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Communications Portables (Apple) Hardware

Newton's Ghost Haunts Apple's iPhone 381

Posted by kdawson
from the hubris-and-the-handheld dept.
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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Newton's Ghost Haunts Apple's iPhone

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  • by dmayle (200765) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @09:09AM (#18165560) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • 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.
      • 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

        • The iPhone is 2G, thus any company endorsing it would effectively be discouraging the use of 3G and those lucrative MMS facilities.

          You're assuming that Apple won't upgrade the phone for the market. The unit technically has all the right software facilities, it just needs a smidge of different hardware. There's little doubt in my mind that when Apple is ready to crack the European market, they will have the necessary CDMA/TDMA hardware ready. Especially if they try and support the Sprint Nextel CDMA network

          • Actually, it may be easier since Europe uses GSM, and 3G here is UMTS (which is more or less GSM on steroids).
          • by Dogtanian (588974)

            You're assuming that Apple won't upgrade the phone for the market.
            No, I'm saying that the *current 2G version* of the iPhone won't fly here and that (as I already said)
            "if Apple wants the iPhone to be a success in Europe, they're going to have to come up with a 3G version."
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by AKAImBatman (238306) *
              Fair enough. I guess my issue then is that I don't understand what you're concerned about. The Apple phone in its current incarnation would be unlikely to sell, but I don't see any barriers to Apple designing a 3G version of the phone. Indeed, the only reason why the phone is as limited as it currently is, is due to Apple's contract with Cingular. They've already said that they will eventually branch out to other carriers, which means that the phone radio specs will change. (Not at all uncommon for mobile h
        • by CrackedButter (646746) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @10:43AM (#18166552) Homepage Journal
          Your post was good until the last line. I hate to mention it once again to somebody else but, Steve Jobs did say in the Keynote that they will make a 3G version. I'm speaking under the assumption that nearly everybody on Slashdot watched the keynote or heard this fact spew from SJ's mouth from somebody else. If you didn't watch the keynote, then now you know. A 3G version is coming, Steve said so.
    • by Gr8Apes (679165) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @09:39AM (#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.
      • by rjstanford (69735) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @10:47AM (#18166602) Homepage Journal

        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)
        It sounds as if your phone is set up to store entries on the SIM card, which does indeed have this limitation. Change it over to store entries in the phone memory itself, and you can put as many phone numbers (or email addresses, whatever) against a single name as you like. When navigating through them, up and down arrows iterate through the names while left and right arrows flip through the numbers associated with that name.

        Good software (well, not that bad at any rate), bad default setting on where to store your data.
    • Exactly! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Luscious868 (679143) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @10:15AM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dave420 (699308)
      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 bette
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LKM (227954)
        The iPod had less features than its competitors, too. That's a feature, not a bug. Same with iPhone.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dave420 (699308)
          NOW it's on par, sure, but not back when it first came out. Firewire?? Jog wheel? Smooth, quick updating via slick software? That was literally years ahead of the competition. Remember iPods came out over 5 years ago, and their features haven't increased much at all, and they're still at the top of the list. Back then alternative players had ridiculously-expensive flash memory, or massive hard disks, and USB1 connections for uploading your tracks. Then came the iPod which could suck up music at 400Mb
      • by Gilmoure (18428) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:27AM (#18167084) Journal
        Hell, I don't even want it primarily as a phone; that'll be an interesting add-on but what I want is an iPod plus.

        As for other cell phones having more features, all I want is a phone that's easy to dial and easy to use. I'm willing to bet Apple will have this part covered pretty well.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by illumin8 (148082)

        It has *less* features than other mobile phones, less a pretty screen and more storage space.

        Comments like your's remind me of CmdrTaco's infamous "No wireless, less space than a Nomad, lame..." quote. This is also the reason why you're completely wrong.

        The iPod had less features than it's competitors when it came out as well. Unlike the asian markets, where people want millions of features that they will rarely, if ever use, the american consumer wants just a few features that are simple to use and work

    • by sribe (304414)
      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."

      You have a good point, but it was even worse than just being totally new. The handwriting recognition was actually pretty good, after a couple of hours of training. But pick one up out of the box, and it was not very good. But most people didn't get even that experience. Most peo
    • by omeomi (675045)
      The form factor should also play a big role. If anything killed the Newton (aside from price), it was its gigantic size...
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @09:11AM (#18165578) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • by statusbar (314703)
      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++
      • by gutnor (872759)
        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
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by itsdapead (734413)

      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 i

      • by necro81 (917438)

        At least it is (presumably) charge-by-USB, so you won't need multiple power adaptors.
        A slight correction: the iPhone is charge-by-Dock-connector. This means that you can charge it not only over USB (using a Dock cable), but also using any number of existing third-party products developed for charging the iPod.
    • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @10:05AM (#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]?
      • by saboola (655522)
        On top of that, I give it two days after release before everyone from Belkin to Targus have an external solution to charge the iphone from an external battery. Might not be exactly what everyone wants, but at least its an option for that time when you are stuck in the middle of the amazon without a power source. I personally have never seen this as a problem. I am always near some sort of power source to charge my stuff, be it in an office, in the car, or on a plane.
    • by mblase (200735)
      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.

