or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPod + iTunes + AppleTV › Why Apple keeps iPhone specifications quiet
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Why Apple keeps iPhone specifications quiet

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
In marked contrast to the PC market, where differention primarily centers around gigabytes, GHz, and Intel Inside branding, Apple is working to keep attention on the iPhone's software, with a curious avoidance of any mention of the make or specification of its internals, apparently for competitive reasons.

The specifications of the iPhone and iPod touch, as well as the internal details of other integrated products sold by the company such as Apple TV, aren't being kept secret to keep competitors from knowing what's inside, as the components are quickly discovered in a simple tear down. Instead, Apple is working to keep consumers' attention focused on what's unique to its iPhone and other devices, which is often the company's unique software, rather than the commodity hardware the company commonly uses and which competitors can much more easily duplicate.

The unique software capabilities of the iPhone, including its ability to run the 50,000 titles on the App Store, is far more important from a marketing standpoint than the hardware specifications of the iPhone that any manufacturer can match or exceed with little effort. The company faced similar issues in working to sell the original Macintosh against DOS PCs, which were marketed primarily as having a given number of megabytes and MHz rather than having the functionality or usability of the Mac's graphical user interface.

Rather than being compared on the basis of MHz and MB of RAM, the numbers Apple would prefer to have consumers and pundits contemplate are the installed base of more than 40 million users, the tens of thousands of apps available from thousands of developers, and the number of free regular updates that Apple ships to enhance and secure the iPhone's operating system. Those are numbers that phones using Android, BlackBerry OS, Symbian, WebOS, and Windows Mobile are hard pressed to match.

Platform size

While RIM, Symbian and Microsoft advertise sales of more phones than Apple, none of them have a comparably large installed base of modern phones that all run the same software. That's why Apple could compare its iPhone app library against only 5,000 apps for Android, and even fewer software titles for phones such as Nokia's, which sell in much greater quantity but have fractured software platforms where each phone only runs specific titles.

Similarly, Microsoft's highly publicized 50 million Windows Mobile phones are fractured between Pocket PC devices with a full touch screen and those the company referred to as "Windows Smartphones," which have no touch screen and only limited button control. Writing software to take advantage of both form factors requires more work with little payoff for developers.

Apple's cohesive iPhone platform is now being tested to see how well the company will be able to introduce significant new hardware features without similarly fracturing its platform, potentially resulting either in software titles that only run on specific models or, alternatively, a "lowest common denominator" barrier that prevents developers from really using any of the new features.

The iPhone upgrade cycle

Last year, Apple improved upon the original iPhone's hardware by adding key missing features, including GPS and 3G mobile data service. It also added the increased overhead of push messaging and installing and running third party applications and graphics intensive games, without addressing any of those processor intensive software functions with hardware processing improvements.

This year's iPhone 3G S focuses on hardware performance improvements with its faster general purpose ARM and PowerVR graphics processor cores and increase in its internal RAM from 128MB to 256MB. Apple has oddly enough kept the internal specifications of the iPhone hidden, which is curious given the fact that they won't be secret for long once the device goes on sale.

It's also a bit unusual in that specification numbers have long driven purchasing decisions in the PC market, often pointlessly. A decade ago, consumers were so driven by marketing efforts to demand greater clock cycles regardless of actual performance that it coined the term "Megahertz Myth." Intel was eventually forced to back down from its marketing-oriented clock cycle engineering on the Pentium 4 and start over with a new design that delivered real performance and efficiency at lower clock speeds with the Core architecture.

Apple's marketing has focused on the usability and utility of the iPhone, particularly its extensive library of mobile applications on the iTunes App Store. The company is pushing developers hard to ensure that their existing apps work without a hitch on the new model and under the new iPhone 3.0 software release, giving them early access to the golden master version of iPhone 3.0 and allowing a couple days between the new software release and the first sale of new iPhone 3G S. People familiar with the gold master say the included App Store application will identify which applications have been quality tested with iPhone Software 3.0 and which have not, as can be seen in the below image.



Keeping software compatible isn't easy

Last year, the introduction of new hardware features such as GPS did not result in two classes of software, one that required a GPS model and one that could not take advantage of the new feature. Instead, Apple paved over the differences in the platform using hardware abstraction. In the case of GPS, the iPhone's Location Services allowed devices with GPS to obtain more accurate positioning, while devices lacking GPS could still triangulate their position using cell phone towers and WiFi base stations with known positions.

Similar efforts have kept other hardware changes from causing serious software incompatibilities. By making new technologies optional but accessible in the platform, Apple's third party developers can easily incorporate the latest features in the iPhone 3G S while leveraging the large base of existing users by remaining seamlessly compatible. That solves a major Catch-22 that has commonly plagued computing platforms: how to introduce something really new without losing your existing users. Apple has been learning how to do that for over thirty years. It's not easy.

The iPhone OS has to seamlessly manage the new phone's faster processor speed to accelerate the animated interface while preserving proper timing for things that can't run twice as fast, such as video playback and certain animations. While these are fairly elementary aspects of managing a software platform, rival software platforms from Nokia, Microsoft, Google, RIM, and Palm have demonstrated serious problems in delivering both developers and end users a simple, cohesive, and yet progressive platform.

Palm's early design decisions in its Palm OS devices resulted in the platform tanking as the company shifted back and forth on strategies for moving it ahead, ranging from migrating the old interface from the 68000 chip to a new ARM processor without being able to take much advantage of the new CPU, to introducing new operating system revisions that the market and developers simply ignored, such as Palm OS Cobalt 6.0. During all of this the Palm OS was allowed to stagnate in terms of new features.

