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Special: MWSF ’07 Keynote Commentary

by on January 10, 2007

Rather than writing this yesterday, I decided that I’d let everything sink in and go at it once we got to hear everyone’s thoughts. Well, here’s our take on Apple’s new products.

Apple tv

Apple TVI think this is a great, much-needed product. It’s slick as hell, not too expensive, and takes advantage of newer technologies. There are only two things that I think could’ve made it better: embedded web tools (either a browser of sorts or Widgets) and connection for cheaper TVs. First, this device is connected to a network, so wouldn’t it be nice if it had something along the lines of Nintendo’s Wii channels. How cool would it be to have Apple’s ultra-slick weather and mapping tools on your TV? Although an on-screen keyboard might be a tad awkward, but I’m sure Apple could’ve made it good. The other is pretty simple: a lot of people still have “standard” TVs with just the composite input for video (we still have at least 2 years until the digital TV-only requirement kicks in over here in the US). People with 4:3 TVs could have a modified interface. Other than that, the idea of a streaming iPod for your TV is pretty neat.


iPhoneI’m not thrilled with the name, but I’ll live—this product had the reality distortion field cranked up pretty high. The interface on this has the “slickness”, but after the demo, I (and many others) were left wondering if there were any catches.

First, the Cingular partnership confused me since Apple could’ve had more potential customers if they sold an unlocked, unbranded one. You wouldn’t believe how many of my friends who have T-Mobile and Centennial said the wish they could have an iPhone, but don’t want to switch to Cingular (who is almost as un-Apple as Verizon). Apparently the comments in October from T-Mobile were ignored by Apple like some awkward high school relationship.

Second, why is it so expensive? I get that it has a lot of power, but this price makes it higher than almost every other smartphone out there without service. There are plenty of Windows Mobile-based devices with built-in WiFi that you can accomplish many of the same things, but obviously no integration with iTunes. Still, 4GB and 8GB seems a tad small if you’re big on music. It’s tempting to stick with a random Symbian smartphone and a video iPod.

Third, what’s up with the whole Mac OS X built-in news? There are rumors that you can’t add your own software, and it doesn’t particularly look like the “standard” OS X, so why even tout it? Or is Apple trying to get in on the marketing angle that Microsoft has with Windows Mobile?

Fourth, there are a few things I think are missing—removable battery (even my lower-end Motorola has that), synchronization options, IM over your cell carrier or WiFi, and not many “business” programs to allow you to take your work with you.

Finally, don’t get me wrong. I think the iPhone is an awesome product, and we still do have 6 months to actually see what the “finished” version ends up having. Apple did a few excellent things, such as having a matte finish on the back, simple controls, and things that make you go “that’s cool”. On the interface front, this makes almost every product out there look antiquated (I’ve seen some skins for Sony Ericsson not-so-smart-phones that are almost as nice, but with fewer features).

Other Things

2007 will undoubtedly be a huge year for Apple. Both of these products are outstanding and will probably sell rather well. In some ways, both are out a little too early, but why shouldn’t Apple be the first?

In some ways, I’m reminded of when the iPod first came out. Everyone thought it was going to be a flop, but we know how that ended up. I guess we’ll just have to see where we are in June…

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