A Closed iPhone
So the iPhone is going to be a closed system, which means they are not going to let third-parties deploy software for the device — though I don’t see why at some point they wont introduce an Apple-certified (and supplied) set of software “accessories” down the line. Unfortunately a closed system means no cool mapping software for bakers, Arabian floating 3d hourglass clocks or clones of tetris (unless of course it works over the web — on safari).
Apple has copped a fair bit of flak over this, but I’m not surprised. Apple is building a tool that brings advanced functionality to the mass market. It’s the same with the iPod. Take an under-performing product segment that has vast potential and take it across the chasm. But to do that well you need to make the complex simple. The iPod doesn’t support 20 different memory cards because it doesn’t need to. It delivers its core value, and that’s all. Frankly, the rest of the vast functionality available through different MP3 players is 99% of the time irrelevant.
The iPhone is the same thing, except Apple is deciding what’s important and ignoring everything else. I’ve owned 8 different smartphones and probably the same number of PDA’s before that. So what do I really use? Push-email (killer), phone, mobile web (clunky). The other 13 million bits of software for the Pocket PC is pretty useless too me, and I would argue useless to the majority Apple is targeting. The same majority they targeted with the iPod.
So whilst I lament on the closed nature of the device, I rejoice in the fact that I know it’ll do the 99% killer job on what Apple says it will: phone, email, web, camera, iPod. If it can do a good job on all those things (instead of the typically mediocre shit delivered in most devices) they’ll win the majority market. And “open platform” meta-geeks will start talking about simple being the secret to success instead of technical openness (as they did with the iPod).