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No Third-party Apps on iPhone Says Jobs 778

wyldeone writes "In an interview with the New York Times, Steve Jobs confirms reports that the recently-announced iPhone will not allow third party applications to be installed. According to Jobs, 'These are devices that need to work, and you can't do that if you load any software on them.' In a similar vein, Jobs said in a MSNBC article that, 'Cingular doesn't want to see their West Coast network go down because some application messed up.'"
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No Third-party Apps on iPhone Says Jobs

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  • by Grail ( 18233 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:25AM (#17569980) Journal
    What he was saying "no" to is having a plethora of buggy software out there that would endanger the user experience of the phone. I still expect to see non-Apple and non-Cingular developers having access to the tools to build applications for the iPhone. Now it's just a matter of sorting out the protocol (as in "administrative process") for getting the application that I write for my 100 users, installed onto the iPhones that we're going to buy, for the purpose of using them as small tablet computers.

    One easy way is to provide the ability for user-added applications to run with lower privileges (just like they can already under Mac OS X - I can run my own programs as me, but not as "root" or any other user). Though that opens up the avenue for local root escalation vulnerabilities to be exploited.

    Of course, for my immediate needs it would be enough to have some way to scan barcodes and interact with web pages. But then, Steve is pushing the line that it's the phone reinvented, not a tablet PC.
  • iWhatever, next! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by io333 ( 574963 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:30AM (#17570032)
    I already hacked my RAZR V3i to do more than the iPhone will supposedly be able to do -- a FREAKING YEAR AGO. Don't believe me? Head over to the Motox forums and see what we can do with Motorola phones. iWhatever, I don't care and havn't since 1996 when Apple screwed me and a few million folks over regarding Rhapsody.
  • by ukoda ( 537183 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:48AM (#17570140) Homepage
    I have Windows based K-Jam i-mate. The appeal is I no longer have to carry a PDA and my phone has handy apps like a Russian-English dictionary. Great for traveling. Windows works ok most of the time but still has the classic windows problems so I was looking forward to being able to get a more usable platform. I use Windows, Linux and Mac laptops and based on the usability of them I was keen to get an iPhone. However if I can't load on the apps I choose, or create, then whats the point? The product is not worthy of comparison with the likes of the i-mate or Treo. What stupid way to ruin what looked to be dream product. I think DOA is the right term, good luck selling them now...
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:54AM (#17570180) Homepage

    Cisco, which owns the iPhone trademark, has announced what they want for it. []

    An "open approach". Interoperability.

    Fundamentally we wanted an open approach. We hoped our products could interoperate in the future. In our view, the network provides the basis to make this happen--it provides the foundation of innovation that allows converged devices to deliver the services that consumers want. Our goal was to take that to the next level by facilitating collaboration with Apple. And we wanted to make sure to differentiate the brands in a way that could work for both companies and not confuse people, since our products combine both web access and voice telephony. That's it. Openness and clarity. - Cisco's general counsel.

  • Cringely on iPhone (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BillGatesLoveChild ( 1046184 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:56AM (#17570208) Journal
    Cringely has a piece about the iPhone 70111_001476.html []

    Cringely points out that the original Jobs MacIntosh bombed because he locked out third-party hardware vendors. Now Jobs is doing the same with the iPhone, but this time locking out third-party software vendors. The only real question here is "Will this stop people from buying the iPhone?" Won't worry Grandma or little Bobby, but would it bother your tech savy user? Jobs is betting it won't.

    Cringely also predicts it'll be renamed the 'Apple Phone', and says Apple was negotiating with Cisco over the iPhone name before the announcement so it's not like they didn't know. He suggests its a publicity play.

  • The Horse's Mouth (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gary W. Longsine ( 124661 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:02AM (#17570244) Homepage Journal
    Although it might be appropriate to start lobbying Apple, it's probably too early to panic or get upset (as many seem to be doing). What Mr. Jobs actually said isn't entirely unreasonable. It seems to leave the door open for 3rd party apps, but in a less chaotic environment than you see on the PC/Mac. Seems like it might be a reasonable strategy that won't lock out 3rd party developers.

