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Rory Cellan-Jones

Phone apps - open or closed?

  • Rory Cellan-Jones
  • 10 Jul 08, 16:34 GMT

We're trying to ignore the hullabaloo over the 3G iPhone (is a 3G phone really that new?) but the launch of Apple's applications store is of far more interest. Firstly because it's the first real mass-market attempt to sell mobile users on the idea of downloaded software, and secondly because of the way the whole system has been locked down by Apple, to the dismay of some smaller developers. That's a real contrast with the way some of Apple's rivals in the mobile software world are operating.

Apple applications storeBy lunchtime on Thursday the iPhone apps store was up and running - though rather hard to find on iTunes.

I browsed through hundreds of free apps, from iPint, which makes your iPhone look like a pint of lager, to social networks like Facebook and MySpace, to a British Airways application which gives you a live departures board - but may not tell you where your lost luggage has gone. There is an Apple application which turns your iPhone or iPod into a remote which can control your iTunes from anywhere over your wi-fi network - and another developer will turn your phone into a light sabre.

The paid-for applications seemed thinner on the ground - they included maps of New York, photo sharing services, and a number of games. The most expensive appeared to be Netterman's Anatomy Flash Cards for £23.99, so if your doctor gets out his iPhone during a consultation you'll know what's happening.

"A bunch of stuff that I never needed before, and probably don't need now," was the cynical response from one colleague when I read out this list. He may be right about the paid-for applications - but I think the free stuff will fly off the virtual shelf. For many people it will be the first time they've been introduced to the idea that you can customise your phone with new software.

Of course you can already do that on plenty of other phones - I've put several free mobile video applications on a Nokia phone - but I'd guess the vast majority of users have never caught on to that.

So this is a game-changer - but Apple has written some very rigid rules. It controls access to the Apps Store and to the iPhone. "It's very locked-down" one small developer told me, contrasting Apple's approach to Google's upcoming Android platform and even to Windows Mobile.

Joe Richards has been trying to get his security application iRedhanded (it sends out annoying noises to anyone who steals your phone and wipes personal data) onto the applications store. He says big firms have been welcomed in - but for smaller players like him "it's like waiting outside a nightclub with the bouncer promising you'll be let in sooner or later."

He believes that the army of small and innovative developers who could make the real difference are being alienated: "There's a serious danger that they hack off the smaller developers and they go off to Android." Android is not the only threat. Symbian, now wholly owned by Nokia and going open-source, is by far the biggest player in this industry.

There is definitely a benefit to Apple's approach. After all, a bit of quality control will be welcomed by consumers - remember all those useless and annoying Facebook applications which appeared after it threw open its doors to any developer big or small?

But if Symbian, Google Android and Windows Mobile have any sense they will be opening their own applications supermarkets - and finding out whose approach, open or closed, proves most attractive to mobile users.


UPDATE:
Okay, to those who think I've committed some terrible faux-pas by even daring to write about the iPhone apps store without spending a couple of weeks with a cold flannel on my head, let me make a few things clear:

The 3g iPhone will be a big successes - the queues at my local shopping centre at an O2 and two Carphone Warehouse stores at 0900 tell me that, though there was much grumbling in the line when the message arrived "the computers are down".

The App store is already doing a lot of business and has some really good stuff - as I said above it is a "game-changer". But don't think the likes of Symbian, Windows Mobile and Google are going to let the market be taken away from them without a fight

And, finally, if a BBC blog waited for a few weeks to reflect a story that much of the tech world is talking about, would that be a sensible strategy?

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    It's not been all fun and games for developers - especially as a game developer. Our iPhone game, "iDrops", isn't one of the eight featured puzzle games, and so we're virtually impossible to find on the App Store. After all the effort put into developing the game, it's very frustrating.

    I've posted some comments (and grumbles) from a game developer's perspective here:

    http://www.thismuchiknow.co.uk/?p=48

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    "The paid-for applications seemed thinner on the ground"

    Seriously; did you even look in the store?

    Discounting ebooks there are a few hundred apps with over half of them paid for.

    Took me five minutes to check.

  • Comment number 4.

    Yer BBC you are always so anti-Apple! ;)

    I've already got a couple of free apps downloaded, I wanted eReader because I used to buy books from them until I threw my Windows Mobile device in a draw in frustration a few years ago. I've also seen that a lot of the Windows Mobile programs I used to use are being done for the iPhone which will be useful.

