iPhone 2.0
June 9, 2008 2:04 PM   Subscribe

Those new, cheap iPhones? Read the fine print. Those new features? Might be just industry changing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (246 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Well, the old one was $399 with a two year contract, so it's still cheaper.

OTOH, it's not really that exciting a release, unless you want to debate the aesthetics of black plastic vs polished metal for the backplate.
posted by smackfu at 2:08 PM on June 9, 2008


$10 * 12 = $120/yr
120 * 2 = $240 over the life of the contract

$199 + $240 = $439
yeah?
posted by mrnutty at 2:13 PM on June 9, 2008


(and I refuse to find the NPV of the $240, because I'm not in school. take that, time value of money!)
posted by mrnutty at 2:16 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


You can?t really get any phone without a ridiculous contract these days?.I don?t care?, I?m still getting one anyway?.
posted by idiotfactory at 2:16 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


a rival of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry, the dominant smartphone that is so popular with corporate types that it’s been dubbed “the CrackBerry.”

Oops, only it's not call the CrackBerry because of its ubiquity but because of its supposed addictive powers.
posted by Eideteker at 2:16 PM on June 9, 2008


powers -> nature
posted by Eideteker at 2:17 PM on June 9, 2008


$10 * 12 * 2 + $399 = $639 (iPhone 1.0)
$30 * 12 * 2 + $199 = $919 (iPhone 2.0)

yeah?
posted by basicchannel at 2:17 PM on June 9, 2008


Sorry.. by "iPhone 2.0" I am referring to the new iPhone hardware and not the iPhone 2.0 software that is free to "iPhone 1.0" owners.
posted by basicchannel at 2:20 PM on June 9, 2008


They still cure cancer, right?
posted by Artw at 2:24 PM on June 9, 2008 [11 favorites]


basicchannel: the article claims that the old price was $20/mo. Is that incorrect?
posted by a robot made out of meat at 2:24 PM on June 9, 2008


I don't really care *how* it's subsidized as long as I can still buy one at an Apple store in 5 minutes, activate it through iTunes and never have to talk to one of the shemps who works for AT&T. The signup process has always by far been the worst part of getting a new phone and I'm almost more thankful that Apple changed that than I am for the actual phone itself.
posted by mikesch at 2:24 PM on June 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


the software development kit and other tools for developers have the potential to be more important to Apple and its users than the specifics of this year’s phone.

Yup.

This is not the first software ecology for mobile devices.

But despite the fact that the iPhone is not the open nirvana lots of geeks would love it to be, it's going to be the best game in town and standard-setting because it combines:

(1) A point of purchase/deployment highly visible to consumers (something that's mostly the province of the carriers right now)
(2) Low barriers to entry for developers (both in ease and in getting placement on the store).

This isn't eliminating the walls on the garden, but it's a highway in and out, and it's going to make third-party software on mobile phones far more popular than it is now.

It also makes the iPhone a potential platform for competition with the PSP and DS. Note the mention of Sega this morning at the keynote.

Things are kicking into gear. I think it's finally 1995 for mobiles.
posted by weston at 2:31 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]



I think I'm old now. I don't need all the fancy stuff when it comes to a cell phone.

I only use my (older) cell phone for making phone calls. I might send or receive a text message twice a month, tops. It doesn't have a camera, either. Because I've had the same plan for 10 years, I only pay $34/month total, including all the random fees and I have oodles of minutes, free nights, weekends and long distance.

They aren't getting one more penny out of me until it's absolutely necessary.
posted by trixare4kids at 2:31 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


In other news, you can save 100% of the cost of owning an iPhone by not buying one. Or any other cell phone.

*runs and hides*
posted by you just lost the game at 2:34 PM on June 9, 2008 [11 favorites]


Why do we need custom apps on the phone if the phone can connect to the internet anywhere? In other words, wouldn't it make more sense to have a phone that supports java or flash and simply create a website designed for the smaller screen of the iphone, rather than having to write custom apps, etc. If Excel is moving to an internet based environment, it's not clear to me why I need a special program to use ebay on my phone.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:36 PM on June 9, 2008


I think the $10 * 12 = $120/yr is refering to the new price ($30 data +$40 voice) - old price ($60 data & voice).
posted by yeti at 2:37 PM on June 9, 2008


I paid $100 for 1 year of cell service, Sept 2007-Sept 2008. When I top up the phone this September, I'm going to put $25 on it and that's good for another year until Sept 2009. I'm a total gadget freak (use my iMac, iPod video, nokia 770 and 870 and Palm TX all the time) but I don't believe in paying for cell phone plans.
posted by wenat at 2:37 PM on June 9, 2008


In other words, wouldn't it make more sense to have a phone that supports java or flash and simply create a website designed for the smaller screen of the iphone, rather than having to write custom apps, etc.

No, because 99.9% of the Java and flash apps on the web right now suck balls and have uniformly horrible user experiences.
posted by gyc at 2:40 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why do we need custom apps on the phone if the phone can connect to the internet anywhere?

Because it's a smaller size and has limited power. I get what you're saying, but building a custom app for cellphones seems like a logical exercise, especially if doesn't take much resources.

Now, building an app specifically for a single cell phone? That's crazy like a fox. Way to go Steve.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:40 PM on June 9, 2008


And MobileMe? Sounds like the name of a kids LeapFrog program.
posted by R. Mutt at 2:44 PM on June 9, 2008


I'm not buying one until it can solve the crisis in the Middle East.
posted by mattbucher at 2:46 PM on June 9, 2008


Wake me up when I can get a cellphone and install any software I want to on it like a PC, and use it with any provider I choose.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the old TV bandwidth that will be coming online with open access rules. But for now the entire mobile market is a ripoff giant rip off, Apple included. Android phones might be more open, but I bet providers will cripple the devices anyway.
posted by delmoi at 2:48 PM on June 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


for real? an sdk is changing the industry? there's a friend of mine who, despite being a firm apple fanatic, has made the claim that there is a Reality Distortion Field surrounding Steve Jobs at all times, such that any announcement he makes is all of a sudden "The Heralding of A New Era." Life Will Be Forever Changed, shouts each crappy tech blog and news headline. Meanwhile, I (who do not own an iphone yet) was completely shocked to see the new features of iphone 2.0 today. Exchange support? Maps with gps? 3g? An sdk? My windows mobile phone has had that shit for years, AND it supports stereo bluetooth headsets, which the iphone doesn't.

I mention this not to claim that my phone is better, but because I was completely shocked to realize that I thought the iphone was feature complete, that it could do everything mine did AND THEN SOME, and that I was truly lacking for not having one. This is the nature of the Reality Distortion Field. And what's ridiculous is that every time the newest announcement is made, the general message from the trenches is "FUCK your old [apple gadget]! That thing is garbage, you need the new one now, because THIS one is going to deliver on all those promises we made you from the last one!" And no one sees the disconnect. There are a number of things apple has done well and first. They're a marvelous company, but the crazy nebula of completely aggrandized horse shit that surrounds that guy is just incredible.

I guarantee you that the sdk is going to create a legion of cheap-ass homebrew nonsense apps just like it does for windows mobile and palm. For every really spiffy awesome app that makes your life easier, there'll be three thousand crappy "english to klingon dictionaries" and horoscope applications coded in 5 minutes by people who don't give a shit. The only thing that could make it even remotely more interesting on the iphone is the fact that mac addicts are rabid enough to make something really cool out of spite.
posted by shmegegge at 2:51 PM on June 9, 2008 [14 favorites]


Having done some traveling with an iPhone, I don't think most folks are realizing just how transformative it is. It's carrying around a substantial fraction of human knowledge in your pocket, with an instant locator, map, and lookup device for nearly anything you might want. Almost any resource that modern civilization provides can be located on the fly and summoned to your location, with no additional hardware. With the addition of a GPS, it'll be even better; instant routing should be easy and painless. The big problem with the first generation map system was determining where you were, and with a GPS, this will be soooo much better.

If you don't travel much, I'm not sure it'll be all that much different than a regular phone, but if you do.... there's likely nothing in the world that you'll like better.

You know, I just realized this: in essence, the iPhone is the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, version 0.02, restricted to single-planet navigation only.
posted by Malor at 2:57 PM on June 9, 2008 [18 favorites]


Pastabagel writes "In other words, wouldn't it make more sense to have a phone that supports java or flash and simply create a website designed for the smaller screen of the iphone, rather than having to write custom apps, etc."

The ebay app is a terrible example. You can make web apps for iPhone, this has been possible since launch and from what I see the ebay app would be fine running in a browser. However, to get something which can work with the iPhone's camera, network, gps, and accelerometer hardware there's no substitute for native apps. iPhysics and Camera Pro good example of this.
posted by mullingitover at 2:57 PM on June 9, 2008


Having done some traveling with an iPhone

I was under the impression that the countires you could actually use teh thing in were pretty limited, and that a US iPhone would not necessarily work as an iPhone in the UK.
posted by Artw at 3:00 PM on June 9, 2008


I like getting lost sometimes. I'll buy one when it does VoIP and I don't have to give any money to the criminal AT&T.
posted by mike_bling at 3:01 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, my Treo 650 did actually cure AIDS, but it didn't do it with a lot of panache, so...

Yes, I'll be making the Switch.
posted by LordSludge at 3:01 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I guarantee you that the sdk is going to create a legion of cheap-ass homebrew nonsense apps just like it does for windows mobile and palm. For every really spiffy awesome app that makes your life easier, there'll be three thousand crappy "english to klingon dictionaries" and horoscope applications coded in 5 minutes by people who don't give a shit.

That's kinda the point, actually. What matters about it--and homebrew on any platform, from PCs to hacked game consoles, is that a whole bunch of them are gonna be useless to 99% of the potential audience--and indispensable to the other 1%. It's a long tail thing.
posted by arto at 3:03 PM on June 9, 2008


for real? an sdk is changing the industry?

No. An SDK that sucks less combined with a high-profile distribution portal that sucks less (and is easier to put your app onto) is going to change the industry.
posted by weston at 3:04 PM on June 9, 2008


For what it's worth, Obama uses a Blackberry.
posted by The Bellman at 3:05 PM on June 9, 2008 [7 favorites]


for real? an sdk is changing the industry?

Yes. When the original iPhone was released last year, it wasn't feature complete, but it was close enough. Sure there were things missing, but it worked reasonably well for 90% of people using it. What it did have was a new user interface and a polish that nothing else matched.

While RIM and Microsoft were sitting there resting on their old crappy touchscreens and garbage user interfaces, Apple was building something new. Multitouch is huge, not having the whole thing encumbered by a fixed keyboard is huge. The graphic capabilities are huge.

Now, after introducing the product and letting people get used to it, they're releasing the SDK for it. Sure, 90% of applications for it could very well be crap, but 90% of everything is crap. There will be great applications though because Apple has made those tools available for developers. You have a cell phone that has GPS capabilities, a great screen, is reasonably fast, has multitouch and a great UI. It's just so much better than the incremental upgrades that RIM and Microsoft have been releasing for the last decade.

So yes, it is going to change the industry because instead of cramming the same crap down people's throat year after year, MS and RIM are going to have to actually get their shit together and compete. They're still working off of the old crappy paradigms and Apple just came along and ate their lunch.

The things that Apple is doing seem obvious in retrospect and anyone else could have come along and done it. Now that Apple's done it, guess what everything for the next 5 years is going to look like and feel like?

So yes, it is industry changing. Apple's bringing the promises that everyone has been making about smartphones to fruition and everyone else is going to have to keep up.

We're also going to see a lot of the things that people have been complaining about become moot. Who needs MMS if everyone can get pictures via email on 3G in a couple of years, for instance. The ground just shifted out from under everyone's feet.
posted by mikesch at 3:08 PM on June 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'll buy one when it does VoIP and I don't have to give any money to the criminal AT&T.

iCall Brings Seamless VoIP To IPhone Users.

(Sortof. Not yet.)

(I'd love to see a mic/headset for the iPod touch that allowed the same thing.)
posted by weston at 3:09 PM on June 9, 2008


*maybe
posted by smackfu at 3:09 PM on June 9, 2008


I guarantee you that the sdk is going to create a legion of cheap-ass homebrew nonsense apps just like it does for windows mobile and palm.

Yes and No.

So, yes because every development platform attracts crap, even really closed ones like video game consoles (c.f. 'shovelware'). But it's hardly an indictment of the iPhone - 90% of everything is crap.

No, because Apple has the clout to get major content players to bring stuff to the iPhone that you won't see anywhere else, like the live play-by-play MLB updates. iTunes may not be perfect and Apple didn't invent the online music store but they sure as hell perfected it. You'll see stuff on the iPhone that won't be available anywhere else becuase Apple has the ability to forge media partnerships like no one else in the industry. I expect that every unfulfilled promise made by Palm and Nokia over the years will finally be delivered by the iPhone. Well, and the Blackberry. There will be a third-party turn-by-turn GPS app released and the iPhone will become a true digital swiss army knife. Imagine when someone ports Python to this thing and you can write iPhone code right on the handset. HAWT.

What's amazing to me is how quickly Nokia's fortunes have faded in the smartphone market. Too bad about that whole bet on Symbian guys.
posted by GuyZero at 3:11 PM on June 9, 2008


PLASTIC?

Okay, I am going to have to get my paws on this thing before I consider getting it. And maybe just get a used iphone 1 instead. Or a blackberry or something.
posted by By The Grace of God at 3:22 PM on June 9, 2008


Like others, I'm still holding out until it does VOIP. My hope is that a future version will use Clearwire or some other 4G network, and I can tell AT&T to get bent.

I like the idea, but the actual final product at the price that they are asking is still too rich for my blood.
posted by quin at 3:22 PM on June 9, 2008


mikesch, you're talking about the phone not the sdk. I'm still not seeing how homebrew on the iphone is going to bring about some kind of sweeping industry change. everything you pointed to was accomplished when they released the original iphone. Your comment reads like a press release.

There will be great applications though because Apple has made those tools available for developers.

this statement is meaningless. I don't know what you're trying to say. who else would the sdk have been released to?

arto: "That's kinda the point, actually. What matters about it--and homebrew on any platform, from PCs to hacked game consoles, is that a whole bunch of them are gonna be useless to 99% of the potential audience--and indispensable to the other 1%. It's a long tail thing."

No, I get that. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with homebrew. I'm saying we've already got it and it sounds like a lot of people have forgotten that. They're all acting like this is something nobody's done before when we've all been doing it for years, now. I mean, someone upthread wrote a comment unironically where they claimed that the iphone was transforming because they can now see themselves on a map with a gps while they're travelling. hang on a sec. oh hey, I just did that, too, and I don't even have an iphone. Hell I've posted to metafilter from my phone while getting directions to a movie theater and plotting them out with gps to tell us if we're going the right way. the iphone is great, don't get me wrong, but if it wasn't transforming before, then the fact that it is now that it's on the iphone sounds a hell of a lot like brand bias.

An SDK that sucks less combined with a high-profile distribution portal that sucks less (and is easier to put your app onto) is going to change the industry.

