Style or substance

  • Rory Cellan-Jones
  • 11 Jan 07, 02:35 AM

I've been fascinated to read the lively debate about Gates versus Jobs and the merits of the iPhone which followed my last two blog entries.

The impossibly shiny new device - on front pages around the world today - has inspired the Macheads and the Friends of Bill to don their weapons and charge into battle.

The case for the prosecution is that Steve Jobs' claim to have re-invented the telephone is absurd posturing.

There are already phones that do everything the iPhone promises and more, it isn't 3g , a two megapixel camera is now sub-standard and text input is going to be a struggle whatever the claims made for the revolutionary touchscreen.

One Windows fan called me to say he'd had his XDA for two years, phoning, surfing and taking picture to his heart’s delight.

"So what's new?" he sneered.

But the Macheads say it's not about the technology, stupid.

Apple has produced a thing of beauty which makes all existing phones look like stone age artefacts.

None of its individual applications may be particularly new - but they've been brought together in an exquisite package.

And it's true that within minutes of my Ten O Clock News report being broadcast, I was getting messages from friends, relatives and colleagues saying very simply: "I want one!!!"

Sorry, people (and that includes a close relative at home in West London), nothing doing.

Apple don't hand out freebies and even if they did, your correspondent would have to make his excuses and leave.

But I think that simple gut reaction tells us something about the strength of this product, a view that was reinforced at Yahoo's Last Gadget Standing contest here in Las Vegas.

Ten gadgets battling it out for the votes of a rowdy audience packed into a hall at the Convention Centre.

Amongst the contenders, two very spiffy phones made by Nokia and Samsung. But the two guys who were given four minutes each to convince the audience failed lamentably, stumbling over their scripts, and fumbling nervously with the buttons on devices they told us were easy to operate.

Both needed to go and look at the Steve Jobs keynote for a master-class on how to present a new product. And nobody in the hall at CES said "oooooh" when they saw the Nokia and Samsung devices.

What am I saying then? Yes - style does matter, perhaps more than technical substance.

Partly because phones have become fashion items - as Nokia proved in the late 90s when it started marketing new lines at a fashion show.

But also because good design is at the heart of what makes devices work for their users - and Apple's operating system has a long track record of beguiling rather than baffling computer beginners.

So I wouldn't mind betting that you'll be seeing the iPhone on Ebay in June at sky-high prices.

And now perhaps it is time for me to come out. One respondent to my blog on the contrasting styles of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs was sure I was biased. Suresh said this:

Why dont you just admit it your a M$-fanboy?
I don't think our opinions matter as much as your opinion given your position to influence on a public BBC website.
In which case, why don't you get yourself a Mac and see for yourself what all the fuss is about Mac (OS X) vs. Windows (Vista).
Unfortunately, if your just a geek, then you will lap up CES/MS because that is who they preach to

Now Suresh, take a deep breath - I'm writing this on an Apple G4 Powerbook. I've been using Apple products for 12 years - as have the rest of my family.

But I do try not to let that cloud my judgement - so if you thought I was a Microsoft munchkin, maybe I'm overcompensating.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 06:37 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Kirklain wrote:

yes the features on the iphone -that's the apple version not the VoIP one from Cisco!- are not new, but yet like has been said before, its the package which is getting people excited. Apple really do lead upfront when it comes to application and design. So the technology isn't new, but the system seems to be catered for the masses... lets see then if the people vote with their wallets, i for one think they will.

  • 2.
  • At 08:12 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Abe wrote:

I've never used a Mac, but I want that iPhone. Please?

  • 3.
  • At 08:30 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Matthew Maddock wrote:

I think you have to look at the audience to see why everyone was going "Ooooh!". Who's more likely to attend the Apple event over a more general new technology event ( i.e. "Tomorrow's World")? I think you were spot on with the "Worshipping at the Apple temple" article. My first reaction was the same as many other readers - So what! I've been doing those things for years on one device! In twelve months when this products ships in Europe it will be outdated by many other offerings. In fact, as your article says, the specs are looking a little dated even now - not least of which, why no 3G support? Why is it that Mac fans are so afraid to criticise anything that comes from Apple? I think after hours trading says it all - Apple shares actually down 1.3% now reality has set in!

  • 4.
  • At 08:47 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • bob wrote:

Great features but for Europe it will be up against HSDPA phones. So unless they up the data speed from GSM it will be like great browser with an old style dial up modem.

  • 5.
  • At 08:52 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Sean McIver wrote:

I think the key point here is that - yes - there are previous phones which have had all of these features. Some with even more features. But to the average joe blogs, this has meant nothing. Who cared if you could check your empty email inbox whist standing in an aisle in a packed supermarket, clogging up the fruit and veg section?

The difference now is that you have this oh-so-2007 phrase; 'convergence'. Write that down - you're going to be hearing it a lot over the next few months!

Now everyone has email, most people have a home computer of some sort (PC, Mac, even Linux?!?), email (usually 2 accounts - one for spam) and most importantly, people want to keep in touch more so now than ever before.

One little (!) gadget that can let you know where you are, what you are scheduled to do for the day, allows you to check email on the go, make conference calls between you and two others, AND a tidy 4GB drive for your music? That's what convergence is all about: a fusion of technology which is no longer in it's infancy.

It is now the teenager tramping through your home, work and everything in between, poking into places it shouldn't really be and catching you by surprise the whole time...

...And by mid-July, it will have matured into a young adult, going to work and getting things done, full of solutions and enthusiastic ambition.

