Apple keynote and hype

As you might now, yesterday Macworld Conference & Expo 2007 started with his keynote address. I thought I’d cover the new products, my opinion about them and the Apple hype.

The news

Basically, Apple released these three new products:

iPhone

The talk today seems to be about the iPhone, and sure, it seems like a nice device. But I heard somewhere that Jobs said (and I can be totally wrong here) that this product will revolutionize everything. Eh… Yeah. Or it is just yet another smart phone. Sure, it looks nice and will undoubtedly have some nice features, but some things bother me:

Hard drive size
If I have a device which I will have my music, video etc on, 8 GB is far from sufficient. The reasons is that I don’t want to prepare the iPhone with what I might be interested in listening to or looking at when I leave my computer. Me, I need at least 20 GB.
Battery time
It says that battery lasting time will be about 5 hours if I listen to music, watch video and use the phone features. Who wants a cell phone that needs to be charged almost every day?
A 2 megapixel camera
Ok, I can see that then need to have a camera to compete with other cell phones (although personally I’m not interested in it), but to put one in with just 2 megapixels? When this product is available on the market, I’m sure 4 megapixel cameras with far better optics will be out there. If you ask me, I think the camera in the iPhone is just a waste of space and weight.
Availability
It is supposed to be released in summer in the US, end of this year in Europe and not in Asia till next year. Far too long to wait from its announcement, and given that Apple’s first round of products are almost given to be faulty, no one but maybe some Americans will have a working one till 2008.
Touch-screen
While the touch-screen is a great idea for having a bigger screen and saving unnecessary button clutter, I can’t help but wonder how dirty and fingerprint-stained the iPhones will be. Is there an optional pen to use, for the ones of us who don’t want winter vomiting disease all over it?

Now you think I’m all against smart phones and/or PDAs, but I’ve had my fair share of them. It started out with a Palm V in 1999, followed by getting an iPAQ 3630 the first day it was released in the US in 2000, and so on. I like the idea, but what about all of us who don’t want all-in-one? We who just want a mobile phone to make calls, and instead a nice regular iPod for our music and videos? I think they should’ve released an iPod video version as well, without the phone and camera features.

Also, just for the fun of it, silly little me thought this was an iPhone:-)

Apple tv

Sync your videos and music from your computer to a little device to watch it on tv. The flaws in this, as I see it, is the iTunes dependency, and probably consequently FrontRow/Quicktime dependency as well. And you can read in my MacBook Pro post what I think of those. Why not use a nice Mac mini instead?

What I really miss here is something that Apple really has to address soon: release a working Media Center machine! FrontRow is nice to look at, but totally useless in practice. Microsoft did the exact right thing and announced their
Windows Home Server, and you can read the Windows Home Server Preview to get a better understanding of what it is. Step up, Apple!

AirPort Extreme

Faster and wider wireless connections. Nice.

The Apple hype

Naturally, Apple are very good marketers and at building a hype surrounding the keynotes and new releases, and this no doubt helps their sales tremendously. Before this keynote there were such an abundant of rumors, like the image in the Apple web site had the exact HD size so it was a hint they’d release some kind of Media Center, I heard from an Apple store that all MacBook Pro shipments had been put on hold (nothing new there…) and so on.

Frankly, I’m getting a bit tired of it. Apple have some great products, no doubt, but most of the time the keynotes and releases aren’t getting close to matching what they build up. Apple aren’t the only ones to blame for this, of course; it’s the media hype, Apple fanatics etc too. In the end though, the thing that bothers me most with fanatics (Apple, Microsoft or any other company) is that everything that their beloved company releases is the best in the world. Seriously, get some self-distance and try to be impartial and look at it objectively. Some things companies release are outstanding, some are not; simple fact of life.