Hey I hope you're right. Define "sucks less" though?
posted by shmegegge at 3:22 PM on June 9, 2008


I'm going to try not to dominate this thread, so after this I'll take a hiatus.

But it's hardly an indictment of the iPhone

I agree. If I'm indicting anyone, it's the press.

No, because Apple has the clout to get major content players to bring stuff to the iPhone that you won't see anywhere else,

Hey, I hope so. That sounds less like something revolutionary about the sdk, though, and more like something revolutionary about apple's corporate partnerships, but since I feel like I'm getting dangerously close to splitting hairs I'll leave it at "I hope so." When I see it I'll be very happy and I'll start saving up to buy one, without a doubt.

iTunes may not be perfect and Apple didn't invent the online music store but they sure as hell perfected it.

this statement isn't all that consistent. I believe you're trying to say that apple has set the standard for what an online music store currently is. I agree. I assume you're saying this because of all the major labels they got to partner into their store? If so, then hey here's hoping it works out. But until it actually happens, this is all more apple hype, no? I mean, every time the dude opens his mouth, the rumor mills start going on and on about the possibilities. Remember when nobody knew what the macworld announcement was before they announced the iphone, and the rumors sites, before they finally picked up the iphone rumor, were insisting it would be a set top gaming box with apple tv functionality and full bluetooth integration and every other nerd wet dream you can think of? this is what I'm talking about. Yes, those things would be great. Yes, they are just speculation, though.
posted by shmegegge at 3:34 PM on June 9, 2008


That NYTimes blog peice seems more than a little over-the-top - "OMG APPLE INVENTED SDKS!".

I'm still kind of waiting for other phone manufactures to step up their game on the UI side to match the iPhone. Doesn't really seem to be happening yet.
posted by Artw at 3:36 PM on June 9, 2008


I'm curious... you people in iPhone-sanctioned countries: what do you pay in a month for the iPhone--and I'm curious about those of you who use it whenever you wish, visiting youtube and google maps, etc., whenever you please?

Cause I did this in a non-sanctioned country (canada) and got a $427 bill. (The company axed the bill after my smooth as butter phonecall but still...)
posted by dobbs at 3:37 PM on June 9, 2008


For what it's worth, Obama uses a Blackberry.

Actually, he made the switch.
posted by aqhong at 3:41 PM on June 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


So a new iPhone huh? How exactly did they improve the phone part of it?
posted by lilkeith07 at 3:43 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know, I appreciate good design and all, but I'm not feeling the need for this crazy expensive beauty. Maybe it's because I barely use my cell in the first place.

All day people were asking me if I would be getting an iPhone, and my response was "Hellz no. My 1999 Motorola Timeport is all I need."

(It really is. I never thought an almost 10 year old phone would have text messaging, but apparently it really is a timeport)
posted by yellowbinder at 3:44 PM on June 9, 2008


You know, I just realized this: in essence, the iPhone is the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, version 0.02, restricted to single-planet navigation only.

That's the internet. An Iphone is a small device which provides wireless access to the internet; one of many.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:45 PM on June 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Imagine when someone ports Python to this thing and you can write iPhone code right on the handset. HAWT.

Yeah, writing Python with one finger on a touchscreen - I can't wait!

If that's really what floats your boat, you can do it today. Enjoy!
posted by me & my monkey at 3:48 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


so after this I'll take a hiatus.

Hey, dominate away. Everyone gets into a thread once in a while.

this statement isn't all that consistent

uh, yeah, sorry. Sometimes I get lost between the beginning and the end of sentence. I blame my (non-existent) editorial staff. But you basically got it.

What really cheezes me is how long I'm going to have to wait for Android. What I want is the MS-DOS of mobile phone OS's - something that is truly open and stimulates a mobile handset market the same way that DOS did back in the 80's. (anyone else remember when Compaq broke through an came up with a PC whose processor ran at a different speed than the bus?) Unfortunately, until carriers are forced to open up their networks and the new 700 Mhz spectrum becomes available I don't hold out much hope. WinMo kind of does this already in that it runs on a variety of devices but somehow it still stinks. Until something really awesome happens, the iPhone is as close as it's going to get.
posted by GuyZero at 3:53 PM on June 9, 2008


OK I think the iPhone is neat and everything. But some of the things being touted as special to the iPhone, really isn't.

Play by Plays from the MLB? I can get that just fine on my Samsung SCH-u740 on Verizon. Instant locator map? Finding things that are nearby? Yeah I can do that on my phone as well. The GPS works so well on for me I will likely never buy a traditional GPS.
I can get and receive e-mail. Even with push. Search Wikipedia, etc...

This isn't the wonder of the iPhone, it's the wonder of mobile computing and mobile web.

I expect a hell of a lot more out of an iPhone than what my modest pseudo-smart phone can do.
posted by MrBobaFett at 3:53 PM on June 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


So a new iPhone huh? How exactly did they improve the phone part of it?

Longer battery life, "drastically improved audio," contact search & over-the-air syncing. Also, if you've never tried making or managing phone calls and voicemail on an iPhone, you should check it out. It's far from an afterthought.

For what it's worth, Obama uses a Blackberry… Actually, he made the switch.

Oh, thank Jeebus. I was scared that I'd have to respect Karl Rove more than Obama for a minute. I guess there's no question what Al Gore uses.
posted by designbot at 3:59 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Having done some traveling with an iPhone

I was under the impression that the countires you could actually use teh thing in were pretty limited, and that a US iPhone would not necessarily work as an iPhone in the UK.


He didn't say international travel - and the US is still a damn big country.
posted by Tomorrowful at 4:01 PM on June 9, 2008


It's carrying around a substantial fraction of human knowledge in your pocket, with an instant locator, map, and lookup device for nearly anything you might want. Almost any resource that modern civilization provides can be located on the fly and summoned to your location, with no additional hardware.

See, I've got a Nokia. Don't even remember the model number. It has Opera Mini on it. Within Opera Mini, I can load maps, Google, Wikipedia, hell Metafilter even. It is very cool having a "substantial fraction of human knowledge in your pocket", but it may surprise you to know that an iPhone isn't necessary for this.
posted by Jimbob at 4:03 PM on June 9, 2008 [5 favorites]


From experience: location-based search is insanely convenient when traveling. Tap the "show my location" button. Then search for something. It pinpoints the results near you on a map, and you're even about one touch away from driving directions. Seemingly simple and obvious, but for some reason the incumbent providers never seem interested in coming up with this sort of thing. I give apple credit not for being brilliant but for simply doing the shit that's been technically feasible for years when the entrenched powers were simply too lazy and complacent to bother.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:09 PM on June 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


MrBobaFett writes "But some of the things being touted as special to the iPhone, really isn't."

It's not really the feature list that's appealing, it's the way the features are presented. The design is such that the user is more likely to use the features. For example, the iPhone is far from being the first phone to offer a browser. However, it is the first 'mobile' browser which doesn't make me want to stab my eyes out every time I try to use it.

I got an iPhone to replace a Cingular 8125 smartphone. In terms of feature list, the 8125 has the iPhone beat hands down. However, the implementation of those features in the iPhone is so much more polished and carefully implemented, it's like comparing the scrawlings of a kindergartener to Da Vinci.
posted by mullingitover at 4:10 PM on June 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


Oh, thank Jeebus. I was scared that I'd have to respect Karl Rove more than Obama for a minute. I guess there's no question what Al Gore uses.

I too decide who to respect based on their mostly meaningless brand affiliations!
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:10 PM on June 9, 2008 [5 favorites]


the iPhone is the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, version 0.02, restricted to single-planet navigation only

The thing that I don't understand is, if you're not travelling, there's no real point having a Guide, is there? I mean, honestly, just because you can access the vast cumulative collective knowledge of the planet when you go out to buy some milk, is that vast knowledge going to substantially change your milk buying experience?

I just can't shake the feeling that the iPhone, like Palm (and WindowsCE) devices, are a bit of a hammer looking for a nail. I'm no luddite--I loves me a good gadget as much as the next geek. But I never got a Palm PC for the same reason I won't get an iPhone: it would just end up being one more useless device that I end up playing with more often then actually using.

If I want access to the Hivemind, it's probably because I'm either working or relaxing at home. Either time, I'll have a much more enjoyable experience using a laptop or PC. Larger keyboard, a mouse, bigger display to show more information, faster, greater amount of tools available, easier interaction with said tools... the list goes on and on.

My coworker has the non-contract version of the iPhone (forget what it's called... might just be called the New iPod for all I know). The only time I see him using it is when he's showing someone his iPhone. If he wants to email someone, he's got a full-on computer right there at his desk. The WiFi is spotty, but hey look! The computer on his desk has Cat-6 going to a gigabit switch.

I suppose if you wanted to be an uuber-pimp IT administrator, you could find a public WiFi spot under a shady tree and spend your days drinking lattes while slowly going blind trying to remotely administer your network through an SSH client on your tiny-ass 2" x 3" iPhone screen while not looking like a complete idiot.

Or, if you travel a lot, and you get lost a lot, and you have very poor social interaction skills that would prevent you from talking to someone and getting directions, and lack the capacity for spacial position due to being dropped on your head as a child... well, the iPhone can get you where you're going in, like, the most awesomest way possible.

Otherwise? Hammer looking for a nail.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:13 PM on June 9, 2008 [7 favorites]


To me, it's interesting watching this company get into a new market. It has certain epic feel to, like "Are they going to fail? Succeed? Ok, they've made that move, now what? and how is the competition going to fight back?"

It's like a schoolyard fight from the comfort of air conditioning.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:16 PM on June 9, 2008


Actually, he made the switch.

heh
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:20 PM on June 9, 2008


when you go out to buy some milk, is that vast knowledge going to substantially change your milk buying experience

Sometimes you're doing something besides buying milk. But I have a suggestion: if you don't want one, don't buy one. I'm kind of that way about game consoles. WTF would I want with one? But I have never gone into a thread about game consoles and asked that -- the fact that I don't give a rat's ass about game consoles, don't know where I'd find the time to play with one or why I'd want to is not interesting to other people: to do so would be nothing but an obnoxious pose -- more or less exactly like "is this something I'd need a TV to know about?"
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:22 PM on June 9, 2008 [8 favorites]


There's another way in which iPhone 2.0 will be groundbreaking: malware.
posted by scalefree at 4:24 PM on June 9, 2008


See, I've got a Nokia. Don't even remember the model number. It has Opera Mini on it. Within Opera Mini, I can load maps, Google, Wikipedia, hell Metafilter even. It is very cool having a "substantial fraction of human knowledge in your pocket", but it may surprise you to know that an iPhone isn't necessary for this.

Let's say you're driving and need to figure out directions. Happens to all of us, right? Can your Nokia tell you where you are?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:26 PM on June 9, 2008


delmoi: come to Asua.
posted by divabat at 4:28 PM on June 9, 2008


delmoi: come to Asia.
posted by divabat at 4:28 PM on June 9, 2008


There's another way in which iPhone 2.0 will be groundbreaking: malware.

That article has nothing concrete in it about said malware, but you can hear the blogger's scaly hands wringing as he writes his fiction, nonetheless.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:29 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


ok, for someone who travels us/uk frequently and primarily uses email rather than phone would iphone or blackberry be more sensible/ cost effective if i were going to upgrade from my t-mobile that works both places but is read only on the email essentially...
posted by Maias at 4:29 PM on June 9, 2008


Civil_Disobedient

I guess it all depends on your approach to life and how you use the device. Why would I need to use the internet while I'm at the store getting milk? Because I saw they have shrimp on sale and I think it would be nice to get some and make Shrimp Curry, but I don't remember the ingredients I need to make it. I don't carry my cook book around with me, unless of course I could have it in the form of an e-book, in which case why not. So even if I do have my cook book, maybe I don't have curry in my cook book, that's what the internet is for.

I use both my Palm and my MobileWeb phone a lot. I suppose I could pull over (er well get off the highway, go down a road and hope to find an open gas station) and then ask someone else for directions. Of course there is no guarantee they will know the way any better than I. In fact a few times I have used my GPS phone because someone else asked me for directions they didn't have. So still the answer came from a GPS just not theirs, it would seem more convenient to them if they did have their own. Also my GPS can take into account traffic, including accidents and unlike a paper map get updates when a bridge is build or an exit is closed for construction.

Yes a full sized computer is nice for surfing/checking e-mail but not always practical. I don't find myself at my desk everyday. I have to go visit clients, sit on the "L"/Amtrak/bus for hours, be on a remote job site.
posted by MrBobaFett at 4:30 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Let's say you're driving and need to figure out directions. Happens to all of us, right? Can your Nokia tell you where you are?

My first point will be that, where I live, it's against the law to use a cellphone in a moving vehicle. I guess I could stop and use my iPhone to tell me where I was. I could also just look for signs and landmarks as well.

My second point is that (and I may be a unique little snowflake here) I can't remember the last time I was driving and didn't know where I was. Sometimes, sure, I might not know the route to somewhere else, which is why my road atlas is such a useful $25 piece of technology, but not knowing where I am? I honestly can't say it's ever been a problem.
posted by Jimbob at 4:35 PM on June 9, 2008


> $10 * 12 * 2 + $399 = $639 (iPhone 1.0)
$30 * 12 * 2 + $199 = $919 (iPhone 2.0)


Half-wrong. Data plan for the first generation iPhone was $20/mo, not $10.

iPhone 1.0: $20 * 12 * 2 + $399 = $879
iPhone 2.0: $30 * 12 * 2 + $199 = $919

That's comparing like-for-like: It would be reasonable to compare last year's 8GB phone with this year's 16 GB phone; even more money up front but ten bucks less every month.

For every month you keep the phone after the 20th month, the total cost of the first-gen iPhone gets ten bucks cheaper than the second-gen iPhone.

Despite that, I'm counting my pennies and hoping to get a second-gen iPhone. And, above all, hoping I 3G service arrives here before too long, so that I'm not paying ten bucks more for exactly the same data rates as the early adopters.
posted by ardgedee at 4:36 PM on June 9, 2008


My first point will be that, where I live, it's against the law to use a cellphone in a moving vehicle. I guess I could stop and use my iPhone to tell me where I was. I could also just look for signs and landmarks as well.

Or you could just hand your phone over to a passenger.

but not knowing where I am? I honestly can't say it's ever been a problem.

Your paper road atlas will, on demand, tell you within +/- x number of yards where you are? That's amazing!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:38 PM on June 9, 2008


Some people aren't so busy looking at their Iphones that they don't pay attention to the route they're following.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:41 PM on June 9, 2008


Your paper road atlas will, on demand, tell you within +/- x number of yards where you are?

No, I mean I've never had the experience of not knowing where I am. Sometimes I don't know how to get to where I want to be from where I am, but that's a different thing.

Do people just drive around randomly then suddenly think to themselves, "Shit, where the hell am I? I guess I could glance over there at that street sign, or look for the name of the suburb on that shopping mall across the road, or I could read that big green sign up ahead that appears to have some kind of arrow pointing to a freeway, but that's so Web 1.0. I'll fire up the GPS!"