Microsoft experienced similar problems with Windows CE/Windows Mobile. First, it attempted to support too many hardware configurations, from Handheld PCs to Pocket PC PDAs to several smartphones form-factors, non of which really became popular enough to support a viable software business. The company also chose to make major architectural changes in Windows Mobile that jettisoned support for previous devices' hardware, forcing developers to either cater to a tiny installed base of new models, or the now obsolete market of existing devices.

RIM advertised its new iPhone-like Storm as "the first touchscreen BlackBerry," but it was only a BlackBerry in marketing. It didn't work much like earlier models, didn't run the same software, and developers needed to write all new titles to take advantage of its features. Most importantly, potential developers couldn't benefit from the large installed base of other BlackBerry users, giving them little reason to write apps for it until enough people had bought one, while potential buyers were left to realize that there was no real potential for a wide variety of Storm apps approaching that of the iPhone's.

Managing the platform

Another aspect to keeping technical specifications out of the limelight is that Apple is careful to expose access to hardware components in a manageable, sustainable manner. If developers are allowed to write "to the hardware," the result is a broken platform where the vendor can't move forward without breaking the apps.

Apple experienced this problem in the clever hacks to the classic Mac OS which resulted in destabilizing the system, a problem that got progressively worse after the company sanctioned the system patches in System 7 under the name Extensions. In Mac OS X, reference releases have been plagued by Input Manager hacks that similarly caused some serious compatibility problems.

That has led Apple down the road of a tightly managed iPhone platform where the execution of third party software requires code signatures and sandboxing, and where access to hardware has been roped off until the company could perfect abstracted public access to features in a way that can accommodate new underlying changes as future models are released.

Users shouldn't need to know how much RAM is available to the operating system of a mobile device, or how fast its primary CPU core is clocked at; what they should care about is how usable the device is and what it allows them to do. That's the message Apple is working to control.
post #2 of 54
This was a really good article. I agree that it's wise to not publicly announce the tech specs of the iPhone. Hardware is only as good as its software, so if Apple has a good mobile OS, consumers shouldn't have to worry about the hardware.
post #3 of 54
Quote:
While RIM, Symbian and Microsoft advertise sales of more phones than Apple, none of them have a comparably large installed base of modern phones that all run the same software.

Is that true? There's probably 120 million devices running Symbian S60 v3. RIM and MS appear to be at least keeping pace with the iPhone, though obviously that doesn't factor in iPod touch sales.

Quote:
and even fewer software titles for phones such as Nokia's, which sell in much greater quantity but have fractured software platforms where each phone only runs specific titles.

Is that true? The only Symbian S60 software I've come across that doesn't run across all devices on the same version is software that requires certain hardware features (i.e accelerometer). Just like some applications written for the new iPhone OS v3.0 won't run on iPhone OS v2.0 and visa versa.

I'm not doubting that the Apple app store is amazing or that Apple is right to focus on features, not number. Just doubting the FUD you propagate about other companies.
post #4 of 54
I am waiting for the first app that requires a 3Gs. Then of course all the previous generation phone owners will scream bloody murder. If anyone is going to develop the first 3Gs app, most likely a game, it would be John Carmack, who already is very impressed with the SDK.
post #5 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

I am waiting for the first app that requires a 3Gs. Then of course all the previous generation phone owners will scream bloody murder. If anyone is going to develop the first 3Gs app, most likely a game, it would be John Carmack, who already is very impressed with the SDK.

There are some already as announced at the WWDC. If everything had to be backward compatible, there would be no future. Then you would hear screaming.
post #6 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In marked contrast to the PC market, where differention primarily centers around gigabytes, GHz, and Intel Inside branding, Apple is working to keep attention on the iPhone's software, with a curious avoidance of any mention of the make or specification of its internals, apparently for competitive reasons.

Why exactly is the iPhone being compared to a PC? When I go to the Verizon Wireless website and look at smartphone specifications and compare that with what is on Apple Store's site, I don't see much difference. I'm not sure if there is ANY phone that mentions GHz or Intel Inside branding.

Oh, wait, this is a Prince article and one of those wouldn't be complete without some stupid dig at Microsoft and PCs.
post #7 of 54
Why is this in the iPod + iTunes + AppleTV forum?
post #8 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by themoonisdown09 View Post

This was a really good article. I agree that it's wise to not publicly announce the tech specs of the iPhone. Hardware is only as good as its software, so if Apple has a good mobile OS, consumers shouldn't have to worry about the hardware.

Yes and No. Remember this is one of, if not the main reason, Apple switched from PowerPC to Intel in its computers.
post #9 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post

Why is this in the iPod + iTunes + AppleTV forum?

To aggravate you.

First sentence, second paragraph:
Quote:
The specifications of the iPhone and iPod touch, as well as the internal details of other integrated products sold by the company such as Apple TV.......
post #10 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

Why exactly is the iPhone being compared to a PC? When I go to the Verizon Wireless website and look at smartphone specifications and compare that with what is on Apple Store's site, I don't see much difference. I'm not sure if there is ANY phone that mentions GHz or Intel Inside branding.

Oh, wait, this is a Prince article and one of those wouldn't be complete without some stupid dig at Microsoft and PCs.

A Mac is a PC. PC = Personal computer. Sadly this term no longer applies in this day in age. (Apple realizes this.) So in order split the Windows units up from the Mac, they haft to call 'em by what we call them "PCs." Even though a Mac counts as one to. Simple Elementary, Watson.