The iPhone may not be as groundbreaking as we were first led to believe, but it does mark a dramatic shift in gadgets for 2007. Competitors (Zune, etc.) have a hefty benchmark levelled at them now. This can only mean good things for the consumer now. All-in-one gadgets will become more popular, and this should drive prices down. Perhaps not for the sleek whizz-bangery that is the iPhone; like all fashinable items, you pay for the brand name. But many will follow.

Finally, it is worth keeping in mind: Blue Peter showed the first mobile phone some years ago. At the time, everyone laughed, and said no way would people buy these things. now look where we are - 1bn sold last year.

Roll on the digital era!


  • 6.
  • At 09:00 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • David wrote:

'So what's new? sneered some MS fan'

INTERGRATED mobile technology with 'BIGBOY' Internet (not WAP) AND fully functional VIDEO iPod! (which, lets face it going by sales figures, odds are you own one (or an mp3 player) if you've got a phone)

The above is WITHOUT mentioning the multitouch screen, which is also a new gadget last I checked.

Yes, I am apple biased but I am allergic to stupid remarks like MS fan's quoted in your blog.

Yours sinc.


  • 7.
  • At 09:08 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

My opinion is that trying to argue the toss about individual features with the iPhone is fairly pointless but let me put it like this:

How much money would you spend to get a widescreen iPod? One that was all screen and yet had the usability of the existing iPod...

Then ask how much you'd spend on a new mobile phone? One that doesn't necessarily have outstanding features from all the others but is beautifully designed (like the chocolate phone) but (unlike the chocolate phone) is also easy and intuative to use...

Add the two together and see whether or not the iPhone stacks up.

Finally bear in mind that you've only got one device in your pocket as opposed to two and I seriously doubt you'll be anything other than very interested in the iPhone.

Sure, some people will knock it on principle because it's apple and some people will go completely overboard just because it's apple. When it comes down to it, however, bear this in mind... These days apple's all about image and they've built that up on the back of a lot of solid, well designed and well thought out products and do you really think that Steve's pet project for the past 2 years is going to be any different?

The confidence that that alone inspires will, in my opinion, ensure that the iPhone is nothing other than a commercial success. Time will tell whether or not it will revolutionise the Mobile phone and MP3 industry but as all the other companies rush to compete it can only mean more and more innovative products available to the consumer.

For that alone, well done apple.

  • 8.
  • At 09:31 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • M.C. Glammer wrote:

Yes, style over substance is always popular with the public. Kate Moss looks better than Joni Mitchell, but do you really want to hear her sing?

  • 9.
  • At 09:54 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Dan wrote:

Just got a fairly fancy Windows mobile-based smartphone and, yes, it does most of what the iPhone claims, but the user interface is a complete mess and totally non-intuitive and frustrating (and I'm something of a techhie). One problem is that it tries to please everybody by offering every input device under the sun (slide-out keyboard, touchscreen, on-screen keyboard, joypad, function buttons, handwriting) - none of which work perfectly (e.g. the slide-out keyboard is great for texting but hopeless for typing numbers or passwords).

Apple have the courage to say "no, you're only getting a touchscreen" and put all their design effort into making that work well. Its the iPod all over again - other MP3 players offer more bells and whistles but they are frustrating to operate compared with Apples minimalistic approach.

Oh, and the no-3G issue sounds like a limitation of Cingular and the US mobile network - I'd be gobsmacked if the hardware can't support everything.

  • 10.
  • At 10:19 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

I'm not the worlds biggest mac fan, and in fact only recenly used OS X for the first time when I wandered into an Apple shop, I don't have an iPod and I've been a Microsoft guy for years.

However, i've been as interested as everyone else in the build-up surrounding the iPhone and having watched the intriduction speech by Steve Jobs I want one, and I want one as soon as possible. It ticks all the necessary boxes for my next phone, and on top of all the features in one piece of kit, it looks good too.

As Jobs himself said in his ramble, because everything is software with minimal hardware interfacing, new applications can be developed and installed easily, and if the user interface for text input proves to be problematic, a quick redesign and a patch can be issued for those who want it. Simple, quick and easy.

The problem i have with the product is this; 4gb and 8gb simply isn't enough memory for this device. It's been demoonstrated scrolling through countless albums and browsing many album covers, playing movies etc - but that storage isnt sufficient for all that activity.

Why would someone with a 60gb iPod "upgrade" to an 8gb one? If this product is indeed intended to get the iPod owners upgrading as an additional sales tool over phone functions alone, surely it should be shipped with AT LEAST 40gb of storage to allow for a good quantity of music, pictures and video.

That wont stop me wanting one, but i do for-see an upgrade before long.

I also anticipate that there might already have been a iPhone Lite or iPhone Mini developed and sitting in the wings for in 18 months time... strip out some of the features and sell it for half the price, make people fall in love with it, and persuade them they need the full-fat version later. Just like they did with the iPod!

  • 11.
  • At 10:57 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • london_jambo wrote:

I was going to post a long answer but everything has already been said. Yes, there is not much new technology in this phone but the design and UI is miles beyond anything already on the market. Phone manufacturers have been so slow, safe, boring and predictable in their outlook up till now and finally we have a product that WILL take the market by storm and will make other manufacturers sit up, take note and up their ante.

  • 12.
  • At 11:01 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • C Turner wrote:

Great more competition! The iPhone may have a decent sales drive on the domestic market - but that's kind of small compared to the business market and how many crackberry users will part with their beloveds. The XDA (also under other marques) is a nice solo machine, but has problems for the business user wanting to interface with the workplace, which is where blackberry's seem to perform well. Also power on time is vital, no-one wants to walk into a meeting and have to re-charge and 5 hours isn't great if you are out of the office all day and need to make lots of calls to keep in touch.

