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Handhelds Businesses Apple Hardware

Apple iPhone Rumors Resurface 227

Posted by timothy
from the shiny-things-to-hold-and-talk-to dept.
donkeyDevil writes: "Following the rule of 'i before e except before P,' rumors of an iPhone resurface in the New York Times (registration required). The evidence: OS features, foiled acquisition attempts, PIXO relations, and the genius of Steven P. Jobs. Unmentioned, Apple's tried phones before. PIE produced a nifty desktop phone design, Apple Europe produced some nice telephone-computer integration software."
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Apple iPhone Rumors Resurface

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  • Everyone's Desk (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MikeOttawa (551441)

    The thing is, a phone and a Computer are the two things that everyone has on their desk. Judging by their past successes (keyboards, mice) maybe Microsoft should start making phones as well.

    If these companies want to compete in the future of VoIP, then they need to start building up their knowledge base now. Even if they start by building regular POTS phones, they will gain the expertise and experience of phone ergonomics and production.

    • The thing is, a phone and a Computer are the two things that everyone has on their desk. Judging by their past successes (keyboards, mice) maybe Microsoft should start making phones as well.



      They did - it failed in the marketplace because it was expensive and offered no must-have features.
      • Re:Everyone's Desk (Score:3, Informative)

        by ejdmoo (193585)
        MS has made a phone. link [technofile.com]

        Granted it's old, and not sold anymore, but you hooked it up to your serial port, and when there was an incomming call, it could screen it for you and give different answering machine messages to different people. Pretty cool.
  • Nowadays, you can just walk to another company, give them your brand, and say: "Produce xxxxxx" of these. The risk is much smaller nowadays. If you go to a fair related to mobiles, you will meet a dozen of these companies. Same stuff, with different logo and package. If it works, they might take the risk to themselves.
    • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Informative)

      by superdan2k (135614) on Monday August 19, 2002 @08:24AM (#4096997) Homepage Journal
      I'll tell you why not. Because Apple doesn't produce cookie-cutter products. Steve Jobs can't just go to the company that builds Nokias and say, "Produce XXXXXX of these, but oh yeah -- make the case white and silver."

      For Apple, it doesn't work like that. Not anymore. Apple has come the conclusion -- rightly -- that the ergonomics and user-interface are just as important as functionality. No, they are integral to the functionality of the device.

      For most people this is so obvious that it usually gets overlooked. A great book that demonstrates this is The Design of Everyday Things [amazon.com] -- if you haven't read it and are in product engineering/design, I highly recommend it.

      The point is, what truly sets Apple apart, is its attention to detail. The small details can make or break a product, and they know that. It's particularly well-evidenced in their laptop designs and the iPod. If you haven't had a chance to play with either of these, find someone who owns one and spend 30 minutes of your life with it, and you'll see what I'm saying...
      • Re:Why not? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by D_Fresh (90926)
        If Apple does this, expect a device that seems like other consolidated gadgets, e.g. Handspring's Treo [handspring.com], but upon closer examination is different in subtle but crucial ways. I don't think they'll veer from the basic iPod formula much - they'll start with a technology that's up-and-coming, like iPod's tiny HD, support it with a thoughtful combination of hardware and software, like firewire and iTunes, and they'll create a device that is so useful and good-looking we'll all wonder why nobody thought of it before. Only in this case the up-and-coming technology is Bluetooth, the supporting software is iSync, iCal, iChat, Address Book, Jaguar's Bluetooth support, and maybe even OS X Mail. Who knows what the cool hardware is - maybe there will be an integrated camera, or a clever way to use the screen, or a higher quality speaker, or an organic LED color screen. (The camera idea is intriguing, but that may end up being an entirely separate device - with their emphasis on iMovie, iDVD, and iPhoto I'd be surprised if they haven't at least prototyped some combo still-DV models. It's not unprecedented [epi-centre.com], either.)

        I don't think Apple management walks on water - any engineering company can create new gadgets - but their design philosophy and willingness to push beyond what's already been done make all the difference. Of course they won't manufacture it themselves - again, the iPod showed their willingness to admit their limitations. When it comes to consumer electronics, they're not a fabrication outfit, they're a design house, with an emphasis on integration with their existing line of software. I'm excited to see what they come up with next.

      • I'll tell you why not. Because Apple doesn't produce cookie-cutter products. Steve Jobs can't just go to the company that builds Nokias and say, "Produce XXXXXX of these, but oh yeah -- make the case white and silver."

        Isn't that exactly what he does with computers? [forbes.com] What makes you think he wouldn't do the same thing with phones?

        Oh, that's right, you're stuck in Jobs' Reality Distortion Field.

        Sub-par performance, sluggish UI, overpriced commodity hardware, DDR mated to an outdated SDR bus... It's crap, but it's not cookie-cutter crap, so that magically makes it a good product?
  • by Matthias Wiesmann (221411) on Monday August 19, 2002 @07:30AM (#4096756) Homepage Journal
    There is an intersting discussion [theregister.co.uk] about this in the register. To summarise, it makes little sense for Apple to design and build its own phone - a partnership with Sony and Ericson would be more reasonable. Designing and builind a portable phone is much more expensive that building a MP3 player. All Apple wants is to integrate the phone into their digital hub.
    • To summarise, it makes little sense for Apple to design and build its own phone - a partnership with Sony and Ericson would be more reasonable.

