I asked for MacOS Mobile instead of an iPhone, I got both

by Jim Farley

In my earlier post, I said I would prefer to see Apple put together a mobile version of MacOS rather than a slick new mobile phone device. Well, the iPhone seems to be both. It "runs MacOS X", but what that actually means remains to be seen. The keynote demo and screen shots I've seen indicate that the UI is more like Dashboard than OS X, but if the OS X kernel is back there - very interesting possibilities indeed. And that Safari mobile browser looks very good indeed. But to my (pleasant) surprise, Apple seems to have provided some key device innovations as well. The primary one being, of course, the drastic move to a full touchscreen interface, with a single button, and no stylus. If this smart touchscreen interface works as well as Steve Jobs says, it will be quite a feat.

There are still a number of questions to be answered with the iPhone, such as:

- What does "3G" mean - EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA? It had better be one of those last two, or else they're starting behind the curve.

- Will the WiFi allow you to automatically switch to a Skype phone when WiFi is present?

- Is it unlocked so I can use it on other GSM carriers, in the US or elsewhere?

But if this lives up to even 80% of the hype that Steve J is trying to kick up at the moment, it'll be a big success.

10 Comments

Ben
2007-01-09 12:53:38
Exactly. I want to know what 'runs Mac OS X' really means.
Can I run terminal? Textmate? Can I put a webserver on there?


If I could ssh into my sites from the train - perfecto.
All the other stuff is nice to have, too, though...

anon
2007-01-09 13:30:33
it includes EDGE. it's included in the tech specs on the website:


http://www.apple.com/iphone/technology/wireless.html


2007-01-09 13:40:43
Yes, it seems it will only support EDGE, as you say. That's a shame.
Jim Farley
2007-01-09 13:42:47
Thanks for the link, the tech specs weren't up yet when I posted this.


Like I said, sticking to EDGE will put them behind the curve. They'll have to come up with a true 3G version pretty soon after this one launches.

me2
2007-01-09 13:43:11
"Will the WiFi allow you to automatically switch to a Skype phone when WiFi is present?"


what... you can afford $500 for a phone plus an undisclosed amount for a supplemental data plan, but you're worried about counting minutes on your outgoing calls?



"Is it unlocked so I can use it on other GSM carriers, in the US or elsewhere?"


err... why? (you sound a bit like a /. linux die-hard.) if the phone and the network does everything you want, then isn't that enough? having options just for the sake of having options isn't exactly the apple way.

Jim Farley
2007-01-09 13:56:23
"what... you can afford $500 for a phone plus an undisclosed amount for a supplemental data plan, but you're worried about counting minutes on your outgoing calls?"


Skype just seems logical. It has WiFi, is supposedly has MacOS, so put those together with a Skype client and it seems logical. I don't use Skype myself, but for those that do, I'm sure they'd appreciate it.


""Is it unlocked so I can use it on other GSM carriers, in the US or elsewhere?"


err... why? (you sound a bit like a /. linux die-hard.) if the phone and the network does everything you want, then isn't that enough? having options just for the sake of having options isn't exactly the apple way."


I don't understand what this has to do with Linux (??). I would just like to be able to use my phone when I travel to Europe or Asia. International roaming rates are typically astronomical, so buying a pre-paid GSM SIM and slipping it into your phone is a popular option. But the phone has to be unlocked for this to work.

JulesLt
2007-01-09 14:31:20
Looking at the videos you can see use of CoreAnimation on the text messaging keyboard, and I presume in the scale/rotate features so I think there's a fair amount of Cocoa in there, but I suspect it will be rather slimmer than full OS X. The interesting thing to me is what this might mean for OS X development - I can see a lot of business people ditching their Blackberry and Treo for an iPhone, and if you can install third party apps . . . that creates a market for OS X development that will dwarf the Mac market - if you can put a great mobile frontend onto salesforce.com or SAP you will be able to make some money.


I'd want it to switch and use WiFi where available - BT already offer that feature on some UK mobiles (when you're within reach of your home base station, switches to work as a digital phone).

pauldwaite
2007-01-09 14:42:27
1. I believe it's EDGE.


2. They didn't mention a thing about VOIP, and given the Cingular partnership, I'm assuming not (similarly to AppleTV not recording stuff - they want you to pay their partners). However, Skype or whoever else could surely write a VOIP app for it, if Apple let them.


3. As you apparently won't be able to buy the phone without also signing up for a 2 year Cingular contract, this seems a bit of a moot point.


My queries:


4. 8 GB isn't a lot of movies.


5. Scratches? Surely?


6. I want one so bad it hurts. I know that's not a query.

Roger Weeks
2007-01-09 16:05:59
The Cingular exclusive will kill this for me. I don't ever plan on being a Cingular customer again.


However: recent decisions by the US Copyright office state that carriers MUST allow you to unlock your phone. So you should be able to get an unlocked iPhone and take it to Europe.


Conversely, once the iPhone becomes available in Europe, those phones are almost always unlocked. Expect to see European models being sold in the US on Ebay.


My questions:


1. What is the processor inside?


2. What is the slot on the left-hand side? An SD slot? Some other kind of memory slot?


3. Can I use the phone as an iSight camera when it's connected via the iPod connector to my Mac?

Costa Rica travel
2007-12-22 07:29:02
Huh? The iPhone doesn't support 3G! Take a look here: http://www.gsmarena.com/apple_iphone-1827.php . Anyway.. it's a little to expensive.. but I'd really love to have one!