The reason he compared an iPhone to a PC is cause the iPhone OS is a mobile version of Mac OS X. Since they both use the same SDK. This also explains why its so easy to port games over the system like Freeverse has been doing. Its how Apple was able to easily get away with turning the iPod Touch into gaming platform and why multiplayer is possible. Normal phones cannot do this. Surprisingly, not even Windows mobile and they've been in the market much longer.

Point is, your overacting and he was talking in general terms.
post #11 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

I am waiting for the first app that requires a 3Gs. Then of course all the previous generation phone owners will scream bloody murder. If anyone is going to develop the first 3Gs app, most likely a game, it would be John Carmack, who already is very impressed with the SDK.

I don't think so. At this moment Apples app market is very healthy. Developers wont all of a sudden stop to develop for the older versions. There is still a 40000000 userbase out there. This will slowly balance out and eventually the older versions will phase out and there will be a very natural and healthy transition to newer versions. Also because the iPhone OS is very scalable older iPhone versions will be able to last longer. I just put OS 3.0 on my iPhone. And it feels like a whole new device again. Safari is screaming. One would think that my oprator increased network speeds. Everything is even smoother and faster. And the new functionality is such a releave. I was going to see if in any way I could get the newer version. But with this software update I can wait another year. Well done Apple you did. Now lets see what the competition is going to do. Will Palm survive? Will RIM come with something creative on their own? Will Nokia learn from its mistakes? And will the android really take off or will it stay a phone for geeks and tweakers?
Posted by the door post at the post office the post man posted his last post-millennial post card with a Penny Black postage stamp via the Royal Post.
Reply
Posted by the door post at the post office the post man posted his last post-millennial post card with a Penny Black postage stamp via the Royal Post.
Reply
post #12 of 54
Cause if they keep it a secret there will be more chatter, more articles, and more buzz. It's that simple.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #13 of 54
the article mentions that Android only has 5,000 apps.

I remember July of 2008 when I searched the App store there was very little apps. I could go through them all quite quickly. There was less than 300 apps.

Most of the 50,000 apps in the App store (the ones that are free are garbage. If you don't believe me,... try the apps for yourself. At least with Android, most of the Apps are free, saving you hundreds if you where to download the same ones on the iPhone!


Food for thought.
iMac 20" 2.66 2008/9 model
Nano 3rd/4th gen
iPhone 2G/3G
Reply
iMac 20" 2.66 2008/9 model
Nano 3rd/4th gen
iPhone 2G/3G
Reply
post #14 of 54
My guess is that he is referring to S60, S40 and the N-gage platforms which have select applications. If you remember, Nokia has shutdown Mosh, which was supposed to be their "app store" due to piracy. Also, what runs on S60v3 mostly does not run on S60v2 while most of v2 apps are compatible on v3. Add that to the cumbersome method of using the IMEI to get a certificate to install an application. I used to like Nokia very much but now I have an E51 just to make the phone calls only and its good battery life. I used to install apps on it but gave up due to the hassles of getting a certificate and authenticating it. (It is unverifiably rumored that S60v4 will be so crippled that it will be impossible to install apps without modifying the firmware (getting a jailbroken S60 OS)). I am all the time on my Ipod Touch reading and browsing. I only wish the iPhone was affordable where I live but I will wait as Apple introduces the iPhone 3GS so that I can get the older model.

Apple really nailed it with their user experience and the platform. They made it so elegant and easy to install that it is child's play. And now they are implementing the same parental controls that Nokia did for Symbian in an easier way such as not to impede the user experience and the ability to install applications.

I agree that the reason why Apple keeps it a secret is to not to focus on the hardware at all. It is to focus on the software and the experience of using it. Just like the Macbooks and iMacs. No longer worry about the hardware that Apple uses. But focuses on software like iPhone OS and Snow Leopard. But I have an alternate reason in that Apple knows that the hardware will change yearly or more. In order to avoid inventory lags, they would like to be as lean as possible. This is why I think Apple has told AT&T not to allow immediate upgrades for customers to the new iPhone 3GS and is focusing on developing the platform with medical and educational apps. It has realized that it needs to get a foothold in these markets with the mobile devices (after being successful with their laptops) and is catering towards that. This is also evident in that it expected a backlash as it did when it lowered the price of the 1st gen. iPhone purposefully in a well co-ordinated move.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

Is that true? The only Symbian S60 software I've come across that doesn't run across all devices on the same version is software that requires certain hardware features (i.e accelerometer). Just like some applications written for the new iPhone OS v3.0 won't run on iPhone OS v2.0 and visa versa.

I'm not doubting that the Apple app store is amazing or that Apple is right to focus on features, not number. Just doubting the FUD you propagate about other companies.
--

There is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone.
Reply
--

There is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone.
Reply
post #15 of 54
Well put.
post #16 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

Is that true? ...

Is that true?...

I'm not doubting that the Apple app store is amazing or that Apple is right to focus on features, not number. Just doubting the FUD you propagate about other companies.

Better--and earlier--piece on the same subject.
post #17 of 54
Excellent post!! The first section was very insightful. Thanks!
post #18 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

Quote:
In marked contrast to the PC market, where differention primarily centers around gigabytes, GHz, and Intel Inside branding, Apple is working to keep attention on the iPhone's software, with a curious avoidance of any mention of the make or specification of its internals, apparently for competitive reasons.

Why exactly is the iPhone being compared to a PC? When I go to the Verizon Wireless website and look at smartphone specifications and compare that with what is on Apple Store's site, I don't see much difference. I'm not sure if there is ANY phone that mentions GHz or Intel Inside branding.

Oh, wait, this is a Prince article and one of those wouldn't be complete without some stupid dig at Microsoft and PCs.