    "We define everything that is on the phone," he said. "You don't want your phone to be like a PC. The last thing you want is to have loaded three apps on your phone and then you go to make a call and it doesn't work anymore. These are more like iPods than they are like computers."

    The iPhone, he insisted, would not look like the rest of the wireless industry.

    "These are devices that need to work, and you can't do that if you load any software on them," he said. "That doesn't mean there's not going to be software to buy that you can load on them coming from us. It doesn't mean we have to write it all, but it means it has to be more of a controlled environment."
  • by lord_mike ( 567148 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:02AM (#17570248)
    Maybe Pear or something...It was a long time ago when they actually published the full schematics and source code of their Apple II ROMs. Of Course, if Jobs had any real say, that would have never have happened. He constantly was trying to close the systems more and more (the Apple III was closed). Woz told him to stick it in the early days, but then he left and we got the Mac. In every case, the closed systems flopped while the old, but open, Apple II kept the company afloat for years until they convinced everyone that open was bad. Well, they did a good job. No one seems to really care that their iPods are completely unprogrammable, and that their phone can only run software from JAMDAT. Meanwhile, the whole idea of making computers work for you instead of the other way around has gone the way of BASIC interpreters. People are being USED instead of being USERS. It is a real shame, and I think it bodes very poorly for the future of computing. I dread the day that ALL systems are closed and only a privileged few will be able to program them in any meaningful way.

    It is such an incredible shame that such an enticing machine is all look, but no touch. It's like being given a piano and told that you can't try and play it, only look at it. It's just wrong in so many ways.

    Well, I guess Jobs thinks that I should be happy that he is saving me from myself. Unfortuntely, it seems the rest of world IS happy about it and that just makes me even more depressed.

    I never liked that guy... he still owes woz some money for breakout...


  • by theurge14 ( 820596 ) * on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:11AM (#17570294)
    I mean, where are these "Desktop Class Apps" touted in the keynote? All I see on the phone is Calender, Maps, Notes and a Web Browser. That's it? And we're supposed to be excited it took OSX to run those? How can this phone *not* be considered a tablet PC/phone?

  • by sokoban ( 142301 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:17AM (#17570324) Homepage

    No he isn't talking about buggy software, he's actually talking about ANY more software. He's saying that in order for the phone to function as well as it does it cannot have ANY other software competing for time on the processor when the included software needs a piece of it.
    No, he's talking about buggy software.

    FTFA: "These are devices that need to work, and you can't do that if you load any software on them," he said. "That doesn't mean there's not going to be software to buy that you can load on them coming from us. It doesn't mean we have to write it all, but it means it has to be more of a controlled environment."

    I'm guessing that software is going to be sold through iTMS and be checked out by Apple before being sold. Kinda like how the iPod is right now. Yeah, Electronic Arts makes iPod games, but you better damn believe that Apple makes sure they work and makes sure that they work well.

    The whole thing about Apple is that for better or worse now, they are big on vertical integration. They successfully vertically integrated the MP3 player market before anyone else, and they are looking to do the same with smartphones. iTunes, iTMS, and iPod work so well due to the vertical integration and the fact that Apple has control over the whole experience. This not only makes it easier to use than a non-integrated setup, but also increases consumer lock-in. They seem to be trying to do the same with phones, and very well may succeed. If they do, it will be great for them.
  • OpenMoko (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <> on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:24AM (#17570372) Homepage
    The obvious answer to iPhone closedness is OpemMoko's openness. Vote with your dollars: go buy an OpenMoko when they hit the market in a few months. []
  • Correction (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CaptainZapp ( 182233 ) * on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:29AM (#17570408) Homepage
    The wireless carriers are all scared shitless of a device like this

    The US- wireless carriers are all scared shitless of a device like this.

    Sorry, you just don't have this kind of shit dictated by European phone networks. Phones sold here (with and without plans) have no such restrictions.

    They also don't have any restrictions in uploading your sounds, images, movies or (in case of smartphones) applications.

