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Newton's Ghost Haunts Apple's iPhone

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the hubris-and-the-handheld dept.

Communications 381

PetManimal writes "David Haskin has looked back at why the Newton failed in the early PDA market, and warns that Apple may be setting itself up for a similar failure with the iPhone. The iPhone shares with the Newton a hefty starting price, and Joe Public may not be so keen on the cost, as recent survey data suggests. Moreover, the iPhone will have to deal with two additional factors that were not issues for the Newton: Competition, and wireless service providers: 'Besides overcharging for iPhone, Apple faces significant competition, something it didn't face in 1993 when it launched Newton. And you can bet that competition from the likes of Samsung and LG will both be good (although probably not as good as iPhone) and most assuredly cheaper... I'm more convinced than ever that, after an initial frenzy of publicity and sales to early adopters, iPhone sales will be unspectacular. If Apple doesn't respond quickly by lowering the price and making nice to AT&T..., iPhone may well become Apple's next Newton.'"

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Liberty's angry at Unca Sam! (-1, Troll)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165528)

How can you pay 500$ for such iShit and 500 billions to destroy a country when you've got 16 millions people [google.ch] starving in the streets?

All you motherfuckers are gonna pay. You are the ones who are the ball-lickers. We're gonna fuck your mothers while you watch and cry like little bitches. Once we get to Washington [goatse.ch] and find those neocon [goatse.ch] fucks who are making that war [goatse.ch] , we're gonna make 'em eat our shit, then shit out our shit, then eat their shit which is made up of our shit that we made 'em eat. Then you're all you motherfucks are next. Love...

No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18165550)

sreggin

Got it wrong about competition (4, Insightful)

dmayle (200765) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165560)

They've got it completely wrong about competition. In this case, it's better that they have competition than not.

With the Newton, it was an entirely new device, so it was that much more difficult to spur adoption. Whereas now, everyone knows what a cellphone is, so they can look at the iPhone and just say, "That's like my phone, only better."

They did the exact same thing with the iPod. Digital music players weren't new when the iPod came out, it was just the first of it's kind in terms of design and functionality. Suddenly everyone said, "THAT'S the digital music player I wanted to buy." I suspect the same thing will happen with the iPhone.

True, but I think it would depend on the market. (2, Insightful)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165708)

More specifically which market. We've all read about the Asian markets and their love for new gadgets. That's where I'd start off. Then the EU, then US, Russia and whoever else wants it.

Re:True, but I think it would depend on the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18166236)

More specifically which market. We've all read about the Asian markets and their love for new gadgets. That's where I'd start off. Then the EU, then US, Russia and whoever else wants it.
In Soviet Russia, phone buys YOU!!

Problems with the European market; iPhone's not 3G (3, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166344)

More specifically which market. We've all read about the Asian markets and their love for new gadgets. That's where I'd start off. Then the EU
Apple may face marketing problems within the EU [theregister.co.uk] . Basically, the operators here have invested a lot of money in 3G networks and in promoting multimedia facilities that can be used over them.

The iPhone is 2G, thus any company endorsing it would effectively be discouraging the use of 3G and those lucrative MMS facilities. Even if it were possible to fit similar facilities onto a modified 2G iPhone (via GPRS, or whatever), it wouldn't be worth the hassle as a one-off, and it's still going against the pro-3G politics and general flow of the European marketplace.

It's probable that the operators would allow the sale of network-tied iPhones with their name on, but far less likely that they'd offer subsidised contract prices. Thus, the iPhone would appear very expensive next to the ("free" or cheap) competition. Contract mobile users here are used to getting shiny new phones at highly-subsidised prices, so I can't see this flying. One exception is pay-as-you-go (not usually subsidised anyway). However, since most PAYGers are light/occasional users (or possibly kids), I doubt that many of them would consider paying even half of the iPhone's price.

In short, if Apple wants the iPhone to be a success in Europe, they're going to have to come up with a 3G version.

Re:Got it wrong about competition (4, Insightful)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165838)

I strongly suspect you're right. It's going to be one of those things that people try out, and go "Hey, I really like this. It does x,y, and z, and I can dump 2 other devices and just carry one, and I get bonus feature v to boot!"

I know when I saw the presentation, I went "Now there's what I've been looking for in a phone. I personally hate cell phone interfaces. I'm sure I'm not alone. LG so far has the least painful interface, Motorolla should get an F for interface design (Whoever thought that having separate entries for each of 4 phone/fax numbers for a single person was a good idea should have to navigate phones using that system for the rest of their lives) Using a cellphone for anything other than a phone (with the occasional camera shot) is so painful as to be useless.

Enter the iPhone. At the very least, it will spark a much needed overhaul of interface design. At worst (for the competitors) it will dominate the market. After all, how many $300+ iPods were sold? Now you get a super duper cell phone to go along with it plus a host of other easy to use features (easy compared to current cell phones) in a relatively slick and sleek package that will interface seamlessly with your computer.

Exactly! (4, Insightful)

Luscious868 (679143) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166226)

Apple is great at taking an existing product or set of technologies and figuring out how to make it "just work" in a way that's intuitive and easy. You'll pay for the convenience but for an increasing number of consumers it's worth it. I have full confidence that the iPhone will be more of the same.

I used to think Apple produced nothing but overpriced junk but that was primarily because my previous exposure to their products occurred in the 90's. Then several years ago when iTunes for Windows hit I was tired of managing my music collection in other programs and looking for an easier way so I gave it a shot after hearing rave reviews from Mac users and it was such an improvement over the other software I was using that I uninstalled the other programs immediately. iTunes worked so well that I decided to go for an iPod and it was (and still is) hands down the best MP3 player I've every owned. I gave the iTMS a try and the iPod / iTunes / iTMS combination worked so well together that when the Mac Mini was announced I decided to bite the bullet and try a Mac. I liked it so much I upgraded to an iMac within 6 months and have just convinced my boss to split the cost of a MacBook Pro for use at the office and when I'm on the road. I couldn't be happier after making the switch. I've got to deal with Windows based PC's all day at work and when I get home at night I want something that will just work.

I'm starting to feel the same way about cell phones. I'm tired of all of the crap you have to put up with. I got an LG phone for Christmas and it's the best cell phone that I've ever owned but that's not saying much. My cell phone has an mp3 player, but of course you can't use the mp3s as ring tones and the user interface absolutely sucks. It's got the best built in web browser of any cell phone I've used, but it still can't display half of the web sites I try to visit properly. Admittedly it handles web sties designed for mobile browser well, but often times I need to visit a site that hasn't been designed for mobile browsers. It's supposed to work with any Micro SD trans flash stick so I purchased a 2 GB stick and, of course, it doesn't work. A little research on the Internet revealed that even though they claim any chip will work just about no one can get the 2 GB stick working. I've had enough. I want a cell phone / mp3 player combo that just works. I want to be able to easily manage my music on the phone, I want to be able to easily find the tracks I want to play, I want to be able to use any thing on the mp3 player as a ring tone. I don't want to worry about buying the wrong kind of flash memory. I want my contacts and calender to sync with my computer easily, I want a web browser that won't mangle most regular web pages. Visual voice mail will be a handy feature and the integration with Google maps looks pretty awesome as well. In short, I want something that just works. I realize that other phones will be cheaper and may have more features but I don't care. A phone can have all of the features in the world but if they are poorly implemented and/or the UI sucks what's the point? I don't have time to fiddle with crap all day long. Life's to short. I want something that will just work and I'm willing to pay for it.