      Just so long as neither Sony nor Ericsson have any input what-so-ever when it comes to the user interface.

      I've used plenty of their phones (including the joint venture T68i) and without sounding rude, their interface has been designed by the technical for the technical. Slashdot readers may have no problem with it - but it's not particulary nice, structured or clean compared to Nokia's.

      Mind you, to be honest, I'd rather Apple work on a PDA over a phone since I find Palm woefully slow and behind the times (still no built in bluetooth, limited OS means a requirement to install 20 odd "hacks" and a tonne of replacement apps to get something a bit more flexible) and PPC overkill, buggy, complex and horribly unstable.

      • Just so long as neither Sony nor Ericsson have any input what-so-ever when it comes to the user interface.

        Read the referenced article. It says that the most likely candidate for cross licensing is one of the phones based on the Symbian platform, such as the P800 which is a pleasant piece of eye-candy. It's also the phone that Jobs invited Sony to demo at MacWorld Expo and the WWDC.

        • Too true. This fits in well with Apple's digital hub theme.

          Through Symbian and through the use of standards such as SyncML (that allow syncing of contacts and lots more besides over normal TCP/IP) Apple has a more or less a single partner to work with that enables compatibility with a whole raft of manufacturers including Sony Ericson, Nokia, Panasonic, Siemens and Samsung, who co-own or partner with Symbian.

          Furthermore, if they really do not see current phones offering what they expect (and for apple these are mostly UI related shortfalls), then the Symbian OS is the perfect platform for building a Mobile UI on as all the telecoms and networking functionality is already present, and is in fact how Symbian OS is marketed. Partners license the core parts of the OS, then slap a UI on to allow for product differentiation and boom they have a product.

    • But a cell phone with a little Mac look and feel could be a massive hit. Til now only Nokia developed its prouct line with a little coherence in what is design and interface, the others changed radically all the ui paradigms and the look many, many times.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        It is ALL about the user experience, otherwise we would all be using Windows CE. Rememeber the original CE-experience, a "mini-desktop"? Yikes!

        That is the reason why there's UI designers, not just GUI designers. Ever tried an iPod? It is outstanding, a mini-GUI AND a new input device, the thumbwheel. This is the reason why it is marketed as a special-purpose device for music browsing (wheel) and playing (click). You cannot simply "fold" these functions into a PDA, where you need a keyboard or pen.

        I want to see Apple (or anyone) give a try to a new user experience for phones and PDAs. Everything else out there sucks.

        I highly recommend reading The Humane Interface by Jeff Raskin, http://www.jefraskin.com
    • There is an intersting discussion [theregister.co.uk] about this in the register.

      Actually, you're wrong. There is an interesting article at the register.

      The interesting discussions about those articles always take place over here on slashdot.
  • by Brento (26177) <brento@bre[ ]zar.com ['nto' in gap]> on Monday August 19, 2002 @07:35AM (#4096771) Homepage
    Mobile phones are an extremely competitive market: if you bring out an overpriced phone (relative to the other phones on the market), it just plain doesn't matter how cool it is - you won't sell enough volume to make a profit. Makers like Nokia can afford to make uber-cool super-phones, because they enhance the company image and make you want to buy a cheaper Nokia phone. Apple doesn't have that kind of market model, so how are they going to succeed on their own?
    • First: Nokia are toy phones. I wouldn't want to be catched with one alive. I'm a Siemens fan, plain (not "uber-cool") phones with a clean interfaces and no fancy-schmancy stuff.

      Personally I'd love to have a phone that integrates completely with my PDA (I have a Psion Revo+, and compared to any palmlike machine, the Psion really *is* superior...too bad they don't make PDA's anymore). So imagine a sleek (think TiBook metal looks, or iBook...I love the white), with running a NetBSD-trimmed-down-but-Mac-friendly OS and integrating iPod functionalities...all that within a phone! Hey, I'd pay 500 for such a thing. Good cellphones start at 400 anyway..so why bother?
      And don't star the crap about: "I get a cellphone for 99 when I take a two year service with a certain provider". I don't care... Cellphones cost a lot of money, you are just subsidised by the phone company. Most people just do not realise that. I prefer to choose the phone I like, instead of taking a crappy Nokia that is "given away" for 99.

      • First: Nokia are toy phones. I wouldn't want to be catched with one alive. I'm a Siemens fan, plain (not "uber-cool") phones with a clean interfaces and no fancy-schmancy stuff.

        My Nokia has just gone in for repair following an encounter with the floor. By way of replacement I've been loaned some crappy little Siemens thing... okay it looks nice but the menu system is not brilliant, too much nesting and hiding of options behind other options....

        I think with mobiles, PDA's and a certain extent laptop/notebooks personal choice and tastes play a big part and what one person likes another with loath.

        As for mobiles... I want a telephone that lets me make calls, receive calls and send the odd text message, the latest features, gprs etc aren't important and add more clutter. As for the trend to smaller and smaller phones I prefer a reasonable size phone that is easy to hold and not easy to bury under a mound of paperwork ;>
        • My Nokia has just gone in for repair following an encounter with the floor.