    They also don't come with criplled Bluetooth stacks or some of the other stunts of which US carriers seem so fond of pulling off.

  • Re:Vorbis (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MostAwesomeDude ( 980382 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:35AM (#17570438) Homepage
    You seem to have little to no experience with Apple's handheld devices. The entire iPodLinux project was started because, among other things, there is no native support for Vorbis or FLAC in the iPod firmware. If people do not hack the devices and write the code, there won't be any support for unpatented free formats. There will only be locked AAC audio and MP4 video. MP3 will appear (with the inferior Fraunhofer codec) because of popular demand, but that's it.

    (Note: Fraunhofer is ironically not the highest quality encoder for MP3s anymore. LAME is considered much higher quality.)
  • Re:Right... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Savage-Rabbit ( 308260 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:52AM (#17570534)

    The iPod is pretty neat straight out of Apple, but the true possibilities of the device aren't really reached. Take a look at the Rockbox firmware for iPods -- it adds tons of features that Apple said were "technically impossible" or that "nobody wants". Right now I'm listening to a gapless FLAC album with a bit of crossfeed, and it's wonderful. Fuck you, Jobs. You don't know what I want. Stop telling me what to do!

    With respect to phones, I think the iPhone is going to be a flop.
    I would tend to agree with that. I use my phone for all sorts of stuff other than just making calls. For example I use it to keep track of my expenses and if this iPhone doesn't have that functionality I can't add it by going to a 3rd party software vendor like I did with my Nokia phone. I'm pretty sure that later on Apple will back down on this point. Third party software is simply to useful to customers so eventually the iPhone will either be a flop or Apple will allow third party software but require it to be certified for quality/stability to keep the Telcos from peeing in their pants. A smart-phone in this price bracket is simply to expensive for the kind of people who spend $5-600 on a smart phone to be willing to put up with it being castrated like this.

    When it's all said and done, it's a $3000 phone (can't get one without 2 years of Cingular's worthless service) that plays mp3s and has a calendar with pixmaps borrowed from OS X.
    What I find interesting is what will Apple do when they finally ship the iPhone to customers outside the USA? Cingular isn't a huge player on the global telco market, at least the have no presence in this country (while Vodafone and T-Mobile do), so will Apple simply negotiate locking the iPhone into the service of one of the big local carriers? Or will the iPhone only be sold in the select number of countries where Apple's Telco buddies have a presence?
  • Re:OpenMoko (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Narcogen ( 666692 ) <narcogen AT rampancy DOT net> on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:54AM (#17570544) Homepage
    How are those devices comparable? The FIC 1973 doesn't include wifi or bluetooth. So no unwired headsets, and no VOIP (the primary reason for the iPhone remaining closed is to prevent someone from using its wifi capabilities for VOIP). It does include GPS, which is nice, but the iPhone doesn't. Open is better than closed, but I have a hard time imagining these two devices as appealing to the same users.
  • by base2_celtic ( 56328 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:58AM (#17570576) Homepage Journal
    In the very same article, however, he goes on to say:

    "That doesn't mean there's not going to be software to buy that you can load on them coming from us. It doesn't mean we have to write it all, but it means it has to be more of a controlled environment."

    Steve's obviously playing control freak here, but I can understand his reasoning. Sony does the same thing for the PlayStation platform. An SDK ~is~ available, if you pay the huge fee for it, and Sony still gets to decide if your title is good enough to get their PlayStation branding. If the iPhone is going to work as a product for Apple, it really does have to work just as smoothly as its demo. Just like Sony, Apple gets to vet/check software before it goes out into the wide world.

    The hacker geeks aren't going to like it, but, hey, it didn't stop Sony from owning the world with this very same model for the PSX and PS2.

    Oh, and you can bet your bottom dollar this isn't the only device in this area that Apple will be bringing out. Expect to see this techology in a more hackable, computer-like form very soon.

    I say let the iPhone be an iPhone -- that's what's it's going to be good at.
  • Re:Right... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by julesh ( 229690 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:11AM (#17570654)
    VoIP over GPRS/EDGE? Clicks, pops, hiss, echo, machine-gun reverb, disconnects.