I'll skip the first generation to give Apple a chance to work the kinks out and to further improve the product but as soon as the second generation of the iPhone ships I'm buying one. I'll be ready for a new phone by then and I'll be happy to shell out $500 dollars if I know that at the end of the day I'll have a cellphone that does what I need it to do and "just works". If the iPhone lasts half as long as my and holds up half as well as my 3G iPod has then it will have been well worth the money.

Re:Got it wrong about competition (2, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166372)

MP3 players were clumsy, big, and with low storage when the iPod first came out. The iPod did a LOT more than other MP3 players, and in a package that was clearly the result of better engineering and R&D. The iPhone isn't that far ahead of the pack to justify its price. It has *less* features than other mobile phones, less a pretty screen and more storage space. Is that going to be enough to encourage people? Considering it's twice as expensive as a competing phone (with the competitor having better features), it doesn't have the iPod advantage over its competitors.

Non-changeable battery (4, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165578)

I don't care about the price, if I wanted one price would not have been my determining factor. It probably kills its for some others. One thing I didn't consider earlier is the number of people I know who won't get one because its too big. Its the old idea of, its a phone, if I wanted a pc I would get one.

The killer problem with the iPhone in my book, and it seems to get knocks from others I know as well, is the fact it doesn't have a battery you can changeout on the fly. I travel, and I don't always have access to a power outlet. Worse, the iPhone is designed to do things other than just being a phone, hence I will need to use it more often. So, whats with this fixed battery?

boneheaded.

Then again Apple is about looks more than anything in their consumer side. There are a few bright ideas in their PC group that seriously need to come over to the iPod/iPhone side.

Re:Non-changeable battery (1)

statusbar (314703) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165640)

The "price" here is illusory... Other phones are subsidized... And who pays for the subsidy in the long run?

You have a very good point about the battery... Power users need extra batteries, by definition...

--jeffk++

Re:Non-changeable battery (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165734)

I thought the price of the iPhone included the required Cingular contract, meaning they probably do subsidize part of the price.

Re:Non-changeable battery (2, Insightful)

jessecurry (820286) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166196)

apple is purposely refusing to allow subsidizing of the phone because they felt that if the iPhone were available for $200 or less that it would cause a perceived loss of value for the iPods.

Re:Non-changeable battery (1)

gutnor (872759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165924)

Illusion or not, you still have to pay for the 2 years contract like for any subsidized phone, the contract price reflect the amount subsidized.

Sorry for my lack of faith, but I have the feeling that price for the iPhone contract will not be significantly cheaper, so the fact that other phone are subsidied or not change nothing to what you pay at the end.

But of course I can be wrong, the way Jobs will revolutionize the mobile world is maybe by selling an expensive phone but with a dead-cheap 2-year contract (I mean cheap as in 20$/month for unlimited data and good voice plan ). If that happen (I wonder what I did smoke), I may be willing to sacrifice thirdparty application and battery exchange.

Re:Non-changeable battery (1)

dannay (955031) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165646)

There are external battery packs that you can plug in to your iPod, I'm sure they would be usable for an iPhone as well

Re:Non-changeable battery (1)

Poorcku (831174) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166004)

But this would be absurd; No one in their right mind, would plug an EXTERNAL battery just to phone home, after a meeting, in a bus, etc. The costs that this implicates are huge: carrying one in the first place (means not forgetting it and then the extra weight) the looks you get (social norm is here important). More importantly this is no laptop, this is a PHONE.

Re:Non-changeable battery (1)

n2art2 (945661) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166356)

well. . . I carry an external battery for my Motorola Q. Made by Energizer, and takes 2 AA batteries. I keep it in my coat pocket or in my car. I use it if I'm out late, and my phone doesn't make it all the way through the day, and I don't have my laptop out to plug into that instead.

Works wonderfully for me.

Re:Non-changeable battery (2, Interesting)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165970)

So, whats with this fixed battery?

RTFPPIYOP

(That is - Read the Fine Previous Paragraph in Your Own Post)

One thing I didn't consider earlier is the number of people I know who won't get one because its too big.

It needs to be fairly wide and tall to make the touch screen work. Adding a removable battery (hatch, internal compartment, contacts, rigid case for the battery...) would make it wide, tall and thick. At least it is (presumably) charge-by-USB, so you won't need multiple power adaptors.

Worse, the iPhone is designed to do things other than just being a phone, hence I will need to use it more often.

Well, before Apple did a phone this was a strong argument as to why they didn't need one - you'd feel a right wally walking around in the rain looking for the last payphone in the county because you'd used up your phone battery playing Tetris and listening to music. Its not as if a RAZR, an iPod Nano and a DS Lite are going to overload the typical manbag.

Now, Steve Jobs could have bet the farm on the general public agreeing with this, and that Sony et. al. will fail with Walkman phones etc. but hedging your bets never hurts. In any case, if the iPhone flops, Apple just take out the transmitter, drop the price and you're left with a pretty cute iPod Video DeLuxe - which wouldn't have been possible if they'd made a more "phone-y" phone.

Re:Non-changeable battery (5, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166112)

While there are some people for whom a non-changeable-on-the-fly battery would be a deal-breaker, there are many, many others for whom that does not matter at all.

For example, my wife and I both have Treos we use pretty heavily, and neither of us have ever had a need or desire to change the battery on-the-fly, nor have we gotten new batteries even after a couple of years. Our usage patterns mean that not changing the battery midday works perfectly fine for us. And by the time we'd even need to replace the battery for degradation reasons, we'll both have new phones.

Others will always carry spare batteries with them, and know in advance they need or want this capability on iPhone. For those, iPhone is obviously not appropriate. Thankfully, no one is forcing them to buy one!

There will also be a third group of people: those who think they need to be able to change the battery routinely, but actually don't, and never even have on any phone they've owned. Some people who currently have smartphone/PDA class devices who have never changed batteries will be in this group. We'll call this the "FUD" or "iPod's Dirty Secret" group.

Actually, I think the biggest problem with the battery isn't that it's not quickly user-accessible; it's going to ultimately be whether or not Apple requires the phone to be sent in to have its battery replaced. Personally, I would hope they would be replaceable on-demand while you wait at any Apple or AT&T/Cingular corporate store. Sending your phone in for a week if and when you need a new battery won't fly.