I know someone who loves Apple and when Apple released the 15-inch MacBook Pros, and no 17-inch ones, he said that no one would need 17-inch ones since the 15-inch ones were just so perfect. and then, when Apple released the 17-inch ones, it was of course the next natural step and a fantastic release…

Posted in Apple/Mac,Technology |

19 Comments

  • Chris says:

    One fine thing is the web browser — I read that they use Safari, no down-sized mobile browser. But since the phone has no UMTS (or G3), what use is a web browser? Silly.

    And the battery is not replaceable which is symptomatic for Apple-products. This means that you can dump your phone after 1,5 years because the battery is through…

    And everyone will buy this peace of crap because it's from apple.

  • Andy says:

    Hard drive size – It's not meant to be a substitute for your computer. 8 GB is sufficient. 20 is overkill. It allows you to listen to plenty of music and a handful of movies for that matter.

    Battery time – This is the standard battery time for ANY mobile phone. You're not going to get away the fact that you will have to load your phone every 5th hour (or so) by constant usage. However, the idle time is far greater, I assure you.

    A 2 megapixel camera – Come now, Robert. Noone would like to see your pores. 2 Mpix is sufficient if you ask me. Equals a resolution of

    (sqrt(2 000 000) x sqrt(2 000 000)) 1414.2135623730950488016887242097×1414.2135623730950488016887242097 (expressed as a square).

    Availability – Comfort yourself with the fact that the Americans are our guinea pigs ;)

  • Maaike says:

    Good story and I like that you're not so religious about Apple.

    8 GB is sufficient. 20 is overkill.

    I disagree. My iRiver (which I love and would never trade for an iPod) has 20gb and it's about full :-)

    For many people 20gb isn't even enough.

  • Chris says:

    One thing I find very strange about Apple-Followers is the fact that I you say "I don't like this or that on my Apple-product" they'll answer "Sure! It's great as it is!".

  • markus says:

    I own a 40 Gb iPod that always is (was, since I no longer use it) full. My main music collection on my harddrive exceeds 250 Gb (and yes, almost half of the music is obtained through other ways than ripping my own cd:s). This summer, I got myself a small 4 Gb iPod Nano, and this machine has become my main weapon of choice. I regularly refill the iPod with new tunes from my main library, and it just works great.

    In other words, you will always complain about insufficient memory. Just see to that you use your media right.

  • RobertDM says:

    You're quite right about the fanatics: I heard extracts from Steve Jobs yesterday while delivering his keynote: the reactions by the audience on the products being presented where way over the top for them to be even remotely objective… I doubt it would have mattered very much what was presented… Not everything Apple does is fantastic: just a little example: I like my powermac G4 and prefer OSX over windows XP, but the original mouse that came along with the powermac: what a useless piece of hardware! I must say both Microsoft and Logitec do a much better job at making a good mouse…

  • Maaike says:

    Just see to that you use your media right.

    I don't think there is a 'right' way… it's different for everybody.

  • I'm totally sick of my phone's inability to do what I need it to, and can't stand the miniature keyboards that have become the defacto standard for all smart phones (I got on fine with my Palm and its gestured text input), so the iPhone sold me pretty quick – though 8Gb is no way near enough memory and I'd prefer an iSight for VGA video chat in place of any camera they could fit.

    Having spent hours in vain trying to hack our 360 to stream video from the PC, the thought of a plug'n'go box for £199inc VAT to do just that at 720p via HDMI is also very tempting, and would appear to be a lot cheaper than Sky HD (£299 for the box and around £20 premium above regular Sky per month), or a media centre PC.

    Guess those apple-tinted glasses must be welded on my eyes huh? :D

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Thanks for your comments!

    Chris,

    No 3G, huh? Well, then web surfing is definitely out of the question. And the replaceable battery thing is just crap.

    Andy,

    Battery time is probably at the same level as other similar products, but to me that's insufficient. Regarding the camera, I don't think it should even have one at all (no pictures of pores, I promise :-)).

    …our guinea pigs

    Ha ha! Yeah, at least we have that!

    Andy, markus

    Of course one tends to fill whatever storage space available, and naturally there has to be some reason to it. But for video clips, movies and music, I personally think 8 GB is way too little.