    If you're getting these problems with a VOIP service, change service. The *only* issue I've ever had with VOIP is bad delay (c. 1 second) and random stuttering when there are packet delays. Echo is caused by using cheap phones / softphones that don't have adequate echo cancellation, and is therefore entirely avoidable. Running it over GPRS shouldn't be an issue; a GPRS link has more than enough bandwidth to cope with VOIP.

    That said, all the carriers I've looked at charge more for GPRS data than they do for voice calls.
  • Re:Right... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pesc ( 147035 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:16AM (#17570680)
    I'm holding out for Trolltech's Greenphone. It runs Linux, and the point is openness... you can recompile the kernel if you want! Paired with KDE 4, I think it's going to blow the iPhone out of the water

    Well, I have a Trolltech Greenphone on my desk because we develop software for it. And while it is hackable, Linux based, and a nice geek gizmo, there is no way I'm going to use it as my primary mobile phone. Teeeeny stuff to hit with the stylus. Lots of buttons that you don't really know what they do. Difficult to enter text. (It's a development platform after all.)

    Personally, I'm using the cheapest Motorola cellphone available (monochrome display, does nothing more than phone and SMS), and I'm holding out for the iPhone to hit Europe. Because I don't WANT to hack a device to use it as a phone/PIM, even if I COULD.
  • Re:Correction (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dunkelfalke ( 91624 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:20AM (#17570700)
    hmm? i can install every software i want on my smartphone bougt from a german carrier.
  • Re:Right... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jrockway ( 229604 ) <> on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:21AM (#17570716) Homepage Journal
    You must be using it wrong, because it runs great on my 533MHz box. The version of KDE4 I've tested is even snappier.

    Anyway, OS X isn't exactly a speed demon either. Which is why I think Jobs is lying about the iPhone using it -- for a device that can't run 3rd party software, using OS X is a real waste of CPU and money.
  • by tjcrowder ( 899845 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:23AM (#17570730) Homepage

    ...and he sure as hell has spent more time thinking about this than I have. And yet, I still think this is very much the wrong move. Look at the success Nokia is having with the 770 and soon the 800. I will go so far as to say the only reason that device is successful is they were smart enough to build it on Linux (Debian), release an API (for the bits they even needed to do the API for -- e.g., their customised window manager), and foster a development community []. That was just effing smart. Instead of the device having very limited functionality, it has -- with very little effort -- a rich set of open source software available for it. Sure, some of that's going to crash it, but there are clear distinctions between Nokia-tested and certified software and the things you download from Joe Blogg's website, and You Are Warned every time you install something. I just wish they'd put a phone module in it, but it can bluetooth to my phone, so...

    As for the bit about Cingular's network going down: Bullshit. (Pardon my English.) Do an API to the phone functionality it provides, test that, and that's an end to it. If the network's that delicate, that's a useful thing to know and fix, because sure as heck someone will take advantage of it (using something other than an iPhone) otherwise.

    This has the feel of something being forced by the phone companies, even if Apple is historically fairly closed (OS/X being the big -- and welcome -- exception). And yet, frankly, this is going to be the Must Have Item for a large number of high-quality customers (Christmas 2007, start saving now kids), what network can afford not to support it?

    These are devices that need to work, and you can't do that if you load any software on them.


  • Re:Correction (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kalpaha ( 667921 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:34AM (#17570794)
    Since some have disagreed with the parent's statement, I can say that at least in Finland no carrier does this kind of shit. If you buy a plan that includes a phone, then that may be locked to the carrier, but that's about the extent of limitations we have. In my case, I bought a plan from a smaller carrier, and the phone is not even locked. To me it's incomprehensible that anyone would even do business with a company that screws you like that.
  • by AceJohnny ( 253840 ) <> on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:35AM (#17570800) Journal
    After the initial elation, I'm crashing back down to reality.