On the other hand, Apple is also operating under the presumption that many people will want to - and in fact do - replace their phones when the subsidy contract period is up. Therefore, the number of people who actually do need a battery replacement while the device is in service as a phone (as opposed to keeping it as an iPod) will be small. There will also no doubt be numerous third-party and do-it-yourself solutions, likely including higher capacity batteries as they become available, just as there are with iPod. However, I still admit I was very surprised that Apple went the way of the iPod with the iPhone, in terms of the battery setup.

In any case, all of the power accessories for iPod already work with iPhone, and there will be large groups of customers - indeed, the vast majority - who won't be affected by not being able to replace the battery on the fly. Now, I can see some people saying "what if I want to watch my hour of TV on the train ride to work, and then again on the way home, and listen to music all day, and make four hours of voice calls" and such, but I think the answer is that the battery life will work for some people, and for others it won't. Still others will realize that they have power outlets or USB ports or cigarette lighters around them all day long, and having to use them for iPhone is just, well, the tradeoff of wanting an iPhone (if they're in fact in the group who exhausts the battery every day).

I'm tracking iPhone battery issues here [iphonebatteryfaq.com] as they develop. Disclaimer: that is my site, and it does have Google AdSense. As was the case with iPod, I really don't think it will be a big deal for iPhone, save for a vocal minority. I wonder how long we'll have to wait for an iPhone's Dirty Secret movie that intentionally misrepresents the situation [ipodbatteryfaq.com] ?

Re:Non-changeable battery (0)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166238)

Like the i-pod apple wants to change you a arm and a leg for a new battery

Biggest Difference (4, Insightful)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165596)

Steve Jobs is not John Sculley.

Re:Biggest Difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18165832)

iPhone is not iPod.

Re:Biggest Difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18166320)

Ahh, you clearly have no idea what the grandparent is referring to.

Advantages (1)

simpl3x (238301) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165600)

Well, the iPhone has one advantage that the Newton, which I loved, did not. A net connection. It is most certainly not the same sort of device, with the iPod being closer in functionality. But, I suppose that we have to endure the endless chatter until "the thing" arrives. It's expensive, it's going to be shiny, and the most interesting aspects we won't know about at least until it ships. Namely, how will OS X for mobile effect the landscape.

The iPhone is surely intriguing. Slap in a terminal, and get a bluetooth keyboard. It's been a while since I used Pine.

Re:Advantages (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165780)

The Newton had 2 PCMCIA slots. There have been Newtons signaled with modems, ethernet, wifi, cell modems (dial-up or 3g)

Re:Advantages (3, Insightful)

uradu (10768) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165842)

> Namely, how will OS X for mobile effect the landscape.

If they keep it closed, it won't make any difference whatsoever.

Re:Advantages (1)

multimediavt (965608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166194)

Ummm, Windows CE (Mobile; whatever it's called today) is closed and it seems to be doing just fine in the marketplace. As a matter of fact, PalmOS (which is dying) and Windows Mobile are *BOTH* closed and have the greatest smartphone marketshare. The open vs. closed thing doesn't work here. People just want their phone/PDA to work. Apple makes products that just work. IMNSHO, this device will do far better than some are saying. Also remember that we have seen a sneak peek and not the final product. There are many details still up in the air about the device.

Re:Advantages (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166342)

Closed?

Yes, if only the iPod were more open - maybe then it would have been successful and dominated the mp3 player market.

Re:Advantages (1)

tsalaroth (798327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165882)

It's about the same price as a Mac mini, except you can take it with you and you don't have to buy the KVM peripherals. I'm sold. Once I'm playing WoW on my iPhone, I'll laugh at those who think the iPhone is silly!

oh wait.

Re:Advantages (2, Insightful)

robosmurf (33876) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165948)

The iPhone is surely intriguing. Slap in a terminal, and get a bluetooth keyboard. It's been a while since I used Pine.

So far, all the indications are that the iPhone is a closed device. You are unlikely to be able to run a terminal.

In fact, I'm a bit baffled about all the comparisons between the iPhone and Newton and current smartphones. The iPhone isn't a PDA and it isn't a smartphone. It just a really slick fairly basic phone.

Rather than just lowering the price (2, Interesting)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165604)

why not offer a stripped down version?

The iMac/eMac of the iPhones!
The iPhone mini!

Re:Rather than just lowering the price (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18165656)

But what could be stripped from the iPhone? It already can do much less than the competition.

Re:Rather than just lowering the price (1)

C3c6e6 (766943) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165888)

Well, they could get rid of the camera. And the webbrowsing. And the iPod functionality. I for one, would be perfectly happy with a really well designed phone, that has all of the phone capabilities of the iPhone (browsing through voicemails, merging calls into a conference call) but that has no functionality that is not related to making phone calls.

I mean, what *more* do you want of a phone?

Re:Rather than just lowering the price (1)

macslut (724441) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165844)

Seriously, not sarcastically, what could be stripped from the iPhone? It really wouldn't make much sense to lower the storage capacity (as it is, the component cost of the 8GB versus 4GB is more of a marketing difference). It seems like any stripping down of the iPhone would greatly reduce it's overall capability or not have an impact on the cost of production. Perhaps Apple could do a flip phone with better iTunes support, like the RAZR V3i, only *much* better. But then Apple runs into the old problem of having something lower priced that competes with the iPod, but has a lower margin.

Re:Rather than just lowering the price (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165914)

Agreed. Stripping out the phone capability would make it a lot more palatable to me --- I've got zero interest in owning a cell phone (spent too many weekends w/ a beeper when I was in the military).

William
(who gave up on Apple making a Newton replacement and bought a Fujitsu Stylistic and wants a pen slate running OS X, and would be more tempted by the ModBook if it had a docking station)

Re:Rather than just lowering the price (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166390)

If history is any indication, that will happen. Apple offered the full sized iPod before the iPod mini and the iPod shuffle. They will perfect the first version and make other stripped down versions later.

Yep, it had nothing to do with hand recognition.. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165606)

that you had to train and the way Apple hid this concept from consumers until they had already bought the product.

Kinda shameful that untrained hand writing recognition is still shit.

Enormous Negative Reaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18165616)

I really can't believe how bad the reaction has been to this latest product from Apple. Usually Apple products get at worst a 'yeah it's very nice but overpriced' type reactions. The iPhone is getting slammed all over the Net unlike any Apple product in a very long time.

I wouldn't want to be seen walking around with an iPhone. The product has already gotten a reputation as being something of a joke. Or something that only a diehard Apple fan would ever be seen with. There are too many other good phones out on the market or will be on the market. Unlike the portable digital music player market.

