Pogue offers answers to some burning iPhone questions

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
New York Times technology columnist David Pogue this weekend delivered some additional details on Apple's new iPhone features, including dialing, synchronization, and web browsing.



Answering questions from curious readers, Pogue, who had some one-on-one time with the iPhone during Macworld, clarified some of its abilities while eliminating glaring misconceptions about others.



Notably, the journalist pointed out that the mobile edition of Safari, once thought to be stripped of many of the media plugins necessary for more advanced websites, will likely be full featured. He cited an interview with Apple chief executive Steve Jobs conducted by the German magazine MacWelt that raises the possibility of JavaScript and Flash support, suggesting the Apple-made handset may either directly support Flash or else receive easy conversion of Flash videos into external formats.



"YouTube -- of course. But you don't need Flash to show YouTube," Jobs said. "We could get [YouTube] to up their video resolution... by using H.264 instead of the old codec."



Pogue also noted that the iPhone's now-legendary "pinch" control for zooming photos will also apply to e-mail and web browsing, offering a complete view of a page or magnifying text for those with poor eyesight. "I could zoom in and out on an entire e-mail message: embedded photo, text, and all," he wrote.



However, the New York Times editor was quick to downplay some supposed features of the device, stating bluntly that the iPhone as shown at Macworld does not support speed dialing, live GPS positioning through its Google Maps tool, or wireless synchronization with a host computer through either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.



Pogue nevertheless defends Apple, saying that he "could not agree more" with a reader who observed that Apple was not likely to let the iPhone's capabilities remain static in the run-up to its June launch.



Read below for a complete list of more definite information revealed in Pogue's article:



JavaScript is "built into the phone," according to Jobs, but a full Java engine would only be a "heavyweight ball and chain" no one uses.

Jobs on the subject of Flash: "you might see that."

The company has not decided on whether or not a user's existing music library can be used for ringtones.

Mac OS X on the iPhone is stripped down. The interface has been redesigned for the phone as well.

The Calendar tool will allow new events and schedules to be added from the phone itself, rather than requiring a sync.

The settings menu is functional and includes an airplane mode (which disables the cellular radio while maintaining other features such as music).

The pinch motion works with both e-mail and web browsing, controlling zoom.

No speed dial links exist at present, but may change by the official launch.

As demonstrated, the phone has no GPS integration and cannot pinpoint its owner's location in Google Maps.

The display surface is polycarbonate plastic, but is "substantially improved" over the material used for iPods and should resist easy scratching. Brightness is very high.

Input on the screen must be made using direct finger contact, and does not work with gloves or a stylus.

Any set of earphones with a standard headphone plug will work without adapters.

The company plans to add 3G wireless (in the form of HSDPA) to the iPhone once access is more widespread.

Apple may allow rotating the phone for entering text in a more comfortable landscape mode, but has not committed to the feature yet.



Published Sunday 5:00pm ET as part of Monday's early morning edition.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 86
    Isn't the favorites list Jobs demonstrated basically like a quick dial list? Maybe not quite as easy as pressing and holding 1 for instance, but it seems like that's their solutions for it.



    I think the keyboard would be easier in landscape, but the disadvantage is a loss of screen to see what you're typing.
  • Reply 2 of 86
    Quote:

    Apple may allow rotating the phone for entering text in a more comfortable landscape mode, but has not committed to the feature yet.



    I would consider this (landscape text entry) an absolute must.
  • Reply 3 of 86
    moochmooch Posts: 112member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    As demonstrated, the phone has no GPS integration and cannot pinpoint its owner's location in Google Maps.