          That is one of the things I mean with "toy". My Siemens S35i has encountered the floor numerous times and it even fell once in a toilet (don't ask). It still works as the first day. Now try that with a Nokia.
          The menu system is actually very precise and organised. It has nice categories for each functionality. Things that are important are not deep nested and stuff that your really just need to setup once is way down there in the menu-tree. Sometimes it's better for newbies that they don't meddle with the Network setup of the phone (for example). And I like the fact that I nearly reprogram any button I like.
          Besides, ask your Nokia friends to send you an picture to your Siemens phone and see what mess it makes (receiving 3 to 5 SMSes full of junk). See, that is toy stuff...Nobody needs to send images (besides that is why I think that MMS will fail).
          Besides, I'm not the kind of guy that buys a new cell each 3 months because now cells have MMS or GPRS or whatever is funky nowadays. I buy a phone and it is supposed to last at least 3 years. My last cellphone lasted 5 years, and I only replaced it because it was impossible to get a replacement battery.

          • Nokia make excellent 'phones. My girlfriend has a Samsung which has an abysmal menu structure (although an excellent screen). I use an Ericsson T-39m which is brilliant - Motorola's phones are the worst I'VE ever used. They CREAK and just up and die for no particular reason. Awful.
    • In most countries, handset prices for contract mobiles are subsidised heavily by the networks. Even prepay phones are subsidised to some extent. This means that a phone will always be cheaper than an equivalent PDA. As an example, I just got a newly released T68i, off-net price ~300GBP. I got it for free on an Orange contract.

      • Are you another idiot who thinks that £17 a month for at LEAST 12 months is "FREE" then? And the 'phone is LOCKED so you can't use it on another network. Not too bright, is it?
        • If I'm going to be spending the money on calls anyway, I may as well get a contract and a subsidised phone. My point is that because most people will be buying mobiles anyway, the savings on a device by having it a phone rather than just an unsubsidised PDA are considerable. The economics of pricing with mobile phones is different.

          Regarding your second point: yeah, the phone could be SIM-locked. Who cares? I've signed the contract for a year anyway, so why would I want to use the phone on another network before then. In fact, in many cases they're not really locked. Try swapping SIMs with another phone some day. You'll probably find it works fine. I always have.

    • The Motorola V60 was $500 (CDN) when my friend got it with his contract, through Telus...

      He's lost the phone. Stolen, he thinks. He's now planning on purchasing another one to replace it.

      Don't say that people won't buy it. People WILL buy it. People bought the iPod, even though it was twice as much as a similarly-featured device. Why? Because it had Firewire, was small, and was easy to use. If Apple does what magic with the iPhone as they did with the iPod, I have no doubt that it will sell in mass quantities.

      --Dan
  • Clueless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ianscot (591483) on Monday August 19, 2002 @07:36AM (#4096772)
    The "evidence" in the article is insubstantial. Hey, Apple and Palm have had their moments of differing opinion: must mean Apple's developing its own PDA again. Anyone who looked at OS X and said not "This is a modern OS GUI over Unix" but "Hey, there are lots of features here that would make more sense in a cell phone," please raise your hand. We need to cull you from the herd.

    The reductionism of the history of Apple to "Wasn't that Newton a bad proposition?" is especially obvious and seems like the sort of journalistic conceit that pushes faked-up drama in a story. I mean:

    In a remarkable turnaround effort, Mr. Jobs has taken pains to distance Apple from the Sculley-Newton legacy. He canceled the Newton soon after returning and has pooh-poohed the industry's personal digital assistants as "junk" and worse.

    The Newton might have lost Apple money, okay. But it lost Apple money for a variety of reasons -- among them the problem Apple's always had with supply chain on its products, and the way Apple collapsed in the laptop market for years before releasing the first shoddy Power PC powerbooks. To lump Apple's entire fortune as a company into that one product just to create a false sort of journalistic flow in the story is just lame.

    Real story: There are some indirect signs that Apple may enter the PDA market again. They did once before, but they were a little ahead of the market and they eventually cut bait. Wait and see.

    • Good points. And how has Apple distanced itself from the Newton legacy, anyway? IIRC, Jaguar will include their Inkwell handwriting-recognition software which Apple loudly touts as being directly inspired by Newton's technology.
  • iPod and Palm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jaoswald (63789) on Monday August 19, 2002 @07:47AM (#4096816) Homepage
    I'll tell you what *I* think needs to be done: integration of iPod with a full Palm OS capability.

    One thing that keeps me from getting an iPod is that I already have too many damn gadgets that I need to function. Pager (work), cell phone (personal), Palm pilot, wallet, and keys. If I add a iPod to this mix, I run out of pocket space. And I don't want to clip three or four things to my belt.

    I know that Apple is moving to include calendar and contact information on the iPod, but read-only access is not enough, and entering data through the five buttons + wheel on the iPod would be tedious.

    iPod + Palm + phone *might* someday be even better, but a hard drive in a cell phone seems a bit much. I've never really liked the idea of being hooked to my cell phone through a headset.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I know that Apple is moving to include calendar and contact information on the iPod, but read-only access is not enough, and entering data through the five buttons + wheel on the iPod would be tedious


      However, the resemblance of the iPod's wheel to a telephone dial indicates that integration of iPod and mobile phone could be a great success, especially for those a little backward in their ways...
    • I'll tell you what *I* think needs to be done: integration of iPod with a full Palm OS capability.
      Look at what they've done by adding iCal and iDirectory (or whatever it's called) to the iPod. Looks like all they are really missing is a good input interface on the iPod.