In all convergence smergence, Apple are again behind the technology gain line and hoping that the brand and styling will pull them through. Expect the phone to be offered on cut price deals for average users within 6 months.

  • 13.
  • At 11:02 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Corin wrote:

There are three elements to a phone - the hardware, the usability and the styling. As Motorola proved with the RAZR and SLVR, hardware is the least important of the three when designing a successful phone. Apple have got it spot on again. Make it look nice and work well and who cares about the clock speed or Gigs or Megapixels?

  • 14.
  • At 11:09 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Paul Johnson wrote:

It looks cool. That's all that matters to me.

  • 15.
  • At 11:15 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • fraser wrote:

I was aware that most slaves to the beige boxes of microsoft were muppets but i had assumed they could understand basic arithmetic. Mathew Maddock;
"My first reaction was the I think after hours trading says it all - Apple shares actually down 1.3% now reality has set in!"

Did you bother to check the share price? Up eight percent and then down 1.3 is an increase of 6.7%. Check it out here.
Hope you don't work at my bank.

  • 16.
  • At 11:37 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Adrian wrote:

I have a contract which allows me to upgrade my phone each year. Some upgrade phones are free, others have to be paid for. I always pick a free one. If the iPhone were free, I might consider it. If not, then I wouldn't. The iPhone's nice 'interface' doesn't make much difference to me as it existing ones are hardly massively complex. Also, it is rather large. It strikes me as being more of a PDA than a phone. Maybe I'll change my opinion when I see one in real life, but mobile phones have been a fact of life for too long now for me to get too excited by a new one, however many bells and whistles.

  • 17.
  • At 11:37 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Sorry but has everyone forgot smart phones have been out for some time now, They do the same and more than the iPhone, the MDA vario I/II is a example, One problem apple have overlooked is only one phone network currently has a affordable and useable data network. So most people will just end up with a big phone and a mp3 player with limited space.

To make things worse it will run OSX... so not upgradeable or future proof, but will be good if your tech skills are limited to dragging and dropping.

  • 18.
  • At 11:54 AM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Graeme Smith wrote:

Cold Hard Fact - for 3+ years - Pocket PC2003 thru WM5 have offered a backbone that many different and independent phone vendors can design phone packages around. They are fully converged devices with MORE things that can be converged in the package and the phone vendors have found different ways to use and present them. Apple's device contains NOTHING new except a glossy box and a bigger battery burning screen. And it contains one important flaw - onlyone carrier available in the USA. Never mind price competition there are some parts of the USA where Cingular does NOT work well (despite their advertising claims) so Apple are hanging themselves on their proprietary standard like they did all those years ago with the MAC.

Last week before Mr Job's big announcement we trained a senior executive in a company who NEVER uses any computer to use a WM5 phone for his email / calendaring / phone functionality. He commented that the interface was intuitive, logical and even he - a technophobe - loved the device. Within 30 mins he had mastered the functionality he needed and was finding the other things the phone could do.

He is now on a trip USA / London / Dusseldorf / Warsaw / Hong Kong and fullt\y synchronized and in touch with his assistant in the USA office.

Can your device do that Mr Jobs?

Apple - it's cute, it looks good, but it is already out of date for function and while I am sure the fashonista's will buy - it is of little use in the business environment where the real volume sales and influence makers live.

  • 19.
  • At 12:14 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Darran wrote:

A simple fact most people tend to forget here is that the iPhone is highly configurable. "We know that" I hear you say, well think about the likes of myspace, youtube and blogging, everybody wants to personalize what they own, it is our natural yearning for individualism.

These days skinning coupled with configuration is everything regardless of how wonderful the underlying technology is.

  • 20.
  • At 12:29 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Mark Carruthers wrote:

Ive been wanting a mobile device that combines Ipod and mobile phones for some time now but will not be buying the Iphone simply because of its otherwise limited ability say against the K800i. I'd appreciate it more if apple made its Itunes fully compatible with my phone so that I could simply use the best phone on the market with my Itunes. That way apple will be able to increase its sales of music further without the hassle of developing a otherwise substandard phone.

  • 21.
  • At 12:30 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • rey wrote:

Well I won't be buying one. I already have aperfectly good phone thank you. I can call people on it, leave messages on their answer phone and leave text messages for them to collect later.

That's already more than I need a phone to do.

Its just gadgets to keep a techie happy no other reason to get one at all.

  • 22.
  • At 12:32 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

Apple are marketing gods. Truth is, this isn't 're-inventing the phone' but it is certainly making something that everyone who owns a mac will buy. I don't think you can expect it to be anything but a success. The problem is that everyone, even Mr Jobs, has the iPod in the back of their minds. You'll never see a bus load of commuters all on their iPhones, I'm sure of that. Unlike the iPod they are entering a massively crowded market with some enormous companies who have been making phones for a decade. However, Apple make products that look outstanding, are easy to use, and have a little bit of that wow factor every time you switch one on. That is more or just as important to some people than the spec. It's beautiful stylish technology, and I really really want one.

  • 23.
  • At 12:37 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Alex wrote:

Meh, if the iPod is anything to go by, it'll be worth waiting for version 2.

  • 24.
  • At 12:57 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Dan Armstrong wrote:

Even as an avid Mac user for the last 15 years, I'm struggling to see how the iphone will convert existing users.

Whilst a (subjective) thing of beauty, the machine is based on technologies widely used today.

The only "new" innovations is are the touchpad, and the fact that it uses OSX as a basis for the OS. OSX is good, but there is little information justify that it would provide a good platform for a phone OS.

iPhone is an interesting and intriguing device that offers potential, but it is too limited (based on the publicised information available).