    Main issue I have with the App Store so far is the lack of demos and no direct videos to see how the apps work. That and the fact I'm still waiting for 2.0 for my iPod Touch.

    Early days

  • Comment number 5.

    Nokia already has MOSH (http://mosh.nokia.com%29 - similar to an Apps store, but for more than apps and games, and with more of a community feel. And not to mention, very open.

    Once again, Apple's way behind Nokia, yet gets all the attention anyway :)

  • Comment number 6.

    One thing that puzzles me - and which I've read in a few articles on various sites - is the belief that although WinMo and Symbian have applications few people use them. I'm not sure where this idea comes from as everyone I know with an N Series phone (usually an N95) has a few installed - everything from Google Mail through MSN to N-Gage games to fun stuff like the light sabre application.

    The Apple store is fine but it's a closed shop which doesn't seem to let you download trial versions (S60 application stores generally do) and one which I can't really see anything that doesn't already exist for S60. I appreciate it's early days but I can't help the app store is going to turn out to be more hype than substance. Time will tell I suppose.

  • Comment number 7.

    R C-J is making big of the lock-down nature of the iPhone.

    There are already 6m iPhones around the world and a great many of them are not on the registered carriers; the have been unlocked and jailbroken which has led to a huge range of apps that can already be installed that Apple don't control.
    Cut the DevTeam some slack and in a day or two the new phone will be open too.

    The iPhone is unique because behind all the glitzy UI pretty icons there is actually something far more impressive than Nokia has been able to come up with. WinMo has had 6 or 7 iterations and still isn't fit for purpose.

  • Comment number 8.

    WinMo + Zune I can hardly wait to see.....

  • Comment number 9.

    I must say this is pretty cheap reporting, especially from the BBC. It's actually still Thursday so clearly Rory, you're keen to get some sleep like the rest of us.

    It really seems like you feel you _have_ to write a zero-day post otherwise you'll be gazumped by the other Blog sites.

    In my option, the way Apple is playing the App Store makes perfect sense - firstly, small and home developers *can* develop applications for iPod Touch and iPhone - the SDK is free and registration with Apple is a nominal fee - which is entirely opposite to closed environments such as the Sony PSP.

    Secondly, rather than make app development a free-for-all and leaving yourself exposed to abuse of the software (and thus weakening the platform), Apple very sensibly want veto on what people try to do with the iPhone. Better that then thousands of "your app broke my iPhone" posts, surely?

    For me, I would much rather the BBC metaphorically stood back, took stock, and then posted a sensible, *realistic* view than trying to compete with news blogs run by 12-year-olds (as you'll never win).

    Chris

  • Comment number 10.

    would love to see how anroid response to this and bit suprise to Jobs has an extra edge on his s/w rivals - http://www.360view4u.co.uk

  • Comment number 11.

    "We're trying to ignore the hullabaloo over the 3G iPhone" - the fact that there are queues outside O2 stores and lots of angry O2 customers who were promised upgrades but can't get them is not news-worthy?

    It's obvious that the BBC are scared of being accused of advertising, despite the over-the-top coverage of a new version of Firefox and the obvious publicity stunt of breaking a world record that doesn't exist.

    This article is basically saying the app store is rubbish. Then you end by saying everyone else should copy Apple and open their own app stores?

    The BBC are in some kind of panic over how to cover Apple news because of one blog about them - absolutely pathetic.

  • Comment number 12.

    Some moaning from the usual suspects.

    First of all, I fully expect the BBC will run an article on the launch of the iPhone 3G because it's a noteworthy event. What wasn't noteworthy was the hype and speculation around what really amounts to just one product from one manufacturer.

    Secondly, although the app store has only been open for a day or so, the SDK has been available since March. A good number of the apps available have just been ported over from WinMo or Symbian so not a lot of design has been needed. Furthermore, the premium apps - like SMB - have been in development for longer still.

    Thirdly, and here's the bottom line, handheld applications are pretty limited. Looking at WinMo, RIM and S60 you'll get your browsers, chat clients, your office suites, games, ringtones, blogging and comms software and that's about it aside from some fun stuff and specialist apps. People may say that the iPhone is a handheld computer but then so are the more advanced WinMo and S60 devices and there's still only so much you can do with them. The iPhone will be no different.

