Is Apple serious that it won’t let third-party developers build software for the thing? If so, and put simply, the device will fail. A closed-box consumer electronics mentality will work in music players, but the future of mobile devices is as a platform, and that requires developers.
Paul Kedrosky nails some of the concerns I had while taking in the live blogging of the MacWorld keynote yesterday. Making the phone into a platform is the big one for me (it’s why I paid the big bucks for a Treo 700w). Based on my experience as a Cingular customer in years past, I suspect that Apple may regret making those guys the exclusive carrier partner for this product. Here’s what would get me to pay $600 for a new phone:
- Make the phone hackable (by the masses, not just blessed partners) in a productive, well-supported programming language. For me that probably means C#, but I could resort to Python if necessary).
- Encourage the use of the phone as a wireless modem. An Apple phone should be supported as a Macintosh (or PC) peripheral. I was stunned that this use case hasn’t been mentioned anywhere yet — to me, it’s such an obvious synergy for Apple. If they’re really looking to get 1% of the mobile market by getting people to spend $600 with a two-year commitment to the vile Cingular, this is how they would do it.
- Bag the single-carrier partnership and open the device to any carrier. Support EVDO so you don’t have to wait hours for pages to load on the shiny new web browser.