Passed without comment….
I didn’t write anything about the announcement that BT is partnering with FON to allow BT Total Broadband users to open their wireless connection to other FON users in exchange for free connectivity at lots of wireless hotspots. Although BT’s PR agency kindly invited me along to the launch, I was already feeling under the weather, so missed it.
What’s interesting is whether enough BT customers will take up the offer in order to make WiFi access far more ubiquitous than it is at present. With BT the country’s biggest ISP, the potential is there.
And that has a lot of implications, not just for BT but for the whole country. The biggest problem facing devices like the iPhone or N95 is the lack of public WiFi coverage, and if even 10% of BT’s customers take up the FON offer, that will add up to a lot more wireless spots. What’s more, as they’re in residential homes, they’re more likely to be in the more out-of-the-way areas which commercial spots like The Cloud and BT’s own Openzone don’t cover.
(Disclosure: I work on the BT account at Redwood)
“Here’s the thought that prompted this posting though… When Apple introduced the iPod nano, they dumped the hard drive from the mini line and went to flash storage. I think Apple needs to keep an optical drive for at least playing CD music and DVD video without having an ugly cable attached device on a Mac nano. But, what about dumping the hard drive from the Mac and either going all flash storage (say 30GB) with the option of a 80 to 320GB drive in a small enclosure either beneath or above the Mac nano with a seamless bus plug (like a notebook in a docking station) instead of a cable?”
I can’t see it. For small, mobile devices the switch from hard drive to flash makes a lot of sense, mostly because of the power requirements. But for a desktop – even one smaller than the mini – power isn’t so much of an issue.
Of course, where it would make sense would be if the Mac nano was, in fact, a flash-based, silent desktop which executed its applications remotely – something like the Zonbu, but running Mac OS X. Apple could even control the applications you installed… making it the iPhone of desktop PCs!
(Via Mac DevCenter.)
Setting up del.icio.us posting from Typepad.
Russell Beattie on the New York Times’ review of Ubuntu.
Hi, I got your book. You ask me how to make it different…
The iPhone launches in the UK in just a few weeks now, but I’ve already made my decision: thanks, but no thanks.
It’s not just because it runs on O2 rather than the T-Mobile network that I’ve been with since, well, before it was T-Mobile. It’s not just because it uses EDGE (and EDGE with crappy coverage at that) rather than 3G. It’s because it simply doesn’t do what I want to do, and largely because it’s a completely closed system.
Rather than go for an iPhone, I decided to go for a Blackberry 8800, which is the “stretched” version of the very lovely BlackBerry Pearl. Of course, it includes the usual BlackBerry instant email – which I’ve come to love – as well as a small but perfectly usable keyboard and GPS for satellite navigation.
The 8800 has highlighted for me why I think that iPhone, for all its lovely interface touches, is a fundamentally crippled piece of hardware which betrays all of the faults of a “version 1.0″ product. The reasons that I’ve picked up on, though, aren’t the same ones as it’s been criticised for before, such as its reliance on the slower EDGE network (the 8800 is only capable of EDGE, too).
No GPS is a poor choice
To anyone who hasn’t used a recent smartphone with GPS, this will make very little sense. Before I got the 8800, I was very skeptical about how useful GPS would be.
Since I got it, though, it’s been about the most-used smart feature on the phone. Tying together the ability to grab maps off the internet, search for locations and businesses and show directions from the exact location you’re in is a killer feature. And, unlike the GPS in the Nokia N95, the 8800 doesn’t tend to take ten minutes to hook up to enough satellites to get a position.
What’s more, because developers have the ability to hook into a GPS, the potential for smart, useful and fun applications is pretty much boundless. Someone could for example, write an application which activated reminders depending on you location. Walking past Tesco – and your phone bings to remind you to get some milk.
It’s clearly a design compromise driven by battery life, something which Jobs is rightly obsessed with. Phone and GPS and hours of video playback won’t go into something the size of the iPhone.
But the iPhone is already a poor video player, lacking the amount of storage it would need to topple an iPod. While the 16Gb of the iPod touch is just about bearable, 8Gb just doesn’t work.
No instant email
Yes, I know you can use Yahoo to do sort-of instant email with the iPhone – but who wants to use Yahoo? Putting email on the same level SMS lets you forget that you’re not connected in a way which using web mail simple doesn’t. Webmail on a mobile sucks. The technology is there, Apple, and you even have your own mail service – so deliver me the mail.
No support for third-party hardware development
There’s obviously been a lot of attention on the lack of third party software development, thanks to Apple’s insistance that the phone be locked down “for security reasons”. This is obviously bull. The BlackBerry is certifed to connect to highly-secure networks, including governments, so there’s no reason why you can’t do it. I can’t imagine that even the most fervent Apple loyalist actually believes that nonsense.
