WWDC 2008 Analysis

iPhone 3G

The Presentation

As usual I keep tabs on all the major Apple events using pretty much all the top tech sites that run “live blogs” and the like. This year none failed completely though I think they all were overcome with traffic at one point resulting in a failed load attempt. Not bad. This year I threw twitter into the mix. That was pretty interesting itself. Kevin Rose pointed out a decent audio feed. I did this in the background while I worked.

One thing I did note is that the parade of iPhone Apps got pretty painful after a while. Just wanted to yell out “we get it… cool apps built quickly… move on!”. For those who were following along at home, my predictions were mostly right (yay me!).

iPhone 3G

To me, this was really what the announcement was all about, and I’ll explain why a little later. The obvious big gain is the performance of 3G. This will win over a lot of people who just couldn’t imagine paying that much and surfing the web with EDGE. Another awesome addition is GPS support. It’s notable since geolocation is the “next big thing” [I should note update GeoLocateFox… I was ahead of my time]. I suspect there may be a few other goodies under the hood of this new iPhone that have yet to be revealed due to the suspected chipset. If Apple doesn’t unleash the full power, hackers will. Rest assured.

The real big thing here is that the phone is now much cheaper with a much more reasonable amount of storage on board. $299 for the 16GB model and $199 for the 8GB model. This is substantial for a few reasons. Besides obviously saving some cash, it makes the phone suddenly a possibility for people who would have never shelled out the original sticker price.

AT&T’s pricing looks to be $30 for unlimited data. The cheapest Voice/Data combo you could do would be $69/mo. That’s $10 more than it was for the first generation. Presumably that will help curb the cost of the massive 3G upgrades they are doing and subsidizing the iPhone’s hardware costs.

iPhone Apps

Pretty impressive demos from the screenshots I’ve seen. I’m really interested in more basic stuff should I get an iPhone. SSH, FTP, Email that doesn’t suck. I’d prefer to read/write office docs, but I guess I can always use something like Google Docs, which I’m sure will support the iPhone at some point if it doesn’t already.

Rather disgusted that I haven’t seen anything really change in terms of Application distribution or licensing. Apple is still very prohibitive of what it will allow. Don’t hold your breath on Firefox or Java anytime soon.

Apple will let you distribute Apps for free (how kind of them), but you still need to pay $99 to provide a free Application:

Standard Program $99
The Standard Program is for developers who are creating free and commercial applications for iPhone and iPod touch.

How about no charge for Applications with an OSI approved license Apple? Seems fair. No charge, and you get more software to make your ecosystem look more attractive.

Strikes me as pretty lame that a developer needs to pay $99 so Apple will let others use software for free.

  1. Disable download/install functionality.
  2. Charge $99 to distribute applications, even if they are free.
  3. Profit!

MobileMe

I was wrong regarding the use of MobileMe. Sadly it still doesn’t seem to fit the bill for something worth $99. Google provides most of the functionality pretty nicely. I suspect Google Calendar will get some iPhone sync love in the near future. In my opinion would have been better to just partner with Google and offer something really awesome and let Google monetize it. I suspect they didn’t do this because of the whole Android thing.

Jailbreak

Jailbreak is far from dead. The SDK isn’t open enough to kill off Jailbreak. Expect it to live on an coincide with Apple’s efforts for some time to come.

Mac OS X 10.6

Damn you NDA… would someone start leaking the goods 😉 . There’s some basic info out there, but nothing really juicy yet.

Photo Courtesy of Apple

Me.com DNS Queries

I decided to take another look at me.com, the eve before we all expect a launch at WWDC2008. It’s still using marksmonitor.com for DNS.

TTL

The TTL is still set to 28800 (8 hours). I think this will drop before 2:00 AM PST (5:00 AM EST) if they are planning to offer email service to users so that it can propegate. Also note last update was June 4 2008.

me.com.                 85673   IN      SOA     ns1.markmonitor.com. eddingsk.apple.com. 2008060411 28800 7200 604800 86400

Akamaized

The www CNAME record is already pointing to Akamai (which Apple uses quite a bit). There is currently no A record for me.com (The me.com A record can’t point to Akamai since their service is delivered via a CNAME).

www.me.com.             591     IN      CNAME   www.me.com.edgesuite.net.
www.me.com.edgesuite.net. 18591 IN      CNAME   a1917.g.akamai.net.
a1917.g.akamai.net.     20      IN      A       8.15.32.42
a1917.g.akamai.net.     20      IN      A       8.15.32.9

No mx records yet

There’s still no mx records yet. This is interesting since it’s already pointing at Akamai’s EdgeSuite, yet it doesn’t have mx records. Why only halfway setup DNS?

mobileme.com

There is no DNS info to be found for mobileme.com. This makes me think that Apple may not intend to launch this product tomorrow. Perhaps they just don’t want it to land in the hands of squatters? Backup domain (in case they couldn’t have me.com)?

