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More thoughts about the iPhone

I don’t quite remember whether I thought about it, read it online or heard it on a podcast, but there was this idea that Apple should release a small portable computer of the same with the 12″ Powerbook or somewhat smaller. This ultraportable machine will be a cellular phone with Wi-Fi and bluetooth, and will have a built-in camera and feature a 8- to 12-inch touch-screen. You can make calls using either the cellphone feature or thru VoIP. Wi-Fi is also a boon since you will be able to plunk yourself down a hotspot and merrily surf away with 4 to 5 hours at a time.

Isn’t that a fascinating idea? A portable computer that is a cellular phone. I wonder when we’ll ever see something this? Oh, wait. We just did last week. They called it the “iPhone”.

In this case, this newfangled device is much smaller that the ultraportable people (or my brain) has come up with. It fits right into your pocket. The iPhone is a cellular phone cum an internet communications device, with an added bonus: it’s a music/video/podcast playet, too. Of course, the dreamed up ultraportable computer can play music/video/podcasts through iTunes but it’s not portable enough. There’s the iPod for that.

So there you go, three products in one revolutionary device. It’s an iPod, a cellphone, an internet communicator. It’s an iPod, a cellphone, an internet communicator.

But the iPhone is not a computer nor is it a smartphone in the strictest sense. A computer or smartphone allows you, among other things, to install programs or applications as you please. The iPhone does not let you do that. According to Apple, if they will ever allow applications to be installed into the iPhone, these will be “Apple approved” apps and most probably will be bought and downloaded from the iTunes store very much like the iPod games.

That’s what the iPhone really is. It’s an iPod with the “core functionalities” of Mac OS X. Being Mac OS X, you can have applications such as iCal and Address book. You will also have widgets.
But being an iPod, you can only add software that Apple has approved.

I am for and against this idea. For because Apple does not like the idea of some poorly done third-party application ruining the iPhone experience. Having used Palm PDAs before, I’ve had few experiences where an app will crash the PDA and crashing is a rarity under Mac OS X.

I am against because this will limit the options available to would be iPhone users. There are a lot of people out there with great ideas and they usually will create a portable app in their free time. Sure, the application looks crummy but it works. These kinds of apps are usually given away for free. The close system, however, will encourage developers to make better products. They are after all developing for Apple. If their application get approved, they get the chance to earn from their toils as these will be sold in the iTunes Store. Another thing, there is a section in the iTunes Store where people can get free music, video, or audio downloads. Maybe a year or two from now, there will be free iPhone application downloads, too.

That’s all I said.

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