    The price tag didn't seem that scary at first. My brand new Nokia N70 costs 400E off the shelf.* With a 2-year plan, that came down to 55E, pretty damn affordable for a near-Smartphone. I didn't understand, at first, that the iPhone's price (500$ or 600$) included the 2-year plan! As I fully expect Cingular to charge for services (the very services the iPhone is so cool about) on top of that, the price has suddenly leapt straight out of my potential budget (and I'm a gadget lover with a good pay!).

    No 3G? Well, there's no camera on the iPhone, so you won't be suffering bad video-conferencing. And if you're only use text e-mails, that's OK. Too bad for the "our browser isn't crippled and text-only!" hype. At those speeds, you'll want to go back to WAP.

    And now no 3rd party apps? Their lame excuses don't even surprise me. I guess they're perfectly understandable for the mid-to-high level risk-averse manager. Whatever. However, I expect they'll catch up by selling apps for the iPhone. This is the final straw that confirms the iPhone beyond "barely affordable but classy social symbol" the iPod was so good to hit, and right into "outrageously priced executive toy".

    Happy Feeling's gone :(

    I'm not predicting a flop or anything. I think it'll revolutionize the way we use "phones" if other companies can get the hint, and I sure hope they'll do it quickly. All of a sudden the interface of my N70 seems awfully clunky...

    *Yep, I live in Europe, which means the iPhone won't be available to me anytime soon anyhow.
  • Re:Right... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Divebus ( 860563 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:48AM (#17570860)

    I feel your pain, developers. I'm just a user but dangling a beauty of a cherry like that with a big padlock on it, I wouldn't expect any less venom on /.

    Fact is that maybe 1 in 5,000-ish people are even capable of writing applications worthy of public consumption. That would be about 60,000 people just in the U.S., many many more worldwide and excludes skript kiddies. That's not much of a market to lose for the sake of security [whatever!]. I've seen some people live through horrible train wrecks with their Palms and Treos because of 3rd party apps. They blamed the hardware, not what they loaded. Stupid thinking but that's His concern/excuse/way out. Still, why can't I load my own OS X apps? I should be able to do video compression on here if I want to. I'll stew about it 'til June, probably buy one anyway, then kick myself around the block.

  • 3:rd party apps (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BuR4N ( 512430 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:04AM (#17570962) Homepage Journal
    This is just speculation, but I'm pretty sure that what they are aming for is administrative power of what gets released and whats not. Just like Nindtendo/Sony/MS have a firm grip over what gets published for their (gaming) hardware.

    After all, the hardware is a one time fee, controling the software sales (earning royalties on everything sold for the device) is the big revenue stream.
  • by Ilgaz ( 86384 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:08AM (#17571000) Homepage
    Funny is, I was hoping for Opera Mobile right after I saw "Zinio reader" style web browsing.

    We like Safari on Desktop but Opera Mobile is like 5 years ahead of competition on that business.

    I wonder another thing. Why can't a system being "5 years ahead" doesn't come with built in spam protection? I tried Kaspersky Symbian Beta and it adds "sms/mms spam protection" to my Nokia.

