Here it stands on the edge of a feather… expecting to fly. (Or perhaps you prefer the more obscure Buffalo Springfield tune, “In the Hour of Not Quite Rain”). The Apple iPhone stands alone in the lead behind a seething pack of ever-optimistic smartphone companies vying for an ever-widening share of an ever-growing market.
“Expecting to Fly” — Retrospective: The Best of Buffalo Springfield (Amazon) or
“In the Hour of Not Quite Rain” — Buffalo Springfield: Last Time Around (Amazon) or
What certainly will fly — off the shelves — will be a lower-priced iPhone, rumored to be announced next week. The rumor mill keeps on grinding out more new iPhone and iPod touch models with built-in video recording and videoconferencing, a better camera, and a compass for better directional information, as well as new iPod touch models. (Here’s an excellent pre-WWDC review of rumors, from Gizmodo.) What would truly stand the iPhone even more apart from the pack would be video recording and videoconferencing. iPhone 3.0 Software, to be released next week at the WWDC, offers a wide variety of new ways for developers to take advantage of all this technology, and it’s important to realize that Apple’s SDK is keeping pace with all these new features.
So the atmosphere is more carnival-like than ever, with reports of a
healthy-looking Steve Jobs walking about the Apple campus, and Palm
rolling out its Pre amidst a flurry of controversies ranging from its
ability to sync to iTunes to its possible infringements on Apple
patents. The pundits are fanning the flames of Palm vs. Apple as David vs. Goliath to boost traffic to their columns, giving mostly glowing but a few scathing reviews of the Palm Pre (of the glowing reviews, David Pogue’s is the most ebullient, but then he’s probably about to write another missing manual; for the “bad keyboard” review see the Boy Genius). However, as is always the case when there is no real substance to the challenge, no one gives Palm an unequivocal victory — not like they did for the iPhone at its debut. (Here’s Gizmodo’s matrix of Palm Pre reviews.)
As Microsoft grapples with search and Bing, the real battle over the platform that will capture the best developers have to give is between the Apple iPhone and Google Android. While RIM holds a higher share with its Blackberry models, the true momentum of innovation is occurring mostly on these two platforms. Palm has to spring up on its own, without the developer base it had a decade ago. Apple has all the momentum, most of the developers, and an extraordinary base of patented technology, while the rest of the industry is playing catch-up.
And Apple still has the coolness factor — evidenced by the recent New Yorker cover art created on an iPhone (see iPhone Scores Unusual Cover Credit in InternetNews). Authors are paying more attention to the iPhone as a medium for e-books. If Apple indeed as an iPhone/iPod touch tablet in the works, it would enable you to do page layout. The combination of using a camera and using painting apps would introduce a new art form. Once again the other companies will be scrambling to catch up.
Expecting to Post in Tony’s Tips from WWDC
I released my iPhone app, Tony’s Tips for iPhone Users Manual, a few months back, but only now have I been able to show off what I consider to be its most amazing feature: I can update the content without having to update the app. As soon as the iPhone 3.0 software is released at the WWDC, I can refresh the content to provide tips on using all of its new features.
As I quoted myself in my June 1 press release, “I consider this format to be faster than a printed book, more powerful than an e-book. Unlike a printed book or e-book that falls out of date, a reader buys Tonyâ€™s Tips once — and it lasts forever, continually refreshed with new content.”
So, as you update your iPhone or iPod touch to iPhone Software 3.0, check out Tony’s Tips to find new information on using copy/cut and paste, the new search feature, and everything else in version 3.0.