99% of the people hate it (2, Insightful)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165710)

But that's okay. If 99% of the people hate it and don't buy it then Apple will have reached its target goal.

Personally, I think opinions will change once people actually have the product to hold and look at. Then you will start seeing real opinions on whether people like it or dislike it. Until then, blah--it's all made up.

iMac, OSX, Intel Switch, iPod, iTunes, etc.... (4, Insightful)

Protonk (599901) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165618)

All of these were the 'next' newton at one point or another. I can't stress enough, that apple has a habit of picking markets where the higher price point is not well established and dominating that sector. Simply opining that because the iPhone will cost a significant amount more than a vanilla cell phone as an alternative, therefore it will be rejected by the populace is ahistorical and ridiculous. The iPhone is not going to cure cancer, it is not going to revolutionize the cell phone market, but I will be the farm that it will sell 10M units within a year, at least.

The armchair economists hard at work here seem to forget that apple (until recently) has made a business of selling branded, exclusive products at a hefty premium. To own a mac you had to be willing to part with more than a few hundred extra dollars, but for whatever reason, it was worth it. Whatever that reason may be: actual performance gains, better UI, susceptability to the RDF, who cares. It doesn't matter if 10M customers take leave of their senses and buy a 600 dollar phone with a cingular contract because of apple branding and market power or if they do so because it is a fundamentally better option. Either way, we are looking at a repeat of apple's succesful past history.

Special STD code (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166104)

If they're serious about selling ten million units, then they might want to think about reserving a special STD code just for iPhones. (This will require the co-operation of the telcos and the number issuing authority, but it's probably a big enough undertaking.) And plug it ceaselessly, so members of the general public know that all numbers with a particular prefix are iPhones. Or at least SIMs that were sold inside iPhones ..... I think people would be more likely to put the SIM out of a cheap phone into an expensive one than the other way around, though! (Except temporarily ..... I wouldn't take an iPhone to Glastonbury.)

Re:iMac, OSX, Intel Switch, iPod, iTunes, etc.... (1)

boer (653809) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166132)

You make well-founded arguments. Obviously no mod points for you to get here.

C'mon (-1, Offtopic)

cosmocain (1060326) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165624)

...wake up. It' Apple. It's got an "i" in front. It just CAN'T fail in any possible way. And if - there should have been a law against it! Wheeeha!

Duh? (3, Funny)

AndersBrownworth (448236) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165638)

~2001 - An MP3 player for $300 when I can get one for $100? Apple is retarded.

Re:Duh? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165870)

Most mp3 players shot themselves in the foot with combination of lack lustre features and vendor lockin [at least initially]. Like the Zen Micro [5GB] was cool, but the requirement [then] to use Windows and their software was highly annoying. Most Sandisk mp3 players act like USB drives and play files off the file system, cool, but they come in sizes like 256MB, not cool.

ipod won out largely because it wasn't hard to figure out how to store files on it without itunes and they actually got some usable space to it.

Make a 10gb player, that isn't bulky, more costly than an ipod and reads music off the filesystem and you would have made a sale.

I'm an iPhone, and I'm a Smartphone (1, Funny)

Terrill (778351) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165648)

This cartoon series [duggmirror.com] which mocks Apple's TV ads sums up my thoughts pretty good, I wish I had drawn it.

The Price Issue (1)

Sammy76 (45826) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165686)

Seems most everyone has an issue with the price, and I am not one to disagree. $500 is a lot of money. But there are several things to consider here:

1) I seem to recall that there are rumours AT&T/Cingular will reduce the price on the service plan. So instead of $80/mo + free phone, we may see $30/mo + $500 phone.

2) How much is a blackberry? This seems like it can easily capture blackberry users with its integrated email functionality -- does it compete well at this pricepoint?

The one problem I see is that it won't allow 3rd party apps. This means that it can't truly be compared against a PocketPC or palm.

Re:The Price Issue (2, Insightful)

Erwos (553607) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165904)

Yes, because Cingular paring down their profit margins on the summer's hottest phone seems ever so likely. If that rumor is true, I'd be absolutely shocked. Cingular is going to milk this for all it's worth, not provide price breaks. Besides, what other expensive smartphone have they ever given a plan break on?

As for stealing tons of Blackberry users: not going to happen. The iPhone does not have a hardware keyboard, and this is a deal-breaker for the heavy email use set. And, no, the software keyboard, multi-touch or not, is not good enough - it doesn't provide tactile feedback fast typing.

The iPhone is clearly aimed at the "I want an iPod in my phone" crowd, and I think it'll be pleasing to them, if we ignore the vendor lock-in and high price. The question in my mind is whether the US market will overlook the pricing or not.

Re:The Price Issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18166042)

The biggest issue I see in addition to the price is that it's not a 3G phone. With the new services Cingular is pushing, and the HSDPA net access other phones are capable of, it's absurd not to have 3G built into the phone. Especially for $500. No thanks.

Samsung and LG already have phones out that do almost as much for significantly cheaper. Samsung is already working on competition.

Not having 3G might not be a killer in the states where Cingular's still rolling out the network, but it's pretty much a nonstarter in Europe.

Then again, this isn't the first time Apple's released a gimped phone for the cell phone market.

Could be true (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165688)

Phones are only ever _really_ wanted by two categories of people - the gadget freaks (solo guys with big paychecks who also do something like kitesurfing on the side), and teens. All us other slobs just get boss issued phones, hand-me-downs from the wife, or whatever they had in the first phone shop that was the cheapest. I can't see a teenager going for this phone (it's too expensive), so they'll have to gamble that the gadget freak will want one. If you only have one product that's a big gamble.

Re:Could be true (1)

Zelos (1050172) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166224)

That's just not true IME (UK). Every business person I know/see has a smartphone: something like a SE P910, Blackberry, Nokia N73 etc. I see huge numbers of people with SE K800i/K750's, which are close to being smartphones, or one of the SE Walkman phones. The feature phone/smartphone market is huge these days.

Totally missing the point (4, Insightful)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165692)

FTA:

It's also becoming clear that Apple may be suffering from excessive hubris. That is evident by its strong demands on its partner in the U.S., Cingular/AT&T. The demands, including a slice of the cellular revenues and control of the sales channel, were so strong that Verizon Wireless turned the deal down.

Umm, if Apple does have hubris, it's just giving back the same hubris that the wireless carriers have been throwing around for years.

Remember that two years after Newton was introduced, a smaller, cheaper PDA appeared -- the Palm Pilot -- which truly did rock the world.

Exactly. The Newton was the first kid on the block, so it took competition a couple of years to appear, identify the flaws in the Newton, and beat it. That's the opposite of Apple: the smart phone market has been around for a few years, and Apple has identified the flaws in the existing offerings, and will beat them. It's like the iPod: hardly the first MP3 player, and certainly not the cheapest, but undoubtably the most succesful.