    Cingular doesn't want it too I guess ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:12AM (#17571026)
  • holy CRAP... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mark the Optimist ( 1039974 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:23AM (#17571094)
    Okay, so just about every single response to this post ranked "5: Insightful" can be summarized as this: "I'm not going to buy the iPhone because Steve won't let me write my own programs!" Sure, fine, great, whatever. Sorry you're disappointed, hope you find another solution that works for you. But after reading this same general attitude a couple dozen times, I am compelled to respond with an alternate perspective: Contrary to Commander Taco's (much quoted) original assessment of the original, the iPod has indeed gone on to become the most popular MP3 player ever produced, to the point that its impact has risen to impacting the music retail business itself. (iTunes now sells more music than Amazon, etc. etc.) All this not only *without* many of the more sophisticated features many Slashdotters may have wished it had - but *because* it doesn't have those features! I for one am glad to have an MP3 player with a simple interface, and innovative (click-wheel) navigation. And while I have no intention of buying the current iPhone - ...because it's out of my price range ...because I hate Cingular's customer service (and have grown quite loyal to my new carrier because of theirs) ...because I want something a little more rugged and less "precious," and ...because I frankly don't need to read the New York Times Online on my phone.... I *will* be *quite* happy, in a year or so, when I can get a nice touch-screen driven, visual-voicemail equipped cell phone in my price range, perhaps called something like an "iPhone Nano" - whose technology was made possible by this initial market entry model! Sheesh, call me flamebait if you want, but I don't get this tone of entitlement in some of these posts! Cingular (whom I HATE), had to re-jigger its infrastructure to make visual voicemail possible, not to mention committing to the iPhone sight unseen. Frankly, if they demand Steve not let users upload ringtones for free because they'd rather make money selling them, I simply won't buy any ringtones, but I won't feel like Steve/Apple/Cingular is "ripping me off" for not providing me everything for free. Sure, you buy the phone, you own the PHONE. Crack it open, get out your banana clips and soldering iron and do whatever you want to it. But if a "closed system" is what Steve/Apple/Cingular decide for whatever reason *including making money* is what they require to bring this tech to market, so be it. Your palms, et al are still out there for you. Enjoy. And enjoy trying to motivate them to produce a comparable device like the iPhone. I'm sure it'll be any day now. /rant
  • Re:Right... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 ) <> on Friday January 12, 2007 @07:01AM (#17571266) Homepage
    The iPhone is aimed squarely at the US market. They'd have to make an iPhone 2 to sell it in Europe anyway.. No 3G, No MMS, Mediocre Camera, Camera on wrong side of phone (so you can't make video calls)..

    So expect an iPhone 2 in about 12 months time with these features if they want to launch in the Europe/Asia (which is a larger market than the US by a long way so they'd be stupid not to).

    (The Apple TV is also aimed squarely at the US market also, given that itunes doesn't support video downloads in any other country (and 'a selection of pixar short films' does *not* count) - sensing a pattern here...)
  • Re:Right... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @07:17AM (#17571346) Journal

    The Apple TV is also aimed squarely at the US market also, given that itunes doesn't support video downloads in any other country
    If you register an account with, I am reliably informed that you can use this to buy stuff from the US iTMS store wherever you happen to be. Still, you're right that's it's not officially supported.
  • Re:Right... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by leenks ( 906881 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @07:52AM (#17571548)
    Why would people in Europe/Asia want to buy a new phone that doesn't work on 3G, has a crap camera (compared to many of the offerings), doesnt have a camera on the screen side of the phone,... etc Other companies offer phones with these features, and most people want whizzy features, whether on not they ever use them.
  • Re:iWhatever, next! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by maxume ( 22995 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @09:05AM (#17571956)
    How did you fit in the really nice screen? Or is that not a feature?
  • Re:Correction (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @09:13AM (#17572016)
    since some have disagreed with the parent's statement, I can say that at least in Finland no carrier does this kind of shit. If you buy a plan that includes a phone, then that may be locked to the carrier, but that's about the extent of limitations we have. In my case, I bought a plan from a smaller carrier, and the phone is not even locked. To me it's incomprehensible that anyone would even do business with a company that screws you like that.

    Price. Most US carriers offer plans that let you call anywhere in the US for a flat fee, with nights and weekends free (i.e. no charge to your minutes). For $60 you can get 2 phones and 550 minutes; or 1 phone with 900 (Cingular) and the minutes rollover plus Mobile2Mobile is also "free". No roaming, no long distance and enough time for $60. Some carriers even offer unlimited minutes for a flat rate.

    A quick check of European plans (UK - Vodaphone since it is easiest for me to read an English site) has 700 minutes for 35 Pounds - withing $10 of the price in the US, but that only lets you call UK phones - go to Germany and you're paying about $1.00 a minute to call or 50 cents/minute to receive a call. The US used to have that kind of pricing but it disappeared as cellphones became common. Neither system is better; each evolves according to the market forces in their regions.

    Our system has resulted in consumers not caring about phone portability - most never pull the SIM from their phone (or even know what a SIM is; assuming they have a GSM and not a CDMA phone) They simply want reliable service that is cheap; and get a new phone when they upgrade or switch carriers.