I have, admittedly, driven in a car with a dashboard GPS once. My dad's. My understanding is that it cost $120 and there was no monthly fee or contract involved.
posted by Jimbob at 4:45 PM on June 9, 2008


Also it had a really fucking annoying posh English accent.
posted by Jimbob at 4:48 PM on June 9, 2008


I bet Jobs was pissed when they told him he couldn't wrap his radios in metal.
posted by ryanrs at 4:48 PM on June 9, 2008 [6 favorites]


There's another way in which iPhone 2.0 will be groundbreaking: malware.

Uh, yeah, a platform where every application has a cryptographic signature guaranteeing that it comes from an authorized developer who ponied up $100 to Apple and verified their identity, and security is managed by a UNIX-based operating system, and the only way to load applications is to get them reviewed and verified for distribution through Apple, and Apple can disable or uninstall any application at the first sign of mischief…

I'm sure it will be a terrifying nightmarescape of nonstop hackery, the likes of which Windows Mobile users have never known.
posted by designbot at 4:52 PM on June 9, 2008 [6 favorites]


Do people just drive around randomly then suddenly think to themselves, "Shit, where the hell am I? I guess I could glance over there at that street sign, or look for the name of the suburb on that shopping mall across the road, or I could read that big green sign up ahead that appears to have some kind of arrow pointing to a freeway, but that's so Web 1.0. I'll fire up the GPS!"

I'm not sure what the state of road signage is in Australia, but if it's anything like the UK, where it's easy to use road signs to find where you're going, especially as soon as you hit the next roundabout, then I can see that argument.

But in the US, signage can be very unclear, contradictory or non-existent. Outside NYC, particularly, it's easy to get lost and trapped on a stretch of highway, and it can take up to an hour to find some exit and on-ramp combination to get back in the right direction.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:56 PM on June 9, 2008


However, it is the first 'mobile' browser which doesn't make me want to stab my eyes out every time I try to use it.

This pretty much sums it up. Why hasn't anyone else been able to implement a reasonable mobile browser yet? I tried the Blackberry Curve this weekend, thinking "maybe this will be the one..." Nope; it's not. I seems like such a basic thing, but only the iPhone has been able to manage it so far.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:01 PM on June 9, 2008


I just can't shake the feeling that the iPhone, like Palm (and WindowsCE) devices, are a bit of a hammer looking for a nail.

To the extent this is true, it reminds me of the story of the home computer. They were put out long before most people could really figure out what to do with them, and by and large, most people don't really need them. A typewriter, calculator, and phone will get you by, and correspondingly, most people use their computers for writing, maybe a bit of home bookkeeping, and some information lookup and communication. But as it turns out, software can help that same device fulfill a thousand little niche needs.

But honestly, the hammer looking for a nail statement doesn't ring true to me. The iPhone from its inception has had a very clear purpose: be an excellent convergence device. Model #1 was an excellent combination of an iPod and a cell phone. It was one way of solving the problem of having to carry two devices. They threw in a few other things.

(And probably figured out some other things about convergence directions in the process.)
posted by weston at 5:03 PM on June 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


But in the US, signage can be very unclear, contradictory or non-existent. Outside NYC, particularly, it's easy to get lost and trapped on a stretch of highway, and it can take up to an hour to find some exit and on-ramp combination to get back in the right direction.

That's fair enough. Look I can see the utility of having multiple functions packed into a single, convenient device. But I'm also, personally, fighting giving away all my own skills and mental abilities to technology. My dad (with the dashboard GPS) is retired - he worked for 40 years as an agricultural pump sales rep, traveling all over Australia for his work. He knows the place like the back of his hand. He's never had difficulty getting from one place to another in the past. And yet he went and got a GPS, and now asks it to tell him routes to travel between places he's been going between for most of his life. I find more joy in figuring it out for myself. But then, I love maps.

iPhone discussions always resolve into the same arguments. Non-iPhone owners think the iPhone owners have been affected by the disinformation field mentioned above - a case of the emperor's new clothes. iPhone owners think the non-iPhone owners are a bunch of jealous luddites. But what we're all talking about, after all, is a bloody telephone.
posted by Jimbob at 5:04 PM on June 9, 2008


I find more joy in figuring it out for myself. But then, I love maps.

I love maps too. But overlaying a traffic heatmap on top of a Google map is really helpful, and I still get to scratch that childhood itch to draw imaginary lines on a map, to find the best route from where I am. I don't think the technology takes away from being able to fulfill that instinctive need.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:08 PM on June 9, 2008


This is pretty iPhone 1.5. It's nice that it's cheaper, and GPS is great, but not improving the camera or storage space (2MP and 16Gb) were two big letdowns for me.

16Gb is not enough for the music I like to carry, let alone all the data and apps that will eat up space. Which means I'm still carrying an iPod, too.

I would pay more for a 48Gb iPhone with a 4MP camera. No option for that, though.
posted by rokusan at 5:16 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Let's say you're driving and need to figure out directions. Happens to all of us, right? Can your Nokia tell you where you are?

It will if it's one of the half dozen or so Nokia's with built in GPS, or one of the dozens that work with a GPS fob.
posted by markr at 5:21 PM on June 9, 2008


As much as I love my Nokia E51 (selected it over an unlocked iPhone 1.0), I must say that a 3G device with GPS and a touchscreen for less than SGD 500 would be game-changing. Most touchscreen phones go for about S$700 (except for the Sony Ericsson P1 that recently had a price-correction), so S$500 for an iPhone is a steal. Nokia's 6xxx Navigator phone went for about SGD 600 in December last, and it didn't have touchscreen.

[(USD 200 == SGD 260) + SGD 200-ish for the two-year contract = SGD 500-ish]
posted by the cydonian at 5:22 PM on June 9, 2008


16Gb is not enough for the music I like to carry

Really? 8gb feels like to me, but 16gb sounds comfy for several days of music, a few apps and a movie or two.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:23 PM on June 9, 2008


Watching the keynote that loopt guy apparently was going for the 'best imitation of a deviant clown' award.

But seriously, why stop at two polos? Think how cool four or five, or heck even 19 polos would look? Teh awesome.

Rhymes with banker...
posted by oxford blue at 5:27 PM on June 9, 2008


Let's say you're driving and need to figure out directions. Happens to all of us, right? Can your Nokia tell you where you are?

Um, of course? Cellphones have had GPS capabilities for years. Here is a youtube video of someone using GPS on a nokia N95, a video posted a year and a half ago. here is an MSNBC article talking about how Nokia plans to add GPS capability to half of it's phones. According ot the article, there are five models with GPS capability out already, with four more coming out this summer.

I mean seriously, Blazecock Pileon do you actually think that the iPhone is the first phone with GPS?
posted by delmoi at 5:30 PM on June 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


I would pay more for a 48Gb iPhone with a 4MP camera. No option for that, though.

Yes and I would like a SUV that gets 40 MPG and does 0-60 in 8 seconds. No option for that though.

Seriously, of course there's no option for that. 48Gb of SSD costs several times the retail price of the iPhone. And with a tiny, shitty, fixed plastic lens 4MP will give you nothing more usable than what you get with the iPhone today.

Eventually you will indeed get it all but not today for $200. Keep dreaming of that shining city upon a hill though.

No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.
posted by GuyZero at 5:36 PM on June 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


I mean seriously, Blazecock Pileon do you actually think that the iPhone is the first phone with GPS?

So, at the risk of speaking for his blazing-cock-ness: find me another phone that can be purchased for $200 that can, out of the box, tell me where I am. The N95 is, what, $500? $700?

As a previous commenter notes, GPS manufacturers should be scared of this (and the Blackberry). For $200 plus some third-party software I get a GPS plus, hey, a mobile phone and a video iPod that browses the web. For less than a standalone GPS unit!
posted by GuyZero at 5:41 PM on June 9, 2008


You don't have to pay $70 a month for a standalone GPS, do you?
posted by MegoSteve at 5:45 PM on June 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


One thing that's surprisingly absent from the discussion, and easily one of the most annoying parts of the iphone: that infernal GSM speaker buzz. Does anyone know if the 3g iphone is going to fix that?
posted by mullingitover at 5:48 PM on June 9, 2008


Question from the ignorant; how does the iPhone store it's maps for the GPS? Does it have maps stored in memory, like a normal GPS unit does, or does it continuously download the maps from Google Maps?

Because if it's the later, normal GPS systems win by far, particularly in more remote areas.
posted by Jimbob at 5:49 PM on June 9, 2008


MegoSteve writes "You don't have to pay $70 a month for a standalone GPS, do you?"

You do if your GPS has a cell phone with a data plan. If you don't pay your phone bill, I believe the iphone's GPS will still work.
posted by mullingitover at 5:49 PM on June 9, 2008


Brandon Blatcher - The problem with 16gb is that I can't carry ALL of my music. So I have effectively unlimited choices in my music. My Zune lets me do that. My TX can also play MP3s but I'm sticking with my Zune for MP3 playback because it is a better dedicated device. All in one devices are nice, but not when I have a dedicated device that does that one function better.
posted by MrBobaFett at 5:53 PM on June 9, 2008


Of what use is having every song you own? What percentage of music would you listen to regularly? I imagine most people listen to 20% of their music collection 80% of the time. Diminishing returns and all that.
posted by oxford blue at 5:59 PM on June 9, 2008


I don't really care *how* it's subsidized as long as I can still buy one at an Apple store in 5 minutes, activate it through iTunes and never have to talk to one of the shemps who works for AT&T.

Looks like they'll have to be activated in-store, which sucks for all the above reasons. Wonder how they will handle it on the online store?

Maybe it's to combat people like me, who unlocked their iPhones 30 minutes after purchase and never gave a dime to AT&T.
posted by porn in the woods at 6:04 PM on June 9, 2008


I've got a substantial fraction of human knowledge ... in my pants!
Why does anyone need an iPhone when we have DaShiv?
posted by lukemeister at 6:04 PM on June 9, 2008


Of what use is having every song you own?

'cause then you have unlimited choices. It's when you can't fit it all on your device, then you have to make choices and often what you choose to leave behind is what you want to listen to.

Just a different mindset, that's all.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:05 PM on June 9, 2008


Blazecock Pileon: "Let's say you're driving and need to figure out directions. Happens to all of us, right? Can your Nokia tell you where you are?"

I don't know anything about Nokia, but my Sprint Windows Mobile phone can pinpoint my location to within a half metre on Google Maps using its built-in aGPS. Or if I boot up the iGuidance GPS software, I get a first-person screen perspective and a sexy Irish woman's voice giving me turn by turn directions. And I can activate it with a voice command, which is useful when you are driving.

I was amused watching Apple's 3G vs 2G demo for loading times. Like, hasn't the message for the past 18 months or so been that Apple's 2G somehow uses special sauce that makes it suck so mu less than regular EDGE than in many cases it *outperforms* 3G web access? Four legs were good, but two legs just got better!
posted by meehawl at 6:06 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you don't pay your phone bill, I believe the iphone's GPS will still work.

I'd be surprised if it did. From what I've read so far it appears to use A-GPS, where the A is for "assisted". The cell network assists in rapid satellite location using up-to-the moment information, which would otherwise take time and CPU. The iPhone may have the ability to lock on without assistance, but many A-GPS systems do not and I don't know of any reason the iPhone would be different.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:08 PM on June 9, 2008


Yeah, but isn't that one of the undoubtable and undeniable (and inescapable) facts of life that we will always have to make choices that will be far from an 'perfect' end-game? Life is compromise after all. Besides, Even if it had double or triple or ten times more space there would still be people who would be forced to make these dreaded choices so it makes sense for Apple to offer two versions that will suit comfortably the vast person of the market, and allow them to offer it a price point that does likewise.

I'm sure there are people that would be happy with a real keyboard on the iPhone, or a small nuclear power cell; does it mean it's a bad/flawed device because it doesn't have every feature that everyone wants? Or does it mean its flawed because a tailored device does a factor of its feature set (subjectively) better? I'd argue not. We have to accept that market forces will mostly force products that cause the maximum amount of happiness (even if that maximum is comparatively low i.e 5,5,5,5 units of happiness as opposed to 10,3,2,2) in the maximum amount of people.

I get where you're coming from, of course, but Marge said I could play Devil's Advocate.
posted by oxford blue at 6:20 PM on June 9, 2008


I'm not getting an iPhone 'till that fucking partnership with Aperture plays out. I don't care if the portals are smaller than on a full-sized device. :P
posted by BeerFilter at 6:25 PM on June 9, 2008


for real? an sdk is changing the industry?

An important thing to understand about technology adoption and platform building is that the system -- sum of the parts -- is a a multiplicative process not an additive one. Eg. one weak link in the system torpedoes the entire thing.

Eg. the Amiga had several pieces of the puzzle SOLVED but had a couple of achilles heels that fatally hobbled it.

Let's say the magic threshold of success is the notional value 0.5, and the necessary and sufficient features of an offering are rated from 0.0 to 1.0.

For the offering to succeed, we multiply the values, not add them. This models the achilles heel phenomenon mentioned above.

So, with the iPhone we've got:

1) Developer base that can create 3rd party apps: 0.75
2) (Potential) User base: 0.9
3) SDK: 1.0
4) Hardware: 0.95
5) Marketing: 1.0
6) Distribution: 1.0

for a total notional value of ~0.6

Compare with Java:

0.9, 1.0, 0.8, 0.5, 0.1, 0.1 = 0.004

WinMo:

1.0, 0.9, 1.0, 0.8, 1.0, 0.2 = 0.144

IOW, in order to succeed in a game-changing way you've got to have all the ducks lined up.
posted by tachikaze at 6:30 PM on June 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


Do people just drive around randomly then suddenly think to themselves, "Shit, where the hell am I? I guess I could glance over there at that street sign, or look for the name of the suburb on that shopping mall across the road, or I could read that big green sign up ahead that appears to have some kind of arrow pointing to a freeway, but that's so Web 1.0. I'll fire up the GPS!"

I have frequently gotten lost in Manhattan, where I have lived most of my adult life. Try wandering around anywhere south of 14th St., where streets and avenues start to have names more often than numbers, and it's sometimes a long hike to the nearest reference point. Would you rather ask a kindly stranger for directions, or would you rather pull out a device that has a map with you automatically at the center of it and an arrow pointing in the right direction? (Hint: I'm sometimes the kindly stranger, and clearly I don't know where the fuck I'm going.)
posted by Epenthesis at 6:43 PM on June 9, 2008


I'm not getting an iPhone 'till that fucking partnership with Aperture plays out. I don't care if the portals are smaller than on a full-sized device. :P
posted by BeerFilter at 11:25 AM on June 10 [+] [!]

I'm not getting an iPhone until they (finally) ditch OS X and install GLaDOS. I could imagine it threatening to kill me when I'm late on paying my bills, or rewarding me, , when I do something well.
posted by oxford blue at 6:44 PM on June 9, 2008


Way to ruin a joker metafilter...I meant...

…or rewarding me, [subjectnamehere], when I do something well.
posted by oxford blue at 6:45 PM on June 9, 2008


If someone could case-mod a 3G Iphone that looked like a Communicator from ST:TOS?
I'd pay serious cash for that.