      I'll be getting an iPod to replace my elderly PalmPilot (says USRobotics on it, if that gives you an idea), because all I need is to reference my calendar and look up the occasional phone number.

    • Palm is currently the OS of choice in a grand total of zero of the major phone producers. Symbian however is the OS of choice in pretty much the whole raft of them.

      Partnering with Palm for phones would be akin to partnering with Suse for the Mainframe market. Apple are much more likely to partner with the companies of the future like SonyEricsion, or to develop standard extensions to Symbian to make all Symbian phones interoperate seemlessly with the Mac.

      Palm needs to change, it not a reliable OS for phones to run on. Symbian is, and it has the backing.
    • Get yourself a ScotteVest [scottevest.com]

      I have had one for about 2 months now and I love it (v 2.0). Typically I have my phone, access card, keys, wallet, PocketPC and my mini-disc man all happily in the jacket and without the devices showing to much on the outside.

      As for the iPod ... I am going to stick with my Mini-disc man for now. My iPaq should see me right for a while ... now I just have to kill a few people so I can buy myself a Powerbook :)

      • by NoData (9132)
        Is this [scottevest.com] what you're up to? :)

        Text from lower right-hand column of this page:


        BECOME A PR AGENT AND WIN A FREE SCOTTeVEST
        We are encouraging all our loyal customers and readers to help us get some press coverage. So, we have a brand new contest. Here's how it works: if you send an email to a member of the press, AND they do an article on the product, then you get a free SCOTTeVEST. Some limitations apply, like (a) no spamming, (b) only major publications and Web sites apply (not school newspapers or smaller websites), (c) does not apply to any press that we have already received or work in progress, and (d) you must be the catalyst of the coverage as verified by the reporter. The first person who gets a favorable post on Slashdot gets a prototype of the next version for free (limited sizes available).

        • Those on this rather synical world of ours might believe that I did, however I didn't even know that this page exsisted. After having to fork over $90 AUD to customs to collect the jacket I would have second thoughts of collecting one if I did win one :)


          That is rather annoying, I could find anywhere in Australia that re-sells the jacket, so I order it ... and then I get slugged a nice customs fee. Quite interesting that the multitude of books I have bought on Amazon (go on start looking for PR agent competition there if you like :)) including an order that was more than the vest didn't go through customs. Maybe it was just the postal method ~sigh~

    • Bluetooth earphone, dude. Stereo sound + bone conduction audio pickup. Wouldn't that be nice?
  • Of the 12 new OS X features the company has been emphasizing on its Web site, most would be desirable for a hand-held phone, including chat capabilities, mail, an address book, calendar features, automatic networking and a synchronization feature that will become available in September.

    Um, as far as I know, most computers come with address books, chat capabilities, calendar features, automatic networking and synchrinization features. Does that mean MS is coming out with a portable phone just because outlook has all these features? This guy is TOTALLY grasping at straws here. iPhone my ass.
    • Just thought you should know.. Microsoft IS coming out with a portable phone. Well.. sorta. They design it and put WinCE on it, and others sell it. But same basic idea.

      Course, you may have already known this and the sarcasm was completely missed. But whatever.
      • actually i didn't know that, but really, ms outlook has had all of these features for many years. the phone is coming now. with apple, these features could mean alot of things. why does it mean that a phone is coming? it could just mean thier os is trying to be better at keeping people in touch via email besides, the article paints the picture that OS X is being ported to a phone. Riiiiiiiight
    • iPhone my ass.

      Yes, but does it answer?

  • by mTor (18585) on Monday August 19, 2002 @07:53AM (#4096841)
    Check this: www.iPhone.org [iphone.org]

    This, of course, doesn't prove anything but it is interesting nonetheless.

    Registrant:
    Apple Computer, Inc. (IPHONE11-DOM)
    1 Infinite Loop
    Cupertino, CA 95014
    US

    Domain Name: IPHONE.ORG

    Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
    Eddings, Kenneth (KE557) eddingsk@APPLE.COM
    Apple Computer, Inc.
    1 Infinite Loop
    M/SAti 60-DR
    Cupertino, CA 95014
    408 974-4286 (FAX) 408 974-1560

    Record expires on 15-Dec-2003.
    Record created on 15-Dec-1999.
    Database last updated on 18-Aug-2002 05:26:24 EDT.

    Domain servers in listed order:

    NSERVER.APPLE.COM 17.254.0.50
    NSERVER2.APPLE.COM 17.254.0.59

    • I already own a $400 POS desk phone called by the name of iPhone [cisco.com]. It has a 640x480 monochrome touch screen. It was bundled with a bigplanet [bigplanet.com] multi-level marketing scheme my parents bought into a few years ago. I doubt Apple would want to be associated with such a butt-ugly piece of hardware.

      They'd have to come up with a better name if they released a phone of any kind.
      • Strangely, Apple seems to somehow just 'not deal' with pre-existing trademarks.

        Witness http://www.ibook.com

        • According to the whois
          Record created: 1997-03-19 00:00:00 UTC by NSI

          ibooks came out after 1998. Considering how that site and the laptop are quite different things, there should be no trademark overlap issues, but also Apple would have no rightful ownership over the domain.
    • Okay, but does this mean that Apple is going into phone hardware (something like the iPod line) or phone software (something like iTunes, iMovie, iPhoto, etc)? I would tend to agree with what others have stated. The cell phone market is a tough nut to crack. While I can see Apple creating a cell phone with some nice design ideas, how are they going to make it cheap enough to cover their costs? I bought an iPod cause it blew away all the other mp3 players I looked at. What is Apple gonna do with a cell phone other than the blue tooth integration I saw at MacWorld: New York?

