Robert X. Cringely on the iPhone

Robert X. Cringely penned an article on the iPhone in three parts, well worth reading.

First he talks about the introduction and how Hizhonner Steve Jobs is a master at making great product introductions. No surprises there.

Then he goes on to tell us that the iPhone has 3G built in and that it will likely get turned on in the next firmware update. I am not sure I believe that. Nothing we have seen so far from people taking the phone apart indicates that there is any support for 3G whatsoever in there. And Jobs said that there was no 3G in the phone because of the power requirements. Though we all have learnt to take Jobs’s pronouncements with a pinch of salt, remember when he told us there would be no video iPod.

What I would be looking for here are two things: one is independent confirmation (or not) that there is 3G hardware in the iPhone, and second that that 3G hardware can be driven by the battery.

The last part is the most interesting to me:

And what we’re getting excited about is much more than a phone or a media player, it is a whole new computing platform. Talk to anyone with iPhone experience and they’ll tell you it feels more like a computer than an iPod or a phone. This is Apple’s platform for the 21st century that I am sure we’ll see revved and augmented in a variety of ways carefully over time. It won’t replace desktop or even notebook computers, but this iPhone platform, properly augmented and with the help of Moore’s Law, has a chance to do some major market-share grabbing from old Apple partners/competitors, notably Microsoft.

If you look at how these devices have been evolving, it is quite amazing how far they have come in the past 5 years. Originally with a 5GB drive, now with 8GB of memory or an 80GB drive. If you look out 5 years from now, I can imagine a 500GB drive, or 100-150GB of memory. Screens would get better, maybe two to three times as good, as would network bandwidth, again two to three times as good, but I suspect that the battery life will be about the same.

That kind of a device sounds like today’s desktop computers.

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