    This is the thing I hope they change the most.
  • Reply 4 of 86
    Tuesday's big announcement by Steve, along with the breathless responses in the media pro and con alike by journalists and self-annointed pundits made me wonder how much we REALLY know about what we THINK we know of the new iPhone. I'm almost tempted to make an X-Y graph depicting a bell curve chart of the hype-hysteria-FUD cycle that has taken place in the past week. Whipped up to a frenzy in the days preceding the announcement, the public was almost orgasmic in the minutes and hours following. A day later, we witnessed a counterattack of FUD pushed by hidden PR forces of opposing camps, be it vehement anti-Apple haters (Dvorak, Kantor, USA Today et al), telcos and phone makers not in on the deal whose hegemony is threatened, and some company from the Seattle area. We've seen message boards, articles and blogs littered with lies, half-truths, gross inaccuracies and more.



    The first victim has been truth.



    Slowly, thanks to people like David Pogue, some truth is beginning to emerge, and the wave is beginning to return to a more normal level. If we look back in a few weeks or months, we'll see that a lot of silly behavior ensued.



    This reminds me of looking at dream cars at an auto show. These cars of the future are a bit of fantasy, and not a little be of market research. For years, auto makers have used dream cars to gauge public reaction before committing resources to the final product. And given the length of time before the iPhone is introduced in finished form, I would not be surprised to see differences between the unfinished version that Steve demoed and the finished product, based on marketplace response.



    Don't forget: this is a VERSION 1.0 product, for all this infers. Some of you will be disappointed that it's not nuclear powered and can't be used while deep sea diving. Too bad. In fact, please get over yourselves. In time, we'll see improvements to subsequent versions, likely at lower prices. What's important here is that the iPhone represents a huge step forward. And no amount of FUD or spittle from those who hate Apple and Apple fans can change that.



    So strap in. It's going to be a great ride.
  • Reply 5 of 86
    No HSDPA support is simply lame. I won't be getting the phone before it's added.



    Here in Ireland, we have almost 90% HSDPA coverage already. I've also found that recently, I am getting UMTS/HSDPA coverage almost anywhere I travel in Europe. "Until it's more widespread" is simply not true.
  • Reply 6 of 86
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Robin Hood View Post


    No HSDPA support is simply lame. I won't be getting the phone before it's added.



    Here in Ireland, we have almost 90% HSDPA coverage already. I've also found that recently, I am getting UMTS/HSDPA coverage almost anywhere I travel in Europe. "Until it's more widespread" is simply not true.



    Since right-pondian cell networks are mostly 3G compliant and since you won't be getting the phone until late 2007, I expect that it WILL DEFINITELY have HSDPA when it hit's your drunken* shores. If not, I'll buy you pint the next time I'm there. :-)





    * My sterotyping is purely in jest. Take no offense of this stupid American.
  • Reply 7 of 86
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Since right-pondian cell networks are mostly 3G compliant and since you won't be getting the phone until late 2007, I expect that it WILL DEFINITELY have HSDPA when it hit's your drunken* shores. If not, I'll buy you pint the next time I'm there. :-)





    * My sterotyping is purely in jest. Take no offense of this stupid American.




    hahaha! thanks for making me laugh!

    btw: i agree...
  • Reply 8 of 86
    Apple has said it will not allow 3rd parties developers to write apps for the iphone.



    this will be the only major handset manufacturer to close their system to outside developers (other than Google). Cingular has numerous of other phones that do not bring down the network.



    this is a complete strategic mistake by apple. it's all about control for them.





    lastly, their image is being tarnished by using a trademarked name owned by cisco yet apple went after every company using the term pod in it...even trying to get the "pod" out of podcasting.



    hypocracy
  • Reply 9 of 86
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple Insider


    "The company has not decided on whether or not a user's existing music library can be used for ringtones.



    It looks like Apple is still fighting with Cingular (er, AT&T) over this. They charge $2.49 for a ringtone and really don't to lose that supplemental income.



    No matter what phone and cell carrier you utilize, you have to thank Apple for their efforts. We are witness to a paradigm shift where a manufacture is making a cell carrier change. It won't be long before cell carriers will have to stop charging outrageous rates for something as simple as a ringtone, and all manufactures will finally have a chance to end their stagnant, limited functionality phones. A new era of mobile telephony and computing is upon us.