But a side effect of this lack of accessibility to software is stifling third party hard development, too. I’m sitting here typing this on my BlackBerry, using an HP foldable keyboard originally designed for PocketPCs, but which I can use with my phone thanks to a third party driver. I will never be able to do this with the iPhone. The only hardware I will be able to use with the iPhone is whatever Apple permits me to use – which, almost certainly, means whatever Apple is making money on.
No installable applications
That software issue really, truly, relegates the iPhone to the second division of mobiles, and into the same “fashion accessory” territory as the Sidekick. Again, there is no technical reason why Apple has chosen to do this: the “network safety” excuse is just nonsense.
So overall, no – the iPhone is not for me. If the hardware was at least up the standards of other recent mobiles, if the platform were open, then yeah. But no.
“Bungie and Microsoft Corp. today announced a plan for Bungie Studios, the developers of Microsoft’s ‘Halo’ franchise, to become a privately held independent company, Bungie, LLC, in which Microsoft will hold a minority equity interest.
It will be interesting to see if Microsoft has retained some kind of exclusive rights on the Halo series. Halo, which was first demoed running on a Mac way back at Macworld in 1999 – and I remember the palpable excitement in the audience at what was, for the time, a revolutionary and Mac-only game.
Dave Winer and I don’t often agree, but if there’s one thing that I think he’s right about it’s that both Apple and Microsoft are missing a trick by not having automatic podcast downloads in either the iPhone, iPod touch or Zune.
You’d think that this would be a no-brainer. With all these products having WiFi – and, in the case of Apple’s the iTunes Mobile Music Store – there’s even an easy way to subscribe to podcasts.
Can the Nokia N800 do this?
“Besides, you know in his heart of hearts, Steve Jobs would love to lock down Mac OSX as much as he’s locked down the iPod and iPhone – why invest in that insanity? Maybe Apple will pull a ‘vista’ and screw up Leopard somehow, pushing the recent Mac converts to Ubuntu? Ooh, that’d be nice, wouldn’t it?”
The sad thing is, I don’t think Russell is wrong.
CNet’s Don Reisinger thinks that AT&T is forcing Apple to ‘brick’ iPhones:
“What would have driven Apple to brick iPhones? Some may say that an unlocked iPhone running on a T-Mobile network means significant losses in revenue, but I think that argument is a bit flimsy.
Historically speaking, Apple is a hardware company, and it’s in the business of selling as many computers, iPods, Apple TVs and iPhones as possible. Wouldn’t an unlocked iPhone allow the company to sell more hardware? And if so, couldn’t it be said that this hardware company would benefit the most from hardware sales?
An unlocked iPhone means more hardware sales because T-Mobile customers and people from all over the world could pick one up at an Apple store, bring it home, and put it on any GSM carrier.”
There’s only one problem with this argument: it only works if you assume that AT&T’s deal is permanently exclusive, and that Apple makes more money off selling an iPhone than it does from the revenue share deals.
Neither of these is actually likely to be true. First of all, I doubt that AT&T will have the exclusive deal on iPhones for longer than a year – it it does, Apple will be the first phone seller anywhere to stick to exclusive permanently.
Second, even a cursory glance at the numbers reveals that Apple will make far more profit from its revenue sharing than from the physical iPhone. Support that the 40% revenue sharing deal which the company is rumoured to have done with O2 is the norm.
This means that, on the lowest-priced AT&T tariff, Apple makes $24, or, over the course of the 18 month contract, a whopping $432, far more than the initial price of the iPhone. And, for Apple, that’s almost all profit: I’m sure its deal with AT&T doesn’t mean it’s required to pay a portion of the cost of running the network.
If it’s serious about selling 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008, that represents a yearly profit of $2.8 billion, just from the revenue sharing. Add in the profits from the phone itself, plus ringtones, and you’re probably talking about around $3 billion profit. I very much doubt that AT&T will make anything like that amount in profit from the iPhone.
Well, it was worth it for the fun, I guess. I moved this blog to a new Movable Type install over on my web space elsewhere, and unfortunately it didn’t go all that well.
There were a number of problems from the start. First, there was getting Movable Type to actually import all the entries from here – which, given that both are Six Apart products, you’d think would be easy. But instead it was a chore: it choked after every 400 entries or so, which meant I had to do it bit by painful bit.
Then there were the database errors. Rebuilding the site sometimes – but not always – resulted in database errors which I could never quite sort out.
I might try moving things back to WordPress, which I ran reasonably successfully until recently – but we’ll see!