He's not comparing it to a PC - he started the sentence "In marked contrast to the PC...". In fact, the point you went on and made is sort of the point that the article made.

Where was the "stupid dig" at Microsoft and PCs?
post #19 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by stompy View Post

Better--and earlier--piece on the same subject.

Nice article. Two things I took away from this:

1) Apple excels at creating products that the general public likes because the company is driven by design, not by engineering.

2) Snappier was used three times.

post #20 of 54
An absolutely interesting article because of the advancements in the iphone and what has changed. The biggest update is really just the software for the iphone. yes this is a big deal software was big.

In reality this new iPhone 3GS is really a minor refresh on the hardware side. Which is unfortunate because alot on the phone could have been updated. this is even more interesting because last year only a little got upgraded to update the phone to the 3G model also.

To the layman they would say this is a great design it doesn't need much change, but to those who understand the business would say Apple is increasing its margins by not offering much advancements.

Did they update the speaker phone in the new iphone? probably not
Did they add a swapable battery? nope
did they add an LED flash for camera? nope

The upgraded camera is really mostly software, the hardware side is just 3 megapixel. not really that big of a deal, yes it is slightly better. but not dramatically.

yes they updated the CPU, Ram, Wireless chip and more, but in the scope of things these arent dramatic upgrades, or upgrades that really cost apple too much, it feels like they just used chips for this years model that are faster.

So after this article, what are we learning? that apple prefers to point the attention to the software because on the hardware side... they aren't making huge advancements. nor is the hardware actually that expensive. i'd love to see the component cost on building the iphone, i'd have to say the margins for apple are fantastic, let alone the money they make on the cellular service.
post #21 of 54
What was one of Tim the Toolman's favorite sayings? More power!!!! Gotta love it....anything to make safari more snappy.
post #22 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacShack View Post

Now let's see what the competition is going to do. Will Palm survive? Will RIM come with something creative on their own? Will Nokia learn from its mistakes? And will the android really take off or will it stay a phone for geeks and tweakers?

Good questions, and I notice you didn't mention Win Mobile and/or the possibility of a Zune OS phone, as MS has the bucks and will not quit throwing lots of reseources into the arena.

I agree with those who think there won't be as much consolidation of the smart phone world as in personal computing with the tombstones of so many promising platforms.

You can pick up virtually any cell phone and make or receive calls in seconds. Even stupid phones can send and receive TXT's, deliver voicemail and forward calls. So the main differentiators are not software UI's, rather call quality, dropped calls, etc., which are determined more by the cellco network and the phone's hardware. As for touch v. physical keyboard - many factors are user specific - finger size, visual acuity, etc. - so keyboard phones aren't going to disappear any time soon.

Visual Voice Mail and voice control: I lust after the former, but hardly enough to go with AT&T, and for now, the latter impresses me -ehhhh, not so much. Further, these will soon be on many platforms. And many around the world only want or can only afford a phone/phone plan that just phones (or simply need cheap "burner" phones in quantity). Many want tiny phones or styling statements more than geek dreams. Bottom line, plenty of kinds, sizes and styles of phones from multiple makers for a long time.

As for media, if you can purchase/rent/rip content, find and play it, though Apple does it best, plenty of companies can do this. And once playing, again, it's hardware that differentiates. Arctic Fire and Johnny Depp sound/look the same on any adequate system.

Apple's biggest leads are in net access and - especially - apps (and in tying all the above together). Android, Pre and 4G are clues Apple won't remain the only provider of intuitive, responsive net cell service. Again, CNN.Com and GMail are the same everywhere. And believe it or not not everyone feels withdrawal symptoms if the net's not at their fingertips 24/7/around the globe and will never buy a single app.

So Apple has as good or better a chance of leading the market than anyone with the most elegant solution, but no one's going to end up with a Windows-like market share in phones.

One final observation: if computing had been as defined in the days of DOS as smart phones are now, with Mozilla, OpenOffice, Web 2.0 apps, etc., more computer OS's would have survived as well, since the net's becoming the big computer in the sky with the OS of the devices accessing it more and more just plumbing.

An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

Reply

An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

Reply
post #23 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phizz View Post

He's not comparing it to a PC - he started the sentence "In marked contrast to the PC...". In fact, the point you went on and made is sort of the point that the article made.

Nonsense, that is exactly what that sentence does (although if you want to be gramatically anal he contrasted them but whatever). The iPhone is first and foremost a cell phone and Apple's lack of detailed specifications about processor speed and system RAM is no different than the marketing on any other cell phone, smartphone or otherwise.

Quote:
Where was the "stupid dig" at Microsoft and PCs?

It was pretty clearly stated in stating that the PC market is more interested in shoving specs like RAM and GHz at potential customers. Which is funny, because you'll find those exact same types of specifications on Apple's site when you look at one of their computers.

The iPhone, iPod Touch and AppleTV are all consumer devices, basically appliances. And they are marketed as such with little information about their internal specifications. My TiVo, PSP and even my stove all have some form of computer processor but none of them spend much money touting their specifications. Apple isn't doing anything different here. It's that simple.
post #24 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigpics View Post

Good questions, and I notice you didn't mention Win Mobile and/or the possibility of a Zune OS phone, as MS has the bucks and will not quit throwing lots of reseources into the arena.

that's a good point. Microsoft will only be in competition again if they too make a phone and and an OS. I don't think for instance that android is going to make it. Android will be sold to acer or dell and they will build on that platform further. WinMo is loosing marketshare quickly. Phone makers are trying get rid of it because it's not competative enough to stay attractive to the public. Ahh we will see!
Posted by the door post at the post office the post man posted his last post-millennial post card with a Penny Black postage stamp via the Royal Post.
Reply
Posted by the door post at the post office the post man posted his last post-millennial post card with a Penny Black postage stamp via the Royal Post.
Reply
post #25 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Users shouldn't need to know how much RAM is available to the operating system of a mobile device, or how fast its primary CPU core is clocked at; what they should care about is how usable the device is and what it allows them to do. That's the message Apple is working to control.