      • "What is Apple gonna do with a cell phone other than the blue tooth integration I saw at MacWorld: New York?"

        Steve Jobs has repeatedly said that he doesn't believe that PDAs (as we know them) will remain viable (as a market) that long. He believes that PDAs will merge with cell phones.

        That said, I'd speculate that iPhone will be three devices in one: cell phone, PDA and an MP3 player.

        Apple needs to combine their Newton tech (some of which, handwriting recognition, was reborn in Jaguar as Ink), the cell phone tech (as the article mentions, you can buy a chipset for around $50 that will do all of the advanced cell phone functions) and their iPod MP3 playing tech.

        Combine that with Apple's UI, Apple's design and MacOS integration (iSync is just a start) and Apple will have another hit on their hands.

        Cheers.

        Disclaimer: This is all just a speculation and extrapolation... I have absolutely no inside Apple info.
    • And if you squint a bit, that G4 looks kinda like a cellphone! :-)
    • That does bring you straight to apple.com...

      Intresting, Very Intresting
  • Apple recently has proved their masterism of the UI in portible devices with the iPod.

    Now many people have tried making PDA/Cell combinations, but few have stood out among the crowd (who know's how Nokia's new phone will play out).

    Apple is a company that if everything went right and they developed a good product then they might have a real shot at being that de facto Cell/PDA combo that people are looking for.

    A few things they'll need to do to succeed. Don't make the iPod mistake, make this thing Win compatible... Open up to the open source comunity, this is the perfect product for the open source community to have a crack at. Think hard about "can this product make it if it doesn't use the Palm OS?".... If you use the Palm OS how much does that take away from your ablity to develope a UI.... Could it be a Apple front end on a PALM OS?...

    Hey I know what every geek needs, multiplayer PDA games that we do via cell phone... that would be a hell of an improvement on IR pong.

    • by mccalli (323026) on Monday August 19, 2002 @08:03AM (#4096882) Homepage
      Don't make the iPod mistake, make this thing Win compatible...

      Err....mistake? From whose viewpoint? Apple got to service their customers first, got a cool product to entice the OS-agnostic to their machines for a while, and then once demand had died down a bit they added Win compatibility and now have access to that market too.

      I don't see much in the way of a mistake being made there.

      Cheers,
      Ian

      • A mistake from Apples POV.

        IMHO I think they could have sold more units by offering it to the windows market.

        I'm all for costomer loyality... and I'm sure mac users appericated it being a 'mac product'... but in the cell phone market it's a war... I don't have a mac box, and I wouldn't buy one to use a PDA/Cell phone... In the fight for customers a company needs to accomidate.

        Cheers,
        Jon

        • IMHO I think they could have sold more units by offering it to the windows market.

          I agree, but in the beginning they didn't have more units to sell. Production was soaked up entirely by demand from Mac users. Well, Mac users and me that is - I went the XPlay [mediafour.com] beta route in order to use it on Windows.

          When demand slackened a little, they introduced the Windows compatibility to expand the number of people they could sell to.

          Cheers,
          Ian

      • I think you read too much into Apple's decision making. Maybe there are people out there who bought Macs because, or partly because, they were infatuated with the iPod -- but I haven't seen any of them. Face it, the iPod isn't that much better than its competition. Not enough to justify the high initial cost for the unit itself, plus the additional cost of a firewire interface for the majority of PC people who don't already have them.

        (It's nice that Macs have always come standard with fancy options like networking and special interfaces. But it's also why Mac prices are higher and profit margins are lower.)

        If the internal politics at Apple are anything like other development orgs, it went like this. The FAT versus HFS decision was made by engineers, not marketeers. The marketeers either didn't understand the impact of this decision or were not consulted. Somewhere along the line, somebody realized that this was excluding most of the potential market, so there had to be a FAT version. But obviously they didn't even start on this until the HFS version was finished. (If the iPod had been less succesful, they never would have started at all. I'm still waiting for my Windows port of the Newton Development Kit.) This might seem dumb in terms of grabbing market share, but working on both versions in tandem would have meant hiring more people -- and development orgs are under a lot of pressure to keep their head counts down.

        • Maybe there are people out there who bought Macs because, or partly because, they were infatuated with the iPod -- but I haven't seen any of them.

          True, neither have I. However, I know people who are now extremely interested in the Mac platform whereas before they wouldn't realy have thought about it. So the iPod produced positive press if nothing else, and I suspect it did lead to a few sales although I have no proof of that.

          Face it, the iPod isn't that much better than its competition.

          Ah well, here we must disagree. For my usage pattern, which isn't that unusual, the iPod has no competitors. The form factor is key, not the storage. These Nomad thingies that everyone brings up are far too large to be used on the move. I use the iPod on the Tube (London underground railway), so the ability to fit into a pocket is a primary concern.

          The FAT versus HFS decision was made by engineers, not marketeers.