mac.com

The TTL for mac.com is set to 1880 (30 minutes). That was originally very surprising until I noticed the serial was May 16 2008. I suspect Apple always keeps it low so that they can make changes on the fly (given their past email problems, makes sense).

mac.com.                4106    IN      SOA     nserver.apple.com. hostmaster.apple.com. 2008051601 1800 600 1209600 7200

Conclusions

There’s nothing very damning here. If anything I’d conclude mobileme.com is possibly/likely not a product, just trying to keep the squatters at bay. I think more may be revealed early tomorrow morning as Apple starts to prep for launch. Unless the security team at Apple decides to wait until post-announcement to start up the site. I guess we’ll see soon enough.

WWDC 2008 Predictions

And the a tradition continues. Here’s my predictions for WWDC 2008. Steve Jobs will announce the following:

iPhone 3G

Well duh. At this point if it’s not at least announced, Apple’s stock is going to tank. There’s a ton of stuff to back this up including AT&T telling employees not to take vacation in the near future. And mystery shipments of presumed iPhones. I’ve got a good idea what the technical specs will likely be.

AT&T Subsidy

AT&T will likely subsidy the new iPhone when purchased with a 2 year contract to help lower the price and encourage more people to buy it. This is looking even more likely as the economy declines and potential buyers may now be more hesitant.

.mac to become me.com and mobileme.com

.mac will finally die and be replaced with me.com and mobileme.com. I suspect mobileme.com will be free for iPhone users. me.com may be paid if Apple does it in-house, or free if they contract the functionality out to someone like Google (which is likely).

Mac OS X 10.6 Insights

I don’t think we’ll see it until at least late 2009, more likely early 2010, and I doubt Steve will suggest any faster of a timeline. Remember after 10.3 the plan was slower OS releases. I suspect it will stay that way. I don’t think Apple likes the idea of two Mac OS X branches, the mobile and desktop one. I suspect 10.6 will be an effort to “unify” the platform at least from a marketing perspective. Starting from WWDC 2008 onwards I suspect a “Mac OS X powered phone” will be more common branding. Again Apple’s goal is to sell computers. Using the iPhone as a method to sell the desktop experience is pretty obvious. But what does that mean for the OS? Likely a lot of focus on things like Sync, the future of tech (64bit, multi-core, intel) and blurring the distinction between phone and computer. I don’t think we’ll see much more than a little eye candy and some buzz words considering we’re not far from Leopards release. Just enough to get the press talking about it.

New Desktops / Laptops

I don’t think Apple plans any desktop/laptop announcements just yet, I suspect they will hold off until August as tradition. At that point pretty much all of Apple’s computer lines are due for a major overhaul. I suspect the MacBook Pro may be the first to experience a major design change. Apple desperately needs a mid-range tower to build more market share as the Mac mini is under powered and the Mac Pro is very expensive. If anything is announced I suspect it will be just that.

Special Guests

No idea who the special guests will be. If the new iPhone is based on Atom, I suspect an Intel Exec. Other than that, really don’t know. Likely an iPhone developer or two will make an appearance during the iPhone Apps part. No clue on musical guest.

So there you have it. We’ll see Monday what I got right.

.mac To Become Me.com And MobileMe.com

A few days ago, various websites noted a change in the recently released Mac OS X 10.5.3 that Apple replaced hard coded references of .mac with a variable, as if they plan to change the name at some point in the near future (WWDC 2008 is just around the corner).

Now it appears Apple owns me.com and mobileme.com. The SOA records confirm me.com, though not mobileme.com is owned by Apple. The timing and name strongly suggest the same owner. MarkMonitor.com manages domains for most of the large tech companies including Apple, so that’s to be expected. Remember Apple owned iPhone.org for ages before actually launching the iPhone, so it’s not impossible that this is just a strategic purchase and has nothing to do with a WWDC 2008 announcement.

;; QUESTION SECTION:
;me.com.                                IN      SOA

;; ANSWER SECTION:
me.com.                 77583   IN      SOA     ns1.markmonitor.com. eddingsk.apple.com. 2008052918 28800 7200 604800 86400

;; Query time: 16 msec
;; SERVER: 68.87.64.146#53(68.87.64.146)
;; WHEN: Sun Jun  1 22:17:29 2008
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 91

Considering the tight relationship between Google and Apple thanks at least in part to a certain someone, one must wonder if .mac will be replaced by a Google powered service. Google already offers pretty much the entire product line. It might make sense for Apple to just outsource the .mac operation to Google. Apple initially planned for .mac to be partially free (and it was initially), but costs forced it to be a paid only service. Letting Google power it, would undoubtedly be cheaper since Google has an ability to scale is unrivaled.

I’ve got to put together a better list of predictions before WWDC 2008 (as tradition requires). But this is likely one of them.