This reminds me of the specifications once listed for an expensive automobile (Rolls Royce
maybe), where for "horsepower", the quantity listed was "adequate".
post #26 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigpics View Post

MS has the bucks and will not quit throwing lots of reseources into the arena.

Coulda fooled me . . .

If what's been rolling out the doors in Redmond over the last few years is any indication, all that money is going somewhere else.

Another version of Windows that might suck less than the last two . . . in 8 years.

ZuneHD two years too late

Previous Zune, several years too late and obsolete when released

More office versions

More confusing Live services that are later junked, rebranded, rinse and repeat.

Windows Mobile (yikes!)

Throwing money at Yahoo

Bing: an answer to a question no one asked

Xbox (a fine achievement, actually)

You call that a judicious use of resources?? We keep hearing about how MS has all this money to throw around, but all we're seeing is also-ran products, Office software, and 8 years to get a decent version of Windows out the door. Same goes for the also-ran PC junkbox makers.

The issue is probably not the money itself, but what happens when engineers and designers sit down and try to implement something. Dollars-to-donuts there are entirely different ideas at a whole different level being discussed at the table in Cupertino, year after year. Different forces at work at Apple during roundtable discussions. Everyone else just seems either galactially lazy, out of ideas, or unable to implement good ideas properly.
post #27 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchelljd View Post

The upgraded camera is really mostly software, the hardware side is just 3 megapixel. not really that big of a deal, yes it is slightly better. but not dramatically.

Un-uh. i guess you have not used the iPhone camera much. the fixed focus is a huge drawback. adding auto focus is a dramatic improvement in its usability. sure, it's just going from a primitive camera to basic camera, but for snapshot lovers it's a really big deal if we no longer need to always carry a small point-and-shoot camera too. and video - could be very significant. have to see how much, and how, people really use it. if we start seeing all kinds of "iPhone video" around the web, then it's a big deal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchelljd View Post

yes they updated the CPU, Ram, Wireless chip and more, but in the scope of things these arent dramatic upgrades, or upgrades that really cost apple too much, it feels like they just used chips for this years model that are faster.

definitely un-uh. in the scope of things to come, these will be dramatic upgrades. adding HSDPA 7.2 hardware capability makes this 2009 iPhone ready for the next gen telco networks that will be coming by 2011 - including Verizon and the rest. so it won't be obsolete! that's huge. and the new chips will support a next gen of iPhone games with graphics comparable to the PSP and better than the DS. that's very big news in the gaming world where the iPhone is fast emerging as a serious new platform, to the shock of many.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchelljd View Post

So after this article, what are we learning? that apple prefers to point the attention to the software because on the hardware side... they aren't making huge advancements.

Apple doesn't point you specifically to "software" either. instead it points you to the usability of the iPhone. that might be hardware driven or software driven - both usually. most consumers don't think about how it works inside the case, they want it to "just work."
post #28 of 54
Since the 3GS will support games with much enhanced graphics compared to the 2G/3G, we should expect to see a new wave of iPhone games that take advantage of this. there will likely be two groups:

- upgrades of current popular iPhone games with premium "S" versions that only run on the 3GS. and i bet they all cost at least $1 more than their 2G/3G app. Double Super Monkey Ball, etc.

- a new wave of well-established action games ported from other platforms, as has been done for the PSP in the past.

game developers have been looking for an excuse to charge higher prices in the App Store, and the 3GS gives them the opportunity. they will take it.

don't forget the 2009 iPod touch that will be released this fall will certainly support the same graphics upgrade too. and the iTablet?
post #29 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Coulda fooled me . . .

If what's been rolling out the doors in Redmond over the last few years is any indication, all that money is going somewhere else.

Bing: an answer to a question no one asked

Xbox (a fine achievement, actually)

You call that a judicious use of resources?? We keep hearing about how MS has all this money to throw around, but all we're seeing is also-ran products,.

Can't disagree with most of the litany you laid down, except I give X-Box, its noise and red rings'o death less credit, and do find its latest, Bing, the answer to my question of what's a more productive way of daily searching than Google.

After 5 searches, I know it's not perfect, but the user experience is much improved, and I made it my default and haven't looked back at Google since. Shockingly, to this long-time MS disser, as they say about the products of a certain California company, "it just works."

And if they can make something work better, then.... ...well, either it's an isolated instance (tho' Win 7 seems to be the least sucky version ever), or anything can happen.

An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

Reply

An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

Reply
post #30 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

Un-uh. i guess you have not used the iPhone camera much. the fixed focus is a huge drawback. adding auto focus is a dramatic improvement in its usability. sure, it's just going from a primitive camera to basic camera, but for snapshot lovers it's a really big deal if we no longer need to always carry a small point-and-shoot camera too. and video - could be very significant. have to see how much, and how, people really use it. if we start seeing all kinds of "iPhone video" around the web, then it's a big deal.

definitely un-uh. in the scope of things to come, these will be dramatic upgrades. adding HSDPA 7.2 hardware capability makes this 2009 iPhone ready for the next gen telco networks that will be coming by 2011 - including Verizon and the rest. so it won't be obsolete! that's huge. and the new chips will support a next gen of iPhone games with graphics comparable to the PSP and better than the DS. that's very big news in the gaming world where the iPhone is fast emerging as a serious new platform, to the shock of many.