I moved out of my mom's basement years ago.
Just think it'd be cool.
posted by Dizzy at 6:46 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


GuyZero: A Nokia 6110 can be bought for $AU 250 on ebay is a GPS and a phone.

It's been out for over a year. It rocks. I have one in my pocket. It does turn by turn voice directions.

I have used it in the car to get me where I need to go.

Whilst it has Opera on it it is not a good web browser. The screen is too small. The iphone wins on that count.

It plays mp3s as well as my ipod Nano. And without having to deal with the one computer lock of itunes.

The 6110 only takes 2GB micro SD cards. No doubt Nokia will make a successor that can take micro SD HC cards.
posted by sien at 7:03 PM on June 9, 2008


16Gb is not enough for the music I like to carry, let alone all the data and apps that will eat up space. Which means I'm still carrying an iPod, too.

I would pay more for a 48Gb iPhone with a 4MP camera. No option for that, though.


That summed it up for me, except that they can scrap the camera to free up space for other things; I have real cameras if I want to take pictures. I had been telling my wife that today they would bring out the iPhone I want and when there was no announcement of a big storage capacity upgrade I tuned out and told her not to get me an iPhone for fathers day. I still resent Apple for bringing out the Fat Mac right after I bought a 128K Mac in 1984; I like their stuff but Apple does not reward early adopters.
posted by TedW at 7:06 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


SNARK SNARK SNARK I'M BETTER THAN ALL YOU MOTHERFUCKERS WITH MY NOKIASAMSUNGANDROID GHSR-23838268340893s WITH WINMO 2010 WERD MOTHERFUCKERS!!!!!!!

Now somebody slap a "Metafilter:" on the front of that, pleez.
posted by fungible at 7:07 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's important that people know how individual and discerning and savoir-faire-tech you are by your totally better-than-the-iPhone-but-begrudgingly-not-quite-in-these-crucial-categories is.
posted by oxford blue at 7:18 PM on June 9, 2008


AT&T hands over your life to the government without even being asked, let alone subpoenaed

Don't believe me? Ask the Electronic Frontier Foundation

This is one Apple product I will not buy until it is unlocked to work with other carriers, because I will not do business with AT&T

I strongly urge any of you who care about the abuse of state power by the Bush administration to join me in this, shiny iPhone or not
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:19 PM on June 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


My Iphone is quite handy when my Ipod's battery dies.

Really, it's a toy. A fun toy that was marketed well. I like that it's a toy, and hate that I was successfully marketed to. It's just really hard to be iconoclastic about everything, even if you are a unique snowflake.
posted by Arquimedez Pozo at 7:26 PM on June 9, 2008


I would pay more for a 48Gb iPhone with a 4MP camera. No option for that, though.

Yes and I would like a SUV that gets 40 MPG and does 0-60 in 8 seconds. Eventually you will indeed get it all but not today for $200. Keep dreaming of that shining city upon a hill though.

Since you decided to change my point, let me clarify: I would pay DOUBLE for a 32Gb iPhone. Tell me how 32Gb of storage would cost more than two 16Gb iPhones?
posted by rokusan at 7:29 PM on June 9, 2008


I'm not getting an iPhone until they (finally) ditch OS X and install GLaDOS. I could imagine it threatening to kill me.

Oxfordblue, thanks for giving me my first iPhone programming project. Where should I send your royalties? :)
posted by rokusan at 7:31 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


It isn't snarking fungible. It's comparison.
posted by sien at 7:36 PM on June 9, 2008


Of what use is having every song you own? What percentage of music would you listen to regularly? I imagine most people listen to 20% of their music collection 80% of the time. Diminishing returns and all that.

I can't listen to even 1% of my music collection in a day. But the point is at the beginning of the day I don't have to choose what .5% or less I'm going to listen to that day. I can have it all and choose what I want to listen to from the full set on the fly. I LOVE that ability.
posted by MrBobaFett at 7:37 PM on June 9, 2008


And without having to deal with the one computer lock of itunes

? iTunes has a 5 computer lock
posted by tachikaze at 7:38 PM on June 9, 2008


Tell me how 32Gb of storage would cost more than two 16Gb iPhones?

OK. The iPhone probably has one or two chips that are the solid-state memory. Chances are the 16Gb version uses the highest density memory available today. (the 8Gb model uses either one less chip or a lower density part) Therefore to make a 32Gb iPhone they'd have to create a physically different board which would throw everything out of whack and probably isn't possible in the existing case. Ergo the addition of a $5 memory chip requires several million dollars of redesign work and a separate assembly line.

Anyway, the iPhone is a consumer device and as such is only going to be available in limited configurations regardless of whatever is technologically possible.
posted by GuyZero at 7:51 PM on June 9, 2008


Therefore to make a 32Gb iPhone they'd have to create a physically different board which would throw everything out of whack and probably isn't possible in the existing case.

except there's a 32gb ipod touch, which blows this theory totally out of the water.
posted by Hat Maui at 7:54 PM on June 9, 2008


Would any mobile device give you the ability to hold all your library? The biggest iPod is only 160GB so even if my calculations* are anywhere near right it's still going to be far too small to hold your collection.

(*I assume roughly 1.5 GB = day of music (based on the fact that the rolling stone's top 500 is 1.2 days listening at 1.75GB). So, assume 1% of your collection is around 2-3GB, therefore your collection is around 200-300GB, give or take a few hundred GB? NOTA BENE: I'm very bad at maths.)
posted by oxford blue at 7:56 PM on June 9, 2008


GuyZero, please stop telling us what is possible or impossible in a product you clearly know nothing about, all right? When your explanation of models includes "probably" and "chances are", you're clearly way out of your element and not helping with stuff about "assembly lines" and "millions of dollars of redesign work" that you're pulling right out of your... um, hat.

As Hat Maui pointed out, a 32Gb iPhone would be an easy decision for Apple, and it's probably inevitable, since the iPhone models mirror the iPod Touch models... which already come in 32Gb versions. For people carrying iPods bigger than 16Gb today (and that's a lot of people), this is a significant point.
posted by rokusan at 8:10 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


And without having to deal with the one computer lock of itunes
iTunes has a 5 computer lock...

Which you can redefine at any time by removing/replacing any of the five. It's reasonable and flexible enough for all but the very most exotic requirements.
posted by rokusan at 8:11 PM on June 9, 2008


Would any mobile device give you the ability to hold all your library?

I agree that's not necessary. I checked and I have 17.5Gb of music on my iPod (a 40Gb 5.5G) right now, along with three 4Gb OSX disk images (my work in progress) and last night's episodes of a couple TV shows I may watch on the subway.

I have an (original) iPhone, too, which "smartly" contains the songs from the other iPod that I like the most, updated automatically when docked. But still, I hate carrying both.
posted by rokusan at 8:14 PM on June 9, 2008


except there's a 32gb ipod touch, which blows this theory totally out of the water.
The iPod Touch also doesn't have a cellular radio, antenna, or a gps antenna. Those probably take up some significant space in a pretty small shell.

I imagine, though, that Apple could probably cram 32GB into the iPhone body...but I don't know if they could do that today and meet the $199 (subsidised) price point. I'm sure we'll see just that in a year or so. I'd bet that Apple decided to go for market share this round (by lowering the price) and going for the "low-hanging fruit" of 3G, GPS, and "enterprise" features first.

Flash memory will get cheaper and soon we'll all have phones with 32GB just lying around in a sock drawer.

mmmm. socks.
posted by device55 at 8:14 PM on June 9, 2008


I clearly have too many parentheticals lying about.
posted by device55 at 8:15 PM on June 9, 2008


re: "what happens with the old TV bandwidth that will be coming online with open access rules"

If white spaces fail, "we don't have that many chances left"

android looks pretty cool btw...

oh and re: wimax/clearwire/etc. cf. ubuntu mobile & nokia/trolltech
posted by kliuless at 8:15 PM on June 9, 2008


Anyone know what the difference between the $30 unlimited data plan and the $45 business user unlimited data plan is?
posted by yeoz at 8:17 PM on June 9, 2008


Businesses are suckers.
posted by smackfu at 8:20 PM on June 9, 2008


no, seriously. is there any difference? like the exchange push stuff?
posted by yeoz at 8:21 PM on June 9, 2008


Anyone know what the difference between the $30 unlimited data plan and the $45 business user unlimited data plan is?

From what I've been told, the only difference is that you pay $30 if you're a consumer, but $45 if you're a business customer, and that's the only difference, and has nothing to do with whether you will be able to access your company's Exchange server with the 2.0 upgrade.
posted by gyc at 8:22 PM on June 9, 2008


thanks gyc
posted by yeoz at 8:24 PM on June 9, 2008


oxford blue: "Would any mobile device give you the ability to hold all your library?"

That's why you use 3G service to access your movies and tunes remotely. You can roll your own or use something like SlingBox or Orb. I've been enjoying access to 3TB of online media over Sprint's network for a year now.
posted by meehawl at 8:37 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well that's impressive. Perhaps what we say today with the mobile me stuff Apple is making the first step towards such a content system. It's going to be interesting to see how it pans out.

The iPod Touch also doesn't have a cellular radio, antenna, or a gps antenna. Those probably take up some significant space in a pretty small shell.

I don't imagine there is a physical difference between a 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB flash memory 'card' (i.e. ram modules, cf cards, sd cards etc are all the same respective size no matter what their capacity.) I could be wrong, of course and the 32GB could break the trend and actually be bigger, but I don't think that's the case. Perhaps the expense, or limited supply makes it unfeasible for Apple to offer it? Or it could be planned for next year, or whenever iPhone sales need a little boost.
posted by oxford blue at 8:48 PM on June 9, 2008


So far, I haven't seen one thing that the iPhone can do that my own phone (a Samsung SCH-i760) can't. However, I have to admit that the way the iPhone does some of these things is far better or slicker than my own phone. On the other hand, there are a lot of things that the iPhone can't do at all, that my phone can do easily. My GPS can announce directions using the voice of John Cleese.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:56 PM on June 9, 2008


I don't imagine there is a physical difference between a 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB flash memory 'card'

Why not? Why do you assume that the storage system in the iPod Touch is the same physical size as that in the iPhone?

To put this another way, the maximum current capacity for a MicroSD card is 8 GB. If you have enough physical space in a device to hold a MicroSD card, but no other card, it doesn't really matter that CompactFlash is available in sizes up to 32GB.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:00 PM on June 9, 2008


me & my monkey: "the maximum current capacity for a MicroSD card is 8 GB. If you have enough physical space in a device to hold a MicroSD card, but no other card, it doesn't really matter that CompactFlash is available in sizes up to 32GB."

The largest MicroSD card is currently 12 GB, and the 16 GB is out this July. Anyone who's seen the size of the MicroSD cards knows how ridiculously small 12 GB (or now 16 GB) can be made. If Apple wanted to "fit" 32 GB in its phone then it could - it's not a physical constraint but a margin constraint.

Anyway, time to update the 8 GB card in my phone. I quite like Apple's new phone, but Apple's endless avoidance of adding a memory card slot just irks me too much. I'm quite a fan of making old tech work for me way past its due date. I have a 2002-era MP3 player that originally shipped with 128MB now happily playing back 4 GB cards on Rockbox thanks to wildly expanding memory options. The idea that I could spend so much money to buy some otherwise nifty electronics that had been hobbled so as to block off memory card expansion is so... wasteful.
posted by meehawl at 9:19 PM on June 9, 2008


I think from a stand point of efficiencies of scale and simplified logistics it would make sense for both units to use the same sort of memory. The memory units here and here do seem to look, at least to my eye, similar, despite being from different manufactures. However it appears they simply stick another flash unit in, as opposed to using another higher capacity chip. If that is the case then Apple may indeed be limited by physical space constraints. I'd love to find out for sure however.
posted by oxford blue at 9:24 PM on June 9, 2008


When your explanation of models includes "probably" and "chances are", you're clearly way out of your element

Sheesh, you must have been a lot of fun in biology class. You're welcome to disagree with my theories about why there isn't a 32 Gb iPhone. Circuit board area constraints are one possibility. Limited appeal of a device at a higher price point is another. Lack of available supplies of memory chips of the necessary density to meet their manufacturing volume requirements is another possibility. I am, however, nowhere near out of my element.

Flash memory will get cheaper and soon we'll all have phones with 32GB just lying around in a sock drawer.

Well, denser, but denser == cheaper, so yeah, cheaper.
posted by GuyZero at 9:27 PM on June 9, 2008


Denser == cheaper or denser =/= cheaper or denser ≠ cheaper?
posted by oxford blue at 9:31 PM on June 9, 2008


Denser is the same as cheaper for integrated circuits. It costs Samsung (or whatever flash memory manufacturer) roughly the same amount of money to process a single wafer regardless of how many final chips they get out of it. Additionally, as individual chips get smaller the defect rate goes down because there are a fixed # of defects per wafer and the number of chips you get out of a wafer goes up, leading to a more efficient process and less wastage. While there's a lot of capital cost involved in developing higher resolution processes this doesn't impact the operation cost of producing chips. IC lithography is one of the few areas in engineering where you get better & cheaper at the same time.
posted by GuyZero at 9:46 PM on June 9, 2008


I like how mobile phones allow you to txt or call people when outside the home or office.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:55 PM on June 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


You people who think Apple is competing by having an equivalent or larger list of features are so adorable.

"I thought the iPhone was doing as much or more of this list of things my phone does!" No, really. It's cute.

Have you learned nothing from the iPod? From their hilariously successful last 3-4 years of computer sales?

Really?

Come on. That's not how they've rolled in, like, a decade.
posted by sparkletone at 10:29 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dude, so much Money and Energy wasted over crap.
posted by zouhair at 10:47 PM on June 9, 2008


Because happiness is objective right?
posted by oxford blue at 11:15 PM on June 9, 2008


I know, I know...I'm an idiot. But...

I read these discussions and think, Yeah, it would be wonderful to just grab my GPS-enabled, 10 megapixeled, MicroSD-slotted, usable on any carrier, loadable with any OS I care to roll with unobtanium-cased, no contract required open-source mobile phone.

And I can't wait for the day when a phone containing all of these features is available. (Actually, I can. I'm worried that it will end up being something like this.) I'm glad that there are folks out there who are so keenly forward-thinking as to notice what's missing and who are also strong/smart enough to hold out until they get almost exactly what they want.

But you know what? All things considered, from what I can tell, the new iPhone may very well do just enough of what I actually need for now. Yes, it runs whatever Steve says it should run, nothing more. But. I. Don't. Care. (Okay; I don't care enough.) What it does (or will, pre-iPhone 3.0) run is, by and large, more elegant than anything else out there. Would it be cool to roll my own application, however I wanted to? Probably...if I actually cared about rolling my own. Nothing against those who do, but there are a lot of people who just want the damn thing to work.

I don't need to take all of my music with me when I travel. (Shouldn't I be enjoying things where I am, rather than bringing my house with me?) I don't need for my phone to be a Swiss Army Knife when it comes to video or photographs. (I've just gotten competent at using my 8 megapixel point and shoot.) I don't need the option of being able to do everything.