In my opinion, it is a case of "form over function" - judging by current phone standards, it will sell out very quickly!

  • 25.
  • At 12:59 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Vladimir Plouzhnikov wrote:

Mark Carruthers wrote: "I'd appreciate it more if apple made its Itunes fully compatible with my phone so that I could simply use the best phone on the market with my Itunes. That way apple will be able to increase its sales of music further without the hassle of developing a otherwise substandard phone."

The issue is that Apple is not interested in the sale of music - it's interested in the sale of hardware and the locked music means more sales of the Apple hardware. That's the iBusiness model.

That shows what DRMs are really for.

  • 26.
  • At 01:01 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Mark Childs wrote:

If one of the main selling points of this device is that it is a "thing of beauty", then why was there not a similar fuss when LG announced the KE 850.

Google for "LG KE 850" and see for yourself. Looks much the same to me. Oh but I forgot, Apple didn't make it so therefore it's not cool.

  • 27.
  • At 01:04 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Anant Gajjar wrote:

I have the sony ericsson W950i, which is a touch screen phone that has 4gb storage and a very good mp3 player. It does "big boy" internet (opera mini is preinstalled), plays videos, has an email application (pop3 and imap). As well as allowing input through keys it has a touch screen keyboard and excellent handwriting recognition, which means I can actually write texts using the stylus. It is not huge and doesn't weigh my pocket down.

The only things missing are a camera and wifi. But the rate at which sony ericsson release phones i'm sure these will be available in the next incarnation (the P990 does WiFi).

It uses the Symbian operating system and there is lots of extra software out there that is easy to install. Including: pdf viewers, office software, satellite navigation etc.

So what's the big deal about the iPhone? Apple users accuse MS users of never looking beyond MS, but why do you choose to not look beyond Apple?

  • 28.
  • At 01:11 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Jem wrote:

Sony Walkman springs to mind

  • 29.
  • At 01:14 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Frank Kerrigan wrote:

Its only a phone....sorry have I missed something. I don't have an ipod or any other apple stufff.... why its too expensive and the failure rates on ipod that my friends have is HUGE (many with OS why should the phone be any different.

I have a Sony-Ericsson with walkman, swapable mem cards, camera, 3G and good old buttons.

Too truely test it Steve Job should keep in his pocket for 3 week with some change, keys, sit on it for two hours a day. Drink 5 pints and drop it 4 times in an hour. I think the touch screen with be the biggest failure of it. can it deal with scratches, grease of fingers, can it unlock its self in your pocket and call you mum when your in the pub.

  • 30.
  • At 01:22 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Ji-won Choi wrote:

How interesting it is to read that so many people and indeed comments have criticised Apple for rolling out a demo version of its iPhone as having a less than mind numbing spec! Readers are reminded that this very column reflects the mindset of Microsoft and Apple, and their respective followers.

True, iPhone doesn't yet support 3G and it only has a 2 megapixel camera, but if this is all the pundits can complain about, then Apple has achieved what they sought to achieve. It can't be stressed enough that when Apple make something, they make it to be experienced, not merely to be learnt. Mac users know this in their bones - not one product Apple have rolled out doesn't have this trait, a "feature" Microsoft and others can't seem to incorporate. Apple's technology makes life simpler, enjoyable and more accessible; not so for others who make technology that need to be learnt, endured or, in most cases, just ignored.

iPhone has created a new mobile experience. Individually, yes - mobiles have been around with better cameras, similar apps are plentiful and web access is nothing new, but how many of you regularly use all these features? How easy have they been to use? How accessible, and how intuitive? And boy, did they look this good!

Just as Apple have have done with iPod and iTunes, integration here makes sense - it's not a random jigsaw of apps that have been placed for the sake of it. And crucially, the hardware supports these apps perfectly in an intuitive and simple manner. Its biggest innovation, oddly enough, isn't a flashy app that claims to do a million things; it's the use of fingers. We all have more than one finger, so why don't we use them? Now we can. Even if multi-touch wasn't used, having enough space to use a finger - boy, why haven't I thought of that before? That's because with other handsets, you can't unless you have size 0 fingers. Not one thing here cries out Microsoft. Surely they will eventually bring out something similarly shiny with display overloaded with information, more power and of course a half-measured Office, but it will inherently cry out Microsoft from its attention-seeking packaging.

Things working as they should. That's the innovation Apple bring.

  • 31.
  • At 01:24 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Karl wrote:

I think what should be praised here is that Apple have added a further choice for those looking for the ultimate 'convergence' gadget.

Nokia, SonyEricsson, Motorola, et al. have evolved over time with offerings which essentially function the same way. Palm and Microsoft have adapted their portable operating systems so that they support GSM devices, and Blackberry have come from nowhere to dominate the email dependant mobile worker.

Where Apple is intersting is that they've held back until now. They could have jumped on the bandwagon sooner in any of the three technology fields. Indeed, they publicly withdrew from the PDA marketplace when they cancelled their Newton programme.

They've stepped in now having thought through what their offering should do. Perhaps the pressure to supply a proper mobile-cum-ipod has provided additional motivation recently; but, the fact the device is different is the real success story here. Let it be us the consumer decide its fate.

We all have different needs. If you want a blackberry go ahead a buy one. If O2 MDA is makes you want to leap out of bed and start making calls, don't let Apple stop you.

Just get used to the idea that a little innovation and competition once in a while is good for everyone, regardless of your own personal preferences.

  • 32.
  • At 01:46 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Bob wrote:

I don't understand why you're saying the iPhone has no technical substance.

