Don't hate the phone

Note to all those griping that they don’t care about the iPhone and Apple should be concentrating on OS X and dammit, dammit, DAMMIT!

Products like the iPod and the iPhone are why Apple is still around and, therefore, why the Mac OS is still around and is as awesome as it is.

Macworld’s Peter Cohen makes a similar point.

Yes, it’s bad that Apple told us Leopard would be out in the spring and it will now be out in the fall. Bad Apple! Bad! It’s also a shame that Apple won’t be able to use Leopard to entice PC users who are on the fence about upgrading to Vista. And you can question the veracity of Apple’s contention that the iPhone delayed Leopard (but you’d probably be wrong).

But griping about the iPhone itself — regardless of its relative importance to you, personally — is, ultimately, cutting off your nose to spite your face.

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  • Rich:

    Products like the Newton and Pippin are why Apple is st…

    The iPhone has not been released. We don’t know if the iPhone will help Apple be around. We do know that Mac OS X has led a revolution in brainshare and market acceptance. The iPod certainly has been a crushing success.

    The iPod’s success in no way guarantees the success of the iPhone. Also, assuming that the iPhone is important to everyone (especially outside the U.S.) is pretty shortsighted, and believing that what has been your core business for 20 years is less important than an unproven gadget in a market that is known for bureaucracy / politics / and closed systems (cell phone industry) is probably cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  • monkyhead:

    What I do with my own nose is my own business, you! Who needs a nose to hate the iPhone, anyway? Not me! But I’m keeping it for the smell-based navigation in Ocelot.

  • Mark U.:

    Sorry, Rich, but you have basically just made the Macalope’s point for him. Who are we to say what Apple’s “core business” is now, anyway? Or better yet: who is to say that their core business is the Macintosh? As Apple itself said when they changed processors from IBM/Freescale to Intel, “the heart and soul of the Mac is OS X”. These days, that product — OS X — is Apple’s core business, and guess what the iPhone (and Apple TV) run? The hardware around the OS isn’t irrelevant, not by far, but Apple is silly if they don’t leverage that key strategic asset into other areas than the desktop. It’s likely to be symbiotic, anyway: let’s not assume that work that has gone into the iPhone won’t make its way back into the Mac at some point.

    To illustrate the point, take a look at these statistics on computer and cell phone (and Internet) use per capita: Pretty much everyone who has a computer has a cellphone. Why should Apple cede that huge latter market to other players, particularly when they are uniquely positioned to exploit them both at once? Or consider this: in the next five years, how many computers do you think you will go through? And how many cellphones?

  • You know Rich, I’d completely agree with you, except for two things:

    1. They’re not abandoning Leopard; they’re delaying it for a very small amount of time.

    2. Even without Leopard, we still have 10.4.9, a modern, secure, and usable operating system.

    Leopard is mostly minor app updates, bug fixes, a couple of new features (and sure, some of those are pretty flashy). Nobody *needs* Leopard. It’s a nice thing to have, sure, but it’s not an existential necessity. Even without it, the Mac is still the nicest computing platform around.

    The iPhone OS is, in comparison, a necessity. It’s not adding a few nonessential features, it’s making a shiny-but-useless brick into a functioning phone/messenger/PDA.

    Now, Rich, maybe you have an excellent reason why you *need* Leopard so badly, some feature that’s essential to you that the rest of us are ignoring. It’s certainly possible. Until you tell us what that feature is, though, I’m going to go back to using my still-perfectly-nice 10.4 machine to get some work done.

  • John Muir:

    (Since I just accidentally posted this as Nameless elsewhere but dealing with the same fella, here goes! 😉 )

    Rich: I think you underestimate the iPhone. Or at least what Apple top brass think about the iPhone. The way Jobs introduced it, the references to “making history” and going to where the future needs you instead of today … fine it’s all RDF at its finest but I actually think that they’re taking this quite seriously! I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find Cupertino’s top people actually believing that this little device, and its successors, are not only going to sell in the hundreds of millions within a few years; but may also fundamentally redefine how we interact with technology. Read anything over at about the birth of the Mac? That team really believed they were changing the world. It strikes me that the iPhone is being treated as though it could be Apple’s true next chance. The iPod was a slick little player, but the iPhone could be the basis for the real future of the Mac.

    You’re right about the Aperture analogy though. My view is that Apple’s dependence on running a tight ship in Cupertino is building up challenges that needn’t exist for themselves, and we may well have just felt another symptom.

  • Those who call iPhone “just a phone” are not seeing into 2008; iPhone just happens to be the first mobile device running OS X. Expect more, and expect to own one, no matter what you’re into.

    The second point is that, according to an unsubstantiated report linked to an Apple person (could be total BS, but it could make sense), development of iPhone is making the OS team rethink the OS. No surprise there.

  • John Muir:

    Actually, this seems prescient in retrospect. Or at least as much as the original delay rumours in question…

    “Crazy Apple Rumors Site has confirmed that Apple is delaying Leopard until October, but not for Vista compatibility. It is delaying it because Steve Jobs is buying a hamster.

    According to sources close to Jobs, the mercurial CEO has saved his salary for each of the 10 years since he returned to Apple and is now looking to invest the $10 in a small rodent.”

