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WWDC 2008

10 Jun

Streaming video is up at apple.com.

OK, here’s my take on the WWDC 08 keynote.
1. iPhone 2.0 firmware.
OK, just bring it out. It’s not coming out till July. My Palm Tungsten E is dying (battery & touch screen screwing up), and with the 2.0 firmware, I can easily use my iPod Touch as a replacement, since 1 app, the only app that I use on my Palm will be available for iPhone (epocrates).

The apps look amazing. You don’t see app development for Windows Mobile nor Symbian being marketed this way and hyped so much. Games are great, and hopefully we’ll see more fresh gaming idea, just like what Nintendo DS brought to the market.

Why apps are so great on the iPhone?
First, high res screen. Other phones from other manufactures usually use (very) low res screen, limiting the image quality and overall experience of the GUI, especially internet browsing. PMPs have high res screen already (Cowon A2/A3), and Apple has the unique position having the experience from iPods.
Second, processor speed. Other manufactures usually cut short in the processor used on their phones, usually using whatever cheapest processor they could find, resulting in slow UI response (like many Windows Mobile devices) to the point that it hampers the regular usage of the device. Even Nokia smartphones suffer from slow response and thus poor experience, even though Symbian has many apps.

The ugly side of this, $10 charge for iPod Touch users. WTF? We already had to pay for the previous firmware upgrade, now we have to pay more? In comparison, Sony adds new features in firmware upgrades for the PSP and PS3 multiple times, for free! MS adds new functionalities to the older Zune for free. Of course, I will bite and pay for this to have epocrates for my Touch. T_T

2. Mobile ME.
I thought the rumor was a joke. The name just doesn’t seem “cool.” It reminds me of Windows ME. What is it? It’s .Mac rebranded, refreshed, and redesigned to work across Mac, iPhones/Touch, and Windows. Windows? Well, most of it will be web based, and there’s support for outlook. So, it’s still $100 per year. It has more uniform interface with Mac OS’ own mail.app and iCal. 10GB storage is upgraded to 20GB. Sounds great? Well, consider that Microsoft offer Live Skydrive for free, and it has 5GB shareable storage space, so if all you want is online storage, nothing beats free. Plus Microsoft will have Live Mesh, which will be Mac compatible too. The upside of .Mac is syncing, and with outlook support, it might entice some people. I already like .Mac’s syncing across my iMac and Macbook, but the cost is just too hard to swallow. IMO Apple needs to offer at least a free Mobile ME with maybe only ~2GB storage space, something like that. When Live Mesh goes final, Apple needs to up the ante.

3. iPhone 3G
Finally, long awaited, the newer Jesus Phone. 3G support so people outside the US can think that iPhone is up-to-par with the various 3G phones already on the market. July 11th is the date.

When Jobs started announcing the features of iPhone 3G, it’s hilarious that the crowd are getting crazy over things like “flushed headphone jack.” LOL. GPS, I never use GPS before, so I don’t know if it matters. Battery life seems to be greatly improved (presumably with better power management).

70 countries. Singapore & Hong Kong, yay. Japan, wow. Ooops, not Indonesia, the place that usually gets the latest cellphones, but rampant with hackers and pirates. Are you afraid Apple? Wonder why.

Apple priced the 8GB iPhone 3G at $199. Plus, Jobs said Apple will set the price not to exceed $199 US in all those countries. WOW! This is BIG! Other manufactures usually have variable open prices outside the US (eg. Nokia latest model sometimes is sold at thousands of dollars at launch, then dropping down in price through time, and the cycle repeats). Now, there’s gotta be a catch for this price. Although we will see what will happen in those countries, Apple is still going to lock the iPhone 3G with AT&T in the US. WRONG MOVE!

I guess Apple has not been to SE Asia. Most phones sold there are unlocked, even phones sold under a contract. People in Asia like to switch phones & providers, especially if they’re traveling. IMO if Apple wants to be successful in Asia, without giving money away to hackers/unlockers, Apple needs to sell the iPhone 3G unlocked. So back to Indonesia, this is a place where they have the latest models from Nokia, etc, being sold, even before other countries like Singapore. The pirates will simply buy/smuggle the iPhone 3G from Singapore/Hong Kong, and unlock it. Nobody would bother buying the phone locked from the cell service provider.

Apple better be selling the iPhone 3G unlocked in Asia, and if they did, expect a flood of Americans/ebayers importing the phone. Moral of the story, just sell the phone unlocked, anywhere, period. Ditch AT&T. Apple has the upper hand anyway, AT&T is getting more business thanks to the iPhone, even from people that don’t like AT&T.

Not unlocked, I’m not buying. Even worse, the rumor is that the iPhone 3G will have to be activated in store, in contrast of the first iPhone where users can activate it at home. Plus, it will have worse and more expensive data plans from AT&T. Yup, US cell providers can only go backwards, charging more for less service. Another reason for Apple to sell the iPhone unlocked if they really want to change the way the cellphone business is done. I guess the $10 upgrade fee for my Touch doesn’t sound too bad.

That’s it. No Fusion, no new Macs, no tablet. But hey, Steve casually mentioned OS X 10.6 called Snow Leopard. But of course they don’t want it to steal the thunder from the iPhone 3G. 10.6 already? And I just upgraded to Leopard… T_T

C’mon Apple, why is it so hard not selling the iPhone unlocked? Even if Apple sold the iPhone 3G unlocked for $100 more ($299 for 8GB), I’ll buy it right away. If Apple want to lock me to AT&T, then they are no better than those freebies locked phones. Asians want unlocked phones (if not, they’ll hack it anyway). Business users want unlocked phones (more economical when traveling by using local GSM providers and not giving AT&T $$$ for roaming charges). I want it unlocked. Apple, you’ve just missed plenty of customers.

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