A recent survey found that a minuscule number of consumers would pay $500 for a 4 GB iPhone.

Probably the same kind of people who already spend $700+ on a so-called "smart phone" that does less, is harder to use, and looks less fashionable than the iPhone. And it doesn't really matter: if it makes a profit for Apple, then it's a good thing.

It's simple personal economics: if you don't want it, don't buy it.

Re:Totally missing the point (1)

clonmult (586283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165876)

Thing is, that the iPhone isn't quite as much a smartphone as the windows/symbian devices out there.

There are only two things that the iPhone seems to have over the competition, memory and multi-touch. The negatives, such as lower quality camera, worse battery life, and a lack of an open architecture for freely developing your own apps (which isn't a biggie for many) are definitely bigger issues, at least for a lot of people in the UK.

For your average person over here, the iPhone doesn't offer anything overwhelming when compared to a several year old SE W800. The SE has much better battery life (5+ days?), you can text without having to look at the screen, has a much better camera, and in theory they can support the 8gig duo pros, and the SE fits a lot nicer into your "average" pocket.

Re:Totally missing the point (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166146)

I think the fact that it's not running Windows (which crashes all the time) is a huge plus, but the closed nature totally kills it for me. That and lack of 3G. $500 is way to much for a closed phone with no 3G. 3G open phone for $500, and I'd snap it up in a heartbeat as the UI beats anything out there. Yeah, the lack of a hardware keyboard is a little disappointing, but I could live with it.

Not so sure about the battery issue - batteries only last me about a year before they start losing it. If it's not easily replaceable, that will hurt too - I can't give up my phone for a few weeks while it gets sent back to Apple for battery replacement.

I really don't understand these newest 2 products from Apple - Apple TV also seems to suffer from a lack of capability. Both the iPhone and AppleTV are 90% feature complete products, and the missing 10% will kill 50%+ of potential sales IMHO.

Considering the iPhone only costs about $250, and there will be no subsidy from Cingular, it really sounds like Apple / Cingular got REALLY greedy for no damn reason.

Re:Totally missing the point (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166258)

has a much better camera

Based on what? Pixel count? All cell phone cameras suck. The pixel count is not nearly as important as the lens and the size of the receptors. And in cell phones they are crappy and small. In fact it'd be easier to get a good picture from a 2MP receptor than a 4 if they were the same overall size.

Re:Totally missing the point (1)

robosmurf (33876) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166114)

Probably the same kind of people who already spend $700+ on a so-called "smart phone" that does less, is harder to use, and looks less fashionable than the iPhone. And it doesn't really matter: if it makes a profit for Apple, then it's a good thing.

Yes, but the iPhone isn't a smartphone. It's really slick, but it's a fairly basic closed platform phone.

It terms of features and getting things done, pretty much any of the current "smart phones" blow it away. The iPhone is not for people who want smartphones for getting anything serious done.

It looks like a really nice phone, but competitor feature phones are much cheaper, smaller and probably easier to use for basic functions (it looks like the iPhone will be a real pain to use one handed, and it doesn't seem to have voice dialling).

For me, the only really compelling feature of the iPhone is the web browser. Current browsers on the market are almost all rubbish. Hopefully the release of the iPhone will give Microsoft the kick they need to finally upgrade the woefully limited mobile IE.

Re:Totally missing the point (1)

bockelboy (824282) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166248)

A recent survey found that a minuscule number of consumers would pay $500 for a 4 GB iPhone.

Gee, was this the highly scientific survey that was a web-quiz on someone's webpage that only about 1400 people answered? The one whose conclusions (besides being invalid due to a piss-poor sampling of the population) were based on fifth-grade statistics?

If these are the same methods that concluded that Linux is the most desired missing feature on Dell desktops, I'm not going to hold my breath for any conclusions based on that survey.

Gravitons? (1)

AikonMGB (1013995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165700)

And here I was expecting to learn something about how Apple's iPhone is susceptible to minute changes in the gravimetric field..

/sigh, its early yet

Aikon-

would these be the people (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165730)

who spend $2700 for an Apple monitor?

Re:would these be the people (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165908)

You're missing the point. It's not about people spending 2700 on a monitor, it's more like people spending 2700 on a monitor that is nearly the same as the monitor on their desks that they just bought for 1500. The question of who's willing to buy it at what price is already over. Besides, monitors can be bought without financial penalty. Cellphones are a bit trickier.

I can agree with the article to a point; if you already own a phone how much added value will be with the iPhone to get you to upgrade? Are you willing to switch providers to do it?

Assume the iPhone comes out this fall: I'm a Verizon customer. It's going to cost me just to get out of my contract or if I let it expire I'm still paying a monthly fee for 8 months while I have another provider dipping into my funds. And even if I'm a Cingular customer? Unless I'm out of my contractual obligations I'm going to pay more for the phone, in most likeliness.

Upgrading is going to be a pain and potentially expensive for most people. Maybe it's best not to be in on this one early. And what happens if the thrill dies? What happens if the first gen has problems? The number of people who I know that won't even think about buying a Motorola Razor because of it's issues is pretty high.

iPod had a leg up on an emerging market. Cells aren't that kind of market, they're going to have to be super sweet and fast in the door to get a foothold. Otherwise Apple will have to pump money in just to keep it afloat, ala XBox.

Screw you Apple (1, Funny)

SydBarrett (65592) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165742)

I dont know who this Newton guy is, but I ain't buying any phone with a ghost in it.

Re:Screw you Apple (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18165918)

If anyone marks this stupid moron as Funny, I am going to come after you with a rusty knife.

Say something funny, or shut the fuck up.

Re:Screw you Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18166168)

That's ironic, coming from a dead guy [wikipedia.org] .

Personally, it doesn't appeal... (2, Insightful)

Kineticabstract (814395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165774)

...to me. I have the Cingular 8525 - it cost me $150 (for an upgrade) after company discount. In fact, once I sold my old 8125 on Ebay, I actually profited $80 from the upgrade. As far as I can tell from the Apple specs, my 8525 does everything the iPhone does and then some. Yes, it's bigger--and if that's an issue for you, you probably won't like the iPhone, either. Also, with my 8525, I have 3G network, while the iPhone is EDGE only in the U.S.

This is hardly "revolutionary" technology - I don't understand the appeal.

Re:Personally, it doesn't appeal... (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166214)

Er... its simple to use and it has no buttons? You can also watch the Office on it. I mean come on.

It is about how, not what (1)

littleghoti (637230) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166234)

If you measure your phones worth by a long list of features, then the iphone probably loses. However, the iphone is about being *easy* to use. Why do some phones require you to hit 14 buttons to get to the feature you want? Bad UI design.