    Cingular will fold because right now every other carrier is willing to join forces with Apple. AT&T is the largest cell carrier with 58M (25%), but how much more will they gather from the exclusive Apple deal? I'm guessing a lot more than a few overprices ringtones will bring them.
  • Reply 10 of 86
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post


    Apple has said it will not allow 3rd parties developers to write apps for the iphone.



    this will be the only major handset manufacturer to close their system to outside developers (other than Google). Cingular has numerous of other phones that do not bring down the network.



    this is a complete strategic mistake by apple. it's all about control for them.



    No, Apple has said that apps go through them. As in not opening up the framework so that apps get generated in the wild.



    There is a huge difference between "no third party apps" and "no third party apps theat we don't vet to make sure nothing breaks, since we are very keen on keeping our brand new platform nice and tidy, for the time being."





    Quote:

    lastly, their image is being tarnished by using a trademarked name owned by cisco yet apple went after every company using the term pod in it...even trying to get the "pod" out of podcasting.





    hypocracy



    Nonsense. Nobody outside of tech enthusiast circles know a thing about the Cisco deal, and even there Apple's "image" is hardly "tarnished". Some people are puzzled, sure, but it looks like Cisco didn't go after other iPhones that predated Apple's, so they may not even win their case. Either way, it's hardly vile and predatory.



    Hypocrisy isn't a word that has any bearing on the doings of large corporations. Apple went after "Pod" users because they saw an opportunity to make some money. They used "iPhone" because it's the natural fit for their product line and figured they could make it stick, Cisco notwithstanding. Neither action embodies principles that contradict one another.
  • Reply 11 of 86
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post


    Apple has said it will not allow 3rd parties developers to write apps for the iphone.



    this will be the only major handset manufacturer to close their system to outside developers (other than Google). Cingular has numerous of other phones that do not bring down the network.



    this is a complete strategic mistake by apple. it's all about control for them.



    Yes, it is about control, but the reasoning isn't unwarranted.
    • If Skype was allowed to create software for the iPhone then AT&T would be seriously pissed. This may be something in the contract by Cingular that keeps certain functionality that will cause Cingualr to lose money (lowered minute plans with excessive data usage on their unlimited plan) to a minimal.

    • Apple wouldn't even offer this feature until dev. kits are created.

    • Jobs said that there are only 2 widgets with the iPhone, this is odd since widgets are easy to make and even easier to port to the iPhone since it uses JS. Apple developers could have ported all the typical widgets over to the iPhone on their lunch break if they had wanted. How useful would currency converter, language translator, flight tracker, and world clock be? Probably useful enough for Apple to charge $.99 for them on the iTS. Putside the hour it cost to develop and the 40k download these are a pure profit center.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post


    lastly, their image is being tarnished by using a trademarked name owned by cisco yet apple went after every company using the term pod in it...even trying to get the "pod" out of podcasting.



    hypocracy



    That is not necessarily true. Cisco has made some huge mistakes with the trademark. Most notably, they let others companies use the name without incident, they failed to re-register the name with the alloted time (though barely made the extension date), and failed to exercise use on an existing product for several years (though recently slapped a new "iPhone" label on an existing product).



    Now, does that mean that Cisco's former lackadaisical use and enforcement means Apple has the right to use it? I don't know; It looks this one is going to be up to the courts.
  • Reply 12 of 86
    vinney57vinney57 Posts: 1,162member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post


    Apple has said it will not allow 3rd parties developers to write apps for the iphone.





    this will be the only major handset manufacturer to close their system to outside developers (other than Google). Cingular has numerous of other phones that do not bring down the network.



    this is a complete strategic mistake by apple. it's all about control for them.





    lastly, their image is being tarnished by using a trademarked name owned by cisco yet apple went after every company using the term pod in it...even trying to get the "pod" out of podcasting.



    hypocracy



    Wrong. Third party apps will have to go through Apple for approval.



