Post MacWorld SF Observations

My predictions, like many others were mostly off. So here’s my observations of todays festivities and announcements.

iPhone

The iPhone is an amazing product, and looks to have a ton of potential. Jobs specifically notes that it’s running OS X. This is somewhat peculiar, and raises several questions:

  • Is this going to be kept in sync with desktop releases of OS X? What about Safari aka. WebKit? How will security updates be handled? Can I upgrade the phone to a future OS? Gain features?
  • Can we develop our own software? Doug Turner already has a mention of the iPhone. I’m sure a port of MiniMo is in his head.
  • What OS X technologies are supported on this OS X based phone? Does it support Quartz/Extreme or Core Image? There’s obviously some widget functionality, is this the same as Dashboard? Can we use HTML and specifically <canvas> to create our own?
  • What’s this thing running? Is it a Samsung Chip (as rumored in the iPod Nano, despite the Apple logo on top)? Or an Intel XScale? Or a Freescale/IBM?
  • All this power and no 3G?
  • No miniSD/microSD or similar slot? Would have been great for expansion and even transferring pictures from a Digital Camera to the more spacious iPhone. This is not a huge deal though.
  • No real mention of the camera on the phone. Will it record video in 3GP? How about integrate with iPhoto (almost definite)?

Apple iPhoneThen there’s the VoIP factor. This phone supports WiFi (802.11b/g), so what stops someone from installing Skype (presuming third party software works), and buying a years worth of unlimited nationwide calling ($19.95 until the end of the year). Then whenever in a HotSpot, enjoy the free minutes? Will the phone be crippled? Or will it be as cool as I’d hope it would be. Cingular doesn’t have anywhere near the history of crippling products as Verizon has.

Perhaps when I’m looking for a replacement of my CU500, they will be at the 2nd or 3rd gen of the iPhone. So by then >2MP camera, 802.11n, and ideally a clear picture on what can/can’t be done with this phone. I hope Cingular’s data service comes down in price by then. That mail client sounds awesome.

You can see how the size stacks up at Gizmodo and view some ‘candid’ pics here. It really isn’t as large as the initial pics made it look. Slightly larger than the current iPod, which millions carry quite gracefully.

It looks like an awesome product, but I want to know much more than Apple’s letting us know thus far. Hopefully details emerge quickly. I know eventually it all comes out. Hours after they ship, dissection photos will be online for us all to analyze.

Apple TV (iTV)

Apple TV
The Apple TV (forever iTV in my mind) looks like an extremely cool device for the TV addicted (like myself). Though I still have some questions on this one too:

  • The Apple site and Steve make note that it has an Intel chip inside. Why? Is this a dare to get Linux and MythTV running on it?
  • To go along with the above, how long before third party software figures out how to take advantage of this? With Firefox you could have a browser on your TV.
  • Is the Hard Drive upgradeable? Judging from the size, it looks like it uses a 2.5 inch drive (laptop drive), likey SATA interface. That means even if you can put an after market drive in (which is most likely possible except you would need to bare metal copy the drive to make sure you copy the OS over), the price:storage ratio is a bit steep. Especially compared to the larger 3.5 inch drives (now at 1TB thanks to the 7k1000). It does have a USB port, but no indication if you can just add on storage, or if that’s for peripherals to come from third parties.
  • No 1080p?
  • I’m surprised not to see 3GP supported as a video format. Especially with the iPhone (presuming it does video) it would make sense to market the ability to send directly to your Apple TV
  • Does it use the Pixo OS like the iPod? Or does it use some stripped down version of OS X?
  • I’m very surprised to see that it doesn’t play video off of YouTube, though I suspect it’s just a matter of time before a firmware update ships to add that in. Apple and Google are pretty cozy right now.

This too looks like it has promise. I’m surprised to see that it wasn’t setup as a replacement for the Airport Express for Audio/Video, then leading to a replacement Airport Express (which I believe is coming) that is more WiFi oriented than multimedia.

I also presume this device isn’t the best on an 802.11b/g network. This just screams for 802.11n. I can’t imagine this working with my current network, and I have decent bandwidth. Unless of course it’s more efficient than I suspect.

Airport Extreme

Apple Airport Extreme
The Airport Extreme wasn’t mentioned during the keynote , but still updated. Less UFO like, and otherwise looking like another generation of cool WiFi goodness. It’s the first 802.11n I wouldn’t mind having. Note it supports remote storage (via USB drives), while not as robust as a file server, should prove pretty useful. Also USB printer sharing (as usual). The biggest advantage is Apple’s rather robust feature set and compatibility they are known for. Still doesn’t support UpNP for anyone wondering. At $179, it’s not even to expensive. Though you still need to upgrade your systems to 802.11n to take advantage of the speed.

Let It Be

Apple played The Beatles “Lovely Rita” during the presentation, leading Wired to say the Beatles catalog will soon be on iTunes. I’m not sure if this is true (some think it’s not), or if it’s just a 2007 reincarnation of Sosumi Perhaps you need to be a semi-apple-geek to think of “Sosumi” within a nanosecond of the Beatles being played, but that’s what I am.

To come

I still believe that the following will be marked by more low-key releases over the next few months:

  • Mac OS X 10.5
  • More iTunes Video Content
  • Speed Bumps for Computers, including Mac Pro to Dual Quad Core

I personally believe there is substantial evidence to back these based on news leading up to todays announcements.

As if it isn’t obvious, I love this stuff. A trip to see the gear once it’s in the Apple Stores may be required at some point (looks it will be a few months to see the iPhone though). You can likely tell I have a slight hardware-obsessed, software/web developer centric view on this whole thing on top of my love of Apple products.

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