The iphone is like the ipod (and IMO) the mac. It has the same power, but is easier to use. I'm willing to pay more for a better tool that will save me time and not frustrate me. Apple is about design and good design costs money.

iPhone isn't even a competitor in Asia (1)

iOsiris (944032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165782)

The iPhone is nothing special in Asia already... Its like re-introducing old and outdated technology

Samsung, LG - what about Nokia? (1)

hsa (598343) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165784)

Re:Samsung, LG - what about Nokia? (1)

whyloginwhysubscribe (993688) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165886)

Agreed - Nokia are the top mobile phone manufacturer in the US, followed by Motorola and Samsung.
However, I consider Sony Ericsson's "walkman" branded mobiles the most direct competitor to the iphone...
http://blogs.zdnet.com/ITFacts/index.php?p=12419 [zdnet.com]

Re:Samsung, LG - what about Nokia? (1)

eMbry00s (952989) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166086)

N800 doesn't do phonecalls, so I wouldn't say it is on the phone market.

The iPhone is going to fail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18165788)

It is too proprietary. It will never compete with the shear amount of software that is available for pocket pc's, and Palms. (What? This doesn't fill the same business shoes my Blackberry did?) Who wants to spend more money on something that doesn't allow you to easily add functionality?

This thing needs to be about $300 to compete.

Give it a chance to be released (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165792)

I don't think that the iPhone is the best thing since sliced bread, but the price doesn't really matter.

There's plenty of margin on this device, and Apple is pretty good at playing the demand/price curve. iPods are always released at some ridiculous high price, then slashed 20-25% before its EOL.

My guess is that the iPhone will be the flagship product, and you'll have a touch iPod in the $300 price range that will bring people in.

Except that you can buy the Newton (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165802)

Again, the iPhone isn't for sale yet, right? So this is all still speculation that no one will buy an expensive tech gadget. There is a market for high-end everything else, so why not for high-end phones? The newton was marketed wrong, I think Apple is on fire with their i-devices, and they will definitely sell some iPhones, even for $500.

Re:Except that you can buy the Newton (1)

clonmult (586283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165962)

There definitely is a market for high end phones, but at the moment, they seem to go two distinct routes.

1. Offer reasonably decent imaging - ie. 3/5+ mp cameras, VGA/30fps video recording.
2. Look at Vertu. Thats the real high end of phones, a bit like the Rolex of the phone world.

Totally agree about all the speculation though, its getting damnably irritating the continual its the greatest/its the worst/it'll fail 'cos ..... can't people just wait and see?

Re:Except that you can buy the Newton (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166266)

The difference is that the $500 iPhone (which will NOT be subsidized according to Apple) has less features than a $99 (subsidized price) smartphone. If they were close, then sure, they will sell a ton, but with the announced featureset / pricepoint / 2 year contract required, I bet they sell under 2 Mil - WAY less than the 11 Mil they are targeting. Those 2 Mil people are going to be the uber-hard core apple fans that will buy anything with an apple logo on it.

It's not that I don't like Apple: I've got several iPods and 3 Macs. I think the Mac Mini's and macbook pro's are Very price competitive - you get a lot of bang for the buck. IMHO, it's totally the opposite with the iPhone / AppleTV.

I Was Surprised By My Reaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18165806)

I, like everyone, else had for a long time about the mythical Apple iPhone rumors. When it finally got unveiled I was very shocked at how absolutely uninterested I was about the product.

I remember the jokes about handwriting recognition back in the Newton days, but there was a general feeling of excitement about the product even if people couldn't afford it.

With the iPhone the reaction I've noticed tends to be:

"Yeah, that's what a phone designed by Apple would look like"

"Would you buy it?"

"No"

Yes, but (1)

halovaa (774219) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165818)

Did it then appear as the ghost of Colonel Klink?

$284.99 + $160 = $444.99 (1)

Crysalim (936188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165852)

It's only priced so high so that it doesn't cannibalize ipod sales. Unfortunately, Apple doesn't seem to realize there's no reason to purchase a phone for such a premium price when you can get these:

Creative Zen Vision 30G [amazon.com] $284.99 + Nokia 6103 [myworldphone.com] $160 = $444.99

For less than this:

iPhone [cingular.com] $499/4gb $599/8gb

Two superior devices (the best camera phone + the best portable HD based video player) for less than an overhyped, overpriced product... hmm. I wonder what people are going to buy.

Re:$284.99 + $160 = $444.99 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18165932)

hmm. I wonder what people are going to buy.

Hopefully they will not buy anything through your goddamn Amazon refid links that you spam slashdot with.

Re:$284.99 + $160 = $444.99 (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165988)

Try to fit your two "superior devices" into the same space as an iPhone.

Why speculate when we'll know soon enough? (4, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165874)

I'm always puzzled by the oceans of ink wasted on speculations like this one. Obviously some people (presumably many at Apple) expect the iPhone to succeed and some expect it to fail. Some will be wrong and some will be right. I'm not sure what the point of articles like this is, unless it is an effort by those who would benefit by an iPhone failure to create a self-fulfilling prophecy, a negative buzz as it were.

"Apple doesn't have an unblemished record when it comes to introducing innovative new devices?" Well, big whoop. Neither does Microsoft (remember Microsoft Bob?), IBM (remember the four-inch floppy? No? Thought you didn't), whatever.

Innovation is always risky. And success or failure can turn on a hair. If a few breaks had gone Apple's way the Newton might have succeeded. Conversely, a few turns in the other direction and the Mac might have failed (anyone remember just how bleak things looked in late 1985?)

I still love Steve Jobs for saying that "the killer app for cell phones is making calls." Maybe that's just a slick Steve Jobs talking point... or maybe Apple's iPhone team believes it to the core, and they've made something that'sreally good for making calls. With all his blathering of whether it's innovative or not, and whether it's overpriced or not, David Haskins never addresses the question of how good it is for making calls.

People happily buy "overpriced" iPods because they're really good for listening to music. If it turns out that the average cell-phone user thinks iPhones are really good for making calls it will succeed. But we won't know that until a lot of iPhones are in the flesh-and-blood sweaty greasy hands of a lot of real customers.

Re:Why speculate when we'll know soon enough? (1)

clonmult (586283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165994)

Depends on your territory/market segment as to what the killer app is for phones though.

For business, its a combination of voice and data, probably going more towards data now.

For the kids/social types, its text messaging (with the stupid abbreviations, I can hardly understand anything my step daughter sends me).

A phone to make calls? Thats soooo twentieth century. We're totally beyond this voice business now.

Re:Why speculate when we'll know soon enough? (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166100)

With all his blathering of whether it's innovative or not, and whether it's overpriced or not, David Haskins never addresses the question of how good it is for making calls.

My parents have a 20 dollar cellphone that's good for making calls. No one but a fool is going to pay 500 USD for a cellphone just to make calls at this point in time.

People happily buy "overpriced" iPods because they're really good for listening to music.