Jobs said it runs Mac OS X. Have you ever seen UMPCs? They're far bigger than the iPhone, yet if the iPhone runs OS X, so surely it's a machine in a similar class as the UMPC. This makes the iPhone a massive technical achievement compared to other products when you take into account the size.

Additionally, the proximity sensor means you can answer the phone by moving the device to your face. Have you ever seen a phone do that? That's another technical achievement.

The touch screen works using your fingers, rather than a stylus. Have you ever used a device specifically designed to work that way? No? Well, that's because it's another new technical achievement you'll find on the iPhone.

Technically it blew me away, I was glad to see the phone industry finally get some comeuppance (and the UMPC.)

  • 33.
  • At 01:47 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Eoin O'Connor wrote:

Very interesting reactions to the iPhone from all corners. However, don't forget that because you are reading the technology pages on the BBC, you are likely to have a more technical bias than the average user, and be familiar with the benefits of differing technologies. For myself, I see it as a merger between the two gadgets I love most. My Blackberry, which was the first phone that I ever owned that properly synchronised with my data, and my iPod, which has changed and improved my engagement with music over the last two years. Yet again, Apples brilliance user-centred product design will win market share, although I do fear for some performance issues such as battery life, which is generally appaling on my iPod.

  • 34.
  • At 01:57 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • George Carey wrote:

I think it’s typical of Apple to concentrate on the styling at the cost of features; the IPhone’s lack of 3G reminds me of my newly acquired IShuffle MP3 player which has no equalizer, meaning all the music sounds flat and tinny. On closer inspection it appears that the hardware inside the IShuffle has a built in equalizer, but Apple decided to disable it. What sort of company makes deliberately crippled products? I mean how much would it of cost to put another button on the thing??? And don’t get me started on how difficult it is to get Mac OS working on an Active Directory network!

Grrrr Apple!!

Its just a fashion accessory and no doubt the success of the ipod will sell this. There is no doubt that the iphone is slick and it will be coll to have one.

It's a lovely looking device. The big deal here will be the seamless integration with web services, not phones services. Remember how the glorious iPod gve us the now ubiquitous iTunes?
Apple are the experts in making their products and web services seamless.
Somnething Sony, Nokia and Microsoft are still some way from doing very well.
We will eventually see a 3G iPhone, but just like Motorola and other phone manufacturers like to release the 2G versions first, as the chips are less power hungry and generally smaller, Apple have played it safe and will shoe-horn the 3G services in later.
The big question here will be which networks will agree to provide iTunes integration? With razor thin margins on music downloads, there's practically no way any network will be able to make a buck on top of Apple's cut. It might make a nice marketing proposition, but it's unlikely to be a money spinner for any network provider.
My bet? Networks will sell the iPhone with a bundle of data, and not try and encroach on Apple's online services. Let the user download whatever they want, and just charge them for the data packes. Just like 3 UK have done with the new X-Series tariffs.

  • 37.
  • At 02:28 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Stuart Fotheringham wrote:

Steve Jobs said 3G version is coming, perhaps that's why the European version is delayed? 3G isn't exactly all over USA, also it's cheaper having 2.5G contacts too. Key question is: which Mobile Network Operator are they going to partner with in UK?

  • 38.
  • At 02:32 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Allen Friend wrote:

The message in this article is still fairly clear. My current phone (Sony Ericsson K800i) will do most of the things the iPhone will, has a better camera and is 3G-enabled. I've had touch-screen phones before that played full screen video and games with on-screen touch-sensitive controls admirably.

The difference here is the Apple ethos, unchanged for as long as I can remember. They've never had the most powerful hardware or latest tech going on, but they implement it flawlessly and make the very best of what they've got. The icing on the cake is the appearance.

By the way, I've never owned or used a Mac or any other Apple product. Nor have I used anything Microsoft on my own computers in many years. My phone is as good an MP3 player as I need, even though it's only got 1GB.

I sit on the fence in this war, but had the iPhone been anounced with 3G data and a 4-5 megapixel camera with zoom & auto focus, I'd be one of those guys camping out in front of the store to be one of the first to own one!

  • 39.
  • At 02:35 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • CS Zeng wrote:

Nice phone, but it would really be for Mac Monkeys and wannabes. Stylish? - No and there are a few phones that cut it in that dept and the iPhone isn't one of them. Besides, it scratches too easily and a bit bulky to carry around.

  • 40.
  • At 02:37 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

One thing I don't think I've seen in any comments about the iPhone yet is that it's the closest I've seen yet to the first truly ambidextrous (or possibly non-dextrous) mass market phone. True it's configured as per a standard phone in the demo but that should be easily changed with a software patch for us southpaws (should we so wish).

  • 41.
  • At 03:26 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Anthony Mc Fadden wrote:

So the Apple phone (that's what I'll call it) is going to do well because it looks good. Style over substance?

I have a pretty basic mobile phone which cost me £20 and I have had no reason to buy one of these advanced phones and after seeing this phone nothing has changed.

The Gates Vs Jobs thing is comical though, I'm no fan of either man and have used technology and software from both companies. From those experiences I found myself a lot more frustrated etc with Apple's products.

However, I feel that this Gates Vs Jobs, Microsoft Vs Apple thing is silly. People will always have different opinions, likes and dislikes and experiences with technology and so there ia no reason to go to "war" over it.

  • 42.
  • At 03:35 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

I find it a notable sign of 'progress' that a version of the operating system originally designed to run a telephone exchange (UNIX) is now able / needed to run just one phone !

