Tuesday, June 17, 2008

WWDC SteveNote Redux

OK, it's been a week since we got to hear about new Apple goodies from Pastor Steve. I'll give my analysis, FWIW.

First, this was a gawd awful boring presentation for the first 75%. Nobody wanted to hear about all the new iPhone partner yadda yadda. Kudos to Engadget for not trying to candy-coat everyone's displeasure during their live coverage.

Second, iPhone/iTouch games. Yeah it's nice that we get some games on the iPhone/iTouch. But frankly the games announced don't give me a woody and it's like 9 months too late. I would bet most touch users would be thrilled with a version of solitaire or minesweeper - or crossword puzzles - something simple and addictive. Unfortunately, the games being touted (e.g., Cro-Mag Rally, Enigmo) aren't high on my list and the fact that they might take advantage of some special iPhone/iTouch features isn't that impressive to me. As I said, the games are late in coming. We should be past this point already. Developers had to drag Apple kicking and screaming to release an SDK, and now we are paying for Apple's sonambulism.

Third, other iPhone apps. Most of the apps being touted are also not very thrilling. I mean - eBay? Who would track this stuff on their iPhone/iTouch? TypePad? Hello? Has anyone actually typed a sentence on their iPhone/iTouch and felt it was a quick and easy experience? Not happening.

How about Loopt - a social service that lets you track your friends and be tracked? I just can't see anyone other than a 16 year old teeny bopper really finding this a useful, fun app. Maybe it's just me, but I DON'T WANT my friends to know where I am 99% of the time.

MLB.com's video baseball highlight app - what?! How about actual LIVE video coverage? You can't be serious that anyone would get off on watching a highlight pseudo-real-time or otherwise, given that there are often only 2 or 3 highlights per ball game. (And yes, I love baseball.)

Even the AP app sounds lame - turn everyone into an amateur video reporter. Yuck! You'll get Sally's intimate video of her gross friend Zoey hawking a loogy on an expensive sports car parked at the 7-11. **sigh**

Fourth, OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard... no PowerPC support, no new features for users... **yawn**

Fifth, iPhone OS2.0 comes in July. Yay. Free for iPhone, but gonna cost iTouch users $9 - WTF! They should give this to touch users for FREE for having to put up with substandard features and lack of functions from the iPhone that they had to pay for already.

Sixth, Mobile Me replaces .Mac.... hurray?? Kudos for doing something to improve .Mac but the Me name is limp, and the logo is even worse. Given that I can't even get some basic .Mac features to even work, such as Back to My Mac - I'm skeptical Apple can do it right the second time around. Push mail thing might be OK, but with only 20GB of on-line storage I can't see it as a real home base for all your files. Having the functions in the basic form of web apps that act just like your desktop apps - hmmm. Do we really need this? Unsure at this point. Do you think that Windoze users will actually sign up for this? Nope - not happening.

And finally - the iPhone 3G! The phone Apple should have released in the first place comes July 11th in like 22 countries simultaneously, then many, many others. And yes, it's even coming to Japan on that date! Unfortunately, you could hear the collective groans of all of us in Japan when it was confirmed that SoftBank would be the sole carrier here. My colleague's spouse was so upset he declared he was actually angry that Apple didn't partner with a more reliable or established carrier. My guess is that Docomo wouldn't kowtow to Apple's model or demands and that SoftBank, the most desperate to improve their market share was more flexible. I guess nobody bothered to tell Apple that SoftBank is like the third owner of the company in 6 years, and that their infrastructure is still behind AU and Docomo.

Jobs claimed that the iPhone 3G price will be capped at $199 for 8Gb and $299 for 16Gb with a 2 year contract. But it's not clear if this is US-only, and I'd bet that in Japan it will sell for ¥30,000-50,000 if SoftBank has its way. And you can be sure that we will get gouged heavily for 'packet charges' for using internet features over the 3G network. The SoftBank people I spoke with had no idea on costs or anything else. I'm wondering if this is still under negotiation. It's also unclear whether a Japan iPhone will work transparently in other countries with iPhone service with roaming charges. This would be key for me, as would the possibility of changing contracts if I move to another country.

Functionality and features of the iPhone 3G are fairly impressive, if Apple's numbers are accurate - particularly for battery life. The 2 megapixel camera is not thrilling, but GPS sounds sweet (though I bet it won't work in English here). There is some concern over whether the iPhone will succeed in Japan, given its consumer's idiosyncracies and the better overall choice of phones and feature sets here compared to the US. One-Seg TV tuners are somewhat popular right now, but perhaps the better content available on the iPhone via iTunes or personal library will win folks over.

The burning question for me is will I purchase one? I'm not really moved to do so, but will definitely see what pricing plans are available. My guess is that most of us here in Japan feel the same way.

1 comment:

Jason said...

I'm glad I didn't stay up for the full keynote this time....and wish I hadn't stayed up late at all!

But, getting to hear a live audio feed did make it much better.