You're trying to compare this with iPod? Please. iPod does actually offer something for the price. If you're looking for a music player there is reasons for buying an iPod for just it's music. How many people really watch video on their iPods anyway? The average user is going to be stumped as why to pay 500 for an iPhone when their cheap throw away phone does the same thing. It's not like I can go and buy an 80gb music player for 35 bucks, the same can't be said for the iPhone.

But we won't know that until a lot of iPhones are in the flesh-and-blood sweaty greasy hands of a lot of real customers.

Absolutely but let's not be as ridiculous as to say that people are willing to pay 500 usd for a phone just to make calls. At a point in time big money on a cell was justified because there were no cheap cellphones and you actually got something (aside from gadgets) for the extra cash. When I paid 300 usd for my StarTAC it was worth it because of the small form factor of the phone. For it's time that was a big deal. But today? What is iPhone bringing to the table that makes it worth the cost? I can get apps for my phone, it has internet access, it can play MP3, it has a navigation system, it has a camera (which the iPhone won't from what I heard)... touch screen? Is that the big saving grace of the iPhone?

The real problem with iPhone (1)

sjonke (457707) | more than 7 years ago | (#18165980)

It's more than just a pricing mistake. It's that, for example, if you say into the iPhone:

    "Hello, my name is Steve Jobs"

it will come out on the other end as:

    "Holler! My norm is stove robs!"

I wont bujy it until.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166010)

There is a way to unlock it from the carrier out on the web. No way am I going to pay incredibly money for a phone that is locked.

I personally never buy a locked phone, but it looks like this one will only be available locked.

iNewton (1)

Licorice101 (841266) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166024)

Its clear that the article forgot about the little thing called brand awareness. If the Newton was really the "iNewton" and it brought all of Apple's other services together in a nice neat package (and was sexy like the iPhone), then maybe it wouldn't be sitting here covered in dust on display in the PDA graveyard.

Killer App for the iPhone (1)

AlFeldzamen (1069168) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166068)

Leopard, Apple's forthcoming system, is to be released more or less at the same time as the iPhone. Leopard might well be thought of as in synch with the forthcoming iPhone. What the iPhone truly needs to succeed, in view of its obvious disadvantages (high price, limitation to Cingular, small memory for music/video, lack of voice dialing, etc.) is a KILLER APP. Such an app could well be DICTATION-OCR SOFTWARE (since a microphone is already present, and a stripped down OS X) . . . software that would let a user dictate an outgoing Email, or text that could go into a rudimentary word processor (like TEXTEDIT), and thence to a memory file or, by any one of several means, to a printer if desired. Then that device, trademark issues permiting, could be renamed the POCKET MAC ! And then that software could well be incorporated into LEOPARD, which would give it the boost needed to stand out as more than a slight improvement over TIGER !

Check the iPod figures (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166124)

iPod Sales [wikipedia.org]

The iPod was overpriced, underpowered, and in a wickedly restricted market. They were into their third year before they even began to see sales increases, fourth year before it was significant, and wasn't until the fifth and sixth year that it began defining the industry.

Give this phone time and changes. Initial adoption will be slim, but Apple just needs a foot in the door and the device will become more obtainable and universal.

The difference between the original iPod and the original iPhone is that the original iPod didn't kick ass. It was just another Mp3 player, but had a very small target audience. The iPhone can easily be used by anyone willing to cough up the cash, and is one of the most amazing devices we've seen. Starting out it's a better iPod than the original iPod!

Where in this post [slashdot.org] I picked on three factors the iPod had to deal with, I'll only pick on one for the iPhone.

Raise your hand if you can afford a $600 phone.

I'd give it two years and every feature will be dramatically improved on including the price. Better camera, more storage, higher resolution display, hell ... colors ;), better wireless, more networks, significantly increased battery life, and better applications.

In no way am I an early adopter, but I thank all the rich folk who pour money into the pockets of the developers so that they can improve a toy for me (:

Re:Check the iPod figures (1)

calderra (1034658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166252)

"Raise your hand if you can afford a $600 phone." ...you'e just found a way to categorize all Apple enthusiasts with one single sentence. Pay too much for too little? Only if it comes in a shiny pearl-and-chrome box!

Not quite the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18166130)

The price of the iPhone is two thirds of what the Newton was (less than that in today's dollars), and it is something that people already spend money on, as opposed to something that they were not in the habit of buying.

ipod itunes (1)

MarsDude (74832) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166148)

Back then they didn't have the widespread popularity of the iPod or iTunes. They do now.
"iPhone, from the people who brought you iPod" will probably work wonders.

What's price got to do with it? (1)

mblase (200735) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166208)

The iPhone shares with the Newton a hefty starting price, and Joe Public may not be so keen on the cost

So did the Apple II and the Macintosh. So did the iPod. So did the Palm Pilot, for that matter--which, unlike the iPod, enjoyed phenomenal immediate acceptance because it was one-of-a-kind and later faded away as imitators caught up to and surpassed it.

The main thing that was wrong with the Newton is that it was a product ahead of its time, with poor handwriting recognition and none of the PC-sync features that made the Palm Pilot such an open-ended hit. The iPhone is just right for its time--if anything, it's a little late to the game, like the first iPod was.

If there's one thing that will hinder the iPhone's initial acceptance, it will be the lack of third-party apps. The Palm Pilot encouraged third-party programming and still does; Apple wants to restrict third-party apps to those it approves as safe. This is reasonable to me, especially since the iPhone is several degrees of complexity above and beyond the Palm Pilot, but if a competitor can match the iPhone on features and style and provide better third-party support--like, say, Windows did with the original Macintosh--the iPhone will fail.

And, I'm afraid, drag the iPod with it.

Summary of a Pointless Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18166216)

I read this guy as saying that iPhone sales might NOT be very very super fantastic! This is an amazing conculsion from someone who has done his homework! [???]

Here's a brief summary for those who don't want to read the entire lousy article:

(1) iPhone has nothing in common with the Newton
(2) Newton was advanced, even by today's standards.
(3) Newton failed due to handwriting recognition and a $700 price.
(4) iPhone may fail due to price, supported by a survey by "Compete, Inc"
(5) The iPhone will have competition from cell phone vendors.
(6) Apple may have "excessive hubris".

Conclusion:
  - Author is convinced iPhone sales will be "unspectacular" unless Apple lowers the price and caves into AT&T (Cingular) demands.

who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18166244)

who the hell is david raskin and why should anyone care a damn about anything he says?