    Wrong. Its all about control of the user experience; you know, the central focus of EVERYTHING APPLE DOES.



    Its not hypocrisy you fuckwit, you are legally obliged to defend your trademarks or you lose them; which is precisely why Cisco are probably going to lose theirs.
  • Reply 13 of 86
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinney57 View Post


    Wrong. Third party apps will have to go through Apple for approval.



    I, too, have heard that Apple will not allow 3rd-party developers. Can you please post a link to this fact without calling me a fuckwit or some other pejorative name?
  • Reply 14 of 86
    dentondenton Posts: 725member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    It looks like Apple is still fighting with Cingular (er, AT&T) over this. They charge $2.49 for a ringtone and really don't to lose that supplemental income.



    I would also suspect that there may be some problems convincing the RIAA that this is fair use of purchased material. This is not my opinion: I think that we ought to be able to use our music however the hell we want. But we all know that the more times that the RIAA makes you purchase (or rent) a song, the more money that ends up in their pockets.
  • Reply 15 of 86
    We've heard varying things.



    Apple (in various guises) has said no third-party apps because they want to (stripped of the actual lies like apps crashing phone networks) keep control.



    On the other hand Pogue (NYTimes, iPhone FAQ part I, comment 229 IIRC) reported that third-party widgets haven't been decided yet.



    Further several developers are already in talks with Apple over SDK's and Apple seems non-commital from what I can see.





    Best guess is that widgets will be a yes (given the current uproar going on), and software a maybe?if it's a yes it will almost certainly be through Apple's walled garden.
  • Reply 16 of 86
    physguyphysguy Posts: 915member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I, too, have heard that Apple will not allow 3rd-party developers. Can you please post a link to this fact without calling me a fuckwit or some other pejorative name?



    I think people are referring to this quote from newsweek article



    Quote:

    Still, since the iPhone runs a full version of OS X, the operating system of the Macintosh computer, it?s reasonable to expect the device to take advantage of that power by running lots of applications, even if Apple has to vet them to make sure they won?t compromise the integrity of the network.



    This is their speculation (which I think is right) not a 'Jobs quote'
  • Reply 17 of 86
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Robin Hood View Post


    No HSDPA support is simply lame. I won't be getting the phone before it's added.



    Here in Ireland, we have almost 90% HSDPA coverage already. I've also found that recently, I am getting UMTS/HSDPA coverage almost anywhere I travel in Europe. "Until it's more widespread" is simply not true.



    Here in the US we're not there yet, and I think that is what Jobs was talking about. My guess (only a guess) is that iPhone won't be released in Europe without it - remember, it's being released in Europe several months later than in the US.
  • Reply 18 of 86
    nerudaneruda Posts: 427member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinney57 View Post


    Its not hypocrisy you f*ckwit, you are legally obliged to defend your trademarks or you lose them; which is precisely why Cisco are probably going to lose theirs.



    Exactly. Trademarks can be abandoned, and there is at least some evidence that Cisco did not use the name, let others use it, and did not renew the trademark. There rarely is such a thing as a closed case (ie, that Cisco will win this suit), otherwise, O.J. would be in jail.
  • Reply 19 of 86
    screedscreed Posts: 1,077member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    "YouTube -- of course. But you don't need Flash to show YouTube," Jobs said. "We could get [YouTube] to up their video resolution... by using H.264 instead of the old codec."



    Whoa whoa. Confirmed!!1!: YouTube (now owned by Google) will offer higher resolution versions via h.264 (read: Quicktime).
  • Reply 20 of 86
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sCreeD View Post


    Whoa whoa. Confirmed!!1!: YouTube (now owned by Google) will offer higher resolution versions via h.264 (read: Quicktime).



    Is the video decoded on YouTube's servers or on the client's computer? If it's decoded on YouTube's servers before streaming via Flash, I doubt they currently have the hardware needed to decompress H.264 for so many streams at once. Even if they only do the inital encoding when you load the file, they will still need to drastically beef up their system to handle the increased load.
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