  • 43.
  • At 03:41 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Wat Tyler wrote:

'Besides, it scratches too easily and a bit bulky to carry around.'

How on earth can you know that?

  • 44.
  • At 04:13 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Tim Sutton wrote:

It's very VERY pretty, no doubt about that, but just like the first few ipods it's all about style over substance.

No HSDPA is crippling, I wouldn't buy one for that omission alone. It's great that a full version of Safari (Apples web browser) is included, but over dial-up? Hmm. Stick close to a free wireless hotspot if you get one of these is my advice.

I can't reconcile the 320x480 screen with Jobs' "five years ahead of everyone else" statement either. Hitachi are bringing out 800x480 miniature screens imminently, and I'd want my expensive new smartphone to have one of those, thanks.

The camera is basic even now, it'll be really expensive and I'd have to use iTunes.. it's just not pretty enough to persuade me to overlook the shortcomings.

Then again, I'm much more tech aware than the average consumer. It does look amazing, and I'm sure its many, albeit limited, functions will be extremely easy to use.. and that's going to be enough for those who just don't care that it doesn't actually do anything particularly well, and for Apple zealots.

Me? I'll wait 3 or 4 generations, then think about it, then probably buy an Archos and a Samsung.

  • 45.
  • At 04:19 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Stuart Foot wrote:

Fraser, your point relating to Mathew Maddocks and his maths is correct as I'm sure many people that had a understanding of the share price had realised, however and increase of 8%, then a drop of 1.3% actually indictaes aa overall increase of 6.609%, sorry to be pedantic, yours was a good point well made.

  • 46.
  • At 04:48 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • brian wrote:

I love Apple, I use Apple, I buy Apple for my job..... I hate PCs and Windows and all their deluded, retentive users... but why the BLAZES will apple NEVER put in enough memory? It's the one thing that makes all their machines seem worse than the tawdry competition. "Seem", because of course not really. Still…

  • 47.
  • At 04:50 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • RL wrote:

Apple have never been about checklists of features. They are about three things:

1. User Experience
2. User Experience
3. User Experience

That is why the iPod sells so much more than rival players which, on paper, seem to have more features, but are just not so nice to have in your hand and use.

  • 48.
  • At 04:58 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Jonathon Green wrote:

Doesn't matter how much the punters want it you're not going to see more than (by mobile phone handset volume standards) a handful of these things selling outside the US.

In it's present form European and Asian network operators aren't going to be interested in iPhone because without 3G it can't support the services (video content downloads etc) they're increasingly relying on to make a profit out of so they and they aren't going to be subsidising it.

When the iPhone's only available SIM-free at an exorbitant price (I'm guessing at an absolute minimum of £500 ion the absence of any network subsidy) and (say) a Sony-Ericsson P990i is either free or pretty close to it for users on even relatively modest contracts it'll take one heck of a commited customer to buy the iPhone...

  • 49.
  • At 05:00 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

Only a G4 PowerBook? The BBC clearly don't pay you enough, sir.

  • 50.
  • At 05:10 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Jason wrote:

When everybody is using the gestures touchscreen technology on their desktops instead of a mouse, then we'll understand how revolutionary this phone is. Personally, using Photoshop and Illustrator is going to be a helluva lot more intuitive if I can zoom and scroll directly on the screen with my two little fingers... Minority Report, anyone?

  • 51.
  • At 05:26 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Ian Mills wrote:

PC users may be deluded but Apple users have no financial common sense.

Push a power surge through a Vista PC and a MAC and see which one costs the most to repair !

  • 52.
  • At 05:39 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Touchscreens are nothing new, one presumes though that this one is meant to cope better when you are fumbling for it in your pocket. One advantage of a tactile keyboard is that when you know your way around it you don't need to look at it.

I've got a Nokia E70 that pretty much does the same but with a fold-out keyboard - but it could do with better battery life when using Wi-Fi/Voip and it does crash.

If Apple can produce a device that is fast and doesn't crash it will get market share, but unlike the iPod, the mobile (cellphone to US people) market is a lot more established.

  • 53.
  • At 06:42 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

If all that matters is pure technical prowess, then why is the iPod so successful?

It stores music like every other mp3 player out there....BUT, it's the user interface that makes it such a winner. No other mp3 player i've ever tried is as easy and intuitive to operate.

That is the same quality that sets the iPhone apart from other 'smart' phones, not necessarily the features themselves.

  • 54.
  • At 06:43 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Richard K. Prescott wrote:

The thing I dislike most about current cell phones is Windows mobile. Nothing like watching the desktop crawl across the display.
Love having to answer my wife when she complains about her phone being slow and unresponsive...
Gee, it's running windows mobile, just reboot!

  • 55.
  • At 07:04 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Keith wrote:

Not on MS or MAC fanboy. I've got (for my sins) a 30Gb Sony MP3 player - best sound quality, but can't recommend it to anyone because of the software - and an ultra basic mobile.

My points for a combined (plus internet) device are:

1) For downloading media files and true internet, it's got to be 3G.

2) Why "trade down" to much smaller memory for media files?

3) Web browsing is never going to be a big thing on small screens. (I saw the demo, it still looks like you can only get five legible words per line)

Those points apply to any "all-in-one" device, and the i-Phone doesn't give the right answers (at least yet).

One other point, which I haven't seen answered, can you switch on only the i-Pod part? If not the whole thing can't be used on a plane, so I'll need a separate media player anyway.

Good to see Apple enter the phone/PDA market anyway. I await the 60Gb touchscreen/widescreen i-Pod with interest.