          Yes, I'd agree with that. I'd also agree they didn't start on FAT before finishing HFS+. Where I disagree is that the implications of this weren't understood. Bear in mind that these are physical units depending on a component (the HD) in fairly limited supply - Apple didn't have enough units to satisfy everyone, so they chose to produce for their own customers first.

          working on both versions in tandem would have meant hiring more people

          Here I again we must disagree. The FAT filesystem is a well understood thing, and their core OS is BSD anyway now which means they must have an implementation of FAT lying around. I run my iPod under Windows, and followed the XPlay [mediafour.com] beta program to get things working. On there, there were plenty of people who accidently formatted their iPod as FAT and yet still reported that it worked fine. I don't see the filesystem change as a major departure. In fact, I think it would probably make more sense for them to go 100% FAT.

          Anyway, to sum up I take your point about the increased sales, though I would counter by pointing to increased interest. The othe two points, that the iPod is not much better than competitors and that moving to FAT was major development work I'm afraid we must respectively disagree on.

          Cheers,
          Ian

    • Another important criteria for their success in this? Do not make it cost 3 to 4 times an equivalent device.
      • There was no "equivalent device." And if you mean costing somewhat more than a "less-than-inspirational-but-pretty-similar device" then don't say "3 to 4 times more." It's those kind of tired exaggerations that keep folks stuck in the (well-earned) early 90's Anti-Apple mindset.

        And if you're going to insist that it isn't an exaggeration show me a device which was on sale within 3 months of the introduction of the iPod, in the same size/weight class, same capacity, same transfer speeds, which also doubled as a hard drive....at less than the iPod price.

        No? Thanks for playing our little game. Next!
  • I.P.Freely (Score:5, Funny)

    by clickety6 (141178) on Monday August 19, 2002 @08:00AM (#4096873)


    News Flash: After the iPod, iMac, iTunes, etc. etc., Steve Jobs today announced that from today he will be officially refering to himself as iI.
    • Re:I.P.Freely (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by gaudior (113467)
      THANKS A LOT!

      I just spewed coffee all over myself. I did manage to miss my iBook, but that's the only thing that's still clean.

  • I like how the article contradicts itself by saying that Apple would use a third party OS for the phone, but then saying that the features of OS X would be great for a phone. Which is it? Its not like they could actually USE any of their OS X software on the phone, and they certainly wouldn't be able to run OS X itself. I get the feeling the author doesn't have a clue.
    • I get the feeling you didn't read very carefully. The article specified new features to the OS that would interface well with a Bluetooth-enabled phone.

      The thing is, right now, there aren't a lot of Bluetooth-enabled phones on the market. I don't know a single person that has one. I know I am in the market for one, personally, and if Apple releases one, I'll be in line for it.

      Right now, it behooves Apple to release one, too, because the market for the specific product is wide open...and if they have a bunch of Mac users out there, looking at Bluetooth-enabled phones, they're going to want to be a player in that market.
      • Read the article again:

        ------------
        While the software is being marketed as an improvement for desktop computer users, it could have just as big a future in powering a yet-to-be announced Apple hand-held computer-phone
        ------------
    • The features of OS X would be great for INTERFACING to a phone. We don't need to assume the author is a dweeb.
  • I heard that Apple and Nokia were in discussions about this combination phone/pda....

    But please remeber the companies that help out Apple before anemly , the software handwriting recognition company are now owned and controlled by MS..

    Where is the software coming from, not APPLe they are not known fro doing high quality CE software with the exception of iPhoto
  • I for one would be very interested in a design Apple would come up with for a phone. Say what you will about them as a company and their computers, but you have to admit their designs are pretty original. People are pretty polar about whether they're original in a good way or a bad way, but oh well.

    I wonder if they'll have Ellen Feiss doing Switch commercials. "My old Nokia phone went BEEPBEEPBEEPBEPPBEEP! It ate my voicemail. Bummer."

  • Apple and VoIP (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 19, 2002 @08:51AM (#4097162)
    Apple's certainly got something up its sleeve when it comes to telephony, but everyone's hung up on the hardware aspects - why not think about software for a second?

    With QuickTime 6 (especially) the potential for clear, bandwidth-adaptable communications is right in the OS. Anyone who's seen streaming QT6 broadcasts knows that it's a quantum leap in quality over previous incarnations. There is a strong likelihood that some form of realtime video conferencing will be built into future versions of iChat - using Rendezvous and the Address Book to locate people across LANs and WANs, for instance. Now, eliminate the video component, and imagine those algorithms being brought to bear on multiple audio streams. You could pack quite a lot of conversations on a Gigabit Ethernet connection...and with the appropriate gateways, iChat becomes a softphone. I presume Apple is already up to speed on H.323 and its rapidly rising successor, SIP.

    Furthermore, with the emergence of T.38 Fax-over-IP, Apple could integrate a T.38 client into the OS (as part of Print Center or a Telephony Center) to work with FoIP servers like XMediusFAX.
    I've even heard that Apple might integrate IP faxing into .mac or OS X Server as some sort of add-on.

    Future versions of Xserve might be used as VoIP gateways and softswitches - combined with the usual hardware from Cisco, Alcatel, Avaya etc.

    If there is a hardware "phone" it might not come from Apple. Most likely it will just be a 3rd-party phone or PDA loaded with a combo of Bluetooth and 802.11g to allow synchronization and wireless "roaming" in-office, respectively. I've seen solutions like this (minus Bluetooth) running on Compaq iPaq PDAs, so there's no reason Apple can't do it.

