Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Thoughts on the iPhone

During its first year and a half of delong the iPhone, Apple has
discovered 2 very distinct iPhone markets.
One is the high end Market found in USA, Europe, Japan. It is
characteristd by the need of the hardware features. The other market
is in places where 3G is not so widespread and where the original
iPhone has still more appeal because of it's much lower price.

When most people first fought about Apple making a less expensive
iPhone, the iPod analogy came along. The new iPhone had to be smaller,
they said. This approach however does not go well with preserving the
platform. The thousands application allready created had to look the
same on any member of the iPhone platform family. When apple
introduced the iPod Touch, this became clear.
The first iPod touch was an experiment of a kind. It relied
exclusively of multy touch for it's success and apple diligerately
kept a feature gap between it and the iPhone.
The second iteration of the iPhone and iPod touch kept that feature
gap while increasing the features of each device.

The next iPhone model will likely add a few more hardware improvement
bringing it to a Pro category of smartphones. This will undoubthly
satisfy the first market but this model will be even more out of reach
for the second market. Apple needs to intoduce again a phone device
like the original iPhone to satisfy the huge demand for its thausands
of applecarions.

To those thinking about the iPhone Nano, let me describe the
fundamentals of the iPhone platform.
- 3.5" display with millions of colours
- Capacitive Multytouch
- Wireless conection (WiFi and/or GSM)
- ARM processor
- Hardware accelerated OpenGL graphics
- Accelerometer
- Blutooth 2.0
- Integrated speaker,
- 3.5 milimeter headphone jack
- 30 pin iPod connector
- min of 5 hours of Video

These specification describe a device that will pehaps never be
significantly smaller than a second gen iPod Touch.

Apple may decide to go with larger multy touch display than 3.5"
eventually but it will not introduce a smaller one.

By all report, Apple plans to inteuduce two new iPhones this summer.
While everybody is busy trying to figure out how many more things the
new iPhone Pro will have, I will focus on the iPhone Lite.

While Apple is selling iPhones in many countries, I still find people
who would like to have a no contract first gen iPhone or more
precisely, an iPhone for less than $500. With the current state of the
US economy apple needs to place more emphasys on international sales
and on satisfying the world demand for it's platform. The original
iPhone, even the 4GB model while low on features is an absolute hit
right now because of it's app store.

I hope the new iPhone lite has the exact same hardware specifications
as the original iPhone. The difference will be the much lower price

With the iPhone 3G apple has added global experience to it's iPhone.
It has learned the network settings of many carriers and has added
great multylanguage support. Arabic is still comming but it will be
there before June. Once this is done, Apple can start selling iPhones
completely unlocked trough it's Apple stores to be used anywhere in
the world. Those iPhones will not support 3G, however. This can be
done even in the US. As the original iPhone contracts start expiring
in July, AT&T will have to legaly unlock the devices anyway and people
will be free to legaly use the on the T-Mobile network. Same thing
will happen in Europe later in this year. There will be a legal market
for low cost unlocked iPhones starting on July 1st. Apple's only
choice is to participate in that market.

The new iPhone Pro will have such new features as to justify people
signing contract to get it. It will likely have also lower acuasition

But the big news this summer will be a fully unlocked iPhone that
anyone can buy from an Apple store and use it anywhere in the world.
The price will be between the 16GB iPod Touch and the no contract 8GB
iPhone 3G. In other words $299<iPhone 3.1<$599. Probably $399.

What will be the difference between it and the original iPhone.
- fully plastic back
- speakers and mic like on the iPhone 3G
- better battery life
- a bit thinner and wider
- flush headphone jack
- GPS (although it may not be aGPS)

It is very possible that after June Apple may develop a system that
will discriminate an iPhone still in contract from those that are not.
Those still in contract will continue to receive software updates for
free. However, the next major update likely 3.1 will be paid for those
whose contracts have ended.

It will be interesting to see whether Apple will present an option for
all those who bought original iPhones but never signed a contract to
legaly unlock them.

One thing is for sure, the new iPhones will start selling well before
the iPhone software 3.0 becomes available for the 1st and 2gen
iPhones. Even the last two might have a different date for the new

One piece of guessing I would like to make.
iPhone 2.1 is the iPhone Pro
IPhone 3.1 is the new iPhone Classic
The reason being the resession kicked in plans for Apple to introduce
a lower cost model. Also the 3.1 appeared much later but will likely
be introduced at the same time. This implyes a known configuration
that needs less testing.

Sent from my iPhone