TECH TALK: Apple iPhone: Features (Part 2)

Among other things, the iPhone also has Apple’s Safari browser, which will make for an excellent Internet browsing experience. Not to mention that the phone runs the OS X operating system. As Lev Grossman wrote in Time in January: They began by melting the face off a video iPod. No clickwheel, no keypad. They sheared off the entire front and replaced it with a huge, bright, vivid screen–that touch screen Jobs got so excited about a few paragraphs ago. When you need to dial, it shows you a keypad; when you need other buttons, the screen serves them up. When you want to watch a video, the buttons disappear. Suddenly, the interface isn’t fixed and rigid, it’s fluid and molten. Software replaces hardware…Into that iPod they stuffed a working version of Apple’s operating system, OS X, so that the phone could handle real, nontoy applications like Web browsers and e-mail clients. They put in a cell antenna and two more antennas for wi-fi and Bluetooth, plus a bunch of sensors, so that the phone knows how bright its screen should be and whether it should display vertically or horizontally, and when it should turn off the touch screen so that you don’t accidentally operate it with your ear.

PC Magazine has a detailed analysis of tie iPhone features with other smartphones. The iPhone occupies a unique place in the wireless market, straddling the line between smartphones, feature phones, and portable media players. In some cases, it exceeds the capabilities of all of these devices, while it lags behind in others. Will Apple’s magic combination of killer design, features, and a revolutionary touch interface be enough to match its enormous hype? We’re only a week away from finding out.

New York Magazine wrote:

It took half an hour, no more than that, after Jobs unveiled his gleaming new toy for the bloggers to dub it the Jesus Phone. Here was the gizmo wed all been pining for lo these many years: a music player, camera, e-mail tool, Web browser, and cell phone, all rolled into one impossibly seductive package. After watching Jobs enact the ta-da moment with typical brioI didnt sleep a wink last nighteven cynical observers were smitten. What a weird fucking day Tuesday was, Josh Quittner, the editor of Business 2.0, remarked. It was as if we were all participating in a shared consensual hallucination All these supposedly hard-bitten tech reporters wandering around like they were getting laid for the first time.

The panting over the Jesus Phone must have satisfied Jobs no end: Every product he crafts he regards as a sacred object, the primary aspiration of which is to incite naked lust. And in the months since then, the breathing has only gotten heavier. At the launch, the sales goals Jobs set forth were demure: 1 percent of the world market, about 10 million units, by the end of 2008. But industry analysts are less bashful. Piper Jaffrays Gene Munster forecasts sales of 15.6 million units in that timeand 45 million in 2009. Apple has been so good at executing these different multimedia elements with the Mac and iPod that they might be able to take over with their phone, says a London-based telecom investor. Nokia and the rest of those guys are absolutely shitting themselves.

Jobs has done little to dampen either the giddiness or the panic. Its the best iPod weve ever made, he says of the iPhone. Its an incredibly great cell phone And its the Internet in your pocket for really the first time. If it was any one of those three, it would be successful but its all three!

Tomorrow: Competition and Need

TECH TALK Apple iPhone+T

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.