      The non-changeable battery makes the entire package smaller, even if only by a couple millimeters. Apple likes that kind of thing in its designs.

      Batteries are a funny thing. We have a digital camera we take with us lots of times, and since it runs on AA-size, I try to keep one rechargable set in the camera and one ready to replace. Unlike my
    • by russellh (547685)

      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?

      It's true, especially for such a multiuse device - for me it will replace my current phone, ipod and palm. In effect, that means approximately 1/3 the battery life. two answers - 1) I'm always charging the phone while in the car and frequently at home, so that's no big deal for me (afaik), and 2) the

  • Biggest Difference (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nova Express (100383) <lawrenceperson.gmail@com> on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @09:12AM (#18165596) Homepage Journal
    Steve Jobs is not John Sculley.

  • 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 blu
    • by guruevi (827432)
      The Newton had 2 PCMCIA slots. There have been Newtons signaled with modems, ethernet, wifi, cell modems (dial-up or 3g)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by uradu (10768)
      > Namely, how will OS X for mobile effect the landscape.

      If they keep it closed, it won't make any difference whatsoever.
      • 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. T
        • by HAKdragon (193605)
          The open vs. closed thing doesn't work here. People just want their phone/PDA to work.

          You could say the same thing about PCs.
        • by Orgazmus (761208)
          On my Windows Mobile Smartphone I can install 3rd party applications. If Im not mistaken, this wont be possible on the iPhone
      • by MightyYar (622222)
        Closed?

        Yes, if only the iPod were more open - maybe then it would have been successful and dominated the mp3 player market.
      • by dave420 (699308)
        I think clearing up your comment might be helpful. If it's off-limits to third-party developers, then yes - it won't make any difference. Being closed itself doesn't preclude it from changing the landscape. Windows Mobile is closed, yet it really has changed the mobile landscape (either way you look at it), simply because they released an SDK for it, and didn't control how software gets on the phone in any centralised, pre-vetted way.
      • Come on, it just isn't important for the iPhone to be "open".

        Think of the iPhone as being closed in the same sense that the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PSP and DS are all "closed". Because that's exactly the sense in which it's going to be closed. It doesn't mean there will be no third-party developers. It means that all third-party products will have to pass Apple's technical certification requirements. It's quality control. Video game platforms have done this for decades.

        The only drawback is that guys like yo

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by robosmurf (33876) *
      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.
      • by saboola (655522)
        From Apple: All the power and sophistication of the world's most advanced operating system -- OS X -- is now available on a small, handheld device that gives you access to true desktop-class applications and software, including rich HTML email, full-featured web browsing, and applications such as widgets, Safari, calendar, text messaging, Notes, and Address Book


        Certainly sounds like its a smartphone to me, and not just a basic phone. Either that you have your standards unrealistically high for a basic
  • by jimstapleton (999106) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @09:12AM (#18165604) Journal
    why not offer a stripped down version?

    The iMac/eMac of the iPhones!
    The iPhone mini!
    • by macslut (724441)
      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
    • by WillAdams (45638)
      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)
      • It's called an iPod, I think.

        Seriously, this thing may run a version OS X, but it's going to be nowhere near the functionality of the full OS since you won't be allowed to install anything but the embedded apps.

        If you just want one to play with, the price is $211 higher than the advertised rate, no phone service included. Go in, pay for the phone and the $36 connection fee, then cancel the contract and write a check for the $175 early termination fee.
    • 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.
    • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @10:39AM (#18166502) Journal
      The iphone shuffle. It has no screen and only has one button, when pressed calls one of your contacts at random. If you really want to call some one specific, keep calling until they answer he phone, or conversely only store one contact.
  • 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.
    • by mblase (200735)
      Kinda shameful that untrained hand writing recognition is still shit.

      Good thing the iPhone doesn't use any, then.
  • by Protonk (599901) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @09:13AM (#18165618) Homepage
    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.
    • 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 i
  • Duh? (Score:3, Funny)

    by AndersBrownworth (448236) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @09:15AM (#18165638) Homepage
    ~2001 - An MP3 player for $300 when I can get one for $100? Apple is retarded.
    • 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 spac
  • 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
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Erwos (553607)
      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, mul
  • 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.
  • by Dekortage (697532) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @09:22AM (#18165692) Homepage

    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.