I do like the fact that the iPhone will help keep me from being lost from time to time. Unless you're holding stock in Garmin, you'll probably agree.

I dunno; I just wonder if...maybe we're getting a little spoiled, here. Just because we potentially can carry everything (my entire music collection! The ability to watch the all of the movies I could order via Netflix and watch at home, but on a device that fits in the palm of my hand!) and do anything (take studio quality video or photographs that would make the guy carrying his Leica everywhere cringe with jealousy!) in one package doesn't necessarily mean we should.

(Which doesn't mean that there isn't a market out there for The Perfect All In One, either. I'm just sayin'.)

This sort of argument seems to take place whenever there's a new release of anything. (Hasn't the recent series of discussions about Ultra-Mobile PCs been something like this? "It's the right size, but it's not fast enough!" "When are they going to make it so that it runs Ubuntu, but also handles this OS X application I like, runs full-screen video without a glitch, and basically does everything my dual-monitor desktop configuration does but in a smaller form factor and for no more than, say, $500?")


Maybe it's just me, but I guess I like not having every option--and at the same time, having my limited options delivered in an elegant fashion.

End of rant, if this was one.
posted by t2urner at 11:21 PM on June 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


i, too, was disappointed that there was no 32GB iphone.

i'm sure it will come in time. when the iPhone 1 came out a friend of mine speculated that perhaps apple was using single level flash chips due to reliability concerns with multi-level flash. that could account for the smaller-than-you-might-have-thought capacities of the iPhone.

as others have pointed out the iPod touch has more room on its circuit board for more memory, given that it doesnt need all the phone hardware.

i know the guy that was responsible for the iPod touch hardware. i could ask him but then he'd probably have to kill me.
posted by joeblough at 11:36 PM on June 9, 2008


souhair: not crap. iCrap.
posted by sien at 11:42 PM on June 9, 2008


Yeah, it would be wonderful to just grab my GPS-enabled, 10 megapixeled, MicroSD-slotted, usable on any carrier, loadable with any OS I care to roll with unobtanium-cased, no contract required open-source mobile phone.

I also wish I could just grab a Turing-equivalent device to which it was practical to attach or run any, including self-made, peripherals and software, and which I could connect to arbitrary digital networks supporting sundry standardized protocols regardless of ownership.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:53 PM on June 9, 2008 [4 favorites]


the diamond age! (ends horribly ;)
posted by kliuless at 2:13 AM on June 10, 2008


Does it still need itunes? If it does, they lost a sale. Needing itunes to activate a phone is realplayer levels of customer disrespect.
posted by davemee at 4:42 AM on June 10, 2008


The iPhone from its inception has had a very clear purpose: be an excellent convergence device.

Why is it any different than Pocket PCs which have been around for almost a decade? Most WindowsCE devices have built-in cameras, play MP3s, sport mobile browsers, WiFi, often BlueTooth, GPS, etc. Why is the iPhone an excellent convergence device, while the hundreds of Palm-like devices that have come before are just false pretenders?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:52 AM on June 10, 2008


I seriously doubt that Apple wouldn't have designed the iPhone circuit board not to be able to take flash chips of different sizes. It may be that there are no 32 gb modules available right now that will fit, but if you think that the phone was designed with a 16 gb hard limit you're crazy. Obviously there is going to be a 32+ gb version at some point in the future.
posted by delmoi at 4:54 AM on June 10, 2008


I've never really understood the American problem with mobile/cell phones. In the UK I've been using text messaging for about 13 years and mobile internet for about five. Right now I've got a crappy old Samsung D500 phone which, while only GPRS, happily pulls down wiki pages and lets me check out google maps, even giving me a pretty good estimate of my current location.

The company I work for has been building web content for mobiles for something like ten years, starting with WAP and now with multiple content streams for different ability machines, invisibly switched behind the scenes.

You don't need a smart phone for this, you certainly don't need an iPhone.

Mobile internet just doesn't turn on UK customers as much as it does American ones - the people who actually care about mobile internet have been doing it for years. They ones who don't care, don't care.
posted by twine42 at 5:19 AM on June 10, 2008


Does it still need itunes?

No, they're activated at the store, by a clerk.

Needing itunes to activate a phone is realplayer levels of customer disrespect.

Sometimes, people take these things personally.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:33 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


The problem with the iPhone's GPS is that it uses cell tower triangulation rather than satellite, so in more rural areas you can expect your deviation to be up to a few miles off. I haven't tried mine in cities, but I hear it works much better. This new iPhone, if you read the fine print, uses the same form of triangulation (which is why I'd always opt to have a traditional GPS on standby for when serious traveling is needed).
posted by samsara at 5:34 AM on June 10, 2008


Brandon: Thanks for that.

Yes. Sometimes these things are to be taken personally, by each and every one of us.
posted by davemee at 5:59 AM on June 10, 2008


Why hasn't anyone else been able to implement a reasonable mobile browser yet? I tried the Blackberry Curve this weekend, thinking "maybe this will be the one..." Nope; it's not. I seems like such a basic thing, but only the iPhone has been able to manage it so far.
While the built-in browser on most phones is crap, Opera has developed a mobile browser that works on almost any phone and works really, really well.
posted by JDHarper at 6:14 AM on June 10, 2008


This new iPhone, if you read the fine print, uses the same form of triangulation (which is why I'd always opt to have a traditional GPS on standby for when serious traveling is needed).

Well. Sort of.

The 3G iPhone will be able to do cell tower/wifi hot spot triangulation as a fall back when it can't do for realz GPS. However, the new phone has a for realz GPS receiver in it, satellites and everything. So if you're somewhere you can get decent satellite reception, you should be just fine.
posted by sparkletone at 6:46 AM on June 10, 2008


Why is it any different than Pocket PCs which have been around for almost a decade? Most WindowsCE devices have built-in cameras, play MP3s, sport mobile browsers, WiFi, often BlueTooth, GPS, etc.

I hate to be condescending*, but wow, some people never learn.

* Okay, not really.
posted by aqhong at 6:49 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


sparkletone: "You people who think Apple is competing by having an equivalent or larger list of features are so adorable. "I thought the iPhone was doing as much or more of this list of things my phone does!" No, really. It's cute. Have you learned nothing from the iPod? From their hilariously successful last 3-4 years of computer sales?"

The Walled Pretty Garden strategy does provide a comfortable velvet lock-in that secures a market for a long time. But I have trouble seeing how it can last forever. Just like an overly protected trading empire or a monopoly, it stifles internal innovation and eventually begins to look sick and so last decade compared to hungry innovators from outside. Just ask EdoJapan. Or AOL.
posted by meehawl at 6:57 AM on June 10, 2008


While I admit that the iPhone's interface is slicker in the web browser department, at least, I've been using phones that have all the capability of the original iPhone, sans touch screen, for at least 3 years now. (And two of them have been using a WebKit based browser ;))

As far as the iPhone 2.0, I'm going to buy a Nokia E71 instead. AT&T is rumored to be getting it at some point, so if I can hold off, I should have it for $200 to $300. Everything the iPhone is, but more open and a real keyboard. No visual voicemail, but I never check my voicemail anyway.

And as far as navigation is concerned, Google Maps is not a substitute for a real GPS and software loaded on a memory card. There are places where there is no GSM service here in the US. I was in one yesterday. No maps for half an hour. Luckily I had a paper map (oh, the horror!) and Garmin Mobile XT loaded up on my slow-ass E62.
posted by wierdo at 7:02 AM on June 10, 2008


The Walled Pretty Garden strategy does provide a comfortable velvet lock-in that secures a market for a long time. But I have trouble seeing how it can last forever. Just like an overly protected trading empire or a monopoly, it stifles internal innovation and eventually begins to look sick and so last decade compared to hungry innovators from outside. Just ask EdoJapan. Or AOL.

This is an entirely valid point, and something I'm kind of glossing over in the earlier comment.

It's just that I'm surprised that after all these years people still pull the, "But my $FOO does $X, $Y and $Z!" as if Apple cares about feature checklists. Their behavior has time and again shown that that's not how they roll. Just because it's a checklist of phone features now rather than a checklist of MP3 player features doesn't matter.

The Apple Fan line here would be to point out that unlike, say, AOL or (my history is weak in that area) Edo-era Japan... Apple doesn't wait around for someone with newer, better whatever to come along and eat their lunch. They eat their own lunch. Cf: Replacing the iPod mini (at the time the most successful iPod ever made) with the nano for no other reason than that they thought they could do even better.

I'm not saying that that will keep them going forever. But they've done a pretty remarkable job of not resting on their shiny, white plastic laurels. I don't really see that changing until Jobs retires/dies/whatever. When that happens things will get Interesting.
posted by sparkletone at 7:10 AM on June 10, 2008


I've never really understood the American problem with mobile/cell phones.

The "American problem"?? Most people don't have smart phones. Most people just use text messaging, especially teens. The stuff about iPhones is just blown out of proportion on the web because Apple is the messiah here. In the real world, there's no "American problem" with cell phones.
posted by smackfu at 7:14 AM on June 10, 2008


And as far as navigation is concerned, Google Maps is not a substitute for a real GPS and software loaded on a memory card. There are places where there is no GSM service here in the US. I was in one yesterday. No maps for half an hour. Luckily I had a paper map (oh, the horror!) and Garmin Mobile XT loaded up on my slow-ass E62.

TomTom already has their shit working on the iPhone, on top of the Google Maps app. So I think really it's a question of how big the maps are, and whether they're stored on the phone or pulled over the network.
posted by sparkletone at 7:15 AM on June 10, 2008


Psst! Guys, the reason there are only 16 Gb iphones is that they want you to buy the 32 Gb one in 6 months, after you buy this one now, so that you will have bought 3 iphones in the past 12-15 months.
posted by shmegegge at 7:52 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's just that I'm surprised that after all these years people still pull the, "But my $FOO does $X, $Y and $Z!" as if Apple cares about feature checklists. Their behavior has time and again shown that that's not how they roll. Just because it's a checklist of phone features now rather than a checklist of MP3 player features doesn't matter.

100% correct. Apple has played the status symbol game to a tee.
posted by ozomatli at 8:30 AM on June 10, 2008


Wake me up when it can do something this cool.
posted by $0up at 8:36 AM on June 10, 2008


Those of you dismissing my comments above about the iPhone being a transformative device have, most likely, not used one extensively. It's a remarkably well-integrated product. The interface isn't ideal -- I wish they could figure out a better way to handle the keyboard that didn't block so much of the display -- but it's miles better than anything else.

Google Maps is particularly good. It feels like it was designed originally for the iPhone, rather than being a port. Say you're in some new city, and want lunch; you bring up the local map, click your cell triangulate button, which will give you a rough idea where you are, and then type in what you want.... say, "Subway", for instance. Little red pins drop down all over the map; you tap any pin for more details. You can usually call the company right from there, should it be the kind of company you need to call, by tapping on their phone number. This works for anything; bookstores, mechanics, whatever.

What the present version lacks is an auto-route to destination, largely because it has no GPS. I strongly suspect 2.0 will include that. It'd be extra cool if they used the OS X text-to-speech engine for audible instructions, but I don't know if that's planned or not.

On top of that, you've got Safari, which is the first browser I've seen on a phone that doesn't suck. I don't think any sane person would use it if a computer were available, as it's markedly inferior to a real screen and real keyboard, but it's quite usable. You can do almost anything you can with a standard browser, except Flash. Lack of Flash has never been a constraint for me, however.

I tend to think the 'local' uses aren't as compelling; if you mostly stay in one area, the instant-knowledge features will be less attractive, since you already know what you need to know. If you have a flat tire or you're hungry, you already know who to call and where to go. I use mine sometimes, locally, to look up prices, and I ordered pizza once when I forgot to do it before I left, but in general, a knowledge device in a place where you don't need knowledge isn't terribly useful. For most folks who stay local, it's just a gadgetphone, and probably not something you need. But if you spend a lot of time on the road or in other cities (American, at least), it becomes a profoundly useful device.

And yes, I realize that other companies have offered many of these features, but they did them poorly. Apple did them well.

The last time I was really enthusiastic about a device was the first GPS I bought. That was a big deal, particularly for travel. I remember saying, at the time, that GPS might be the best invention since the light bulb. Much as the light bulb did away with the dark, the GPS does away with being lost. Mobile web in general, and the iPhone in particular, add another layer to that: mobile Internet means never not knowing something. If you need information, wherever you are, it's usually possible.

Combine that with a GPS, and with just one slim device that fits comfortably in your pocket, you can't get lost and can't be ignorant. You can still be stupid, but I'm not sure any device can fix that. :)
posted by Malor at 8:48 AM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've got an AT&T Tilt (HTC TYTN II). It's already got 3G/WiFi/GPS/etc. And to top it off, it's got a sliding qwerty keyboard. In theory, I should be totally content with it.

But frankly, it's a piece of crap. Windows Mobile sucks. Video performance sucks. Opera mini runs well, but it's not the same as a full browser. It takes 30 seconds or so after I slide out the keyboard before I can start dialing a number (the alternative would be to use the touch screen and stylus).

I'm a little torn between Nokia's N-Series and the iPhone. But I really like the iPod Touch, so I think I'm going to grab a new iPhone as soon as they go on sale in July.
posted by timelord at 8:58 AM on June 10, 2008


Malor, my E62 with Garmin Mobile XT does that. It'll work much better on an E71 which has a much faster processor (and built in GPS), as my only complaint with it is the relatively slow search of the database. Of course, with the dog slow CPU on my E62, it's no wonder it's an issue. The E61 was much better, as it had a separate processor for the phone functions.

And Garmin's POI database is much better in my experience. At various times the streets are better on Google or Garmin, just depending on when Google last updated.

And again, Nokia has been using a WebKit based browser every bit as good as the one on the iPhone for a couple of years now. And yes, I've used an iPhone. The keyboard is my biggest problem. It's usable, but I can't help but make errors on it, even after typing the same thing over and over again. Hard keyboards work much better for me.
posted by wierdo at 9:16 AM on June 10, 2008


I was surprised to see a comment above expressing surprise that a nearly ten year old phone could do text messages, because I've had a mobile for nine years and even the really terrible one I had as a 16 year old did text messages. I suspect it's a UK/US (or possibly European/US) thing, but I sent more text messages than I made calls.

I had mobile internet on my phone a few years ago. It was slow, had a terrible interface and browser, and the data allowance was pitiful without paying a lot per megabyte. I've been holding off on trying it again, because there was never a combination of affordable, easy to use phone plus tariff that appealed to me. Now I can get an iPhone, which may not do anything revolutionary but does everything I want to do, with unlimited data and wifi hotspot access, for £100 + £30 a month? Since I pay £20/month already, it's probably enough to tip me over the edge.
posted by penguinliz at 9:19 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why is the iPhone an excellent convergence device, while the hundreds of Palm-like devices that have come before are just false pretenders?