  • Stan Sigman:

    “Those who call iPhone “just a phone” are not seeing into 2008; iPhone just happens to be the first mobile device running OS X. Expect more”

    People said the same thing about the iPod. Digital hub, huzzah! Expect more devices, yadda! In fact the next iThing was launched six years later because Apple was rightly focusing on music and developing this market. Apple is already stretched too thin, the phone and AppleTV will keep its plate full for some time. For the time being I only expect a new version of the full-fledged OS and new Macs to play with.

  • Marsman:

    Here’s an interesting thought: The general expectation was that the iPhone would be tightly integrated with Leopard (and some cool new features, whatever they may be)…

    Now, iPhone is expected to ship 4 months before the OS upgrade – will this in any way compromise the iPhone “experience” from late June to October?

  • Blain:

    Wait a minute. Weren’t we also hand-wringing about smart phones and WinCE? Not WinCE itself, but smart phones having geewhiz MP3 players built in, possibly endangering the iPod? The whole ‘OMG my phone plays 2GB of MP3s I don’t need to have a second device on me’ situation? Whatever happened to that?

    Another thought that floats in my mind: the money is that the iPhone runs on ARM chips. Which also run WinCE phones and embedded systems. I wonder how much will be ported over a la MacOSX86.

  • E B:

    Leopard stop Windows users from switching? Mais non! Me: Mac newbie, a few days over 2 months, 20″ iMac replacing a Windows Media System box that crashed at least 12 times during the 2 years I had it, each crash resulting in data loss and the need to reinstall the system, the need to eventually have to phone Microsoft to be allowed to reinstall the OS, since their !@%#$^@%^&* “activation” system only will work so many times w/out their help, etc. I played with an iMac at a Best Buy for 20 minutes and became a convert, although I made my purchase at an Apple Store in a mall literally across the street from that Best Buy. I’d used Microsoft’s products since 1984, MS-DOS 1.1 on a Sanyo MBC550. I was a Microsoft Partner, still am until May 1st. Media Center (XP with a TV tuner, whoooee) and the release candidate of Vista completely, permanently soured me on Microsoft.

    The use-ability and functionality of OS X – it’s as though I’d used a sort of a promise of a computer for the last 20 years or so, until now. I still can’t get over how I haven’t had to purchase any other software, and that there’s hundreds of free or ridiculously affordable programs available to more than adequately replace those I used to use on Windows. Use, that is, after I’d spent time updating the anti-virus and spyware programs and seeing around 45 minutes every 2nd Tuesday of the month disappear waiting for Windows Update to do… whatever it is that takes so long. Checking for updates on OS X? 2 minutes, tops. I’ll happily buy Leopard when it arrives, a *full* system for the same price or less than an upgrade to Vista.

  • i will chime in…

    I have not purchased a new computer since my (problem child) Gen 1 G5 iMac (20 inch).

    i am planning to buy a MacBook Pro (17 inch) when 10.5 ships with it.

    i think a number of people are waiting to buy. hardware hasn’t gotten a real bump in quite sometime (the new Mac Pro is nice – but it wasn’t even exciting enough for Apple to make a big deal out of the news…).

    for me, i was dissappointed to hear that the iPhone had pushed back the release of the new OS. the OS is the core of the user experience on the computer side of Apple Inc. As the centerpeice of the computer experience ihate to see it take a back seat to anything.

    an interesting point, though – is that the release of the iPhone in the summer will generate sales for that quarter,and with an october release of the OS they start sales in the next quarter – so spacing them out gives a sturdier business plan / roadmap.


  • Mark — if OSX is the “core” of Apple’s business, why has the OS development group at Apple only grown 10% in the last five years, and there are more people works in the Apps group than OSX? (from Daring Fireball).

    Let’s not mince words: This delay is a huge loss — the window for catching Vista users is closing, and Apple needs to at least annouce a coupon program that new Mac buyers gets 10.5 free in the fall….

  • Bergamot:

    “Mark — if OSX is the “core” of Apple’s business, why has the OS development group at Apple only grown 10% in the last five years, and there are more people works in the Apps group than OSX?”

    I would imagine because a huge portion of new Leopard features are App improvements, not OS improvements. Just because it’s all boxed together and called an “Operating System Upgrade” doesn’t mean everything in it should be written by the OS team.

    Actually, ignoring high-level APIs like CoreAnimation, the only really big OS feature is 64 bit support.

  • Does anyone else think that possibly another major reason 10.5 is delayed is because of new hardware upgrades to the Mac lineup? I know it’s a bit out there but ya gotta admit, that multi-touch feature will sooner or later make itself into the Mac interface. Plus, blaming the iPhone for the delay is easy, everyone already knows about that device.


  • Don’t think it can happen? Well I called this!

    One week ago:
    “Steve Jobs KNOWS he can make a perfect media system. They probably already HAVE one somewhere at an Apple R&D center!”



  • Peter Frafrahafnanfraggle:

    Even if the iPhone delayed Mac OS X Leopard and 6G iPod it is a small price to pay for the preview of future Apple products that iPhone provided.

    After seeing the iPhone introduction, it’s not hard to imagine what the 6G iPod video looks like. It’s not hard to imagine Apple’s next line of displays has multi-touch on it to go with the same resolution-independent graphics subsystem as iPhone.

    The iPhone is a preview of every next generation Apple product in one way or another. Even if you don’t use a phone and won’t buy an iPhone you can see great things for Mac or iPod in the iPhone.

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