Other WWDC iPhone Random Thoughts

While the form factor reveal was ruined for Apple by the various prototyping shenanigans of the last several months, the biggest new elements of the 4g iPhone were still unknowns and are still a bit under the radar due to the limited access to the device at the keynote.

  1. The screen: Any techblog that got access to the device was lauding the screen. Just like the iPad’s screen had to be seen to be appreciated (and the iPad screen is still better than my MacBook Pro’s). It won’t be until the phones are on sale and the screens can be truly compared to other devices that the impact of this feature will be clear. Apple has gone with LED backlighting and their IPS technology instead of AMOLED. If the iPad is any indicator, Apple made the right choice
  2. The new processor: Again, the iPad’s processor speed was amazing, had to be seen to be believed. The iPad is faster than my MacBook. If that speed is added to the iPhone, it will be the new benchmark for cell phone speed with a processor that Android developers won’t be able to purchase.
  3. The new battery life: Steve claimed 40% more talk time which is a significant improvement and may put the iPhone in the lead for battery life among high end graphics intensive smartphones (the new HTC EVO 4G is getting ravaged in reviews for bad battery life).
  4. New case/antenna solution: Now perhaps the most valid criticism of the iPhone has been call quality/antenna strength. Sure AT&T’s network is overloaded but phone calls on the iPhone also seem to drop due to weaker antenna issues. If Apple has increased the antenna capabilities and call quality of the iPhone that also could be a big overlooked improvement.
  5. iOS 4 with updated applications. The newest version of the iOS is going to be bring a lot of features and capability to the iPhone. Multi-tasking is all Android has been talking about for a year. Advantage neutralized.
– AT&T’s massive “generosity” on moving upgrade dates combined with their data plan changes screams Verizon/Sprint iPhones are coming. AT&T knows that their way to avoid churn to Verizon is to lock customers into a new two year contract with a shiny new iPhone. If AT&T was keeping exclusivity for another full calendar year why offer to move up upgrade windows by 6 months? AT&T is going to strike this summer getting as many re-ups as possible before the CDMA iPhone appears this fall.
The Data plans also indicate that other carriers are coming online. Apple would not have let AT&T remove the unlimited plan unless carrier competition is on the way. Apple is basically letting AT&T try this new pricing model because it knows that their iPhone customers are about to have a lot more choices. AT&T really doesn’t care if the top 5 percent of bandwidth overusers migrate to another network, they are losing money on those folks anyway. AT&T is prepping for competition with lower prices for the customers that they want to keep. If a Verizon or Sprint iPhone appears this fall, MoD believes that pricing will end up becoming something similar to this.
$15 bucks/500 mb
$25 bucks/4 gigs  ($10 per additional gig)
$50 unlimited
If the carriers were smart they would add tiers to tethering
$10 bucks for additional 500 mb
$20 bucks for additional  1 gb
$30 bucks for additional  3 gb ($10 for a gig beyond that)
And the carriers are going to have to get creative about video calling. How the carriers handle video call traffic could end up being a real deciding factor for customers when they are choosing carriers.
– Disappointment that other announcements were not made? Ignore the leaks and were we really surprised by what Apple announced? And remember this keynote was laid out months ago.
Apple was going to announce the iPad in January, preview the new iPhone OS in March/April, and release the new iPhone this summer.  The iPhone generates billions of dollars and also drives adoption of the Mac, iPod Touch, and iPad. The newest version was going to take the stage solo for the announcement. No distractions, not being relegated to second place on the main stage.
– What’s next?
If Apple follows their previous product calendar of the last two years,  in late August/early September there will be an Apple event for the iPod/consumer products. This is the logical unveiling for the following potential initiatives.
  1. Apple TV relaunch with new OS and App Store
  2. Cloud iTunes, revamp of iTunes
  3. MobileMe for free, new enhancements for paid users.
  4. iPad iOS 4.0 launch (with printing and wireless file syncing)
  5. New iPods? Does the iPod touch use the new form factor of the iPhone? The processor (for gaming) and screen (for gaming and watching video) seem like no brainers for the new iPod Touch but does it need the same form factor?
  6. Apple applications for iOS such as iPhoto, Keynote for iPhone, etc.

– Apple has been scheduling media events whenever it please them (7 days after iPad launch, the iOS 4 preview event happened), move away from big conference announcements was driven by this desire. MoD imagines that a Verizon or even Sprint iPhone would demand a combined Apple/Verizon event. An event 3 weeks before phones go on sale sounds very plausible. Best guess here would be something in the September timeframe, Apple giving AT&T 3 last key months of exclusivity, and Apple having the iPhone ready on Verizon for the key 4th quarter.

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