    So, whilst it's nice that the app store exists and whilst it's an act of genius to put them all in iTunes, it really is a case of Rory's colleague's words:

    "A bunch of stuff that I never needed before, and probably don't need now."

  • Comment number 13.

    Man, what's with all the hating from the fan-boys??? Maybe because he's making valid points about potential shortcomings in an Apple product??? Did some of you actully read the post properly, as your counter-arguments are actually points he also makes???

    Lighten up guys, I don't often agree with Rory, but I think this is a perfectly reasonable post. It's a blog, not an article, so by nature it's more informal and less well formed, he's just expressing his initial impressions. If you want formal and well-formed then don't read the blog, wait for an article that's been through the full journalistic process.

  • Comment number 14.

    Its all very well, but nothing has been said about the fact the ONE carrier in the UK has absolutely messed up the pre release and now the actual release of the new iphone.

    O2 should have their monopoly taken away from them. Some O2 stores only have 4-25 iphones, and yet again the O2 computer system, which the CEO states as being the "most robust online ordering system in the UK!", has yet again fallen over this morning when O2 customers have tried to upgrade.

    Its an obsolete farce.

    Mr Jobs, i hope your watching this from Cuperno.

  • Comment number 15.

    In terms of apps of of the best free ones by a mile is Shazam.

    It's a music identifier, you play some music at the application it transmits it to a server and tells you what the track is. Extremely cool indeed.

    I've not outfoxed it yet and I've given it some very obscure stuff - and up it pops after about 5 seconds.

  • Comment number 16.

    I managed to get my iPhone 3G this morning and am only just getting a chance to try the app store. So far, the whole iPhone experience has been great (I'm new to iPhone).

    But do you really need to apologise every time you write an Apple-related article?

  • Comment number 17.

    You're right - previously downloading and installing apps on smartphones has been the lot of geeks like me (currently using the SonyEricsson P990i, a symbian / UIQ3.0 based smartphone).

    There is something else besides the apps store though. The iPhone is a _usable_ smartphone - to be honest, Symbian's UIs (S60/UIQ) are a pain in the arse and not very user friendly. How many keypresses to send a text in S60? D'oh!

    This means the iPhone finally bridges the divide and gives the regular user (i.e. non geek) something which does data apps well AND HAS AN IMMERSIVE USER EXPERIENCE. If Android does that then Apple will have competition. Symbian will die on its' arse (not least because the programming API environment is horrible) over the next 5 years.

    "Smartphones" finally come of age - perhaps now they'll get some real market penetration and not just be geek and business bling.

  • Comment number 18.

    Firstly I must say that I am a mca fan. I love my old iBook and my little mac mini and my iPod touch. Havig said that, there isn't much on the iPhone that is any good. The camera is below par and I can do everything else it does on my Sony Ericsson Pay as you go walkman phone. So I'm not vey impressed.

    As for the App Store. I downloaded a few of the free apps last night but Apple still havent released the 2.0 software upgrade which is frankly ludicrous. The moblie.me launch was a disater and today's iPhone sales in the UK have been a nightmare.

    The main selling point of the iPhone to me is the compatability with mobile me but that is an extra cost on top of the phone. If I want the 8GB phone on a decent tarriff its going to cost me £99 plus a monthly fee plus £59 a year for mobile me.

    Much as I like Apple this isn't impressing me. I would rather see innovative developers doing new things than a buch of phrase books and e books and 3 different ways to show a white screen on my iPod to kid myself that it is a light. My current phone has a flash light that does that much better. To add insult to injury 2 of them cost money while one is free.

    I also agree that the Appstore is bad to navigate but then the iTunes store always has been. Once you see that annoying alphabet downt he bottom you know you are going to start missing things.

    There are only 2 reall innovations on the Appstore. One is the remote app by Apple themselves and the other is a couple of games that actually use the tilt sensors to play. The rest seem to be ancient versions of PDA aps.

    I knew Apple woudl stuff up the mobile market. If they weren't so idiotic with their business model they could have let the networks fund the phones and creamed the iTunes store. If the phones were on all networks then they woudl have got a much better portion of the market share. Rather than relying on waht seems to be a rather incompetant company to bodge up a launch day in the worst possible way.

  • Comment number 19.

    To all those giving Rory a hard time, I tell you what, if you dont like his journalism then dont read it. Dont start complaining when no one even makes your read it.

  • Comment number 20.