Neutron died a quiet wok (4, Insightful)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166272)

  1. Newton was ahead of its time. Translation: it didn't quite work (or should I say: "Transexual: it died a quiet wok") although it was hugely influential. iPhone takes a lot of not particularly new ideas - but which have not been well implemented to date (*cough* Windows Mobile *cough*) - and will stand or fall on whether it can make them "just work". Which we'll find out when it launches.
  2. We don't know what the price, or contract terms, will be until it launches. The figures announced by SJ are likely "upper limits" - there are lots of obvious strategic reasons for overstating the price when you're forced to pre-announce a product (e.g. easier to reduce the price than raise it, keep competitors in the dark, avoid "Osbourning" iPod sales...)
  3. ...and (although the OP doesn't mention it it always comes up) if the European version launches without 3G/UTMS/HTwhateveritis it will be laughed out of court. But maybe, just maybe, those smart guys at Apple have worked that one out for themselves and only left the "do 3G" link off the circuit board because their US carrier doesn't support it.

Newton failure wasn't about the Newton features (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166298)

It was ahead of its time, as were the General Magic devices, but they were novel and were still in the nether land for size.
GM also had very decent phone integration near the end - I spent a two week vacation without any computer use, using only their voice email (TTS from them to you, WAV voice messages from you to them).
I have three Palms in a drawer somewhere, none of which do significantly enough more than my phone to carry yet another thing.
I routinely troop out my old Newton and Magic Link for classes on technology, and have a hard time prying them out of the students' hands, whereas they look at the palm, shrug a bit of indifferent recognition, and move on.
I dare say the latest iteration of a Newton OS in a blackberry-sized case would still have some traction.
Unfortunately that traction might be under the wheels of the cell/smartphone bus.

Nothing to see here... (4, Insightful)

jusdisgi (617863) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166310)

Well, this is a mercifully short rant at least. Too bad it's totally disconnected and the points are each (separately) developed poorly. If his main point is really what it seems to be (that is, that Apple is making the same mistakes with iPhone as it did with Newton) then here's what I see wrong with it:

1)He compares the pricing of the two devices...but seems only to go as far as saying they both cost "too much." He doesn't seem to put together the fact that the Newton's $700 1993 price tag was almost exactly twice as expensive as the iPhone: $999.48 [westegg.com] inflation adjusted. And that's for a much less capable device, with an untested interface that didn't work well.

2)He notes the real reasons why the Newton failed (large size, bad handwriting recognition, completely new product category), but doesn't attempt to claim that these will be problems for the iPhone. They won't, so he simply ignores them.

3)Evidently he considers competition to be a problem that the iPhone has in common with the Newton. This after he notes that the Newton was the first device of its kind, and therefore had absolutely no competition. Strong competition may or may not be problematic for the iPhone, but it certainly won't be a parallel to the Newton.

4)He totally misrepresents the only evidence he cites. Specifically, the study on how many people would buy at what prices. His link says "miniscule number." Yet the survey itself says 26% of respondents said they would be likely to buy it, and 1% of those would buy it at the launch price. Insofar as Apple itself has set a goal of only 1% market share, being able to sell a quarter of that volume for the launch price sounds extremely encouraging to me...imagine if a quarter of Sony's target market had thrown down $600 for a PS3. Also, the study makes specific note of the fact that they don't expect the price to stay that high; business as usual in the cell-phone world, but totally ignored by this author.

Why the delayed launch was a bad idea (1)

Swift2001 (874553) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166336)

Although it might have been necessary for the FCC, and/or for building up anticipation, it also allows all the thumb-suckers to mold their arguments so they sound reasonable.

Like the Norwegian clowns who just happen to have the RIAA's stance in the upcoming music wars, how surprising that upshot of all this is that Apple will "have to give up its high-handed approach" to our brave businesses like AT&T wireless. And the survey. Gee, you want a lower price? Please accept the wireless subsidies. You just have to lock Bluetooth, and buy our ringtones.

History (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166346)

"History does not repeat itself, except in the minds of those who do not know history" - Kahlil Gibran

I have my doubts too about the iPhone. The MP2000 cost $1000 in 1996. Not only was this a severe psychological threshold (adding an extra digit), but in current, 2007 dollars that is 2.5x as much as the iPhone. The base iPhone is under a psychological threshold (500), and in real terms much cheaper than the MP2000.

It's also simply not true that the Newton didn't have competition. In the same year that Apple introduced the 2000, the first MP that worked really well, Palm introduced the Pilot, which had a radically different view of a PDA. It didn't even recognize ordinary handwriting -- it didn't have the horsepower. But even though users had to learn graffitti, it got the most important thing right: form factor. A PDA must be something you don't mind carrying.

Finally -- and this is huge difference -- the MessagePad was a platform. You could buy it for its address list and notepad, but given the size of the box, you could just as practically use a paper planner. What it needed for success was developers and applications that would go beyond the paper planner, and which would integrate with the user's information infrastructure. As clunky as Palms HotSync architecture is, the Newton Connection manager was clunkier still. I worked with developers of Newton apps trying to convince them to work on streamlining the process of moving data back and forth to databases, but truth be told the Newton, without a built in network, wasn't a very attractive platform for this.

The iPhone is not a platform. It's a gadget. It could be a platform, but Apple has closed it. Personally, I think this is more draconian than necessary, but it makes Apple's intention clear: users will buy this thing for what's built in. It's a converged device for the uses which, after a decade of mobile technology, have been proven attractive to consumers.

There may be some wisdom here. I was in the computer store the other day to get a cable for my PDA, and I was shocked that the PDA display had shrunk from several counters of PDAs to a two shelves only eighteen inches wide, tucked under a counter. One shelf was for Palms and the other for Pocket PCs. All the space that used to be taken up by PDAs, and then some, was taken up by accessories for iPods. So why fight it? Why invite retailers to set it up next to a pocket PC phone, when you already have a category all to yourself?

Altogether, we're talking about a different scenario with the iPhone. The Newton was trying to create a new category of products, the iPhone is trying to muscle in on an existing category. It's risky, but if it fails, it won't be parallel to the Newton at all. Sure, you can always say if a device was cheaper, it would sell more. That doesn't explain anything at all. But if the Newton had been half the price, it probably would not have succeeded in the long run because it was too big for what it was immediately useful, too poorly connected for what it could have been useful for.

Compared to other SmartPhones... (1)

moofo (697416) | more than 7 years ago | (#18166368)

Well...

Compared to Other Smart Phones such as the Sony Ericsson p990 which is not even distributed here and since it is not a quad band phone, the coverage would be iffy, the iPhone is really competitively priced.

Thing is, not a lot of people are going to pay big bucks for a really smart phone. However, Recalling how much the original iPod was, and how limited it was in the first place, I think the iPhone will succeed.

The Newton was a failure because Apple didn't want to develop the device further. Lots of changes were required which would have been very hard and very expensive in 1997. Color, long battery life, hard disk, synchronization with enterprise mail/schedule systems etc... The Newton OS 2.0 was a patchwork and was very hard to maintain. The Newton 2100 and 130 are still today way ahead of the Palm.

The iPhone is effectively the return of the Newton, fully rewritten, much more versatile and useful than the Newton. It's just too bad there is no handwriting recognition.
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