Will The iPhone Succeed? It Depends on Whom You Ask and How Much Speed You Need

Will The iPhone Succeed? It Depends on Whom You Ask and How Much Speed You Need

If you and your iPhone are out of Wi-Fi range, don't expect to browse www.nytimes.com at anything approaching broadband speeds.

 

It's been fewer than ten days since the iPhone was announced, and already the Web is awash with punditizing about whether it will be the greatest thing since the Mac itself or if it'll be D.O.A.

 

Our considered opinion is that it'll be one fine phone, albeit one - initially, at least - that's hampered by the Cingular tie-in. Yes, Cingular is a reputable, if sometimes hard-to-deal-with, phone company, but the mere Cingularity of the deal isn't what's disappointing - it's the fact that, as announced, the iPhone will be limited to Wi-Fi (fine and dandy) and Cingular's EDGE data service (not fine, not dandy).

 

EDGE, although technically a "3G" data service, is usually considered to be less capable than the more-popular EV-DO data service. There's also no doubt that it's less capable than the BroadbandConnect service that Cingular itself is rolling out.

 

EDGE is, to be blunt, not fast enough to make the iPhone the "breakthrough internet device" that Apple claims it will be. When the iPhone is within Wi-Fi range, all will be well and good; when it's out of Wi-Fi range and forced to rely on EDGE, you'll find yourself wishing your iPhone could take advantage of either EV-DO or BroadbandConnect as you wait for Interent-based services to sluggishly make their way to your iPhone's gorgeous display.

 

Let's hope something changes before the iPhone debuts in June - or, as one analyst avers, all those patents that Steve talked about enforcing may be what keep the iPhone from seeing serious competition.

 

By that's just one opinion - and there are plenty more to be found in today's news. According to one analyst, the fact that "the teardown specialists at iSuppli" have calculated that the iPhone will generate margins in the 50-percent range will make it "the next gold mine for Apple." Others worry that it could cannibalise [Apple's] existing iPod business." One sniffs that "Steve Jobs blew his iPhone keynote" by raising expectations too high (among other reasons), while another refers to Apple's "dangerous comtempt," saying that the "iPhone's willful disregard of the global handset market will come back to haunt Apple." Yet another disses the iPhone as being "not for business," while yet yet another admits to being a bit disappointed, both with the iPhone and the Apple TV.

 

My, my, my...

 

Our take: Nice phone. But remember, it's a version-1.0 product (remember the original iPod and it's lack of EQ, crumb-collecting FireWire port, and other problems?). Don't sell Apple short when it comes to continuing to perfect its offerings. That said, it would be nice to get a real 3G phone, and not one tied into a two-year contract with what could best be described as 2.75G service.

 

Work on that, would you please, Steve?

 

Tags:
8

Comments

+ Add a Comment
avatar

Anonymous

In my opinion, as good as the iPhone is, they missed a very important feature.... iCal. To make this phone a real competitor it needs to have iCal in order to compete with the likes of a Blackberry or Palm device. Until then, iPhone is just a phone and small iPod... and not for me.

avatar

300

What the hell r u talking about!!!!???? iCal is right on the home menu of iPhone!!!! (with its famous "17", of course.)

avatar

James Katt

The iPhone addresses a large segment of the market who want both an iPod and a Cell Phone. To that segment, it will be a hit.

The internet capabilities are also fine for most people. Remember that 3G only exists in limited areas. Even Verizon's 3G speeds are not available everywhere. They are certainly not available in a well known areas such as Monterey, CA. Thus Verizon is just as useless for 3G in those areas. I would like just any internet capability that I can get nearly anywhere. Since Cingular covers a much larger area than Verizon, it's internet capabilities will be available in more areas than Verizon.

The lack of removable battery issue is a false argument. If you want more talk time, there are numerous external iPod batteries available that will work with the iPhone. After all, the iPhone IS an iPod! With these small external batteries, you can talk all day if you want. With the other "smartphones", you can't talk all day either. You have to replace the battery or hook it to the power adapter. But the iPhone has an advantage - you can hook up a small external battery and keep talking continuosly.

The lack of ability to download third party applications is an interesting issue. However, the iPhone is just the start. In the future, this may may be alowed. However, this would be allowed in a controlled fashion to avoid crashes, viruses, malware, and other bad things that happen on other smartphones. My Palm Treo and former Windows Mobile Phones crash often.

avatar

Anonymous

EV-DO is the full 3G high bandwidth of the CDMA network.

The iPhone is a GSM phone so the network that needed to be added is HSUPA a technology that in this point in time still has a huge battery drain and a very small coverture in th EEUU.

No reason to added it in this point in time for the american market maybe in the european version.

avatar

Huck

Rik, I've gotta disagree with your 1.0 comment at the end. The first iPod was actually a flawlessly executed product. If you want an example of crappy 1.0 hardware look at some of the significant Mac revisions that had hardware issues(!).

The 1st Gen iPod was not a bad product because it didn't have equalizers. Big deal, it's one feature that a lot of people aren't gonna use. And firewire? They use a standard port that's faster than USB and that's a bad thing? I still use my 1G iPod (replaced battery, of course) and the firewire port has not once had an issue with dirt or dust, and I treat that iPod like crap (screen's scratched as hell, lose it every week, landed on it in a skateboarding fall, etc.). In my opinion, the really big question is will the hardware and software be reliable.

That said, you make good points about challenges for the iPhone and it's nice to hear some criticism from the Apple media every now and then :).

I do get the impression that Apple's been crunching away on this product for quite a while. I'm actually expecting a fairly mature product. I'm hoping at least...

avatar

Larry

The iPhone is all fine and dandy, but I don't want an iPhone. I want an 80+ GB iPod with a wide screen format. If I want to talk to somebody, I will use a phone.

avatar

CrankPants

Who would have thought it possible! A commentary on a Mac-publication website that's not 110% pro-iPhone. I agree with Rik: the EDGE limitation is a deal-breaker. Ah, sooooooooooo close.

avatar

barkomatic

I agree, the iphone looks really cool and certainly appears easier to navigate than a typical smartphone, but the backward EDGE connection and Cingular only contract will mean this mac fan will be passing for now.

I'm hoping things change before its actually released and that the iphone at the keynote is a "rough draft". If that's the case I'd jump on it if its a significant improvement. As it is, no thanks Apple. Those fancy features won't help much if they take 5 minutes to load.

Log in to Mac|Life directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.