Monday, June 7, 2010

Apple and Steve Jobs Announce New iPhone

Being the good Apple fanboy that I am, I spent two hours today hunched over my laptop following the announcements from the Keynote talk at the Apple World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC).

Not a lot here that we didn't expect. In fact, as usual, there were a few things we kinda expected that didn't materialize.

But here's the announced stuff that caught my attention:

Updates to iBook. At least some of this seems to be mimicing the things that the Kindle iPad reader already do. One fear I have here is that Apple will wander away from the ePub open standard, and make it harder for outsiders to create ebooks for the Pad.

The iPhone OS is now renamed to be "iOS 4". Which I think is an unexciting name, but these things tend to grow on you, so I'll give it time.

BTW, Apple apparently had to license this name from Cisco, so I guess they like it a lot.

Big news is the new iPhone 4. New hardware design, slick, thinner, seems to be designed for better radio reception.

Much better screen resolution, which Apple's calling "Retina Display", seems cool. I'll have to see it in person, but it makes sense that this will provide a dramatically improved image quality.

Front facing camera. Along with the announcement of a video-phone app called FaceTime. I know a lot of people are excited about this. Maybe I'll "get it" when I have it in my hands, but it doesn't seem like something that will be all that useful to me.

It now uses the A4 chip -- the same one that's in the blazingly fast iPad -- so that's good.

It now comes with a gyroscope, to complement the accelerometers. This could be pretty cool. Game makers are obviously the target here, but my pilot friends are also liking the idea of better motion sensing for EFB apps. (Electronic Flight Bag)

iMovie video editing on the iPhone. This just leaves me cold. I can't imagine how this is gonna be really useful.

$199 and $299 with AT&T two year commitments. Still no word about Verizon. (I hope that whoever negotiated this AT&T contract three years ago is long buried in a shallow grave out in the central valley.) (Well, I don't really hope that, but you get my point.)

I plan to buy one of these phones pretty soon after they launch. I'm still using my 2.5 year old, first gen iPhone. I've been dragging my feet on upgrading, waiting for Verizon, but it's looking like we could be waiting a while longer. (Or it could be announced the day after I sign up for 2 more years with AT&T, which is probably what will happen.)

Perhaps of note is that I think that I will get the lower-capacity, cheaper version of this new phone. My sense is that with my iPad and my laptop, I really won't need to be loading all sorts of stuff -- and especially not the most memory intensive: video -- on my phone. So 16G should be enough.

16G is the capacity of my existing iPhone, and I've never max-ed it out.


One other thing of note today is the presentation-hell that Jobs and co. suffered during the keynote. Apparently the wifi in the room was so overloaded that it affected the onstage connection. This was a pretty big deal, given the attention to detail and advance planning that goes into a SteveNote. Jobs handled it pretty graciously onstage, but one has to wonder what sort of hell broke loose backstage afterwards.

( I occasionally work with the people who have done the WWDC network in the past. I wonder if they were the ones on it this time? If so, I may get the story-behind-the-story in a couple weeks. )

One person twittered that Apple could easily solve this network overloading problem if they'd just provide a live video/audio feed of the keynote, thus make all the liveblogging, etc, unnecessary.


So all-in-all a decent Steve Keynote, but not one, I think, that will go down as legendary. (Except maybe for the network failure part.)

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