Apple CEO Steve Jobs delivered his keynote speech to a packed auditorium at the Macworld conference in San Francisco yesterday. Weeks of excitement and media hype are no more. Analysts can now pick over the pieces and spin it in any way they see fit. Journalists are rushing to get their reviews out on the net. Geeks like me will try and convince their better halves that it’s all about need and not want. Apple will go back to doing what it does best, making hardware that looks good and works well. Form over function my bum!!! It’s form and function.
Anyway, getting back to the Keynote speech. He started off with the usual info - sales and market share – which is quite impressive. Apple's iPod accounts for 75% of all portable music players. iTunes digital media store has sold more than 2 billion songs, 50 million television episodes and 1.3 million feature-length films. This has catapulted iTunes beyond Amazon.com for digital media sales.
Apple has also changed their name. No longer Apple Computers Inc, just call them Apple. Their business isn’t just about computers and hasn’t been for a number of years. It’s about accessories, but it’s not just about accessories, it’s about media, software, media players, iPods and now….wait for it……hold your horses…calm down….its about P-H-O-N-E-S. Meet the new secret agent on the block, the iPhone. If you thought 007 was cool, calm and sophisticated…if you thought David Beckham looked great in his sarong (I thought he looked like a t**ser!!)….if you think Angelina Jolie is the sexiest woman alive then you’ve yet to meet this sexy puppy.
It looks better than expected; in fact I would go so far as saying it’s sexier than Angelina Jolie on a VERY good day. Some quick specs: 3.5” touch screen, Quad Band, Edge, Bluetooth, Wifi (b/g), 4 or 8GB storage, Safari Browser, Mac OS X Operating system. There are a couple of pictures below. The the first is from Apple's web site,the second was from a geek at the show who uploaded it to Flickr,
I hope you noticed the operating system, its running MAC OS X. This is the same operating system that’s runs on my iMac @ home. I’m not quite convinced that this is the full version but its near enough. This would make it easier to port applications, although dealing with such a small form factor will be interesting. Jobs announced that Yahoo will offer free push e-mail to all iPhone customers which I’m sure will worry RIM. Also included are integrated Google Maps and Dashboard widgets.
I was disappointed to see that it’s not available until June 07 in the US and won’t be arriving at Heathrow until Q4 07. I thought it may be offered unlocked from Apple stores but it’s being sold through Cingular in the US (largest service provider in North America). I’d prefer to have an unlocked phone and choose my service provider but you can’t have everything. Anyway, my contract with T-mobile ends October 07 so it doesn’t really matter. Steve Jobs made an interesting comment when introducing the phone. "We want to reinvent the phone! What's the killer app? The killer app is making calls!!!” It’s not the all singing and dancing iPod/Phone combo that I expected, although it can mimic the ipod and hold 8GB of data. Apple's approach seems to be about making the phone easier to use, which has always been their philosophy.
Interesting to see that Apples stock rose 6% after the speech. Palm dropped 5.7 percent, Blackberry’s Research In Motion lost 7.9 percent and Motorola Inc. shed 1.8 percent. Apple hopes to sell 10 million phones in the first year. While this sounds quite high it’s only 1% of the global market (950 million phones sold in 2006). I’m sure it will have a big impact and wonder which service provider will be selling the phone in the UK. This is going to be big business; perhaps I’ll email Apple and see if they are still looking for a UK distributor.
Other products launched today included Apple TV – Apples take on a Media Centre for the home? Not quite sure at the moment. It doesn’t allow you to record live TV like Sky+ or TiVo or play DVD’s. However, it will allow you to stream content from MAC’s & PC’s around the house, all for £299. On sale now and shipping in February. I’m going to do some research and may be placing an order very soon.
I’m not going to list the specs, have a look here for details. It allows streaming of content from Macs or PCs running iTunes 7 to a TV. Its automatically syncs your iTunes library to any Mac or PC in the house. Any changes made to the iTunes library are automatically reflected on Apple TV. It can access and control music and photo libraries from up to five computers. Whats the difference between this and other competitors systems. We'll you can stream Apple protected media, AAC. They won't licence the technology so this is the only way you can stream media purchased from iTunes. It has built in wireless networking. You can search for multiple devices and it's made by Apple!!!!.
Airport Extreme – This is a new Wireless Access Point, 802.11n compliant. Not that exciting so check out the web site.
An interesting presentation but disappointing at the same time. We got the phone (well we will do in 6 months), Apple TV was launched (but we knew it was coming), 802.11n Access Point (everyone makes one) and a new name for the company. What we didn’t get is any new computing hardware. Where was the slimmed down Mac Book Pro, what about a new iMac or a full screen video iPod. When you get used to surprises perhaps you expect more? One journalist entitled their piece ‘iDisappointed’. Perhaps we were disappointed but that looks like one hell of a phone.