much more than originally intended. This is part of an interest area of mine dubbed constructionism. The idea in its very basic form is that you should create tools that enable people to create useful things and services for themselves. These services are much better appreciated.

Now being telephone man around here, two came up recently which thrill me. The first was a simple hack that took advantage of two networks to make free phone calls. Somebody took the wonderful Grand Central service and realised that by making it one of favored numbers on the T-Mobile family and friends service you can make and receive free phone calls to anyone. Pretty damn hot. (Don't forget that they will be at Etel this year and so should you be). Here is a link to the digg story. You can damn well be sure that every cash strapped teenager with nagging parents will do this. Of course they will lose some revenue from calls but I bet they get a whole bunch of new signups....I actually recommend to everyone that they get a Grandcentral account. It suddenly puts the power back in your hands instead of your Telco. I get a lot of emails from people asking about what to do when they get pissed off with their carriers. Usually there is no pragmatic solution, but with Cricket, Grand central and federally mandated number portability, perhaps someone will figure out that they can dictate terms now.

The second one referred to Skype, a service I love but do not agree with their closed nature. Given the need and the pressure, someone will work out how to do it. This company (TalQer) cracked the protocol and is making a platform available that allows people to bridge Skype calls to the real world as part of their offering. I wish them well as they will expand the usefulness, not degrade, the Skype service for their users.

Anyway, as a parting note make sure you see much more exciting convergence between computing and telecoms at the Emerging Telephony conference. We'll even ask Apple if they want to come along….

STOP PRESS: Check out the thought provoking post from former cellco innovator Imran Ali on the iPhone

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adamsj   [01.09.07 01:54 PM]

It's got OS X, but will it run terminal?

Timothy Appnel   [01.09.07 02:44 PM]

[Via] Look at the market for the iPhone's obvious competitors Palm and RIMM:

Notice when things went nuts?

What's interesting is that the iPhone won't be available till June, cost upwards of $500 and you have to be a Cingular customer. That's just in the US. Europe won't get it till the end of the year and Asia until 2008.

Honestly I don't see this product making much of a dent in those other company's sales this year and perhaps the next as its not a practical device. This view has little to do with the price really and more with coverage (reliability) and options. As a phone, it relies on one carrier and very specific technologies that are (as I understand it) still being rolled out.

I suppose it's initial success may come as a PDA and handheld computer for gadget nerds, but I suspect early owners will need to keep a seperate phone around as a necessary backup. I don't see Backberry users ditching their "business life lines" under these conditions.

Don't get me wrong, the Apple iPhone is a REALLY cool device, but I don't see it being the runaway success the iPod is for years.

Bill Day   [01.09.07 03:01 PM]

There are things I don't care for with the iPhone, but there's a lot to love too, IMO. The specs are fairly awesome taken in their totality:

I'm running a poll on "Will you buy an iPhone?" in the discussion forums on my site:

Should be interesting to see the results and especially the written responses in the discussion thread.

Henrik   [01.09.07 03:13 PM]

10 points for coolness.
? points for battery life.
? points for longevity.

PhillipC   [01.09.07 10:24 PM]

With all these features and OS X, maybe a Skype widget or even a Grand Central widget would be cool running on the iPhone. It's just a hot bed for developers to jump on it.

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