    Nearly a whole week without an Apple story. Is this a new record?

  • Comment number 21.

    "To all those giving Rory a hard time, I tell you what, if you dont like his journalism then dont read it. Dont start complaining when no one even makes your read it."

    ngethin, the problem is other people will read this diatribe and believe it. The BBC (allegedly) has integrity.

    I just can't believe the hysteria, this is (as we are in the UK) only the 14th hour of all this (iPhone 2.0, MobileMe, App Store) going online. Dot Mac members were warned that there would be an outage by email and the service status page said so weeks ago. MobileMe is not a mission critical guaranteed service as the Terms and Conditions's state quite clearly. My mail went down for a while, but it's back up now. I accept it. This is a massive, massive upgrade, and the first few days will be interesting, because there will be small outages.

    If you can't live without email for a few hours or days, you need serious medical help.

    @Mark_MWFC

    "Thirdly, and here's the bottom line, handheld applications are pretty limited. Looking at WinMo, RIM and S60 you'll get your browsers, chat clients, your office suites, games, ringtones, blogging and comms software and that's about it aside from some fun stuff and specialist apps. People may say that the iPhone is a handheld computer but then so are the more advanced WinMo and S60 devices and there's still only so much you can do with them. The iPhone will be no different."

    Changed your tune a bit haven't you young man. A few weeks ago you were on these forums bragging about how superior the Nokia and WinMo devices were and the iPhone 3G is inferior. Now you are saying there is only so much you can do with them.

    Master Flip-Flopper, have you ever thought about a career in politics?

  • Comment number 22.

    doesnt matter what apple do, or how funky and clever their products get. no of them will interest me. Nokia/Symbian all the way. I do like the idea of everything being in one place to look at/download, but i also like the fun of google

  • Comment number 23.

    I'm not sure how much of a "game changer" the App store really is. For those who have used many mobile devices before, sites like MOSH or PocketGear have done this before and in a much more open way. I was buying apps and installing them with one click from PalmGear (as PocketGear was) for my old Treo five years ago.

    Apple are just using the same vertical integration model they use for all their products. It's just the way they do business.
    So far it has worked for them and doubtless it will continue to.

    Disclaimer: I'm not an Apple hater, using Apple's (very well designed) kit quite a lot, as well as owning an iPod. Neither am I a fanboy.

  • Comment number 24.

    My N95 8GB still destroys this phone. 3g? Welcome to 5 years ago.

    Wake me up when apple to an i phone with 5 mega pixel camera with dvd quality video camera and has the software support that my phone has. Despite it's looks, it's functions are still left wanting.

  • Comment number 25.

    if people are so anti-BBC then why do they participate in the Blog discussions here?!

  • Comment number 26.

    The US tech blog Gizmodo are reporting that the Iphone 2.0 firmware has already been cracked by the iphone dev team (so called jailbreaking). This means applications can be added without having to purchase them from the app. store - thus freeing up the phone to outside developers. This is of course unofficial

  • Comment number 27.

    I'm struggling to see how the Apple Store is a game changer?

    I have my N95, which I very successfully upgraded last weekend with the latest firmware (and unlocked from my network).

    This phone has a "download" application that allows you to go off to various publishers and download the applications to your phone, you can pay the publisher for the game prior to download. These applications also seem locked to Nokia and I think (not 100% on this) you can get your application verified and then put into this area.

    Sound familiar?

    Failing that I simply go to one of the many websites that offer free symbain apps, scan in the barcode and download it direct to my phone.

    Not sure the iPhone supports that.

    A simple phone for the masses? Yeah I think so, a game changer? No, not really. Just more consumer lock in by Apple....

  • Comment number 28.

    Wow Apple release a 3G phone and Apps store.

    The usual style over substance. Not the best phone and not the best Apps store.

    I suppose its nice if your a WAG, Socialite or just generally dont know much about phones etc.

    Why does the BBC not cover more interesting phones and products rather than things like this?

    One for the sheep.........

  • Comment number 29.

    Rory, did you not realise that between each feature you mention on an apple product, you are supposed to have a few elipses: This is so the mac brigade can burst into spontaneous applause and wipe the dribble from their chins...
    Oh! and never dare write anything negative or have an opinion on anything mac, cos these hard core mac zealots (sheep) will take you down in a second.

    The mac is good........... the ipod is king.......... touch screen......... and its a phone........ 3G.........