Apple doesn't point you specifically to "software" either. instead it points you to the usability of the iPhone. that might be hardware driven or software driven - both usually. most consumers don't think about how it works inside the case, they want it to "just work."

Hey, i applaud the integration of auto-focus instead of fixed focus, but... it is still just 3 megapixels, hardly big news to shutterbugs. if it were 5 instead of 3 you would have me be happy, also it could definitely use an LED flash.

also, you make a good point on the new chipset hardware, but all i am saying is that it isn't enough. each new version ought to have a bit more going on, it feels like Apple is doing some stuff, but not really making huge hardware upgrades.

also, to me as a household with two iphones, we really wish they made them with swapable batteries. this would be a huge improvement for people on the go who can't stop to charge em up. though there are now decent batteries as backups
post #31 of 54
I might agree with Apple's and the article's reasoning, but I'm a geek and I want to see hardware specifications and tear-downs. I'd love to see a die shot (annotated) of the 3GS's SoC, just to see how large various components are.

But yes, when you're selling an experience it's about the software and the integration, not the raw specifications.
post #32 of 54
@ mitchelljd

well, i can remember not long ago - 5 years? - when 3 megapixals was considered fantastic. but from the user experience measuring stick - the one i'm using and the article talks about - it's not about keeping up with the joneses, it's about, did i get a good picture of you? the 2G/3G camera was really weak here and the answer was too often no. if the answer changes now to usually yes, that really is important. i agree, adding a flash would be the cat's meow. probably for my next iPhone in two years.

gotta say, i've never understood the issue of swapping batteries. we just have an external juice pack that we take on extended trips. (for everyday, we have the car charger to conveniently use of course, which anyone in their right mind does. and hands free cell phones are now legally mandatory in CA.) what's the real difference between an extra battery and a juice pack? i don't see any. they are both something extra to buy, carry around, and charge up, that's the same. i think it easier to plug something in to the phone rather than open the phone up and pull one thing out and stick another thing in. which i would rather not do since bad stuff like dust, dirt and moisture can get inside that way too. is it some kind of ritual?

one good juice pack can keep you both going nicely.
post #33 of 54
Is the App Store of any real benefit to Apple? I've heard mention about out of those 50,000 apps, there are only about 200 good ones. Maybe this is an exaggeration, but has anyone really sat down and checked how useful all these apps are. I've heard the main purpose of the App Store is to drive iPhone and iPod sales. Is it being effective at all for that?

iPhone and iPod Touch sales are not really all that spectacular according to a number of analysts. They're not sure that the next quarter is going to be all that good for Apple due to lowered iPhone sales YOY. There doesn't seem to be any overwhelming evidence that all those apps are really making lots of people buy Apple mobile devices. The amount of apps are far larger than any other mobile platform at this point, but it's not being reflected as a huge amount of iPhone/iPod Touch sales. RIM hardly has any apps and their unit sales are projected to be much higher down the line. The iPhone is doing little to slow BlackBerry or Curve sales. Has there been any mention of Apple grabbing market share from the PSP or DS platforms? If not, then really of what use is the App Store except to give the same Apple mobile users more functions.

It's being said in the tech world that the Palm Pre is giving the iPhone serious competition and represents somewhat of a threat even though the Pre has about 20 apps ready, so what is all that about. If those 50,000 apps meant anything there would be no way the Pre could be competition or a threat to the iPhone. We'll be ready to find out in the next few months with the iPhone 3G S and the next version iPod Touch maybe being clocked even faster.
post #34 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenTigerpaw View Post

A Mac is a PC. PC = Personal computer. Sadly this term no longer applies in this day in age. (Apple realizes this.)

PC had come to mean the IBM type computer with Intel x86 chips running Microsoft software, back when the IBM model PC back in 1981 and it stuck, anything not compatible with that was not a PC. Trying to stick with the broader definition is basically yelling into the storm. Particularly aiding that particular notion is that most competing platforms had withered away since then, except for the Mac. In the broadest sense, there were lots of different kinds of personal computers back then but many weren't considered part of the "PC" platform.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchelljd View Post

Hey, i applaud the integration of auto-focus instead of fixed focus, but... it is still just 3 megapixels, hardly big news to shutterbugs. if it were 5 instead of 3 you would have me be happy, also it could definitely use an LED flash.

Just as one shouldn't judge a computer just by megahertz, a camera shouldn't be judged just by megapixels . If it turns out the iPhone GS doesn't have a good camera, I don't think it will be simply because of a lack of megapixels. MP is just one link in the chain, making that one link very strong doesn't help if the rest of the chain is weak.

A light flash I'll grant, it shouldn't be a big deal to add that.

Quote:
also, you make a good point on the new chipset hardware, but all i am saying is that it isn't enough. each new version ought to have a bit more going on, it feels like Apple is doing some stuff, but not really making huge hardware upgrades.