Because Microsoft ActiveSync doesn't work. My dad has a Toshiba E310 ("Palm") and a smartphone from Verizon through work. Both devices each require different versions of ActiveSync which are not compatible with the other.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:07 AM on June 10, 2008


Those of you dismissing my comments above about the iPhone being a transformative device have, most likely, not used one extensively. It's a remarkably well-integrated product. The interface isn't ideal -- I wish they could figure out a better way to handle the keyboard that didn't block so much of the display -- but it's miles better than anything else.

I'm dismissing your comments, and I've used one extensively enough. I'm much happier with a good hardware keyboard. I've had 3G for the last five years or so, with much better coverage than AT&T's HSDPA. I've got a fine mobile browser (Opera). I've got Google Maps, doing all the stuff you listed. I've got GPS, with autoroute, voice navigation, etc, etc. It can easily be used one-handed for basic functionality. It works great as a phone.

Admittedly, it's not as slick as an iPhone in many respects. But it works better in many respects. I don't see the iPhone as a transformative device, although the marketing and positioning of the iPhone may be transformative.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:07 AM on June 10, 2008


Person A: That's totally cool!

Person B: That's not cool, I've been doing that for 10 years!

Person A: But if you were doing it 10 years ago, how come I'm only hearing about it now.

Person B: Because you're not cool.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:27 AM on June 10, 2008


Because Microsoft ActiveSync doesn't work. My dad has a Toshiba E310 ("Palm") and a smartphone from Verizon through work. Both devices each require different versions of ActiveSync which are not compatible with the other.

And how do I know this? I had to work six hours to find different versions of ActiveSync located all over Microsoft's web site, only to find that they don't interoperate. My dad has switched over to the phone because the new ActiveSync won't let him sync the E310 any longer.

I don't know how Nokia/Symbian users manage it, but for PocketPC users, at least, I have first-hand experience that Microsoft's portable products are shit.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:33 AM on June 10, 2008


Because Microsoft ActiveSync doesn't work. My dad has a Toshiba E310 ("Palm") and a smartphone from Verizon through work. Both devices each require different versions of ActiveSync which are not compatible with the other.

If apple's isync worked with windows mobile I would be a phenomenally happy camper. isync is the greatest synching tool ever. Much as I've managed with MissingSync on my macbook, it still doesn't compare to back when I had a Razor and isync would just work with absolutely no fuss. Activesync works in that I have no issues synching my wimo phone on my pc at all, but it certainly doesn't have the universal functionality and ease of use that isync has.
posted by shmegegge at 10:34 AM on June 10, 2008


along those lines, I remember something somebody said on Al Sharpton's talk show once (Sharp Talk with Al Sharpton. It took place in a barbershop in Harlem.) about how Black Business owners had to realize that they weren't do themselves any favors by ignoring potential customers in favor of courting a black customer base. His argument was essentially that they should get every customer they can, because white businesses certainly weren't turning away black customers and there's no reason to cut off a potential source of income.

Microsoft, to compare, is doing precisely that. They practically drive apple customers away in droves, refusing to support their devices on apple machines or apple devices on windows machines. Meanwhile, my ipod works just fine and dandy on my pc and my macbook will sync with virtually anything... except windows mobile.

Whatever the cause, it's certainly a lot easier to use an apple device on any machine I choose.

also, MS, where's my bluetooth xbox360/smartphone support?! I was promised that my smartphone would be the universal remote for my whole apartment you bastards!
posted by shmegegge at 10:43 AM on June 10, 2008


they weren't do themselves any favors by ignoring potential white customers...
posted by shmegegge at 10:45 AM on June 10, 2008


Why is it any different than Pocket PCs which have been around for almost a decade?

I bought a PPC6700 two+ years ago, and it sucked.

For one, the screen was coated with a condom-like material. To actually interact with it required locating the stylus (which was hopefully locked in its holder and not buried in my desktop mess or underfoot, or left back at the office), then navigating its truly horrific Windows 3.0-era design aesthetics.

Oh its screen, while the same 160 DPI density as the iPhone, is QVGA, 50% the size of the iPhone. Being twice the size means the UI is twice as large and twice, or more, easier to use.

Music playback and management sucked, the video player sucked, the integration with the dialer sucked, everything sucked.

Except I did find Microsoft's C# and toolchain to be significantly superior to Apple's ObjC 2.0 / xcode,

Anyhoo, it was so shoddily "integrated" I was glad to pay the $200 early termination fee to get out of the mistake I had made in buying the damn thing.
posted by tachikaze at 11:27 AM on June 10, 2008


@delmoi yes, you are right. all i was saying is that there's room on the iPod Touch motherboard for more flash chips than on the iPhone motherboard. so for a given generation of flash, the touch will be able to have more memory than the iPhone.

when the next density of flash is available, there will be a 32GB iphone. i wouldnt be surprised if the iPhone could handle 128GB of flash in its current incarnation.
posted by joeblough at 11:31 AM on June 10, 2008


I don't see the iPhone as a transformative device

It is if you didn't own one before.

I am not, by the way, comparing or contrasting with other smartphones. I haven't used those. I have used an iPhone, and if you're a traveler, it's the best thing ever. It also has a nice form factor.

But, yeah, AT&T coverage is weak in some places. It works wonderfully all through the South, but when I visited Las Vegas, it failed a very great deal of the time. It was unusably bad in that city.
posted by Malor at 11:55 AM on June 10, 2008


It is if you didn't own one before.

I am not, by the way, comparing or contrasting with other smartphones. I haven't used those. I have used an iPhone, and if you're a traveler, it's the best thing ever. It also has a nice form factor.


If you start with nothing, anything is an improvement, I agree. But that's a useless comparison. I've used an iPhone - my office is infested with them - and I've used other smartphones, and there just isn't that much difference beyond fit & finish issues.

I bought a PPC6700 two+ years ago, and it sucked.

Yes, it did. But there are plenty of other WM phones, and some of them are much, MUCH better. I hardly ever need the stylus for mine, because of the buttons it has.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:16 PM on June 10, 2008


and there just isn't that much difference beyond fit & finish issues.

Fit and finish make the product.
posted by Malor at 12:19 PM on June 10, 2008


What the present version lacks is an auto-route to destination, largely because it has no GPS.

The current one can get a route (and then present step-by-step instructions, though you have to click Next between each one; it doesn't automatically switch to the next one when it's time) between any two points, including one of those points being Current Location which is cell/WiFi triangulated.
posted by BaxterG4 at 12:25 PM on June 10, 2008


Not all the MS mobile products are crap. I was surrprised to find the MS Live Search and Maps function superior to Google Maps running on native devices. The search heuristics seem better for local and location based searches and the scrolling and map display zooming is actually pretty cool. The MS product is closer to a full featured personalisable GPS manager than the rather barebones Google Maps. Plus it has voice control and recognition.
posted by meehawl at 1:07 PM on June 10, 2008


I was surrprised to find the MS Live Search and Maps function superior to Google Maps running on native devices.

Me, too. I actually refused to use Live Search for a while because I thought it was a fluke the one time I tried it. Then I noticed that live search has far less trouble acquiring a gps signal (the moto q9h, unfortunately, is notorious for its poor gps strength) than google maps and had much better integration of features like finding a movie or using an online phone directory. Honestly, I was hooked when I looked up a movie in Live Search, called the theater in the list which suited me best to inquire about ticket availability and got gps directions to the theater all within one app. I'm still not used to thinking about a microsoft product as being that simple and useful.
posted by shmegegge at 1:21 PM on June 10, 2008


Fit and finish make the product.

This is the kind of thing apple people insist on all the time, and while it's true it's also a cop out defense of a comment earlier in the thread which is not about the fit and finish but the functionality. Your original comment might have been better stated as "It's a pretty device" instead of paragraphs about it being the ultimate traveler's companion.
posted by shmegegge at 1:24 PM on June 10, 2008


Fit and finish make the product.

Yes, that's why I will only drive a Rolls-Royce. Some are willing to settle for a Bentley, or even, heaven forbid, a Lexus.

Oh, wait, that's a bunch of crap.

You said yourself that you hadn't used any other smartphones. How can you so easily dismiss them, then?
posted by me & my monkey at 1:47 PM on June 10, 2008


No, it would have been very stupid to say, "It's a pretty device", because there's a lot more to it than that. It's an extremely good traveler's tool, so that's what I said. Is it the only one ever? Obviously not, since you're defending whatever it is you have a hardon for. But, taken purely on its own merits, it's a fantastic product. It does what it's supposed to do, with elegance. Nothing about it is crufty.

Given two products with similar feature sets, it's the fit and finish that make it happen and work for most people. Most software really sucks; you know it, and I know it. The iPhone has very little that sucks. It packs in a bunch of great thinking about how to adapt the web into a tiny form factor. The instant flip between portrait and landscape as you rotate the phone is a great example. It looks like a gimmick, but it's not. It makes web pages readable that otherwise wouldn't be.

Add a GPS and drop the price, and you have an excellent product for the large majority of the traveling population that doesn't need an ssh client. (despite the loud commentary from the techie crowd, this is not a universally-desired feature.) And, with the new dev kits, maybe we'll get ssh clients too, without having to resort to hackery.

Can you do the same stuff with other products? Probably. Can you do it with the same ease of use and comfort? Probably not.
posted by Malor at 1:58 PM on June 10, 2008


Jimbob: "... I can't remember the last time I was driving and didn't know where I was. Sometimes, sure, I might not know the route to somewhere else, which is why my road atlas is such a useful $25 piece of technology, but not knowing where I am? I honestly can't say it's ever been a problem."
Yeah, but that's because you live in Darwin, where you can see all sides of the city from any given point ;-)

I suspect that I'm like a lot of people on this - I just want one because they are cool and that's that. I would/will hate to have to choose which part of my music collection to carry with me, but I already have to do that, so no biggie. I would love, though, to not have to carry a phone and my iPod.
posted by dg at 2:22 PM on June 10, 2008


Is it the only one ever? Obviously not, since you're defending whatever it is you have a hardon for.

Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's pants, but considerest not the boner that is in thine own pants?

Can you do the same stuff with other products? Probably. Can you do it with the same ease of use and comfort? Probably not.

That's the part of this that bugs me. I can, in fact, do almost everything listed in this thread with the same or better ease of use and comfort. There are some things the iPhone does better, some that it does worse. All in all, I find my current phone more useful than the iPhone. Not because I can use it for ssh or RDP or VNC (which I can) or because I can use it as a wifi router (which I can) or an IR remote control - I admit those aren't common uses. I know this, because I've used both. I've worked with a dozen smartphones in the last few years, including the iPhone. You, on the other hand, haven't. Yet you act like this thing is the second coming; a "transformational" event.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:20 PM on June 10, 2008


Yeah, but that's because you live in Darwin, where you can see all sides of the city from any given point ;-)

Actually I've just moved to Hobart. I imagine your comment still applies...
posted by Jimbob at 3:31 PM on June 10, 2008


Well, it's lucky I didn't get time to try and get in touch with you when I was in Darwin a couple of weeks ago, then, isn't it?
posted by dg at 3:44 PM on June 10, 2008


Civil_Disobedient: "Why is it any different than Pocket PCs which have been around for almost a decade? Most WindowsCE devices have built-in cameras, play MP3s, sport mobile browsers, WiFi, often BlueTooth, GPS, etc. Why is the iPhone an excellent convergence device, while the hundreds of Palm-like devices that have come before are just false pretenders?"

I think excellent is the key word there. I've never wanted anything from a mobile phone other than to work well as a phone. I held on to my Nokia 8265 waaaay past it's prime because of this. When it finally bought the farm, I tried several other phones, just looking for a simple small phone that worked well. It was amazing how difficult that was. Everything had become so packed with features, that they hardly worked well as a phone anymore. Even the simplest Nokia still had the bloated operating system needed for the more advanced phones, so it was slow as molasses.

So I gave up on simple and tried a convergence device. An AT&T 8525 (HTC TyTn) running windows mobile. I chose it specifically because it had a full keyboard, expandable memory, and Windows. It turned out it was pretty cool having web access and a camera and everything with me all the time.

But it was frustrating. The interface isn't that easy to use. It would silently choose to go into flight mode, so I would miss calls. Occasionally it would freeze up completely. Active Sync is awful. The browser was awful. It was like having Windows 95 in your pocket. But all in all, I thought it was decent enough, and pretty much got the job done.

Then the iPhone came out. I played with a couple of friends' iPhones, and thought they were all right, but way too expensive to be worth the bit of polish. Then someone bought me one. I'm no Apple fanboy, and actually don't like the Mac desktop at all, but once I started using the iPhone on a daily basis, I was blown away. It does everything it supposed to do, elegantly and near flawlessly. It's a good phone, and a good mp3 player, and a good web browser, and a good organizer. It's not that it's the first convergence device out there, and it's not just that it's pretty. It's the first time someone actually got it right. People are celebrating its excellence, not its feature set. Sure, for a lot of people this is the first time they've used some of these features, so they're excited about that. But it's probably the whole package the iPhone brings that made these features seem so revolutionary to them.
posted by team lowkey at 3:51 PM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's the first time someone actually got it right. People are celebrating its excellence, not its feature set.

Believe it or not, you can count me among their ranks. While I'm not sold on the touch interface (versus plain-jane, tactile-response buttons), what blew me away when I saw my co-worker's iPhone was the way that it flowed. You can tell just by using it for a few seconds that someone, or a group of someones, spent a lot of time tweaking the delays, transitions, the highlighting of active regions, the screens, the fonts... the experience, as it were.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:17 PM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yet you act like this thing is the second coming; a "transformational" event.

The mobile market has been fragmented like the 808X market was in the 1970s, with no platform provider to find the winning formula to gain platform lock.

After Apple sells 100 million of these things, it may just be the next MS-DOS or Windows 95 of the handheld space, like it is with already in the PMP space.
posted by tachikaze at 4:30 PM on June 10, 2008


team lowkey: "An AT&T 8525 (HTC TyTn) running windows mobile. I chose it specifically because it had a full keyboard, expandable memory, and Windows. It turned out it was pretty cool having web access and a camera and everything with me all the time.

But it was frustrating. The interface isn't that easy to use. It would silently choose to go into flight mode, so I would miss calls. Occasionally it would freeze up completely. Active Sync is awful. The browser was awful. It was like having Windows 95 in your pocket.
"

I'd just like to say that I have a HTC Titan, the CDMA version of this phone and I don't really have problems like these. Occasionally, if I've left the phone on for a few days up to a week, through multiple startups from suspend mode, the built-in GPS will not initialise. That takes a reset to activate. And I rarely use the Pocket IE browser but went straight for Opera. And in fact, I realise I spend most of my web time on the phone reading via RSS so I tend to avoid browsing mostly (too many ads). Maybe when there's a pocket browser with AdBlock Plus...

The one thing the Tytn/Titan needs is more RAM. You can run two, maybe three major applications in RAM, but beyond that it starts getting squeezed, so you have to quit an app to start another. The phone only has 48 MB of RAM, and WM takes up nearly half of that for itself. It's baffling to me how a simple embedded OS needs 22 MB of RAM.
posted by meehawl at 4:30 PM on June 10, 2008


How can you so easily dismiss them, then

None of them look sexy. Trite? Maybe, but I've had enough dealings with cellphones to they're crappily made and designed. I'm really interested in slogging through so much crap when there's a perfectly good device right there, that's come down nicely in price.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:54 PM on June 10, 2008


After Apple sells 100 million of these things, it....