  • Comment number 30.

    Well, I am a huge Mac fan, have been for a whiloe now, but the way Apple are dealing with the iPhone and such is beginning to enrage me. I switched to Mac for two reasons, the first being the plain and simple fact that Mac's are easier and more intuitive to use, the second being that I was under the impression that Mac welcomed input from outside developers big or small. Oww and there is actually a third reason, the idea of choice, if and when I want to I can run an alternative system on my mac, be it windows or Ubuntu or whatever. The way Apple is now treating the smaller developers, and the customers seems to suggest the opposite.

    I should have the choice to go to a store and by an iPhone combined with a contract from any provider I choose, here in Holland the phone is a T-Mobile exclusive, and after some negative experience with said firm, I am not willing to go down that road. So instead, I now have to buy the device with out a contract, at which point the price, though arguably justifiable is still too steep and than go and get it hacked to use with the provider of my choice....

    So much for freedom of choice when using Apple products, I am deeply offended by this and the only reason my Mac products are not being binned immediately is the simple fact that no one else can offer me a computer that provides the quality and performance I have grown accustomed to.

    And when I hear that smaller developers are being virtually ignored, that makes me even more angry, it is these small developers that give Apple the upper hand, cause it is them that think outside the box, it is them who come up with the real innovations, cause they have the freedom to dream up what they want, no corporate structure to hold them back and stifle their creativity.

    So Steve or should I say Mr. Jobs... do me and all those others who have ensured that your company still survives a favour, give us the freedom of choice when purchasing your product and give the small developers full access to the App store so maybe, just maybe one of those sparks of genius can make it to the wide public and change the face of computing and communications in a way that compliments the iPhone because it's a true innovation and not just a reiteration of the old themes...

    Keep Apple cool and dynamic, don't turn into a pale shadow of Microsoft, it's an insult to yourself and an insult to all those consumers that have had the faith and loyalty to stick with you through thick and thin.

    For now, evn though I hate the blasted thing with all my heart, I guess I will stick to my HTC with WinMo6, it's a drab, it's useless, it's slow and ugly, and won't sync with my Mac machines unless I buy a special app, but at least it doesn't pretend to be something it no longer is...

  • Comment number 31.

    I am going to make a small review on the applications I did try and really enjoyed. First of all, I checked a lot of free applications, and only free applications.

    The application I like the most is called "Shazam". This application does a neat trick. It is meant to "listen" to a source of music, send the file to an automated computer that will send you back some descriptions about the song, such as the artist, the title, the album, as also links to buy it on iTunes and YouTube videos about it. You simply click "Tag now", then put the iPhone microphone close to the speakers and wait about 10 seconds. And voila, you get the results as quickly as one or two second later (with Wi-Fi). I used my 1st generation iPhone, and the results were the best I have ever encountered so far with this type of application. It identified popular band groups (such as American Hi-Fi), to TV shows music (Doctor who) and also piano composer (Yann Tiersen). I recommend you this application.

    A nice application is actually The "NYTimes" application. It is only a simple version of the website, without some of the ads and extra content, but it is very well designed, simple and easy. On the other hand, I feel the AP application called "Mobile News" does the job but does not look as good as the "NYTimes". The AP does a nifty trick of asking for your location preferences for relevant local new.

    An application called "eReader" promises some nice future book reading on the iPhone, but the layout is not perfect yet. On the good side, it is a very intuitive application that, I am sure, many will like.

    The "Remote" application is pretty fun and can be pretty useful. I did found a downside with this application: having my windows XP machine connected to my router with an ethernet cable does not work, you need to have it set "wireless". This is too bad.

    Finally, AIM is a nice application, but it pretty works as demonstrated before at last Apple's conference. I do not get notifications when my friends send me messages while I'm on the home screen though, which I guess will be repaired soon.

    One very good thing is that all applications can come pre-installed with many languages so when you change the iPhone language it automatically changes every applications language to the current one when available.
    I hope you will all have fun looking for those new applications like I did, and I hope to see more useful applications like "Shazam" coming out.

  • Comment number 32.

    I'm a mac user.

    But God I hate mac users. They are so over protective. Nothing is perfect live with it!

    My belief is that most mac users, are so, because they are too stupid to use a PC.

  • Comment number 33.

    To all Nokia/Symbian users:

    "iPhone doesn't do this, Iphone doesn't do that...moan moan moan....Apple users smug....blah blah blah..."

