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Apple iPhone: a guided tour

Only now is the Apple iPhone starting to settle into peoples’ minds.

Now, the detailed, critical but largely positive initial analyses have filtered their way through the web firmament, and people like me can start to pull the tenuous threads together.

Rather than go into any detail myself, I’m going to provide references to some of the more credible sources who are in many respects more learned than I. However, I’m going to define a series of themes, which will form a narrative of sorts.

In my mind at least, there are 6 strands to the developing Apple iPhone saga:

  1. Is the iPhone being positioned as a new if nascent platform?
  2. If so, will this platform be a ‘walled garden’, or will the iPhone platform be open?
  3. Given that some of the specifications are either limited or non-existent, what’s inside the iPhone, and what can we expect Apple to surprise us with?
  4. Is it possible for Apple to take on the more mature and established hand set manufacturers?
  5. By going US first, Europe second and Asia third, has Apple made the right choice?
  6. Will the iPhone include games, and becomes a competitor to the likes of the Sony PlayStation Portable?

But before I dive straight in, I’ll furnish the uninitiated amongst you with an Apple iPhone FAQ by David Pogue, plus an excerpt from the article:

“My favorite sarcastic comment, which was a response to these responses, which were in response to my last blog entry: ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, but can you use it underwater? And can you recharge it using solar power? And does it have an optical scanner that detects your eyeball movements so that you merely have to look at a name in your contacts list and blink in order to choose and call him? Apple, you have a long way to go…’”

1. Is the iPhone being positioned as a new if nascent platform?

Source: Apple Considering Licensing iPhone OS, Multitouch?

“With the allure of the iPhone so ridiculously high, it would be in a perfect position literally take over the smartphone market and further increase iPod + iTunes usage and OS X brand awareness.”

Coming soon: iPhone nano, iPhone Shuffle?

“It stands to reason that within a year’s time, the iPhone will have another sibling. Apple needs something like the iPod Mini to bridge the price gap, and also the size gap.”

2. If so, will this platform be a ‘walled garden’, or will the iPhone platform be open?

iPhone locked down, Apple confirms

“[A] serious blow to the iPhone as a next generation software platform has emerged. Apple has confirmed it’s a closed device, and only Apple will be releasing software for the iPhone.”

Exclusive: ‘Innovative iPhone just isn’t enough, yet’ – analyst

“Another issue is the fact that it is not possible to add applications to it. Apple has already stated that it will not allow third parties to make software for the device – other than in conjunction with Apple itself.”

Why Apple should license the iPhone platform

3. Given that some of the specifications are either limited or non-existent, what’s inside the iPhone, and what can we expect Apple to surprise us with?

iPhone a smash – because everyone else is stupid!

“Count on the smart phone version to be a VOiP phone as well, making cell minutes less and less a consern. iChat video on the smart phone will also be a unique experience.

Count on iPod mobile to surplant iPod sales to some extent, but count on iPod HD (full-screen 720p) making the device a completely different animal many will just want for pure entertainment purposes.”

iPhone: What’s inside? Not Intel

“Reuters is reporting this evening that Intel chips will not power the Apple iPhone as previously assumed.”

What About the Apple iPhone Camera?

“I am sure most of you by now have heard about Apples new iPhone that was revealed by Steve Jobs key note speech at Macworld. During his keynote, Steve Jobs briefly mentioned that the iPhone will enter the market with a 2Mp camera, but not much more info. Well it got me wondering what kind of performance could we expect and which vendors could be behind the camera in the iPhone.”

Inside the iPhone – 3G, ARM, OS X, 3rd Partyware

4. Is it possible for Apple to take on the more mature and established hand set manufacturers?

In many respects, the iPhone is a competing platform, pitted against the Smartphones and Windows Mobile. I feel pretty sure that Apple will open up the iPhone to third parties, but Apple are resisting this kind of discussion for the time being.

In an interview with CNBC, Steve Jobs says: “We think that what we have done is reinvent the phone.”

Now compare that to what I said in a previous article: “It’s as if Apple started the whole project from the point of view of that the entire mobile phone concept had never existed.”

Experts warn Apple iPhone is ‘no smartphone’

“Industry experts have warned that Apple’s iPhone is ‘no smartphone’ and is not as technologically advanced as many reports would suggest.”

Palm CEO Ed Colligan’s Head Seems to be Stuck Somewhere

“We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone,… PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”

Is Apple iPhone the Key to Unlock Mobile Search?

“Apple unveiled its much-anticipated iPhone yesterday at CES to the delight of gadget-lovers everywhere. The device is a sleek mash-up of iPod, smartphone, and Internet access device, running on Mac OS X.”

LG’s New Prada Phone – Not an iPhone

Apple iPhone versus the LG KE850?

5. By going US first, Europe second and Asia third, has Apple made the right choice?

Having had a quick look around for any kind unrest regarding the scheduled late showing of the iPhone in Europe and Asia isn’t exactly thick on the ground.

All I can really say is the obvious stuff: mobile phones and gadgets in general are better sellers in Europe and Asia than they are in the US, even more so given the better telecommunications infrastructures in both Europe and Asia when compared to the US.

Is iPhone worth waiting?

“Will [the Apple iPhone] be a little outdated when it comes out in Europe and Asia?”

Apple drops a bombshell with iPhone

“Such phones have caught on more in Europe and Asia, but it remains to be seen if it can happen here.”

6. Will the iPhone include games, and becomes a competitor to the likes of the Sony PlayStation Portable?

EA in negotiations to produce iPhone games

“So far little has been revealed of any potential gaming capabilities, but at least one publisher is keen to get involved – EA has already produced five games for the iPod and now looks set to offer support for Apple’s next product.”

Games developers eye Mac, iPhone?

Apple iPhone to play World of Warcraft?

Apple get casual about gaming

Apple iPhone: where’s the games?

Hopefully, that’s going to keep you, the reader, busy for several hours.

As and when more news emerges about the Apple iPhone, I’ll provide some more updates, turning Blah, Blah! Technology into your favorite source of iPhone news & views…

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.