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iPhone ‘indsight

I didn’t get to post on the unabashed flamebait from generally more even-handed CNet editor at large  Michael Kanellos on why the Apple Phone will flop and Playlist senior editor Dan Frakes’s dutiful reverse peristalsis. (Dan saw eye to eye with me on why Zune shouldn’t be “the anti-iPod.”). Both were blind men before the elephant, though. Michael saw Apple trying to turn the industry upside-down with a converged do-all device while Dan saw something more focused on media. I’d say overall that Dan’s perspective was more on target.

I must come clean that I was on the record essentially saying that Apple would never do a cell phone, so as the tidal wave of rumors came crashing down in San Francisco next week, I had to eat some humble apple pie. Oh well, my rationales held for three and a half years and some of my arguments were similar to why Michael says the Apple phone will flop.

In any case, here were my (unposted) predictions for what the iPhone would be if it were released at Macworld. I’ve annotated what I guessed right, guessed wrong, and what remains to be seen:


  • small and slim candy bar — Yes
  • 4GB or 8GB flash — Yes
  • Larger than a nano but smaller than a full-sized iPod. Maybe a 2″ screen.  — Partial (got the screen size wrong)
  • Scroll wheel overlay on keypad or some kind of clickable LCD  — Nope. I was expecting something wiith tactile feedback
    • It would be nifty if this rotated for a QWERTY keyboard, but probably not
  • HDSPA support on Cingular as the exclusive U.S. carrier — Cingular exclusive, yes. HSDPA support no.
  • Distribution via Cingular’s channels and Apple Stores — Mostly yes. It will be Cingular-owned stores only.
  • Competitive battery life (the “two batteries” theory seems convoluted) — Yes
  • No GPS or flash card support. No dedicated QWERTY (see above) — Yes
  • iTunes integration (of course) including video and games (although this will be a screen-size challenge) — Yes, although not sure about games yet.
  • 3.5″ headphone jack — No
  • iPod docking connector in lieu of mini-USB — Yes
  • iPod-like PIM info transfer but no editing/true synchronization — No, I believe there will be two-way sync
  • Bluetooth 2.0 w/ DUN support — DUN part remains to be seen although I believe so
  • MP3/protected AAC ringtone option — Yes, I believe
  • Mobile iChat — No, not yet anyway
  • No Web browser or pocket productivity suite. Perhaps you’d like to consider a MacBook Pro? — Yes on productivity suite (for now), no on Web browser
  • .Mac/iDisk integration — Not yet, but still think this is a great opportunity for Apple
  • MIDP (mostly at carrier’s request) — No, it appears
  • And one more thing: OTA iTunes purchases for 99 cents — No

<< In summary, I thought Apple would shoot for more of a feature-phone than smartphone, even though those lines are blurring.  I also thought, citing Apple's decision to acquire the "Mighty Mouse" name for its updated pointing device, that Apple would indeed use the "iPhone" name, even though I wonder whether that's even a wise move given that most of the world calls them "mobiles." I'll be writing more on the iPhone in Engadget and Laptop.