  • by burnsy (563104) on Monday August 19, 2002 @08:52AM (#4097167)
    FYI to those posting NY Times articles. You can get NY Times articles via the AltaVista news search engine [altavista.com] and no registration is required.

    Link to this article, no registration required.

    Apple's Chief in the Risky Land of the Handhelds [nytimes.com]

  • The problem with phones is that there are significant issues of network compatability.

    The US, Apple's core market, has too many incompatible cellular phone networks. Having multiple versions of the iPhone that support PCS, GSM, and god-knows-how-many-analog versions would be a pain in the ass in the logistics and product development perspective. Making a phone available only on one network would limit the market significantly.

    Even worse, an iPhone would have to compete with phones given away for free from the network operators. The Nokia 3390 phone that Voicestream gave me for free is extremely well designed and easy to use - I don't see how Apple could improve on it, besides maybe Bluetooth PC-phone integration. But I would certainly never pay hundreds of dollars for that.
    • The US, Apple's core market, has too many incompatible cellular phone networks. Having multiple versions of the iPhone that support PCS, GSM, and god-knows-how-many-analog versions would be a pain in the ass in the logistics and product development perspective. Making a phone available only on one network would limit the market significantly.

      Maybe that's the hook right there. Maybe Apple's going to make the one phone for all network, complete with software upgradable protocols? Is that even possible? *shrug* At any rate, that would be sweet if they could pull it off.

  • if they do do it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by banky (9941) <gregg@nOSpAm.neurobashing.com> on Monday August 19, 2002 @08:58AM (#4097201) Homepage Journal
    Did anyone read the article about the design of the iPod? Apple basically bought all the parts off the shelf, with the exception of the case. They didn't build it all from scratch, and used existing parts wherever possible. So given the relative success of the iPod, the logical choice for the design of the iPhone would be to partner with Sony or Ericsson, let them provide the guts, and let Ivo dream up the nifty case.

    Then consider all the new stuff in Jaguar. Some posters have said, "Like including chat and address books in the OS is anything unusual". Well, it's not... except that Apple is all about the "Digital Hub". What do you wanna bet the iPhone will have the ability to sync with .mac, downloading all your contacts and stuff? That's assuming you don't spring for the Bluetooth adapter.

    The biggest problem with phones is they aren't like MP3 players, in that phone services are localized. You can't use your bitching Sony with Nextel, or whatever. If they want the phone to work, they'll need to have the best penetration possible in terms of phone use.

    I think there's at least a decent chance.
  • by Tyrone Slothrop (522703) on Monday August 19, 2002 @09:18AM (#4097303)
    will they be unable to get press passes to Macworld SF?
  • by Mr_Icon (124425) on Monday August 19, 2002 @09:27AM (#4097379) Homepage

    It's that time of the year when someone has to post a link to this other idea from Apple [mricon.com]. :)

  • by freerangegeek (451133) on Monday August 19, 2002 @09:34AM (#4097437)
    1) Palm is tanking, badly.
    2) Handspring has yet to support OS X native despite platitudes for over a year.
    3) Windows CE devices are not Mac compatible.
    4) Sony doesn't support Mac OS directly.

    Apple's PDA section of the digital hub is about to get very sparse and remain unsupported if it doesn't do something fairly soon. Options are:

    1) Kick Handspring in the nuts. (Please do!)
    2) Buy Palm outright.
    3) Convince Sony to play nice.
    4) Live with outdated PDAs.

    Or, in my not so humble opionion, dump the whole problem by making the right move and producing (either on their own or in cahoots with a mobile phone manufacturer) a combined PDA/phone.

    Think about it, it doesn't make sense to spend time and effort syncing your PDA, your Phone, your iPod, and your desktop. It makes a lot more sense to start putting them into one device, and syncing that to your desktop.

    Battery life is now reasonable to support it, Apple has repeatedly proved that the can put out UI that makes a device world class. (See the iPod). And nobody else out there wants to support Apple's hub strategy, they all want a share of the Bill Gates' market.

    While I don't agree that Apple will likely produce a proprietary phone. They don't have to. All they have to do is work their interface magic on the front end of one.

    Who care's who's 'talk to the network guts' live inside the phone, at that level, there is no differentiation from Nokia, to Erricson to Kyocera. What's going to make thing killer is a new 'front end' that makes your phone a better tool. And who's produced the most innovative tools in the last 15 years?
    • Think about it, it doesn't make sense to spend
      time and effort syncing your PDA, your Phone,
      your iPod, and your desktop. It makes a lot more
      sense to start putting them into one device, and
      syncing that to your desktop.

      For some people, this may make a great deal of sense, but my PDA is not just a contact manager.

      I use my pda all day long. I take notes on it in meetings. I read news on it on the subway or the bathroom (<-- not always easy to tell the difference ...). I would not want my phone ringing while in a development meeting. I don't want to put up with the added bulk or cost of other devices vying for battery life. I don't even want color in my PDA (not until there's good reason for it).

      I do want easy synching of info between desktop, phone, pda and music machine, but i want the best of each - for my use - doing each of these things. This should not be that difficult (there are enough data synching interfaces / ports on all of these devices), and my hope is Apple pulls it off with hardware or software or both.