    Same old tired rants from the same bunch of people who stick religiously to their tired old platform. Pot calling kettle black?

    More than happy for you guys to stick to your stone age OS.

  • Comment number 34.

    Alexis1537

    My "Stone age" OS on my 8GB N95 still does a lot more than the "new" I-Phone. So your pot kettle black scenario fails miserably.

    But if you want to take it to the playground, simply put...

    My phone is better than the I-phone.

  • Comment number 35.

    Wow! What a lot of emotion on here.

    As a Mac convert a couple of years ago, I am pleased to say I've enjoyed the experience. I wouldn't say I'm "too stupid" to use a PC after 15 years supporting PCs!

    Like anything else, you choose whatever product best suits your needs. I have a 3G iPhone because it does what I want.

    But while I happily share my experiences with others, I'm not blind to Apple's shortcomings.

    I suspect that the App Store will open up a bit over the next few months. Keeping it tied down should assure quality control.

    Finally, Rory, do try and be more objective in your writing. Even if you don't have a bias, it can sometimes appear you are anti-Mac at times.

  • Comment number 36.

    @ 5 ilikesleeping

    Nokia already has MOSH (http://mosh.nokia.com%29 - similar to an Apps store, but for more than apps and games, and with more of a community feel. And not to mention, very open.

    Once again, Apple's way behind Nokia, yet gets all the attention anyway :)

    100% Agreement.
    Another BBC article that's trying to make Apple look as if they're first of the Mobile OS providers to produce this.

    Talk about being behind the game.

  • Comment number 37.

    The iPhones UI has already changed the game, with Nokia, Samsung, LG etc all heading in that direction now. As for apps - well, they're great, good stuff, but I've put apps on my Nokia for years, it's not rocket-science. What will change the game is bringing them to iPod level - the same way the iPod changed the game for music. Buy/sync/use. However...

    ..until the iPhone is available free on most contracts, and on the other networks (Three, Orange etc) then it won't be a "game-changer" in the UK. Queue and pay for a phone you can't even activate? Can you get a PAYG version? What about the people who are already in the middle of a contract?

  • Comment number 38.

    How about reporting that even though its been 24 hours, people (me included) still cant use their iPhones as actual phones yet because of the delays in activation of the sims?

  • Comment number 39.

    Wh00pAss
    Like this story they posted yesterday you mean.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7501321.stm the one posted on the front of the technology news page.

    Just downloaded iRemote, iPint and Super Monkey Ball for my iPod Touch. They all work great, just show how sensitive the accelermoter thingy is. Anyway back to my monkey.

  • Comment number 40.

    @twelveightyone

    Not for the first time you appear to have missed the point. WinMo and Symbian have had applications out for years and some of them are damn useful. That said, there is a limit to what you can do with a hand-held device. As for the devices themselves, the iPhone scores on some points but is beaten on others and, for me anyway, that makes it an inferior choice. As far as I can see I've been pretty consistent with this message.

    I appreciate your career advice but perhaps I could offer you some of my own? Avoid anything that involves a need for attention to detail because, frankly, it really doesn't seem to be your strong point.

  • Comment number 41.

    @ntompkins

    Nope, this is different. I have activated my iPhone but the sim isnt active at the moment. This is a different problem all together.

    There is apparently a massive backlog of o2 sim activations that might take 2-3 days to get through.

    So much for high tech companies getting things right the 2nd time around...

  • Comment number 42.

    The danger Nokia and S60 faces is that they aren't the only player smartphone software in town anymore. Up until about 3-4 years ago, there weren't many other realistic choices for Smartphones than S60 based devices (and in that I include variants like UIQ)

    Blackberry OS is starting to really get polished into a very usable experience, and Android is looking like it could be a good experience for the user also. Windows Mobile has a lot of catching up to do, but even Microsoft aren't stalling, with their purchase of Danger, who made T-Mobile's Sidekick devices (which are very popular with the teen market, particularly in the US), showing they realise they have work to do, as well as work HTC has done with TouchFLO on WM devices.

    Commenters don't seem to realise that geeks aren't the only ones in the market for smartphones anymore. People want to be able to email, text, organise their calendar, take some photos and check into their social website of choice from their mobile now. It isn't just us geeks going out there for this stuff these days.