  • 56.
  • At 07:17 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Steve Hurley wrote:

My wife, who has always been a bit cool towards mobile phones (yes, she has one) said, when she saw the Jobs presentation, "Oooooo, I want one of those".
To me, that was the sound of the Apple stock going 'Whoooosh'.

  • 57.
  • At 07:23 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • james wrote:

how many people would really carry an iPod in the pocket of their jeans, let alone a £300-500 iPhone with the same delicate scratchable screen?

  • 58.
  • At 07:32 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • m clark wrote:

wat taylor 'its scratches too easily and a bit big to carry around', what, you got one and scratched it already? Have you measured your mobile?

These posts are full of biased and unsubstaniable *********

As a Chartered Engineer, it has always been my belief that when a product is well made it should be so simple that everyone looks at it and says 'nothing special, anyone could do that'. The whole point is that most manufactuers can not do that. Anyone can design comlplicated systems with buttons, bells, whistles, complicated menus etc. It takes engineering genius to truly reduce the interface to pure simplicity. This genius is worth sacrificing a bit of cutting edge specification that is not central to the units function.

One or two posters have lamented the small memory. This I think is a genuine concern. 80Mb hard drive would be nice, then it could be used to back up serious camera data and preview pictures to see if you've got what you want. 8Mb means you still need to lug a lap top around, or perhaps the next ipod video will have the same screen? Now that would be exciting

  • 59.
  • At 07:36 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Jason wrote:

This is not just touchscreen. It's the fact that Apple are taking the touchscreen seriously as a post-mouse/stylus way of interacting with your computer that's so exciting here. Multi-touch combined with an intuitive interface is going to change the way we compute.

A lot of people here have been saying that this technology isn´t new. However, this device has over 200 patents and overlooked here, multi-touch is new. Other phones have touch screens but not as advanced as multi-touch on iPhone. Multi-touch disregards unintentional touches and can also cope with multiple concurrent touching something that other touch screen technology can't manage. It also includes an accelerometer to switch between landscape and portrait views - something I havent seen in any other phone.

  • 61.
  • At 08:22 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • RK Curwen wrote:

Gesture based interfaces on a mobile device! Someone phone up Jeff and tell him his device is too big!!!

  • 62.
  • At 08:33 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • David wrote:

Well Apple's iPhone has at least stirred some debate. However, I won't be following rush to have one in my possesion, the iSheep brigade they're all too busy whorshipping Mr Jobs' colon ('scuse the pun) to see that it's just a design excercise. The technology isn't overwhelming, it isn't particularly innovative considering what it offers. Yes, it has lots of gimmicks and 'nice' features but it doesn't rock my boat. A phone you have to use both hands to operate, is that the way forward? Still it might stop people drivephoneing.

Think touchless phones instead, now that would really hit the headlines.

  • 63.
  • At 09:11 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Vikram Patel wrote:

For someone like me, who is using PC , MAC, Unix with intelligence since they were released many moons ago, the truth is they all are as good as the one who operates them. All consumers have been brainwashed long back to subscribe to " New & Improved" . Now the marketing is about how to work with the Brainwashed consumer!

  • 64.
  • At 09:30 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Francisco wrote:

I love Apple products since 1982, they are great and easy to use. I just don´t understand all the people becoming so fanatical about this so called war. For me it´s very simple if you like it, get it and if you don´t then don´t. But I wouldn´t for a minute try to convince anyone that whatever I like is better. The iPhone debut this week was mindblowing. Specially if you understand most of the technology that lies beneath. The style that Apple and Steve Jobs have for product launching is absolutely unique.

What worries me though, as an Apple investor is how much this great company depends on a single person. That has to change in the near future.

  • 65.
  • At 10:21 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Jamie Kelly wrote:

Personally, I use a PC at work running XP and a PowerBook at home. I use Adobe InDesign on both platforms, but must admit I find that the times I have to use the OS to save files & manage my work or any other task that an OS performs, I always find OS X much easier to use. Things like the Finder SideBar (OS X) that is customisable, so you can keep project/favourite folders in there, and Spotlight are indispensable tools that I use to do laborious tasks efficiently. XP is also a bit clunky, things aren't consistent in the UI. Exposé is a great way to quickly see a FULL OVERVIEW of all your open windows. Vista's Flip 3D is not the same, you only see one window at a time and have to scroll through.

My point is this: Apple do provide things they class as "new" which have been done before, but they design them in a much more 'human' way. I think this link pretty much sums up what makes the iPhone an incredible new piece of technology:

Imagine 'pinching' your fingers together on the screen to zoom in and out of photographs & PROPER websites. Remember also that this is a 80211.b/g (Wireless) capable phone, and Safari (the Internet Explorer of the Mac world) is on there, running on OS X.

So, it's not ground breaking because of any new technology on it, but it's groundbreaking because how you interact with it.

  • 66.
  • At 10:38 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Wat Tyler wrote:

m clark: 'wat taylor 'its scratches too easily and a bit big to carry around', what, you got one and scratched it already? Have you measured your mobile?'

I agree with you. I was actually quoting someone else from earlier and questioning what they had said, but that's really neither here nor there.

What seems to be clear is that for a product which is still six months before release this has generated a huge amount of interest, which has to be good for Apple. Furthermore, I wouldn't be surprised if Apple were taking on board the direction of comments on its product to improve it before release.

There have been a lot of complaints about particular specifications – storage size, for example – but it seems to me that these are hurdles which can be easily overcome. The new things that Apple have brought to the mobile phone is surely the design concept. I would expect that Apple is more than capable of implementing the technology that people have bemoaned for their exclusion. From what we have seen of the iPhone, its innovation is in approaching the phone from a new direction, and there seems to be a great potential for Apple to develop the product in future, as indeed they did with the iPod. That's why its different.

