The iPhone principle

Yesterday Apple introduced the new iPhone. It features a very precise touch screen and some other sensors. On the first look it may only seem like a fancy phone that manages to get rid of buttons and integrate features of an iPod. But I think it is much more than that.

I believe Apple has really defined a new type of device. Just think for a second that it is not called iPhone — let’s say you don’t have any idea what an iPod, PDA or Smartphone is. So you have a device, that does communicate wirelessly through certain protocols, stores 8 Gigabyte of data, comes with this multi-touch display, mircophone, earphones, camera, speaker, volume control and a singular button on the front. The iPhone is not only a universal device — is a principle.

Now – just imagine apple would have just delivered the hardware to the open source community maybe with that OS X basis and some development tools to create apps. The screen could show any interface for whatever application you can think of. It is called “phone” so people can connect it to certain activities and they see an instant reason why they may buy one.

But let’s assume it is called “iHeld” or “iTouch”. Can you see why people will loose the competition against Apple in the very moment they try to make a competing phone?

I am very eager to see what tools Apple is going to provide for developers to create new applications for the “iPhone principle”.

Update: This GIZMODO story says the iPhone won’t be an open system that one can develop for (similar to iPods today). That would really be a pitty and it would disqualify iPhone for a lot of things that are possible with SymbianOS used on Nokia phones today. If the iPhone is not hackable, I potentially don’t want to have one.

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