I don't know how to read that. The core CPU, graphics and RAM are significantly upgraded. Is that not a huge hardware upgrade?
post #35 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

Is the App Store of any real benefit to Apple? I've heard mention about out of those 50,000 apps, there are only about 200 good ones. Maybe this is an exaggeration, but has anyone really sat down and checked how useful all these apps are. I've heard the main purpose of the App Store is to drive iPhone and iPod sales. Is it being effective at all for that?

iPhone and iPod Touch sales are not really all that spectacular according to a number of analysts. They're not sure that the next quarter is going to be all that good for Apple due to lowered iPhone sales YOY. There doesn't seem to be any overwhelming evidence that all those apps are really making lots of people buy Apple mobile devices. The amount of apps are far larger than any other mobile platform at this point, but it's not being reflected as a huge amount of iPhone/iPod Touch sales. RIM hardly has any apps and their unit sales are projected to be much higher down the line. The iPhone is doing little to slow BlackBerry or Curve sales. Has there been any mention of Apple grabbing market share from the PSP or DS platforms? If not, then really of what use is the App Store except to give the same Apple mobile users more functions.

It's being said in the tech world that the Palm Pre is giving the iPhone serious competition and represents somewhat of a threat even though the Pre has about 20 apps ready, so what is all that about. If those 50,000 apps meant anything there would be no way the Pre could be competition or a threat to the iPhone. We'll be ready to find out in the next few months with the iPhone 3G S and the next version iPod Touch maybe being clocked even faster.

Yes it is. Your opinion of what is useful is not relevant. There are more than 40 million users out there with a lot of differing opinions of what is useful - enough to shift a lot of apps, free, ad-supported and paid.
The App store makes Apple some money for a very low investment. It is the focus of a lot of their iPhone/iTouch advertising and competitors can't match it. It creates stickiness for the platform - people don't want to lose access to their fave aps. It increases the developers in the Apple universe who could also write for the Mac... there is a long list of why the App store is important for Apple.

Your points about the competition also seem based on a patchwork of hearsay. Pre is no competition in reality (yet) - hardly any sales (few built), very few apps, on a shaky network from a nearly insolvent company. It may become so but not until it gets to Verizon or internationally to GSM. The fact that some commentators say it is is more to drive eyeballs via controversy than based on any market facts. Many Blackberries are corporate sales where companies have a lot invested in the BB backend. The Curve is a cheap-ass phone that competes with Nokias and other less-smartphones. Game companies are talking about how the iPhone platform is becoming a big deal for them, as shown by the growth in development of more expensive paid game apps.

The iPhone doesn't have to beat everything to be a winner - it needs to carve out its own market and can also take share from a bunch of places - Curve upgraders, BB-users who want more than email, casual DS/PSP users, non-DS/PSP gamers, etc. all of which it appears to be doing, with the significant support of the highly successful app store.
post #36 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

It was pretty clearly stated in stating that the PC market is more interested in shoving specs like RAM and GHz at potential customers. Which is funny, because you'll find those exact same types of specifications on Apple's site when you look at one of their computers.

Apple uses those specifications to differentiate between Macs (or between old Macs and newer Macs), which are all running the same software. It doesn't use these types of specs in its I'm a PC/Mac ads when it's differentiating between Macs and PCs.
"you will know the truth, and the truth will
set you free."
Reply
"you will know the truth, and the truth will
set you free."
Reply
post #37 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchelljd View Post

An absolutely interesting article because of the advancements in the iphone and what has changed. The biggest update is really just the software for the iphone. yes this is a big deal software was big.

In reality this new iPhone 3GS is really a minor refresh on the hardware side. Which is unfortunate because alot on the phone could have been updated. this is even more interesting because last year only a little got upgraded to update the phone to the 3G model also.

To the layman they would say this is a great design it doesn't need much change, but to those who understand the business would say Apple is increasing its margins by not offering much advancements.

Did they update the speaker phone in the new iphone? probably not
Did they add a swapable battery? nope
did they add an LED flash for camera? nope

The upgraded camera is really mostly software, the hardware side is just 3 megapixel. not really that big of a deal, yes it is slightly better. but not dramatically.

yes they updated the CPU, Ram, Wireless chip and more, but in the scope of things these arent dramatic upgrades, or upgrades that really cost apple too much, it feels like they just used chips for this years model that are faster.

So after this article, what are we learning? that apple prefers to point the attention to the software because on the hardware side... they aren't making huge advancements. nor is the hardware actually that expensive. i'd love to see the component cost on building the iphone, i'd have to say the margins for apple are fantastic, let alone the money they make on the cellular service.

I couldn't disagree more. I don't see it the way you do at all.

1. The 32GB RAM total was not possible until now. iPod Touch will be 64GB in September. Those are very important changes for anyone using these devices as iPods.
2. Retaining the same form factor for a third year is important to maintaining continuity in the infrastructure that third parties have built for the iPhone.
3. The 3 megapixel camera density is an excellent choice which compromises between pixel density and RAM eaten by each picture and video. Higher density cameras would eat more RAM per unit recorded. So I think 3 Megapixels is the right choice.
4. LED flash is not necessary in 99% of situations - particularly due to the camera's low light sensitivity.
5. The new processor and graphics engine are state-of-the-art and nothing better exists yet.
6. The new battery lasts longer than ever and if you just buy a car charger and carry a 1 inch cube USB AC adapter with you it's easy to keep them charged. There are even cases with spare batteries built in them.
7. The built-in Speaker in the iPhone G3 couldn't be better. It's amazing as it is.
8. I think that the hardware makeover of the iPhone 3GS is amazing and outstanding and all I could have hoped for from the incredible engineers at Apple.

So to sum it up, this proves that 2 people can live in the same world and see new things in completely different ways according to their experiences and personalities. I sincerely love all the people working at Apple. And I trust them to do the best they can to serve all the people of the world to the best of their abilities. You apparently are a cynic who thinks they are all working to screw us over every year.

