Monday, June 7, 2010

iPhone 4 and the future of devices

So I've basically been staring at my computer screen all day hitting the refresh button on 3 different liveblogs covering todays WWDC Keynote speech. After all the build up and hype and leaks I have to say I'm actually feeling pretty good. I'm definitely not as underwhelmed as I was when the iPad was announced and we all are seeing how that is playing out.
So here are some quick thoughts...

1) iOS 4 (The heart of the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad)
Apple is finally showing that their new OS will be the backbone of future portable devices. This name change, though small and kind of ugly signifies a bright future for fan boys and simple consumers alike. The operating system finally pulls in some key features that have been obviously absent, mainly multitasking. The implementation looks great and I can only imagine what this will do to the iPad when iOS 4 hits in late fall. Check out the link for a quick synopsis of some of the new features. If you have a lot of email accounts you are gonna love combined inboxes.

2) iMovie (Hmm, I thought that was only for computers :)
Wow, this came out of left field but I love it! The ability to take video, pictures and combine them into a quick video that can be shot off to friends is going to make all the vacations and random things I attend so much more memorable. The application is like nothing else on the market and seems the pack a lot of power. It is releasing for iPhones later this summe for $4.99. I will be the first to say that I am excited for iPhone but I'm floored for the iPad version. Its just moving closer and closer to being a laptop replacement. I can only imagine how much easier video editing will be with touch. Multitouch movements and gestures combined with brilliant UI is going to make iMovie for iPhone and iPad an incredible productivity and creativity tool!

3) FaceTime (Lets start begging AT&T to open 3G!!)
We all knew this was coming and as I still haven't seen the videos I will have to hold back major comments to another post but here's my skinny as of yet. It pretty simple, this is going to change things.
Everyone mumbles and grumbles that iPhone just does things that other phones have been doing for years, like MMS and multitasking. I would agree and video chat is no different, they key though isn't just the idea, its the implementation. With the iPhone people were suddenly more willing to use the mobile internet (something most cell phones had been doing for years). It is a similar trend that will emerge with FaceTime, and the best part is its an open standard. So all you people who hate closed loop Apple products you can shove my FaceTime up your ass. But seriously, once other major companies start using this standard (cross fingers for Android support as well as Natal!) video will become ubiquitous.

So those are my 3 cents for right now. Lets talk quickly about the future...

In my opinion people think there are two camps (hauntingly similar to government), open sourced and closed system. In the former world everyone loves everyone and anyone can use anything and anyone can do anything to anyone at any time for any reason and anything is possible and anythign and any any any sorry got caught in an open loop! So here is my thought on open "stuff": I love open standards like h.264, html5, and FaceTime. I don't like open systems like Android, why? Well because when you have an open operating system you have no filter. Without a filter you are allowing people will less qualification and probably less skill to disseminate their work to others. From a consumer standpoint that means that I get hit in the face with a lot of crap. Let me give you an example, I bought a $250 android tablet from China to prototype an interface. Not only was I dissapointed with the quality of device, but the software was old Android and it ran like crap! I think that that is unacceptable, I mean doesn't Google want everyone to love their stuff, I'm not saying they have to pull an Apple but at least have some sort of vetting for who gets to use your stuff. This is a good segway into the closed world...
Apple is a closed company says most, and on 90% of things they do I would agree. However its that last 10% that in my opinion is one of the big reasons they now find themselves as the most valuable technology company in the world. Apple is patient and calculating. I don't mean that they dont work hard or push boundaries but they know when something is ready and they don't do it unless it is. Thats why we all wait for features because we know that even though they exist elsewhere they won't be as good. Their 90% closed eco system allows them to deliver a consistent product and provide incredible support when things to go wrong. That is something that very few companies can do, especially the biggest one in the world!!

In the end companies need a balance of both sides to survive and to provide value. Apple loves open standards for processing and encoding they just don't like open source software and open app stores that get flooded with garbage (just like the internet has become). I share the dream that Steve has, a world where all the content you find is good content and all the software you download is safe and works well. At the end of the day people dont really want to choose, but as a maker is it our duty to provide them with the absolute best thing we can make.

In summation, welcome iPhone 4 to the new world with a smile because even if you don't buy it, its going to change things.

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