....will be well on the way to catching the 200 million symbian phones out there?

To put it in perspective, more symbian phones sold in the quarter ending March 2008 than iphones, blackberries and ipods combined. Nokia sold 115 million devices in that quarter alone when you step outside their symbian stuff.

That said, I'm sure the iphone will continue to sell like hell and will end up with a big chunk of the market. The app store sounds great, plenty of others have done it, both service providers and independent mobs, but apple people seem to be happy to go to apple for everything rather than wanting to be able to buy apps off independent web sites or from their provider, so you know it will get momentum.
posted by markr at 8:39 PM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mobile internet just doesn't turn on UK customers as much as it does American ones - the people who actually care about mobile internet have been doing it for years. They ones who don't care, don't care.

UK customers want even better -- they've had the mobile internet for years and are painfully aware of its limitations. They're probably even more discerning than the US ones. We don't want the mobile internet, we want the real goddamn internet.

....will be well on the way to catching the 200 million symbian phones out there?
This isn't really a fair comparison. Cocoa iPhone apps make Symbian apps look like some RealBasic shit, and that's assuming that even a small percentage of Symbian users can figure out how to install a new app.

I've seen demos from folks at WWDC this week that are mind-blowing. These apps are game changing, because they raise the ambition level of what you can do on a phone entirely. It's just a bonus that they are also well designed and installing them on the phone is about a million times easier than any other competing system.
posted by bonaldi at 9:24 PM on June 10, 2008


bonaldi: "It's just a bonus that they are also well designed and installing them on the phone is about a million times easier than any other competing system."

When I want to install an application on my Windows Mobile phone, I browse to the web page or directory with the CAB file, touch it with my finger, a requester asks me if I want to install it to main or card memory, I touch my choice, and it installs.

Please quantify "a million times easier"? Is that where the application installs via telepathy?
posted by meehawl at 10:05 PM on June 10, 2008


1. You need to know what a CAB file is
2. You need to find it
3. You need to trust it
4. You need to decide where to install it.
5. You have to update it manually.

You don't have to do any of these things on iPhone. The most marked difference is in number 2: there are a hundred and one sites out there offering software for mobile platforms, and they're nearly all grotesque, and if they're pay-for they have nasty-ass payment systems. That all just goes away with App Store, which is pretty damn close to telepathy, as far as "want thing ... have thing" goes.

It's like the difference between all those "easy to use" MP3 players and the iPod, and the arguments are coming from the same types who think that "but ClunkPlayer2000 just mounts as a disk and then I manually drag my music files to it!!" is easy.
posted by bonaldi at 10:40 PM on June 10, 2008


the arguments are coming from the same types who think that "but ClunkPlayer2000 just mounts as a disk and then I manually drag my music files to it!!" is easy.

On the other hand, apparently oppositional arguments come from the same types who think dragging music files to the Clunkplayer2000 is hard.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:46 PM on June 10, 2008


"but ClunkPlayer2000 just mounts as a disk and then I manually drag my music files to it!!" is easy.

It's piss easy. Screw your MusicMatch Jukebox clones, iTunes especially.
posted by Artw at 10:59 PM on June 10, 2008


One does not actually need to know what a CAB file is. For most people it is the temporary hover link you see in the browser bar when the cursor is over the INSTALL button. And if you want a software shop for trust then there are places like Handango. Still do not see the million factor in evidence here. Imagining that people faced a requester asking them if they want to install into a default location or a memory card will somehow become paralysed by fear and doubt stretches credulity. If such people actually had Apples phone I doubt they could use itunes without without panic and madness.
posted by meehawl at 11:47 PM on June 10, 2008


So the odd consideration/preparation for the future of this thread gave me the impulse to look at the statistics on my current music collection, and it was very serendipitous in general musical terms to find that right now, for a short time, I have 66.6 GB over 13,000 files. Thanks to that, I just threw up the horns with both hands and I'm only even listening to The Band with Neil Young so that's sort of out of place. (On the other hand, I've yet to hear the metal album that kicks as much ass as The Last Waltz.)
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:05 AM on June 11, 2008


Does this Clunkplayer2000 come with GPS, SMS, Bluetooth, a 17GooglePixel camera, an eBook copy of Yes I Can by Sammy Davis Jr & an inbuilt waffle iron?

Because if so, consider it bought!
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:32 AM on June 11, 2008


Yeah, but it doesn't have the syrup, so there's no way I'm buying it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:59 AM on June 11, 2008


If such people actually had Apples phone I doubt they could use itunes without without panic and madness.

Yeah but when Apple does panic and madness, they do it soooo sexy.
posted by rokusan at 4:55 AM on June 11, 2008


Yeah but when Apple does panic and madness, they do it soooo sexy.

I waiting on the iCoffin.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:12 AM on June 11, 2008


you'll just have to wait until there's an Apple Store in Ghana.

They already have mobile phone coffins, so it shouldn't be too long.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:28 AM on June 11, 2008


On the other hand, apparently oppositional arguments come from the same types who think dragging music files to the Clunkplayer2000 is hard.
I think it's because attitudes like this are so prevalent among tech people that other companies are having such a tough time competing with Apple. It is hard, because it operates at a lower level (requiring more knowledge) than the user would ideally work at.

Why should a user have to care about the implementation details of their player? They don't give a toss that it has a filesystem, for one thing. In most cases, what's required is "just be the same as the library on my PC", which syncing does. If the player's too small for that, you want to manage it by track, not by file. So I want an interface that allows me to add "All $genre I haven't listened to in the past month, plus all 5-star music, plus anything I've bought in the last two weeks" with one click. Having a music player instead of a disk navigator as my interface makes that simple.

Imagining that people faced a requester asking them if they want to install into a default location or a memory card will somehow become paralysed by fear and doubt stretches credulity.
Which is why I didn't imagine it. But it is an irritating question. Just like the file-based MP3 players, it is one step behind what people actually want to do. People want to organise music, not files, and they want to use applications, not manage .CAB bundles.
posted by bonaldi at 7:46 AM on June 11, 2008


Does this Clunkplayer2000 come with GPS, SMS, Bluetooth, a 17GooglePixel camera, an eBook copy of Yes I Can by Sammy Davis Jr & an inbuilt waffle iron?

I want my Clunkplayer2000 to have a USB port, a clear display, and drag and drop. Maybe a radio and a voice recorder just to round things out. Everything else is bloat.
posted by Artw at 8:15 AM on June 11, 2008


Imagining that people faced a requester asking them if they want to install into a default location or a memory card will somehow become paralysed by fear and doubt stretches credulity.

Agreed. It is not an irritating question whatsoever, but a wonderful option that is presented to you. I guess there's more than one way of looking at things but apparently if it's not the latest Apple way (they tend to have changed the way they've done things at times, particularly with their OS's) then it's somehow universally annoying and wrong.

Stretching indeed.

Just like the file-based MP3 players, it is one step behind what people actually want to do.

I and many I know love unintrusive file-based mp3 players. So when you say "people" you mean certain people. And since there are a myriad of people in the world who do not work with the same logic, and who have a variety of different preferences I'd say it's pretty difficult and indeed, preposterous to say what people want to do.

And people don't have to manage .CAB bundles. They have go manage their music much more.
posted by juiceCake at 8:15 AM on June 11, 2008


bonaldi: "People want to organise music, not files, and they want to use applications, not manage .CAB bundles."

I think we're talking at cross purposes here. You seem to be talking about tag-based music management, whereas I responded to a statement alleging that installing programs on an iphone was "a million times easier" than *any* other phone.

As far as I know, installing applications on a Windows phone never requires a need to "manage .CAB bundles". I don't need to open a CAB or split it to install an application. I gather that I could, that a CAB is just some kind of fancy ZIP format, but I don't need to. I just click on the link, the application installs. I really don't even need to track where it installs. I get an application shortcut that I can click on to run. After it's installed, I don't need to click it again, or remember where the original CAB might have been. All in all, It Just Works.

The only thing I can think of that makes launching applications even easier on a Windows phone is to use the voice recognition. That takes a little bit of config. I open the voice launch app, select an application shortcut, and record my voice command for it. Then, when I want to launch, say, Google Maps, I can just say "MAPS" and the application launches.

That's easier than touching an application shortcut. Not a million times easier, admittedly, but surely some integer multiple...
posted by meehawl at 8:21 AM on June 11, 2008


And since there are a myriad of people in the world who do not work with the same logic, and who have a variety of different preferences I'd say it's pretty difficult and indeed, preposterous to say what people want to do.
Yes and no. Of course there will be people who want to be able to pipe the bits directly to the platter and sod all this gui shit, and so on and on. And it is pretty difficult to say what people want to do, but it's not preposterous, because if you get it right, suddenly you've come from industry also-ran to 70% of the market for music players.

meehawl: if you're looking for numerical quantification of hyperbole, it's not something I could care about. Where I was coming from was a justification of installation as being vastly|a million times|incredibly|etc easier on the iPhone. Most of what you're saying is talking about the literal take .cab-use .cab, and that's roughly analogous to other folk's Have MP3-Install MP3. The difference that Apple is understanding is that the process is larger than that -- it's find app-use app, and get music-play music.

That whole end-to-end process is what they have streamlined and that's what has and will prove a competitive advantage, despite the alternatives being "piss easy".
posted by bonaldi at 8:31 AM on June 11, 2008


Well if it works for you good on you. I found the thing nannyish and just as annoy and overmanaging as its various predecessors (Musicmatch, et al, iTunes is far from unique), so I eneded up using Anapod explorer to manage my iPod, which is itself less than ideal but doesn’t make the same presumptions. As the iPhioen gets cheaper and more flexible I may well get one (it’s by far the best web surfing experience on a phone), but iTunes is a hurdle.
posted by Artw at 8:44 AM on June 11, 2008


In most cases, what's required is "just be the same as the library on my PC", which syncing does. If the player's too small for that, you want to manage it by track, not by file.

When I want to manage my USB-filesystem player I plug it in, pick the tracks or albums I would like, and transfer them over. The whole process is very similar to people picking tracks or albums in Itunes and transferring them over, except I don't have to crap up my computer with Itunes and Quicktime and "Would you like to upgrade to Quicktime Pro?" I do lack the ability to set a heuristic and let the computer decide what subset of music to load, but I also completely lack the desire to do that.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:19 AM on June 11, 2008


Yes and no. Of course there will be people who want to be able to pipe the bits directly to the platter and sod all this gui shit, and so on and on. And it is pretty difficult to say what people want to do, but it's not preposterous, because if you get it right, suddenly you've come from industry also-ran to 70% of the market for music players.

Last time I checked, managing "files" was and can and get this, is often done with a GUI. I find iTunes confusing and it annoys me to no end that I have to have an application to manage music on a certain music player (whereas for others, I don't, which makes it's easier) not to mention I'm required to have this application to run a fucking phone. It makes me sick like, a million times.

As for your 70% market share argument does this mean that Apple doesn't have it's OS right but Microsoft does because of their relative market shares? Are the top selling music artists really the bestest? Toyota makes way better cars than everyone else? The Star Wars franchise is really actually great rather than an expensive Muppets in space?
posted by juiceCake at 3:50 PM on June 11, 2008


The assumption that music management has to be either tag-based or file-based is a false dichotomy. If you use a program like Media Center than you can manage your music entirely according to pre-rolled or custom tag views, or you can manage files based on logical file structures and regex/search/replace. You also get playback device agnosticism so you can be reasonably sure that you can synch the same lists with your ipod and with your phone or whatever (space permitting). Personally, with 150,000 files under management, I use tag-based for some of it, and file-based for others, like collections indexed by (obscure) label.

It also adds flexibility if you select a playback device that supports multiple information views. Once you install Rockbox on your device, then you can browse files using either the device's filesystem (which if you've used a consistent dynamic/static autorename scheme for synching can be extremely precise) or you can browse using the tag database.

I still honestly can't see much cognitive load difference between installing an app on an Apple phone versus a Microsoft phone. With Apple you will have to invoke a custom application, browse a list of applications, select an application, and select that application for synch to your device. You will also have to manage application updates and remove/reinstall. I'm seeing no clear difference bewteen that and the typical buy/install experience through Handango. The ideology of gadget utopianism always prmises that the new new way will be effortless and freeing, enabling massive lifestyle emancipation, but the reality often comes down to lots of clicking and fiddling with preferences.

I do see a cognitive load difference between starting an application through a UI which, however pretty and well-flowing, still requires translation of desire into ritualised digital manipulations versus a voice-activated application, which merely requires the translation of desire into speech - an action which for most people is less effortful and instinctual than manipulating a UI.
posted by meehawl at 4:55 PM on June 11, 2008


There is nothing instinctual about using voice to execute digital actions; people of younger generations have grown up with computers and thus using GUIs to accomplish arbitrary goals is almost second nature.

The syntax as well as the actual intonation and pronunciation that these voice driven systems require (one has to adopt a bizarre sort of flat and clearly enunciated near robot voice to even have a hope of success; and forget about it recognizing your commands if you have an accent) is so far divorced from actual human 'normal' speech as to render any benefit they might have given, had the execution been better, nugatory.
posted by oxford blue at 7:50 PM on June 13, 2008


Even if voice recognition was fine, a system capable of interpreting naturally voiced desires is, at least, rather far off. "Computer, zoom in, enhance," as in Blade Runner, etc. or the Star Trek computer are for now in the realm of fantasy. (and the Star Trek computer is completely implausible - how does it know to let Riker hear "Picard to Riker" when Picard hasn't even said Riker's name yet?) One would need to learn how to talk to the computer, if not in pronunciation, in terms of specific phrases.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:53 PM on June 13, 2008


Learning to speak computer is more strange and alien than simply extending physical metaphors of touch/response to a digital arena.

Perhaps the Star Trek system simple uses a combination of behavioural analysis with historical patterning with equal measures of well made predictive heuristic analysis and quantum computing to 'guess' who wants to speak to who. (Okay, there appears to be a security breach, in past security breaches X has contacted Y; protocol also dictates X contacts Y; X has contacted Y 19 times on the past where similar circumstances have occurred; if X doesn't want to contact Y then who does he want to contact? Z, E, P can eliminated for the following reasons...etc) It's not stupid—it's advanced!
posted by oxford blue at 9:02 PM on June 13, 2008


oxford blue: "There is nothing instinctual about using voice to execute digital actions; people of younger generations have grown up with computers and thus using GUIs to accomplish arbitrary goals is almost second nature.

You know what's even more second nature than almost second nature? Speaking. And what's arbitrary about saying "Call Mum" to call my mum?

The syntax as well as the actual intonation and pronunciation that these voice driven systems require (one has to adopt a bizarre sort of flat and clearly enunciated near robot voice to even have a hope of success; and forget about it recognizing your commands if you have an accent)"

My US-made (and, presumably, calibrated) Windows phone has no problem so far dealing with my Irish accent for voice commands. Have you actually *used* voice commands? You know you sample your own voice, right? If you want to record yourself doing a chipmunk version as the command tone then you're free to do so.
posted by meehawl at 11:45 PM on June 13, 2008


Have you actually *used* voice commands?