    So whilst iPhone isn't the best overall phone in terms of feature set, (I have an N95 and an iPhone 3G currently) what it does do, it does briliantly well, and is very consumer friendly.

    Nokia and its S60 software are for me, in last place and desperately playing catch up, even before an Android device is in the market.

    Oh and a hard switch to put the phone on silent is fantastic. Everyone should copy that one.

  • Comment number 43.

    Apple want enterprise, and enterprise want security, Look what a mess vista is because of the bolted on security, Apple will nail iphone to the floor to avoid the usability and virus problems that plague MS products.

    All the open source and mash up architectures, are not needed accept as a way rapidly build a software library, Apple have used there marketing brilliance and ipod profits to give a head start, and keep a tidy closed loop infrastructure to retain control of there product.

  • Comment number 44.

    There should be more coverage of the ongoing farce that is signing up to O2 for an iPhone. It's now been nearly a week of shambles, and still people who have managed to get an iPhone are told that they won't be able to start using it until Thursday due to the backlog of applications being manually typed from an excel spreadsheet.

    It's a corporate cock-up reminiscent of Terminal 5, yet for some reason O2 have got away with it without much adverse publicity.

    Claims that it is due to demand are well off the mark. Their servers collapsed on Friday in normal usage, and according to Apple, O2 turned down repeated requests for a contingency system, claiming their systems were totally robust. Shocking.

  • Comment number 45.

    @Mark_MWFC,

    Cheers for the advice young man, but at the moment I'm sitting under the heli-pad of Thunder Horse in the process of writing procedures manuals for the engineers who operate this oil platform, so I'd say I am pretty well versed in attention to detail...

    Have a nice day Mark!

  • Comment number 46.

    The story isn't what you can run, or what you can install for free versus paid for. The story is what developers are allowed to write. The lack of Freedom 0* for the iPhone means it's not your phone, it's Apples.


    * http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html

  • Comment number 47.

    one story and forty six comments and no one has mentioned Open Moko? If you want to see a 'game changer' then this is it. An open-source mobile telephone that actually exists, is shipping and is a viable platform for development.

    http://www.openmoko.org/wiki/Main_Page

    This is a product where you have from Freedom #0 (Thanks AlexBenneee) from the moment of purchase, the product where YOU the consumer, the developer, the hacker, the service provider, can provide what you want how you want it. That's all thanks to the free-software that openmoko as an open-source business can adopt and adapt and redistribute to the benefit of us all.

    Android is vapourware. Furthermore, it has only one distinguishing feature over the iPhone - it's Google's 'don't be evil' rather than Apple's 'don't be uncool' that's supporting the product. As for the openning of Symbian by Nokia - this a commercial attack on Windows Mobile. So what. Ignore it; too little too late.

    If your a developer or a service provider whoo's ignored and locked out by the closure of Apple and other mobile platforms, get behind openmoko.

  • Comment number 48.

    No-one mentioned Open Moko because it's irrelevant.

  • Comment number 49.

    Whilst openmoko isn't irrelevant, it's very nature makes it difficult for the everyday consumer and is never likely to be more than a geek toy. The UK consumer wants usability from their tech these days. We're seeing this time and time again. Xbox 360 and the Wii are far more usable than the Ps3 (I own all three). Facebook is the most popular social site. On usability the iPhone is the best I've used so far on all the mobiles I've had, from N95, to Windows Mobile phones to simpler mobiles like S40 devices. This ease of use is what will shape the Market share in smartphones in the future, and not the open nature of a platform, regardless of ideals.

  • Comment number 50.

    You seem out of touch with tech-reality. Unfortunately many are. Symbian and to a greater degree, Windows Mobile, have been around for years and have yet to capture the attention of users. Sure, they have to have it to use that nameless phone that will never do what they want it to do. Apple and the iphone have a phone with a personality and an ease of use that has no rival. Google may have a rival and they may not. Keep in mind that a good seach engine does not make a good operating system! They are light years behind Apple who has 25 years experience in that regard.

    Joe

  • Comment number 51.

    Hi All,

    This is a slightly off topic post and I am not sure if anybody still look at this post anymore. However, I feel this is the most appropriate entry to post my comment as it is about iPhone.

    Just want to throw in a question. If the 3G iPhone deserve this much coverage, I wonder will the new 3 Skypephone, which I have read will be on sale next month, deserve at least a blog post?

    Hopefully somebody will spot this comment.

 

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