Unless you have somehow happened to miss the news the past few weeks, today Apple finally rolled out its long anticipated new 3G iPhone along with the MobileMe and the new iPhone Apps store. And somewhere over in Cupertino, there are no doubt dozens and dozens of Apple employees who dread these rollouts. Hyped to the hilt and covered by the media to a suffocating extent, any new product out of 1 Infinite Loop always faces slings and arrows to some misfortune as well as praise. The antiperspirant must be handed out in cases at Apple’s HQ during these times. Today’s rollout was no different. From glitches activating new phones in Apple Stores, to issues with iTunes and MobileMe not behaving properly, there have been stumbles across the board angering many who are used to “they just work” products. Welcome to the world of technology!… On the bright side, the one seemingly smooth rollout has been the new iPhone and iPod Touch Apps now accessible in the new iTunes v.7.7. There is already a rich offering of apps, many that are free and even more that are priced at a modest $9.99 or less.
MobileMe promises to offer some Web 2.0 twists and revamps to the aging .Mac service which ceased existence sometime in the past day or so. Promising over the air “push” synchronization, MobileMe keeps calendars, contacts and emails synced and accessible across multiple computing devices and is touted as “Exchange for the rest of us.”. This is the really new feature with the iDisk still in the mix. The switch to MobileMe has not been smooth. Server outages and sluggish response of the web apps through the browser have plagued the new service today, but it is hopeful these things can be resolved quickly.
And then there is the new iPhone 3G. Fast and furious, slick and slim, the new device promises a few pluses over the original iphone. The details of the new device can be found all over the web so no need to re-hash this here. The 3G network capability and a better GPS system are the really new features that make this model attractive, but be cautioned the 3G phone will use more battery power (you can talk and surf the web simultaneously) so turn off 3G if you are not in a 3G area. A big addition in the 2.0 iPhone software is support for Microsoft Exchange with push capabilities giving corporate users an excuse to ditch their Blackberries. This is all designed to work with MobileMe in the computing cloud.
I want to return to the new Apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch. While neither the new iPhone and MobileMe are truly revolutionary, the opening of the Apps store for Apple’s new portable devices is quite newsworthy. Its worth one’s time to browse what is already available for download now through iTunes 7.7. Some of the educational apps look very promising. This really marks the dawn of development for an entirely new way of interacting with computers, phones and information. The innovation is in the hundreds of developers who will begin rolling out applications with new possibilities never before seen in software for the masses. This is what is truly the good about today’s news. MobileMe and the iPhone 3G are very nice and all, but give me the apps and the shiny new iPhone 2.0 software that works on the old iPhones as well and I’ll be a happy camper for now. Plan on hearing more about the new apps here in the near future.
Have a good weekend and welcome to Hello World 2.0 courtesy of Apple and its band of developers.
Keene Haywood (University of Texas@Austin – DIIA)