  • 67.
  • At 10:43 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • patrick wrote:

hi ,
If you've been using apple hardware for 12 years you should know that it may look easier to operate, but is not the case for most computer users as the've been used to windows os for so many years. Apple expo's and keynotes are for the apple faithfull and they'll will whoop if steve jobs farted :0). I am a mac technician for 8 years servers,laptops and desktop machines in various roles but i'm not getting excited until i can test out the iphone (apple fone).
steve Jobs jumped from G5 chips are 1.5 times faster than intel chips to intel chips are 2.5 faster than g5 chips, cause he couldn't wait for cooler g5 chips he could put into laptops.
that's my two pence worth

writing this on an apple 23" cinema display attached to a amd self built pc (plus i own G3 ibook, G4 powermac cube and 733 g4 powermac

  • 68.
  • At 10:52 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Mike Deere wrote:

It's essentially going to be a PDA for people who want to have a better phone than their friends, but aren't entirely sure what they mean by 'better'.

  • 69.
  • At 11:20 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Jason wrote:

RE: RK Curwen
Wow! Thanks for pointing out the link to Jeff Han's multi-touch demo above. I'd not seen any of that before. It's going to be very exciting to start using that technology.

  • 70.
  • At 11:28 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Graham Ferguson wrote:

There are a lot of posts here about about the lack of 3G connectivity on the new iPhone, I agree that this is essential but just want to point out in the keynote speech Steve Job's clearly said that this would follow shortly so this shouldn't be a big deal in my opinion.

  • 71.
  • At 11:32 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Chris Hann wrote:

Great, a $5-600 phone on a network that drops calls more reliably than it does anything else. I really need a $5-600 phone that doesn't make calls reliably, I have been a Cingular user for four years so I do know what I am talking about, they have poor network performance but the corporate deal I get is hard to give up.

Anyway, do you think there is any chance that they will give up on the eye candy and make a phone that can reliably make and sustain calls? I and many of my friends have network capable phones with cameras and text messaging but only want to make voice calls.

By the way, it looks like the Symbol/Motorola MCS70 PDA does most or all of what the iPhone will do, it has 802.11 a/b/g and can have GSM and a laser bar code reader or RFID reader too... but then it's an industrial PDA and costs over $1000.

  • 72.
  • At 11:43 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • ps10014 wrote:

69 posts and counting but since no one has actually touched or used the iPhone is there any point in asserting such strong opinions? I suspect that 5min playing with an iPhone(as with the iPod)in a store will convince you it's a must have or will turn you off completely. I don't think there will be a middle ground.

  • 73.
  • At 08:16 AM on 12 Jan 2007,
  • m clark wrote:

follow up to the lack of memory theme.

As apple are masters of sales, and this is meant to be a new product line, not ipod replacement, I suspect they will not be making one with a big hard drive for a considerable time as then you would only have to buy one product, not 2.

  • 74.
  • At 01:40 PM on 12 Jan 2007,
  • Ted wrote:

A lot of posts that basically come down to:
Not cutting edge enough in terms of features


Looks great, great UI, Apple rules.

I'm in a bit of a quandary with this one. I am a full-blown Apple fan, but It also like the latest and greatest even if I never use it.

I currently have a K750i and an iPod. I need to upgrade before the iPhone is released and want the forthcoming Nokia N95 (5Mp camera).

Yet I would have an iPhone. Not just because it's Apple, but rather because MY experience of Apple products is that they are more intuitive, integrated and easy to use than their competitors', even if they have slightly less functionality sometimes.

I will buy an iPhone and I will treasure it. Others will buy one and hate it. That's always the way and what makes the world so interesting.

  • 75.
  • At 02:37 PM on 12 Jan 2007,
  • Adrian Moore wrote:

I'm sure Apple is taking all this debate on board. Think of the iPhone displayed at the Keynote as work-in-progess. It's stimulated a debate about features and contracts etc.... In my view 8Gb is not enough to do the job, but I'm quite sure that Apple will address this as well as increased battery life. It's not going to be launched for months yet in the US let alone Europe and the Asia. The US is not as large a mobile market as Europe or Asia so effectively could be viewed as the 'live test' before rolling it out across the world with at least one, maybe two revisions to specifications in hand.
It ticks all my boxes and looks good, and one wonders how, with all it's vast wealth, MIcrosoft cannot hire an industrial designer to do a better job on the Zune which bizarrely comes in beige. Reminds me of those terrible beige safari suits from the 70s. Mind you, the 70s seem to be back in vogue at the moment, so they may know something I don't.

  • 76.
  • At 02:55 PM on 12 Jan 2007,
  • CS Zeng wrote:

I love the term "iSheep".

If you like this sort of thing, then fine. However, this iPhone has not be widely tested by the public, so we don't know very much. I can say that I wouldn't want something that would make me worry about scratching it. I love LG's Chocolate phone design, my sister has one, but it is covered in scratches. I've seen plenty of scratched iPods. At the end of the day, I'd prefer something smart and does lots of things well and easy to carry. I once had a Palm PDA, it wasn't big, but it was quite heavy.

On the intuitive side, well it depends. I have used a number of makes and non were hard to use, but some are easier than others.

In the UK, I can see it will sell well in the sim-free/non-contract market. I can't see any of the service providers give this away for anything less that for a £100 per month contract. The insurance will cost a fair bit too. A high-end metal clad Nokia might be worth a pop, but at that price range, no thanks.

Let's come back in 12 months time and see who owns one, used one and whether it was worth the hype.

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