    • "Think about it, it doesn't make sense to spend time and effort syncing your PDA, your Phone, your iPod, and your desktop. It makes a lot more sense to start putting them into one device, and syncing that to your desktop."

      Well, Sony Ericsson's [sonyericsson.com] soon-to-be-released P800 [sonyericsson.com], will have both PDA-functionality(using SymbianOS 7.0), big(320x208x12bit) color screen, a built in digital camera, a dedicated mp3-decoderchip, a memorystick slot, and triband cellular functionality all in one device.
  • that makes cell phones?

    Everybody has mentioned Sony and (sp) Eriksson, but even if there was a chance in hell of this kind of product getting sold, I don't think they'd buy from either of those two. (Apple isn't selling its own PDA because the market is saturated and no one is making money. The cellular handset market is 10 thousand times worse, so don't look for this any time soon. Eriksson might make a likely partner, but longterm Sony is a major competitor in the digital-lifestyle space, so I don't see them going there. Eriksson or Nokia, maybe.)

    Who does Apple know that makes phones? A company established [motorola.com] in the cellular industry, maybe down on its luck in recent years, looking for a breakthrough product? Maybe one that sells things like phones [motorola.com] and has been getting good press lately for Bluetooth gear [eet.com] seeing as how Apple loves Bluetooth. If oonly there was a company that Apple already had a relationship [apple.com] with, then we'd know who they might go to for this sort of thing.

    If only I could think of a company like that...
  • iTunes,iSync,iCal,iMovie,iEtc ....

    Not all 'i' products have to be hardware. I think it would be awesome if 'iPhone' was just a software piece to make voice communication on the internet easier and possibly integrate it in with one of those bluetooth sony/ericson phones. Now that would be awesome.

    Ryan
  • I'm surprised that no one has yet mentioned that Motorola's past relationship with Apple could be a factor in this... Moto makes phone chips and could be more willing to put R&D into improving PowerPC chips again if Apple makes phones with their other chips. (Or Apple could go elsewhere to "punish" Moto for failing to abide by Moore's Law.)
  • Apple announces their entrance into the bionics market with a new prosthetic for the rest of us: the iEye.

    "We feel that a clear vision is needed in the synthetic vision market, and Apple is excited to bring a new light to users with vision problems." said CEO Steve Jobs at a recent press conference.

    The iEye uses Bluetooth technology to mesh the camera of the iEye to a user's Macintosh product. From there, a second Bluetooth receptor disguised as a user's 2nd molar sends basic visual stimuli to the user's brain.

    "We know that our vision-impaired users will give their eyeteeth for our new product." Jobs said.

    International versions of the iEye include the PopEye (for maritime users with stronger water resistant features), and the EyeYiEye (for members of the Hispanic community).

    When asked why the iEye uses a Mac as a "middleman" device rather than transmitting the signal directly to the molar-shaped receptor, Apple responded, "Uh...it's..um...a part of the digital hub...and...er...well, it goes well with...um...can we call you back on this?"

    Steve Austin-style "boop-boop-boop-boop" sound effects for magnification will be available in a later package.
  • Apple is making progress towards this. Don;t know if anyone has seen, but the SonyEriccsson t-68i will be able to synch the calender, address book etc. in it with Mac OS 10.2 via bluetooth. Have yet to see it work in person, but as a Mac user it's enough to make me consider buying one as I'm looking for a new phone anyway.

  • Cellphones aren't about building hardware. Cellphone hardware is given away at cost (or you pay dearly for it, depending on your perspective.)

    Cellphones are all about minutes. And that is where the competition is. The NYT says "building the hardware is easy, but building the infrastructure is hard". Which is why they miss the point--- apple isn't going to try and make money on cellphone hardware, apple is going to try and make money on cellphone minutes (if they even do this at all).

    They would do this by providing an easy to use cellphone (certainly built by someone else and possibly co-branded) but would introduce some compelling feature that adds minutes, and adds value to the infrastructure carrier. And thus do a deal with them.

    Much like they thought they'd make money with their earthlink partnership (which they may have, just hasn't been gangbusters, I bet.)

    The iPod took and MP3 player and added three killer features: the useability of the wheel, the next generation battery, and the next generation storage device (a small hard drive.) Expect an iphone, if there is one, to have three killer features as well.

    But I suspect that all thats going on is Apple is spending R&D money watching the market, and keeping efforts going to integrate the mac into the "Digital hub" of our lives.

    When and idea comes up that improves this integration, apple turns it into a product (iSync) ... but I believe apple has realized that the Mac is the platform, and eveything should support that.

    It will make more money, and is far easier to grow mac market share, than to enter a totally new market and try to dominate it. The Newton was not a bad idea because it CREATED a totally new market. But a PDA or Phone would be pointless until there were three significant advantages (like the iPod had) and even then the MP3 player market was tiny when Apple entered it, and the PDA and phone markets are already big.

    Apple's watching the convergence and I'm sure product ideas are developed periodically-- I'm sure they've internally built apple brand/style iPhones-- but that doesn't mean they are planning to release one. All products from good companies go thru these revisions, and speculative development to see if there really is an opportunity there.

    But the economics of the situation is that unless there are some compelling reasons to believe this would be very profitable to apple, they are highly unlikely to do it. Better to spend the time and money and FOCUS on improving the Mac profitability.

  • Here [spymac.com] it is. I guess it was 'borrowed' from Steve Jobs while he was testing it.

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