You might want to take a lesson in patience, humility and empathy to realize employees at Apple are the best humanity has to develop communications tools for people all over the world that are truly changing the world and the way people behave in it. I thank God everyday Apple is in our lives. Without them, the world would be a much more unpleasant place to live in. We are so lucky to be living in this time thanks to Apple employees.

Six x 3.5GHz '14 MP, 64GB, 1TB PCIe, 16TB HDs
2.6GHz 6GB 17"HD LED MBP, Sony 52XBR6 HDTV
EyeTV 500, Hybrid 2G, EyeTV 3 HDTV Recorder
64 ATT iPhone 5S, 128 ATT iPad Air, 128 ATT iPad miniRetina, 16...

Reply

Six x 3.5GHz '14 MP, 64GB, 1TB PCIe, 16TB HDs
2.6GHz 6GB 17"HD LED MBP, Sony 52XBR6 HDTV
EyeTV 500, Hybrid 2G, EyeTV 3 HDTV Recorder
64 ATT iPhone 5S, 128 ATT iPad Air, 128 ATT iPad miniRetina, 16...

Reply
post #38 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchelljd View Post

So after this article, what are we learning? that apple prefers to point the attention to the software because on the hardware side... they aren't making huge advancements. nor is the hardware actually that expensive. i'd love to see the component cost on building the iphone, i'd have to say the margins for apple are fantastic, let alone the money they make on the cellular service.

Yes, no huge or expensive advancements. Because Apple has become very disciplined in creating consumer gadgets that hit specific price points and margins, and provide users with capabilities that fit within the cellular network in which it needs to operate. They could've created a $399 model with better hardware but they've learned that gadgets don't sell well at that price point, and the extra unique model would make it even harder to write software.

So yes, they spurned 12MP cameras, Zeiss lenses, OLED screens, 802.11n, and front-facing cameras. And I think they'll continue to NOT be at the cutting edge of these types of more expensive hardware items, except if it is an essential part of some capability that is strategic to have. But they did move to the leading edge (for mass production quantity items) on the CPU and graphics chip because it is core to what they want iPhone to do.

By the way, Apple was only making money on the cellular service on the $20 service plans for the original iPhone. Some people still have those plans, but they'll mostly be gone after next June.
"you will know the truth, and the truth will
set you free."
Reply
"you will know the truth, and the truth will
set you free."
Reply
post #39 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

Is the App Store of any real benefit to Apple? I've heard mention about out of those 50,000 apps, there are only about 200 good ones. Maybe this is an exaggeration, but has anyone really sat down and checked how useful all these apps are.

Who's qualified to judge really how useful the apps are? One person finds one app useful, while another thinks its useless. Have we become communists or socialists where someone else decides for us? By the way, Tomi Ahonen, a cellular industry "expert" has said the key to personal devices like mobile phones is entertainment; and something silly can still be entertainment.

Quote:
I've heard the main purpose of the App Store is to drive iPhone and iPod sales. Is it being effective at all for that?

iPhone and iPod Touch sales are not really all that spectacular according to a number of analysts. They're not sure that the next quarter is going to be all that good for Apple due to lowered iPhone sales YOY. There doesn't seem to be any overwhelming evidence that all those apps are really making lots of people buy Apple mobile devices. The amount of apps are far larger than any other mobile platform at this point, but it's not being reflected as a huge amount of iPhone/iPod Touch sales. RIM hardly has any apps and their unit sales are projected to be much higher down the line. The iPhone is doing little to slow BlackBerry or Curve sales.

For a relatively expensive smartphone ($199 plus plan), iPhone is doing great. It's really the only phone driving people to switch carriers. BlackBerry is using Verizon's Buy One, Get One Free promo to get the same boost (btw, the promo is still ongoing). It's not clear who is footing the bill but I'm sure Apple/AT&T love how that margin reduction will hamper its competitors in the future.

Quote:
Has there been any mention of Apple grabbing market share from the PSP or DS platforms?

Haven't seen anything about this.

Quote:
If not, then really of what use is the App Store except to give the same Apple mobile users more functions.

The App Store is providing the same type of boost and lock-in that the iTunes Store provided for the iPod. The Store makes the iPhone/iPod touch continually more useful. And just like DRM was useful in the early years, the fact that those apps only work on Apple locks the user in. Finally, the split arrangement plus the low cost of the apps makes it very difficult for rival App stores to succeed without huge volume, or deep pockets.

Quote:
It's being said in the tech world that the Palm Pre is giving the iPhone serious competition and represents somewhat of a threat even though the Pre has about 20 apps ready, so what is all that about. If those 50,000 apps meant anything there would be no way the Pre could be competition or a threat to the iPhone. We'll be ready to find out in the next few months with the iPhone 3G S and the next version iPod Touch maybe being clocked even faster.

Who's saying that? Wall Street analysts? Journalists? Enuf said.
"you will know the truth, and the truth will
set you free."
Reply
"you will know the truth, and the truth will
set you free."
Reply
post #40 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post


Is that true? The only Symbian S60 software I've come across that doesn't run across all devices on the same version is software that requires certain hardware features (i.e accelerometer). Just like some applications written for the new iPhone OS v3.0 won't run on iPhone OS v2.0 and visa versa.

I'm not doubting that the Apple app store is amazing or that Apple is right to focus on features, not number. Just doubting the FUD you propagate about other companies.

How many symbian phones have you used??? One? I have owned two and allmost all the software I installed worked real funky. Screen rotation and different other differences between phones. The problem is that screens wary too greatly for the programmers to make good software... Well if you need software names that worked badly consider that these are no oneguy shops.. tomtom and opera for one.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPod + iTunes + AppleTV › Why Apple keeps iPhone specifications quiet