Because when someone disagrees with you, it is not because they have empirical experience but rather they simply want to be fractious. I have used voice commands, and I feel the technology is immature to the point of being unusable.

Whereas (G)UIs have had time to mature and grow increasingly humanistic and sophisticated, voice commands are relegated to the realm of 'features' that are used once, and then never again for obvious reasons. I wager the vast majority of people have never saw/heard someone actually use the voice recognition feature, whereas five minutes in public will reveal many people using effective forms of user control. There is as reason for this; on the whole at this stage, it just doesn't work well enough, and is a paradigm apart from how most people conceptualize using computers.
posted by oxford blue at 12:18 AM on June 14, 2008


Related.
posted by oxford blue at 5:19 AM on June 14, 2008


Voice commands on cell phones work great for me. Mileage, it seems, varies. Of course, it's not the sort of "Dial, 4 1 8 3 5 9 x x x x" command but rather a word like Ana, Dave, Work, Catherine. But there are those that it obviously doesn't work for, and they prefer to press a couple of buttons instead. Different individuals, different preferences.

GUI's moving files that are audio files work great for me as well, and aren't a million times more complex to managing music in iTunes. Once again, mileage varies, and apparently, for some, moving an audio file as a file is buckets more difficult than using iTunes to do it, even though both use GUIs. Different individuals, different preferences, different takes on the dynamics of use.

I've even figured out how to use a multi-button mouse after having been told that it was too difficult for most people, one mouse button is more intuitive and better. I wonder how those people feel about a multi-touch device like the iPhone. They must be arguing against the use of two fingers for a device, surely.
posted by juiceCake at 7:05 AM on June 14, 2008


Two cellphones ago (consumer-grade pieces of shit) I had a phone where the voice recognition was a great feature and I used it all the time. It had to be trained for each action you wanted to voice activate, mostly calling a number in the address book. So when I put in someone's phone number I would say their name twice, and after that I could say "Home" or "Voicemail" into the thing to call those.

This was very convenient and useful, but it was limited to calling numbers and a few other specific actions. I couldn't say "Delete this text message" or "Set the backlight to 15 seconds." I also had to somewhat try to match the intonations I used when training each name.

The next cellphone didn't have the training and tried to match names purely algorithmically, which meant it never worked. Haven't even seen yet if the current cellphone has voice features.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:39 AM on June 14, 2008


oxford blue: "(G)UIs have had time to mature and grow increasingly humanistic and sophisticated, voice commands are relegated to the realm of 'features' that are used once, and then never again"

I'm sorry but I'm thinking here that you are projecting your own experience onto an enormously diverse range of of user requirements. Projecting my own experience, in over 25 years of GUIs ranging from lightpens, pads, mice, chording keyboards, tablets, gloves, and eye tracking, there are some UI features today that are better than what went before. But there are other innovations that have passed into history not because they were inferior or unproductive, but because they were attached to technologies or platforms that lost out in the marketplace. Faddishness and inertia also has a lot to do with it, both for the disappearance of useful operations, and also for the persistence or popularity of less-than-optimal functions (see, for instance, the PDA Stylus). GUIs have their place, especially for complex multi-dimensional selection and multi-modal operations, but for simple 2/3-stage tasks, VUIs are great, especially in a dynamic environment where the user can be reasonably expected to be engaged in other parallel tasking. Outside of basement and public transit use, mobile phones are often used in these environments.

If you are saying that the iphone would be better off without a VUI mode, then I disagree with that. I think it would be better served with both. My experience of Apple however, is that it likes to have its consumers visibly using its products... free and very public advertising. Hence the paucity of remote operation modes for the ipod and iphones. A VUI, especially through bluetooth earpieces, would sequester the Apple iproduct and not be as effective a marketing tool. A lot of Apple's message involves very public and conspicuous consumption. Compare the similarity of Apple ads to the "crowd source" Gap and AOL ads from the early- to mid-90s. Verizon, of course, currently fetishises the crowd belongingness to extremes. Anyway, my thinking is a VUI from Apple would reduce its visibility, and that would be A Bad Thing, and so it's not really very developed at this stage.
posted by meehawl at 1:57 PM on June 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Who says you can't have intelligent conversation on the internet?

I'm sorry but I'm thinking here that you are projecting your own experience onto an enormously diverse range of of user requirements.

I do apologize that I cannot speak for the totality of user requirements. I don't think anyone is really capable of speaking completely objectively, and you're probably guilty of projecting your thoughts as much as I am. We want the world to be similar, I think, to how we perceive it. If I perceive voice stuff as a mere novelty, then it makes sense for me to argue that the technology is immature and little more than a novelty. Of course, vice versa is true.

I don't accept the proposition that saying "Call Mother's home phone" is significantly (or even at all) more efficient and comfortable than hitting auto dial number 4. I don't particular want anyone who may be in earshot to know what I'm doing with my phone. Surely if I was issuing commands via voice that would change. I've no desire to turn using my phone into an interactive performance sport. I think the quicker and more unobtrusively I can get my phone to do things the better. In the sort of environments where parallel tasking (which is a lie; how many studies have we read in the last month that show concentration takes sometime to be recovered whenever there's a distraction.) is likely to occur than I don't see how talking to your phone instead of using a familiar and efficient sequence of commands is going to be markedly 'better.'

Surely there must be a battery drain associated with having a microphone always active and the phone analyzing every noise you make to see if it matches with any of the commands?

I think you make a good point about Apple's memetic marketing, but the reverse is also true; Apple users like using their products in public, and are more than happy to be associated with the brand. Apple does provide a handsfree cord (which while still clearly an apple product) that allows for the user to perform some commands and could also be used for voice commands. I'm not saying it's better off without it, but I'm saying for most people it's irrelevant whether or not it does have it. It's still a technology that is yet to prove itself commercially and culturally.

Apologizes to all who this offends; but I can't help be reminded of the people that use those utterly ridiculous handsfree bluetooth earclippy things, and do so seriously. My heart really does go out to them. If only they knew.
posted by oxford blue at 5:48 PM on June 15, 2008


My experience of Apple however, is that it likes to have its consumers visibly using its products... free and very public advertising. Hence the paucity of remote operation modes for the ipod and iphones. A VUI, especially through bluetooth earpieces, would sequester the Apple iproduct and not be as effective a marketing tool.

This is palpable nonsense. There is simply no way that Apple is deciding on features (as opposed to design) based on whether their usage is visible or not. The trend with iPods has continually been to make them smaller, almost to vanishing point -- the iPod shuffle is very hard to spot. As for "paucity", the iPod has a remote smaller than the Shuffle, and the iPhone has a headphone control that lets you pause/play/skip while it's in your pocket, as oxford blue notes.

There may be reasons purely beyond the technical (for one thing, VUI is still hella nerdy) that the iPhone doesn't have a VUI, but to be honest I think the most likely is simply time -- they've been going full-speed on this stuff for a long time, and their engineering dept isn't nearly as big as some assume.

Also just as a general point, "better served with both" is not a dogma that Apple holds much truck with -- they choose what they think is best for you. Sure, this can be incredibly frustrating at times, but it's also one of the foundations of "just working".
posted by bonaldi at 11:06 PM on June 16, 2008


It also adds flexibility if you select a playback device that supports multiple information views. Once you install Rockbox on your device, then you can browse files using either the device's filesystem (which if you've used a consistent dynamic/static autorename scheme for synching can be extremely precise) or you can browse using the tag database.

And what if you haven't used a consistent dynamic/static autorename scheme? The place an MP3 has in the filesystem is completely an implementation detail; it boils down to nothing more than an extra, extremely fragile, tag -- the path.

Managing music in the filesystem appears to be just a subset of the functionality of managing it by tag. What does it offer that a tailor-made database doesn't?
posted by bonaldi at 11:17 PM on June 16, 2008


What does it offer that a tailor-made database doesn't?

Can be managed with a tailor-made database, or without Itunes crapping up my computer, on my friend's computer that also doesn't have Itunes crapping it up, or with a tailor-made database that's not Itunes.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:37 AM on June 17, 2008


That's really just talking about Apple's implementation, though. There's nothing there that couldn't be done by an open implementation of a client and spec. (Apart from your friend's computer, but then the client could also live on the device and be run from there.)
posted by bonaldi at 11:00 AM on June 17, 2008


bonaldi: "This is palpable nonsense"

Thanks for your opinion. You are welcome to maintain it. Mine is based on several decades of observing Apple, as well as being quite close to some people who work there. The only thing worse for tech than being noticed (even if only for lacking feature checklist items) is not being noticed at all.
posted by meehawl at 3:43 PM on June 29, 2008


bonaldi: "And what if you haven't used a consistent dynamic/static autorename scheme? The place an MP3 has in the filesystem is completely an implementation detail; it boils down to nothing more than an extra, extremely fragile, tag -- the path. Managing music in the filesystem appears to be just a subset of the functionality of managing it by tag. What does it offer that a tailor-made database doesn't?"

If I use something like Media Center then I can rename and reposition within the server directory some or all of my files based on any combination of tags, logical operations, or group memberships. I can also specify file and directory naming schemes during synch to different devices, customising them according to the capabilities and goals of the devices. I can use it to rename disparate naming schemes so as to make them consistent, or to maintain several different domains. I'm pretty sure most people would regard that as a nice thing to be able to do.

And yes, everything is based on tags. However, for some genres or collections of media, it would make sense to browse by author, or composer, or primary instrument. For others, it would make sense to browse by publisher, if you were looking at a corpus or microgenre. In that regard, it's nice to be able to tailor your database according to your needs, and to use a physical file structure as another "view" or frame within which to browse the collection.
posted by meehawl at 3:51 PM on June 29, 2008


Thanks for your opinion. You are welcome to maintain it. Mine is based on several decades of observing Apple, as well as being quite close to some people who work there. The only thing worse for tech than being noticed (even if only for lacking feature checklist items) is not being noticed at all.

I have exactly the same qualifications on this as you, and I actually asked friends who currently work at Apple about it. None of them had any time for the idea apart from to scoff at it (though they did grant that there are some fucked-up reasons for doing things there!)

I'm pretty sure most people would regard that as a nice thing to be able to do.

I'm pretty sure most people would regard that as an incomprehensible thing to do. Group memberships? For songs? Cor.

In that regard, it's nice to be able to tailor your database according to your needs, and to use a physical file structure as another "view" or frame within which to browse the collection.
And what is there about this view that can't be done from within a DB and tagging? You can create a virtual file "frame" for viewing within the DB paradigm, but you can't access the superset of DB categorisation from a file-based system, without a manager doing lots of work to keep track of the changes to the files. Work that it's not clear why Apple should do, especially given their target market.
posted by bonaldi at 4:06 PM on June 29, 2008


Also, Apple tech not being noticed? Apple? Their duds get ten times the attention of other people's successes.

Just what have you been observing for these several decades?
posted by bonaldi at 4:09 PM on June 29, 2008


Well, accept maybe that short lived apple hifi thing.
posted by oxford blue at 7:06 PM on July 2, 2008


err, except. :(
posted by oxford blue at 7:07 PM on July 2, 2008


I don't care what any of you say - I just got an SMS from my (phone company) account manager saying I can get a free iPhone. Just have to wait to see what sort of plan I need to sign up to for this to happen ...
posted by dg at 1:58 PM on July 3, 2008


I don't care what any of you say - I just got an SMS from my (phone company) account manager saying I can get a free iPhone. Just have to wait to see what sort of plan I need to sign up to for this to happen ...
posted by dg at 2:04 PM on July 3, 2008


I don't care what any of you say

I'm sure the feeling is mutal.
posted by oxford blue at 9:51 PM on July 3, 2008


If I was running that phone company, I'd try to build the cost of the iphone into the plan somehow.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:39 PM on July 3, 2008


Wow, way to ruin my tiny happy moment, guys ;-(
Can't a person live in wilful ignorance for just a moment without someone bursting their bubble?

posted by dg at 2:34 PM on July 4, 2008


Metafilter: destroying wilful ignorance since 1999.
posted by oxford blue at 12:23 AM on July 5, 2008


bonaldi: "What is there about this view that can't be done from within a DB and tagging?"

If your stock firmware enables custom db views, I'd agree with you. If, however, you are stuck with a few inflexible views that can not be tweaked to display your personal tagging schema, then you are probably going to be operating suboptimally.

I actually asked friends who currently work at Apple about it. None of them had any time for the idea apart from to scoff at it (though they did grant that there are some fucked-up reasons for doing things there!)

Admittedly, the Apple of the naughties is quite different from the Apple of the nineties, or especially the eighties (I gather, for instance, that many if not a majority of Apple employees are now in retail). Congratulations on your canvassing of the breadth of Apple's internal discussions. I'm sure you're getting the entire picture. To know the Mind of God is a privilege afforded only to true prophets.

I'm pretty sure most people would regard that as an incomprehensible thing to do. Group memberships? For songs? Cor.

They're called playlists, or smartlists, or combinations of smartlists. When you have a system that can take a smartlist as an input, and then perform some operations on that smartlist, union or disjoin it with other smartlists or conditions or personalised preferences, and then synch or stream the results to an output device theb, well, you're closer to listening nirvana.

Also, Apple tech not being noticed? Apple? Their duds get ten times the attention of other people's successes.

That's actually the opposite of what I was saying was the strategy. Get the tech noticed, out in front of people's noses, even if that means constraining the ability of it to become a hidden fabric.
posted by meehawl at 4:16 PM on July 6, 2008


If your stock firmware enables custom db views, I'd agree with you. If, however, you are stuck with a few inflexible views that can not be tweaked to display your personal tagging schema, then you are probably going to be operating suboptimally.
Right ... so how would adding a rigid and deeply inflexible set of tags like a filesystem path to this mix help matters?

Congratulations on your canvassing of the breadth of Apple's internal discussions. I'm sure you're getting the entire picture. To know the Mind of God is a privilege afforded only to true prophets.
Holy shit that's a superb job you made of leaping from the back of the tall horse called I Know People At Apple to another equally high one called You're Trying To Claim You Know People At Apple, Pah. I mean, seriously, wow.

a smartlist as an input, and then perform some operations on that smartlist, union or disjoin it with other smartlists or conditions or personalised preferences, and then synch or stream the results to an output device theb, well, you're closer to listening nirvana.
Which, er, iTunes does. Without being bound by filesystem drivelry.

That's actually the opposite of what I was saying was the strategy. Get the tech noticed, out in front of people's noses, even if that means constraining the ability of it to become a hidden fabric.
Er ... yes. Your strategy implies that they somehow need the extra edge afforded by deliberately cutting features, when it actually seems to be the case that they can get all the publicity they desire via white cables and terrifying PR people.
posted by bonaldi at 4:27 PM on July 6, 2008


« Older At last, a study on video games that is grounded i...  |  Warren Buffett bets a hedge fu... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments