Steve Jobs is a great storyteller. If he were a fiction writer, he would stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Tom Clancy and John Grisham. Mesmerizing in prose, master of the climax.
Today’s performance at the Macworld Keynote was no different. We hyper clicked, reloaded websites and traded SMS messages trying to find out more details about new iPhone, the real thing, not the poser that came to market a little while ago.
And how he teased us, taking two hours to let us know that it will be available in June 2007. And even though it is going to cost an ungodly amount, there is a good chance we might get one. But that is not the real story of the day. The real story of the day came at the very end of his keynote.
“From this day forward we’re going to be known as Apple, Inc. We’ve dropped the computer from our name.” And then he quoted ice skating legend Wayne Gretzky. “‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it’s been.’ That’s what we try to do at Apple.”
That also might be the epitaph of the PC era. And it is sweet irony that the company that sparked off the desktop computing revolution is the one announcing its passing.
Dropping Computer from its name is a sure sign that Apple, from this point forward, is a consumer electronics company, a mobile handset maker – one that also makes computer hardware and software as well.
Like the iPod, the iPhone may feed off the computer, but it can leave peacefully without any dependence on a desktop. A Wi-Fi enabled device, it
is should ideally be capable enough to do direct downloads from the iTunes store, no desktop necessary. (Time magazine says it is not possible, so who knows!)
Apple is making the phone do all things a computer does – surf, email, browse, iChat, music and watch videos. Nary a keyboard or mouse in sight, and everything running on OS-X.
While I am not suggesting that this replaces our notebooks or desktops for crucial productivity tasks, the iPhone (if it lives up to its hype) is at least going to decrease our dependence on it.
Quotes via Engadget. Photos by Niall Kennedy via Flickr.
63 thoughts on “iPhone and the End of PC Era”
Good overview from Time magazine, including this paragraph:
Weaknesses? Absolutely. You can’t download songs directly onto it from the iTunes store, you have to export them from a computer. And even though it’s got WiFi and Bluetooth on it, you can’t sync iPhone with a computer wirelessly. And there should be games on it. And you’re required to use it as a phone—you can’t use it without signing up for cellular service. Boo.
I will be first in line for the phone. I’m an “apple inc.” geek and freely admit it.
Now that is one eloquent post.
Speaking of Cisco, what’s going to happen on the trademark front? Is there a deal in place?
John (aka East Village),
Not if I beat you!
End of the PC era? I think not.
Serious enhancement to the mobile user? I definitely think so.
While I’m not on the road much, this device would significantly enhance productivity on the go, in addition to being an entertainment device itself. I currently use a Palm PDA, but it lacks the internet access that I need.
It’s alive…Yipeee. The iPhone sounds really cool. I am looking forward to getting my hands on this beauty.
the end of the PC era .. come on Om … Apple hype is nice and cute but that statement is just a little over the top
Battery is a HUGE issue here. A big bright screen with WiFi and BT will east battery for breakfast.
Price is a somewhat of an issue here. $500 is an expensive phone. Will cingular offer subsidies?
Size is a HUGE issue here. That thing makes my Treo look svelte.
5 hours for phone and Internet; don’t know if that includes use of Bluetooth or wifi. 16 hours for audio (is it something else for video? though can’t fit much in 4 to 8 GB) So battery isn’t bad.
Size: I think it’s smaller than you think. The iPod is 4.1 x 2.4 x 0.43; the iPhone is 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.46. So it’s slightly taller, and slightly thicker. And weighs the same at 4.8 oz.
The biggest bombshell is that Wayne Gretzky was really an ice skater and not the hockey legend we all thought.
Apple saying it’s got (Up to) 5 hours of battery life in a marketing slick, 6 months before the product ships is utterly meaningless.
It’s bigger (although slightly lighter) than a Treo. Treo’s are too big.
I am also quite dubious of the utility of a virtual keyboard with no tactile feedback.
Finally EDGE? No HSPDA? For $500?
so, does anyone think that 8GB for a device that is 1/3 video focused enough? i don’t think so. i am seriously concerned apple will not be releasing a touchscreen/widescreen ipod with higher capacity. this seems to be a bigger issue than not being able to dl songs wirelessly or sync via bluetooth. given that they have chosen exclusivity via cingular, they are eliminating a huge consumer base from their target. what will everyone else (not cingular friendlies) who wants a widescreen video device/ipod buy??
Om – terrific writing as usual. Unfortunately the iPhone will likley be much closer to a phone than a PC – the user tethered to Cingular’s walled garden, rather then getting true open IP access. Won’t pontificate here, but several posts on NextBlitz blog over the past week on this topic for anybody interested.
Great post Om.
Have to agree with other posters, the PC/Mac is the center (not going anywhere) the phone is a peripheral. The digital hub concept. This will change over time though I suspect.
Did anyone notice the SMS is iChat? Think of the possibilities since iChat does video conferencing. Now, if that camera was on the front.
Boy is this going to be fun to watch unfold.
“You can’t download songs directly onto it from the iTunes store, you have to export them from a computer”
Think about it.
Apple’s distribution model for DRM’d music is that the computer decrypts, the iPod is unencrypted. This is why having an unlimited number of iPods tied to your PC is more than a “feature” —it’s just the way the DRM model works.
Therefore, you could not have the iPod phone download and play DRM’d music directly. This will remain so until:
(a) Apple negotiates more than 5 “authorized” PC’s, so that you can throw away one “authorization” to your iPod phone; or,
(b) Apple negotiates a “b-class” authorization mode, wherein b-class DRM authorizations work for special iPod devices that happen to have the necessary decryption computing power and other resources; and,
(c) Apple builds the necessary tech stacks to accommodate (a) or (b) into the whole model, which includes the Store, iTunes, and the special iPod devices
Lesson: moving forward, we will be hampered by laws and agreements more so than by technology.
Not that I’m a big Star Trek geek or anything (I, personally, only care for ST:NG), but we do seem to be moving closer and closer to the arena of the Tricorder. And I don’t see how that can be a bad thing.
The writer of this blog is a Mactard.
iTunes seems to be the most important piece of software in the Apple stable. It is the link between their world and the Windows world. By forcing the iphone to sync with iTunes, Apple makes sure they have it on every Windows machine. Once that is accomplished the consumer is more likely to consider other Apple products that are converged on iTunes.
“converged on iTunes”
And that means Quicktime also. Trojan horses both.
They’re underminding Windows Media with every little step.
As I was refreshing the hell out of my browser watching Engadget, that Apple Computer, Inc. -> Apple, Inc. part instantly struck me as the biggest news coming out of this. The PC has grown up, grown old, and now it’s grandkids are ready to assume the helm of the computing world.
This thing may be the 1st Apple product I’ve ever owned…
I wasn’t a fanboy, until today. iPhone puts my Christmas-present-to-self, a Nano, to shame.
Oh well, guess I’ll just have to upgrade in June.
BTW, I’ve posted specs and key pics from today’s keynote on my blog at:
and created an iPhone discussion forum where I hope the community will drill into developing for iPhone in coming months:
You think the name change has something to do with an agreement with the Beatles? I do. More to come.
Lets see. Apple’s 30″ display, Dell’s 27″ dsiplay. Yep it’s just a matter of time before these migrate to the phone. Seriously, these “phone replaces the PC” stories are just silly. Yes the phone lets me do things on-the-go that I couldn’t previously do. But am I going to type out an email, edit a picture, browse the web, etc on the phone if I’m sitting near my desk. NO.
I waited for 5 years to first hand witnessed iPod (video that is) only to be lured so much that I got one immediately after seeing the demo. Now that I can say I will witness this new iphone a lot earlier and probably end up as a worshipper.
Would iphone bring Apple stock in par with Google?
The real question is just how much OSX is in this phone’s OSX? If Apple can pull off a streamlined OS capable of user-installed applications, then they’re half way to killing the Pocket PC and the UMPC both.
If they want to control a larger share of the phone market, they will need to sell the units unlocked. Folks aren’t jumping from one carrier to another for the sake of hardware alone. The European model, one has to imagine, will be available unlocked and SIM free, so what price point are we looking at there?
“$500 is an expensive phone. Will cingular offer subsidies?”
Going off the price of all Apple products, I’m guessing $500 is the subsidized price.
Apple will have to sell the phone unlocked in Europe and will have to include 3G. Perhaps that’s why they are delaying the European launch till the end of the year.
I suspect there’s another reason: they want users in the US to work out the bugs first, then launch in Europe with version 2. The competition that Apple faces in Europe is Nokia with their beautiful (unlocked), Wi-Fi enabled multimedia phones. If Apple releases a buggy product here, they will sell very few iPhones.
Nokia does not have a large market share in the States so Apple isn’t so concerned about them there.
As for the exclusive deal with Cingular, haven’t you all heard of “unlocking” phones? Independent phone stores do this all the time, albeit without authorization from the carrier or the manufacturer. So you can unlock your iPhone and pop in your own SIM card.
A correction of a previous comment:
“Apple’s distribution model for DRM’d music is that the computer decrypts, the iPod is unencrypted.”
This is simply not true. DRM-laden files transferred to an iPod remain DRM-laden. The DRM is only removed in memory during playback on both computer and iPod. You can verify this yourself by connecting an iPod to your computer and browsing the contents. If you’ve transferred music purchased at the iTunes music store to the iPod, they’re right there in a hidden directory as protected files with the extension “.m4p” If you copy them to a computer licensed to play them, they’ll play in iTunes, any other computer, they won’t.
Time Magazine may be confused between iPhone and Zune. Zune is not capable of direct download from Microsoft Services, although it has wi-fi capability. Zune is only able to share music with another Zune. So, I don’t think this is valid for iPhone. Apple usually do not market what it can’t do.
Give it all time folks.
Apple just announced the iPhone officially. With all the inventive types out there someone will find ways to do all that is being said can’t be done especially with iTunes.
I mean, why would Apple not want to make every iPhone an roaming cash register and sell via iTunes. My guess. That aspect of the deal hasn’t been finalized with Cingular and also, more importantly, may be part of an annoncement at CTIA or even 3GSM later this year. If I was Apple’s PR person I’d be holding back lots of details to keep the iPhone in the news running up to and through when it becomes available.
That’s one of Apple’s stock news management plays and I don’t see that changing.
The same applies to tools that can sync. Apple will likely roll out an SDK and that will feed the developer world who will develop widgets and applications to do just that.
My smartphone might free me from my PC a little bit, but I think more than that it enslaves me more to information and the ‘services’ that my PC ordinarily provided. Carrying so much functionality in my pocket doesn’t liberate me from my PC, since if I am in my room with my PC I’m still going to be doing things on my PC because the format is better and more productive. It just means that I have a greater need for those same functions more often. 😐
I reckon Nokia and Sony are going to give them a run for their money in Europe and Asia..and of course the ever emerging market in Africa.
Why? Keypads and Texting.
FTA:”taking pleasure in seeing a special person knocked down a peg is a great American pastime.”
Good article, what should we take from the fact that Time didn’t feel confident that its readers would recognize the word “Schadenfreude”? 🙂
I will give apple this: they make products sexy.
but replacing the pc? common now. What does this device do that other devices havent done?
I can browse just fine with my treo, blackberry and pocket pc with hsdpa or evdo.
I can play music through any sony erricson phones and even the nokia n91 and n93.
chat? i can chat on pretty much any treo, nokia or se phone above $300
will i get rid of my 30gb ipod and nokia phone which has gps for a phone which has no support for 3g? and is priced at $600?
Yes the iPhone is a computer.
To make productive work, everybody will switch to what was called “chord keyboards”, and is in fact “reduced key number keyboard”. Much smaller than existing ones (Desktop, Laptop, BlabckBerry-Treo, Pearl or Sony600, ordinary phone), and much more easy, not to learn, a few hours, but to use when mobile and with others :
One Hand Mobile Touch Typing while standing, interacting, walking, driving …
above 40 words per minute for everybody.
(see Thad Starner).
Thanks Steve, even if you have not yet told it.
Undermining Windows Media at every step? When was windows media EVER a player in that arena? Total shit to anybody that actually WORKS in digital media, like all MS crap.
The reality is, and all the apple-haters just don’t get this part and never will: It is NOT the feature set (which is incredible in any case), not WHAT the iPhone does, but HOW. Apple has proven over and over and over that it understands USER experience better than any other company out there. always has, always will. You will not need a manual to use the iPhone. You all know this to be true. I hate my nokia phone. can’t wait for an iphone.
Microsoft will always suck hind-tit when it comes to day-to-day actual life stuff.
I’m sure the ZUNE will KILL the iPhone. $300 for that piece crap?
All you Apple-haters, I have just one thing to say:
I think it was a nice move for apple to come out with the apple iPhone. The iPhone has most features consumers have been waiting to have. I also think the price will not deter people from buying the Apple iPhone. I even think they will sell more then the 10 million Apple iPhones they expect to sell within the next year.
1) I think it is consistent with Apple’s iTunes hub strategy that you will not be able to download songs from the store into the iPhone directly. iTunes is a model that by now everyone understands and values.
2) I can’t wait to see the new generation of Video iPods. I bet they will have a similar form factor than the iPhone, just without wireless capabilities.
3) iPhone runs OSX. Why didn’t catch anyone up on that one yet? The possibilities of that move are endless. Buy a bluetooth keyboard and be able to work on your iPhone. Buy a iPod connector for display and have a full mac in your hand.
I agree that battery life is an issue regarding iPhone. Of greater importance, I’m highly concerned that Apple will no longer make any desktops as they move toward consumer hand-helds. I’m whipping out my old dusty Atari before moving to PCs.
Yeah 8Gig is nothing nowadays and I’m concerned about Cingular’s contract. How much will the iPhone cost us really?
Now, I am really excited about the iPhone, but to think it will make us less dependent on laptops or desktops is just incorrect. Sorry, but you do realize you need a desktop or laptop running Windows or Mac OS X to sync your calendar and address book, don’t you? And that you can’t download songs directly? You need a computer with iTunes to sync music or video to the iPhone.
I think it is a great device, really. I am actually going to get one. But I think, Om, you drank too much Kool Aid at the Apple party.
iPhone is available with Cingular ONLY!? And what if I am stuck under contract with a carrier OTHER than Cingular but still want a iPhone?
Well, the only solution I could fine was http://www.Cellswapper.com – they get you out of any cell phone contract!
Where are the software development tools for this tele-computer?
“This thing makes my Treo look small” You must be one of Palm One executives at least!
You fat-ass good-for-nothing Treo is going down. Pleeeeaaaase, how can you even dare to compare that gray brick with an iPhone!
Does anyone know if an iphone can sync to my mac a home and my PC at work?
Whatever you call it, iPhone, iPad, etc., it still does what the big brother PC is doing , computing,; since it is owned personally, it is still called personnal computer ( same PC ), only the size and name differ. Small thing can not do what the big can. So what was thought of “end of PC” is a hoax and is another strategy of those losing the battle.