    • by robosmurf (33876) *
      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 fo
    • by bockelboy (824282)

      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 conclus

    • by steelfood (895457)
      It's simple personal economics: if you don't want it, don't buy it.

      Thanks for stating the blindingly obvious. The question that everyone's been asking all this time is: How many people want it?

      Remember, Jobs wants 10% of the market in a year. Apple might get 10% of the smartphone market. But that's not 10% of the whole cellphone market.
  • who spend $2700 for an Apple monitor?
    • 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
      • by gelfling (6534)
        But the same can be said for people who own any kind of high end phone now. On average people are replacing their phones every 18 months. Moreover the market for unlocked phones is huge so people who have to spend MSRP is already there. So the price point I think is not that important. Afterall a Samsung A900-MM is about $350. Smartphones are in the $400-$600 range now. When phone/PDA combos first came out they were $1000. Seems to me that Apple is smart to go after the MS Windows-for-phones segment of the
  • I dont know who this Newton guy is, but I ain't buying any phone with a ghost in it.
    • by mblase (200735)
      I dont know who this Newton guy is,

      Your geek license has been revoked. Please contact CowboyNeal about trading your five-digit Slashdot ID in for something much longer.
  • ...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 under

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

        No buttons is good novelty factor, but it does not make it easier to use. I have a phone similar to the grandparents that has a slide-out keyboard, except on mine the front is a large touch screen display. So, I can choose to use on-screen keyboards or a real one. I choose the real one EVERY TIME. On-screen keyboards are not very user-friendly; this is coming from someone whose had a large variety of mobile devices since the first GSM phones were available. T

    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • by walt-sjc (145127)
      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 seve
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @09:43AM (#18165874) Homepage
    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.
    • 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 som
    • by walt-sjc (145127)
      Innovation is always risky. And success or failure can turn on a hair.

      The difference is that this is evolutionary innovation rather than revolutionary. While the iPhone has a better UI and more memory than anything else out there "at the moment", it is quite a bit less capable (closed apps, no 3G, low-res camera, no user replaceable battery, poor battery life, no hardware keyboard, Cingular only) than other phones currently on the market, and costs twice as much. When they finally DO get it out the door, ot
  • 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!"
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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 feature
  • by itsdapead (734413) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @10:18AM (#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.
  • 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
  • by jusdisgi (617863) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @10:21AM (#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.

  • History (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hey! (33014) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @10:24AM (#18166346) Homepage Journal
    "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.

  • TO: Apple Marketing Dept
    CC: Big Steve
    SUBJECT: iPhone Pricing

    Just a thought on the the iPhone pricing. If we release it at too low of a cost, we may never hit the sweet-spot for pricing. I think we could release it at tripple the cost and then lower it little by little until we get the numbers we want. Just hype it as "price cuts" when we release one of those hokey upgrades. It worked for the rest of our products.

    S. Limey, Marketeer.
  • People keep mentioning the market survey as if it is now accepted fact that all of the public thinks the iPhone is too pricey. First, the survey was on conducted on 379 people. That's a rather small size. Not thousands, not tens of thousands. Also, IMHO, it was targeted to the wrong people. When doing any sort of statistically sampling you have to consider your sample population vs the target population. If you wanted to market a new kind of children's snack, you wouldn't target bachelors for a survey.

  • Well, the Newton suffered from a bunch of problems, many of which the Palm series "got right" (price, size, easy docking, a very cheap story for application developers).

    The Newt was also very difficult to develop for. NewtonScript rocked, as a language, but the tools weren't that great (hint: When you develop a new language, *do the debugger first!* -- you're going to need it anyway...). The GM of Newton actively discouraged developers with a "tax", requiring then to pay Apple a 1% cut (or more?) of a tit
  • by mstroeck (411799) on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @11:49AM (#18167382) Homepage
    ... you have a very short memory. The original, 5 gigabyte iPod came out in 2001 with an introductory price of $399. That's $456.04 in 2007 dollars [bls.gov]. The original iPod had miserable battery life, low storage, a B/W screen and it wasn't -in addition- a smart-phone with EDGE, WiFi, a 3.5-inch color screen and a friggin' camera!

    Slashdot editors, here is a newsflash: "Industry analysts" are analysts because the are to frigging stupid to actually make it in the industry they are analyzing. Don't post crap like this.
  • by Anonymous Freak (16973) <prius@driver.mac@com> on Tuesday February 27, 2007 @02:21PM (#18169358) Journal
    Do people forget these things this quickly?

    When the RAZR launched (Cingular-only) in 2003, it was $500. WITH contract. And the sole reason for its price was style. At least Apple has SOME substance to go with their style.

    I'm not defending the iPhone. When watching the keynote, I was, as most were, in Steve Jobs' "Reality Distortion Field". But upon seeing the actual specs, I know I won't be buying one. But it really isn't that outrageously priced, either.

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