The good, the bad and the ugly

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Sep 18, 2007
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First, I love the iPhone, and think it is one of the best designed products that have been released for a number of years. This is all just my opinion, but thought has a techie a little insight might help ….

The Ugly
Turning off 3rd party applications was an unfortunate side effect of upholding Apples commitment to its partners (aka AT&T). Whilst it makes complete businesss sense, and I guess they had to do it; it is a shame as the 3rd party applications only added to the appeal of the iPhone.

Let’s hope that they now reach out an olive branch to the iPhone developers, and allow sanctioned applications to be made available via the iTunes store….
The iPhone is a version one device; I am totally unsurprised that something as complex as the iPhone has a number of showstopper bugs in it, and some seriously missing functionality… e.g. Searching contacts, voice dialing etc etc.
Hacking the iPhone just got a LOT harder.. Not saying it can’t be done; but the effort just got much much much harder.

The Bad
The iPhone is a computer; and one of a similar scale to a desktop only 8 years ago (Windows 2000).. I hate to be the bearer of bad news; but developing code (that is reliable on a real-time device) for this is a big undertaking, and a release cycle of months (3 or 6) has to be expected… Here is my take of the past three months, and the next six months…

iPhone gets released (with a number of known showstoppers – fixed in 1.0.1 & 1.0.2).

1.1.1
Team is split working on iPod touch and four teams working on iPhone (May-July)
· One fixing core issues along side iPod touch teams.. and securing this puppy.
· One sorting out some of the Edge related issues, plus general tidy up.
· One implementing the iTunes store common with the iPod touch..
· One working on international implementation issues…
Note the development timescale (May-July), the 1.1.1 release was pretty well feature locked in April, i.e. A lot of the feedback of missing functionality did not get included in the 1.1.1 release because they did not think it was a priority…

1.1.2
Bug fixes in iTunes store & core, plus maybe a surprise bit of functionality…

1.2.0+
Theoretically; now that the iPod touch and the international release is out of the way; there are teams working on the following:
· A number of functional extensions that relate to the upcoming OSX release.
· A number of plugins for safari (safari on the iPod/iPhone platform still has a way to go): Have you guys seen the Microsoft Silverlight project ?
· Spotlight.
· General Platform issues (read big bug fixes).
· Extending the core phone functionality, such as Voice dialing.
My guess is that the plug-ins for safari will not make 1.2; there are issues with Codecs, performance, and that nasty issue that someone could then write a Voice over IP client using it (which would compromise the relationship with the carriers - This a real issue with Flash/Silverlight)…
Copy and Paste is a thorny issue – The UI paradigm to support it is going to be a challenge...
Don’t expect iChat quite yet, again carriers get revenue from SMS, not from the Data plans.

The Good
· Apple IS committed to the iPhone gen 1 platform – Updates are coming.
· They have to sort out a workable relationship with the developer community; but it has to be on Apples’ terms – Expect games first, then some other applications: But, these typically will be commercial rather than homebrewed open source activities.
· MMS does not add to carriers’ revenue; but it should be pretty high on the agenda.