The New iPhone(5)

I think we can all agree that this is looking very much like the next iPhone.

I’m gonna be straight with you, Jack. I want it. Bad.

For me, this is the most attractive design, iPhone or otherwise, I have seen in the mobile space. It’s so good, I may even be able to get on board with the 16:9 aspect ratio.

Other points:

Headphone jack on the bottom is a big win. Since these rumours came out, every single time I take my iPhone(4) out my pocket, I curse the headphone jack being at the top.

The two tone back with the brushed/dipped(?) aluminium looks great. The glass was aesthetically pleasing, and engendered symmetry, but this should give you a lot more confidence when setting the phone down.

New dock connector? Holy 30-pins, Batman. That is so long overdue.

Side note: Don Lehman is awesome. I would love to read his take on a whole heap of other products.

September 12th can’t come soon enough.

Ex-RIM chiefs are very quotable

I know everyone has seen these already, but they really are fantastic.

A few of the best:

On the iPhone: “As nice as the Apple iPhone is, it poses a real challenge to its users. Try typing a web key on a touchscreen on an Apple iPhone, that’s a real challenge. You cannot see what you type.” – Balsillie, November 2007.

And

On mobile trends: “The most exciting mobile trend is full Qwerty keyboards. I’m sorry, it really is. I’m not making this up.” Lazaridis, May 2008.

Without forgetting

we know that Adobe Flash support actually matters to customers who want a real web experience.” Balsillie, November 2010.

It’ll be even more interesting looking back on these in a year when RIM no longer exists (in any real fashion anyway). If there is another company where the phrase ‘circling the toilet’ describes their situation so aptly, I am unaware of them.

The Kindle Fire – Not an iPad Competitor

Read Later

I was planning on writing something about the Kindle Fire around the time that the units were received (by the press at least), and the reviews started rolling in. You know, reviews like this and this, with staggering praise like:

“perfectly useable”

from Engadget, and:

“If you’re thinking about getting the Fire, you have to decide not just whether you want a tablet, but what kind of tablet you want. This isn’t an iPad-killer.”

from the excellent review on The Verge (speaking of, I highly recommend watching the video review).

My original point was going to be based around the fact that, while I believe the Kindle Fire will sell a very decent amount, at least partially due to the ‘Kindle’ name, I doubt that large quantities of people are going to consider or want the iPad, but then purchase the Fire. As has been said multiple times, in multiple places, there is no ‘tablet’ market, there is an iPad market, and people trying to ride on the coattails of it’s success. I would be loath to advise anyone to buy the Fire. If you want an e-reader, buy a Kindle, they are great. But, if you want a tablet, and can’t (for example) afford an iPad, my advice would be to save up for an iPad, rather than spend £200 on a worse device. It’s the same reason that I wouldn’t have recommended buying a TouchPad for £99. Put that £99 towards an iPad purchase if a tablet is really what you want, rather than investing in what looks to be dead technology.

However, I waited too long to formulate my thoughts, and by the time I had, the Fire release was effectively ‘old news’. That was until I read this article at Macrumors, regarding analyst’s belief that the Fire will instead cannabalise Android tablet sales, and may even boost iPad sales. Now, I know… It’s analysts. No. Wait. Come back. Trust me, I hate them as much as you do. But this time, it got me thinking.

As I said above, there is no tablet market, there is an iPad market. Tablets have been attempted before, but never succeded. This is because they never answered the question “Why do I need / want this?” The iPad answered that question; but there are still a number of people who, for whom, the tablet solves a problem or need, that they did not know they had. iPad sales numbers are huge, but they are hardly ubiqutious in the world. As Tim Cook stated at the ‘Let’s talk iPhone’ event, while the sales numbers are massive, and impressive, most of the market is still waiting to be convinced. I think the Kindle Fire will make a number of people realise that they want the best tablet, and therefore, purchase the iPad. Just as Reading List now shows people that saving pages to read offline is something they should always have been doing, allowing people to realise that they want the ‘best’ solution to this, and therefore flock to Instapaper, the Fire’s “perfectly useable” experience will whet the public’s appetite for a complete tablet experience, and push them towards the iPad.

Of course, I could be completely wrong, and the Fire could sell millions and millions, and over-take the iPad. Though I think it will be interesting to see the returns rates of the Fire, once people are actually able to use it, and compare it in real terms to their friend’s iPad, or the one they have used in the Apple Store.

The Best Point-and-Shoot is the one in your Pocket

What struck me reading through this article at Ars Technica, apart from the amazement that we can even compare a phone camera to those used by professional photographers, was just how poor the Samsung phone’s pictures looked in comparison. On every picture, the Samsung seemed out-of-place, as if it was only included just to have a non-Apple phone in the tests. It is these types of tests that show up spec sheet comparisons as the unhelpful markers I believe them to be.

‘Megapixels’ is the term that the manufacturers and PR people have latched on to as a way to sell cameras to the masses, just as the resolution of a TV (e.g. 1080i vs. 1080p) is now the de-facto standard in decision-making, whereas it is clear that they are not the be-all and end-all for determining the quality (or desirability) of a device.

While these Android phones, with their big shiny screens, may look good in the store, I wonder how many people are still really happy with them months after purchase. Or how many believe that there is truly nothing better.