The most beautiful toy, yet

by Russ Roberts on January 9, 2007

in Technology

Apple hits a home run. No, a grand slam. Actually, a five-run homer, the kind you’re not supposed to try to hit. If the phone pictured here actually works and the price point is anywhere near the competition and if they can get them made in any volume, it’s going to be the best-selling tech product ever. It makes the Razr and the Zune and the Treo and Blackberry look like lego toys.

UPDATE: It’s going to be $499 for the 4GB version and $599 for the 8GB version. It’s going to sell like hotcakes. Zero calorie hotcakes. Expects to ship June 2007. Jobs is claiming to aim for a 1% share of the phone market in 2008. Ten million phones. If they can get them made, they’ll sell them all.

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{ 11 comments }

Chris January 9, 2007 at 2:25 pm

I think your praise is premature – Blackberry and smartphones were driven by business. This will not be adapted by business because it isn't capable of getting business mail.

Well it can, but very few businesses will change their infrastructures to support POP3 and IMAP4 – most of them fought very hard to get rid of them and won't turn back now.

Its a great interface (if the demo is accurate) but they need to support Microsoft Exchange if they expect to make any headway at all.

Brad January 9, 2007 at 2:58 pm

I'm an Apple fan, a huge one. The problem with this thing is that it's tied to Cingular/AT&T for 4 years. If it were tied to Verizon or Sprint exclusively, it would still be the biggest problem!

Now, if they could roll out a home version of this guy that does WiFi like the Palm T|X for all that Internet stuff and has a stylish base station like those vtech phones, I would buy a couple for home faster than you can say "not available until June".

Matt January 9, 2007 at 4:06 pm

"Its a great interface (if the demo is accurate) but they need to support Microsoft Exchange if they expect to make any headway at all."

That can be stopped by Microsoft obstructionism.

This phone, though, is indeed sufficiently sexy that enough executives will want it so bad that they'll tell the IT department to make it work, no excuses.

Wild Pegasus January 9, 2007 at 5:01 pm

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

- Josh

Chris January 9, 2007 at 10:01 pm

Matt – Exactly what obstructionism are you talking about?

If Executives try to demand that the IT department "make it work" the IT guys will explain the risks and hassles associated with just "making it work" and then describe all the missing features. No sync for contacts or calendar. No reading documents. No direct push. This phone wouldn't pass muster at even a basic requirements analysis.

At a $500 price point I don't think this is going to sell very many units because most business people will pass.

Ivan January 10, 2007 at 10:46 am

"This phone wouldn't pass muster at even a basic requirements analysis."

It has OSX.

That means it can probably run 3rd party software easily. Those issues aren't too important.

Besides email, if you consider the media and music options, it should be great. You can open up safari and watch flashed based video (youtube, etc.). 4GBs should be enough for most people who store more than 100GBs of music elsewhere — where there currently is no iPod option.

Wifi, GSM cellphone, cell network internet connectivity, unix-based osx, multi-touch display, widescreen, many GBs, fits in your front pocket.

why would you buy anything else?

Sam January 10, 2007 at 11:53 am

Because I don't want to carry a $500 electronics device in my pocket.

mjh January 10, 2007 at 4:45 pm

I have a Treo. My biggest complaint with the Treo is that every web browser for the thing sucks. The internet experience on it is *completely* different than the internet experience on my computer.

I'm almost certainly going to buy one of these things. I'm going to wait until the 3G models are avialable, but there are a few reasons why I want this:

a) Internet works right – presumably
b) 4GB is the basic unit compared to 32MB for my treo.
c) No 3G on my treo

But that being said, there is one negative that might be really huge: no third party apps. This is, of course, just a rumor, but if true it's a big deal. No one other than apple can extend the functionality of the phone. My treo (and the gazillions of Palm based apps) suddenly becomes much more attractive.

Patri Friedman January 10, 2007 at 6:34 pm

I was initially blown away. However, on further investigation it sounds like they may be keeping it completely closed – no software by anyone but Apple. So you can get a Palm, with tens of thousands of crappy apps, or an iPhone, with a dozen fabulous apps. It would be even cooler if you could get Apple's great apps, and expand them w/ third-party options.

If that's true, I may pass. If it's not, well, the thing will be truly awesome.

Russell Nelson January 10, 2007 at 9:05 pm

Check it the OpenMoko at openmoko.com. Similar hardware, only it will be standard GSM, fully Open Source, and not loccked to anyhing.

dj superflat January 11, 2007 at 8:37 pm

i'm with those who think it turns on whether business can use it — and from what i can tell thus far, the phone's not going to work for business. (if you think the business folk can just go tell the IT dept. to make it work with their system, you seriously misunderstand the role tech plays in most businesses, how unwilling most businesses are to pay for current tech, let alone something that's in many ways a toy, etc.)

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