    While the iPhone is much less interesting since Apple decided to cripple it's ability to run 3rd party apps; most users won't care. They want the latest hot phone; and maybe will add a ringtone or two - and for someone paying $600 for a phone %3 for a ringtone is pocket change. I have Treo 700p that is tricked out (as was my 650 and 700w) but I am an anomaly - most of the people I work with that have Treos / Blackberries / etc. have never added an app, or even explored all the features of their phone. Most consumers don't feel they are being "screwed" by crippled or locked phones.

    Finally, I wouldn't be surprised if the iPhone was not "unlockable" - in the US at least - since Apple has a two year exclusive there would be no reason to build in the capability to run on other systems for US models; European ones could have a different firmware if unlocking was needed to comply with local laws.

    I was really interested in it; but if I can't use it like a Bluetooth modem (as I do with my Treo)or swap SIMS in Europe and have it work; I'll pass.
  • Re:Right... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by plurgid ( 943247 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @10:18AM (#17572648)
    Well ... you see the thing is, that there are a LOT more people in the world who want a big ass expensive status symbol than there are that want a "useful, hackable mini-computer".

    That is why the iPod beat the pants off of Nomad.
    It's also why Hummer is actually able to sell cars, even with the crazy high gas prices.

    Apple marketing is pure evil genius.

    Edwin [] would be proud.
  • Nail on the Head. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jonfromspace ( 179394 ) <jonwilkins&gmail,com> on Friday January 12, 2007 @11:46AM (#17574054)
    This is exactly what I have been telling friends the past few days. Sure the Greenphone and OpenMoko are great little devices, but neither of them has the design of the iPhone.

    The iPhone is just down right nice, and the interface is fantastic.

    However... I don't get why apple fanboys are so anti microsoft. In the past few years, Apple has proven to be just a evil as MS and in some ways worse. The whole "no third party apps" is a prime example, great... another Apple product with some amazing hardware that won't run the software I want.

    I'll still buy an iPhone though... just as soon as unlocked ones start hitting ebay.
  • Re:Right... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Friday January 12, 2007 @12:02PM (#17574354) Homepage Journal

    While EDGE is certified by the IMT-2000 initiative as "3G", it's seen as a transitional technology for 2G networks, networks that have EDGE are better than networks without them, but over-all, a 2G network enhanced with EDGE is still 2G. Or 2.5G if you want to get really into the marketing terms (2G with packet switching.)

    The 3G version of GSM is called UMTS. HSDPA is an enhancement to two of UMTS's air interfaces (W-CDMA and TD-CDMA.) This offers better bandwidth and far lower latency than EDGE. Call quality, thanks to higher bit rates, is good too.

    So... why wouldn't the iPhone sell in Europe? Because most GSM operators have UMTS networks as well as 2G GSM networks, and most people want a phone that isn't limited to 2G GSM. Tariffs encourage use of 3G services - as an example, the only unmetered mobile Internet access option in the UK is from T-Mobile, where the tariff requires use of T-Mobile's 3G network.

    If you're selling a device one of whose primary advantages is Internet access, selling one that doesn't support UMTS in Europe is ridiculous.

    Now, in the US, Cingular are trying to roll out a UMTS network but have been hampered by lack of spectrum. The only other major GSM network in the US is T-Mobile, and they've specifically waited for spectrum, planning to launch 3G in the next few months. That'll take time to deploy too. So releasing an EDGE phone is acceptable here, because a UMTS phone would be more expensive, would probably operate on the wrong frequencies initially, and offer few advantages given the lack of a viable network to use the UMTS side on.

    That argument cannot be made for Europe, and it's going to bite Apple in the rear if they don't put UMTS in the European version.

    Apple thinks it can make 10 million sales of this thing in a year. Unless they take the rest of the world seriously, recognizing that 3G is big outside of the US, that people outside the US are used to unlocked, carrier-neutral, phones, that the smartphone market is actually under active development outside of the "free cheap phone with two year contract" US market, they're going to have to make almost all those sales in the US. I don't think they can pull that off, especially given they've locked their fortunes to Cingular's.

I've got a bad feeling about this.