  • Jeremyr says:

    Nice post, but I think you misread a few of your points. It's not really worthy of argument, but the most I've heard Steve claim on the iphone is that they have "reinvented the phone", not "revolutionised everything". Still an ambitious thing to say, I will admit.

    Secondly, the battery life depends on what you are using it for. The 5 hour estimate is for video playback or phone talk time, as they say on the site. For listening to music it says 16 hours of battery.

    I don't think this is particularly bad, it is on par with other phones (if not better)

    And to the above comments, the phone has built in 802.11b/g wifi support. I would assume that is the primary use of the browser.

    The storage space is annoying, I agree. It makes sense from apple's standpoint however – the ipod nano (4gb and 8gb) is the largest selling ipod by a long margin. Clearly regular users don't need more than 8gb, or aren't willing to pay for it.

    They've targetted their largest group of users with the phone.

    With that said, I'm going to hold off for larger sizes, if I ever decide to buy one.

  • jeremy says:

    Apparently apple tried many different textures for the screen before they settled on the one used with the iphone. I don't think we can pass judgement on the rate of dirt and fingerprints until we try the device hands-on.

  • [...] aul Stamatiou e Robert Nyman, analisando os produtos com certa imparcialidade e até mesmo reclamando do hype e dos fanboys, ao invés de ficar exaltando Steve H. Jobs como a [...]

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Well, reinventing the phone is also quite a bold statement then. :-)

    And I agree about dirt and fingerprints; only the future can tell.

  • ramin says:

    Funny. When camera phones first started to come out my initial reaction was never. Now I'm on to my third phone with a camera in it.

    In fact, now my wife is using the camera's capability as a deciding factor in which phone she'll get next. Of course our reasoning is simple: The digital cameras we have are not something you want to carry around all the time (Canon EOS 30D and 300D), and a phone with a good camera will reduce the need to buy a point-and-shoot.

    But of course, the deciding factor is if you want convergence or divergence in your devices. But the iPhone camera probably isn't good enough to replace a point-and-shoot.

  • Seems like Cisco Systems are filing a law suite against Apple due to issues about Cisco's iPhone registered trademark.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    ramin,

    In that case, I understand. We have a Nikon D 50 and it is also something that you don't carry with you all the time.

    Robert Wellock,

    Yes, I just saw that this morning.

  • "Apple-follower" or not, I think it's clear for everyone that specs change, even on praised products like the iPhone. More data storage, 3G support, longer battery life are all factors I consider be subject to change, either before delivery or soon thereafter. None of those three makes the products less revolutionary, IMHO – what makes a product desirable is not only what it has that other products don't, but also what it lacks that other products have.

    So:

    * Storage is less than what I'd dream of, but OK when considering what it's intended for – syncing with a PC.

    * 3G support will most surely be there before entering the European market, I don't even worry.

    * Battery life is not revolutionary but that's mostly because no battery revolution for handhelds has yet seen the light of the day. It's relatively very good for powering a 3,5" 160ppi screen though.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Anton,

    Yes, hopefully the final release will have some altered specifications, but nowadays, that's more and more common.

  • Stefan Van Reeth says:

    I agree mostly with Robert's views, but somewhere I get the feeling that despite all drawbacks, this thing could be the next big hit. After all, the iPod wasn't that revolutionary, but it conquered the world by it's looks alone. Seems that sleek design still is the major selling point for most customer's. And I have to admit, Apple get's it right with the iPhone too…

    Considering the specs is something we geeks do, but my mum for instance doesn't care: it just has to work. Remind that most people don't care about technical stuff, they just want "cool things". Most people I know don't even know how to use all the extra's on their phones. They know how to call, use sms and take pictures. Browsing? Isn't that something you do on a pc? 3G? Never heard off. And so on.

    By the way, I don't know about other countries, but 3G isn't something I look at in specs. Not that I calculated it, but a few hours of 3G would cost me twice my broadband rate. Unless that's solved, 3G will remain a distant dream to me :(.

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