iPhone: How the release and contracts will go down

25 05 2007

June 11th, at the World Wide Developer’s Conference, Steve will give a keynote. One of the things he will talk about is the iPhone. In his speech, he will give all the details we haven’t heard so far – the AT&T cellular service deals you can get with the phone, and the date of release: June 20th.

Then Steve will say oh, there’s one more thing. We have iPhones for any attendee who wants to purchase one, right here, right now! Sign up and pick up your new phone right now out in the hall. Hundreds of attendees, and some press who attended the keynote, will go home from WWDC with new, working iPhones. Others can get them on the 20th.

Not only does the crowd go wild, but this gets lots and lots of advance reviews into the public a few days before the main launch. Press will print columns, developers will blog, the public will read.

Apple will do this because they know the reviews will be very, very good, especially with this crowd. And, it will get wide publicity for the new service plans and system they have set.

You will be able to get a 2 year contract with your phone. You pat full price with the phone, but the iPhone service and data plan, with unlimited messaging and data, will run about $150 less than the equivalent existing AT&T plan. You will also be able to get a no contract, pay as you go plan. With that plan you again pay full price for the phone, and there are per voice minute, per data kilobyte, per SMS message charges.

Why a pay as you go plan? This way, people can pick up an iPhone even if they have an existing phone and service with another carrier. They can simply use the device as a widescreen video iPod and Wi-Fi web browser, without even using the cellular system. Or they can make a call or send an EMail here and there from the road. When their old contract is up with their other company, they can switch to a contract plan with AT&T.

And WHY will they want to switch? Aside from falling in love with the phone, those pay as you go charges will make your eyes water. Did you know AT&T now charges up to ten cents per SMS message, and a cent per KILOBYTE of data? And that iPhone will suck up data faster than a tick on Dracula. Once you start using the phone, you are going to want to switch to the contract deal.

That’s my speculation. What’s yours?


Why Multi-Touch is a much bigger deal than you think!

20 05 2007

Where is Leopard? What’s up with those top secret features? Why haven’t there been any new displays released in so long? Where is that long-predicted mini-laptop? I believe it’s all tied together, and it has to do with the iPhone.

Multi-Touch! It’s one of the defining features of the iPhone. The touch screen hardware looks great, but it is the software that goes with it that makes the device work smoothly. A lot of care has been put into that. Touch is more than just tapping onscreen buttons. There are substantial innovations involved.

Let’s start with the on-screen keyboard. When you tap a key graphic with your big finger, it senses which key you meant with a combination of position-checking and predicting the word you are typing. Visually, each letter zooms up from under your finger to show you what letter is hit. Finally, the word being predicted is shown, and if the prediction is right, you can quickly complete the word by tapping the space bar. The predictions even appear to take into account which letters are adjacent to the ones touched. Nice.

There’s finger-scrolling. It’s finely tuned so you can “flick” through a list, not too fast, not too slow, with inertia and bounce, it looks almost physical.

Then there’s “the pinch” a gesture used to zoom in and out of pictures or anything else that needs zooming or resizing.

There is tight software/hardware integration throughout. There is a position sensor that can tell if you are holding the unit in portrait or widescreen mode, and a proximity sensor that turns off the touch screen when you are holding the phone against your face (and presumably when it’s in your pocket).

What a unit! And what an announcement! Oohs and ahhs all around.

That’s why Leopard’s features couldn’t be fully announced before the iPhone was introduced. Things like the Multi-Touch support built into Leopard!

That’s my prediction as a major top secret feature. And that’s why there have been no displays announced for so long. I believe new displays will include multi-touch in them, and they will be able to lie flat on the desk, or at a shallow angle. And, they will have sensors to show if they are being used in portrait or landscape mode.

We’ve all seen and drooled over those demonstrations of multitouch on big screens! And think about the iPhone, think if there was an iPhone with a 20-inch wide screen! Or with a 10-inch screen for that matter… Multitouch will work great on a Mac. You just need a multitouch display, and the kind of software we’ve already seen demonstrated on the iPhone.

So what will we see in the future? New displays with multitouch. Multitouch support in Leopard. And, we know Leopard is on our desktop Macs, on our phones, on our laptops, what is missing? A mini-laptop! And it doesn’t have to be a laptop – it can be a tablet. I predict a tablet is coming, with multitouch, voice control, and wireless. Let’s see!

Welcome to Lepton’s Blog!

18 05 2007

Lepton’s Blog will hold my opinions and speculation about technology, articles on the Web, new gadgets, and anything else that seems interesting. I hope you’ll enjoy it!