Scripting News for 6/15/2007

Why no iPhone SDK? 

Scoble says Steve Jobs isn’t an idiot, he knows that developers make a big difference in the success of a platform. He concludes that an SDK, turning the iPhone into an open platform, will come at some point after the initial release, maybe as early as January 2008.

But then there’s this angle…

Steve Jobs, quoted in a Newsweek interview: “Cingular doesn’t want to see their West Coast network go down because some application messed up.” This explanation has largely been dismissed as a Jobs attempt at reality distortion that didn’t work.

But maybe it isn’t such a far-fetched idea…

There’s one application, for sure, that could mess up not just Cingular’s West Coast network, but the whole idea of an Internet-capable PDA with wifi that wants to be a conventional cell phone. It’s called Skype, and it really worries the phone companies. So much so that they might have made the closedness of the iPhone a condition of working with Apple.

Shortly after Apple opens the iPhone, if they ever do, expect a compatible version of Skype to follow shortly after.

But the finger-in-the-dyke approach may not hold back the flood this time… “Wal-Mart is the first major retailer to dedicate a section to Skype equipment.”

Finally, you gotta wonder why Apple, the pioneer of 802.11 wireless networks, went with such old, expensive, customer-hostile and likely obsolete technology, instead of partnering with Skype, and sticking with businesses they know and have mastered. This might be the mistake of iPhone.

Talking with Scoble yesterday, who says he’s going to camp out to buy an iPhone on June 29, I suggested it might not be like buying a Playstation or new version of Windows. Remember, you have to buy a service plan from AT&T when you buy an iPhone, and that involves lots of time. A credit check, options to choose, service plans, etc. It might not be the party everyone thinks it will be.

I still love my Blackberry 

According to CrunchGear, the next Blackberry has wifi.

Important new Twitter feature 

The Replies tab displays messages posted on Twitter that are directed to you even if you aren’t subscribed to the person who wrote it. Very good!

Click here to see your Replies tab (assuming you have a Twitter account).

Andy Carvin: “It has an RSS feed.” Awesome!

10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Nick Irelan on June 15, 2007 at 7:47 am

    I think you are predicting the downfall of the telephone companies a little early because an article about something failing or being in trouble is more interesting to read than one about the equipment and technologies that are really being offered.

    How can it have a chance when the other phones that the Iphone will be calling won’t have Skype?


  2. Posted by Jake on June 15, 2007 at 8:30 am

    A GSM cell phone will work today.

    iPhone version 3 will be dual mode radio (GSM & WiFi) and support iChat. All of those iTunes Music Store ids will also be .mac ids and will wind up being presence ids on some iChat/AOL/Google Chat federated jabber network.

    You’ll still need GSM some of the time. But, at home, at work, on campus, in the mall, or in one of the metro areas with Google WiFi coverage, you’ll get to use VoIP.


  3. Remember that Steve said that the killer application for the iPhone would be voice calls. GSM works pretty well for that – worldwide, not just in the USA. I think Scoble’s scenario sounds possible; all may depend on just how sucessful the iPhone proves to be and, consequently, how strong Apple’s position is compared to the networks’. One thing to remember about the cell phone business is that the networks hate the phone makers and vice versa. They battle over who owns the customer (Nokia or Cingular) but both need each other. I think the developments in this space, and the broader “mobile-connected” space will be really interesting.

    For my part, I really think the iPhone is too small a form factor for a great application platform, but fine for a phone-with-extras. And what distinguishes a phone from a PDA, web-tablet or whatever? A phone is small enough to go with you everywhere, all the time. [Thinks: we need a waterproof phone for the beach and pool]. I heard that “Generation Next” rate having their phone with them more important than having their wallet (“In Business”, BBC).


  4. The question I have wondered about for awhile is can you buy iPhones without a service contract?

    As an aside, theres a bunch of UHF spectrum the FCC is thinking of handing over to the telcos. Somebody really ought to try and get that reserved for open wireless internet. Telcos are unnecessary rentiers on spectrum.


  5. Reading your BBC piece that you linked to yesterday reminded me of your interplanetary data storage idea.

    While on holiday this past week I listened to a Radio Lab podcast about Space. On it they talk to Anny Druyan who was the Creative Director of the Voyager Interstellar Message Project, back in early 1977. Some really incredible stories that I thought were relevant so here is the link to that particular episode:

    and the show feed:

    I’ve listened several of the Radio Labs podcasts now and it’s some of the best audio I’ve heard. NPR really are so good at creating stuff that captures the imagination. If you listen make sure you listen with earphones for maximum theater of the mind effect!


  6. beautiful commentary on the iphone. That is the reason I will not buy one; I’m a developer, and $500 would buy me a piece of fad equipment. If i just bought it; never opened the box, ten years time, i may be able to sell it on ebay for a profit.


  7. Dave,

    Housekeeping comment, as well as acknolwedgement of your titanium-wrapped ribcage and the 5 year anniversary of your surgery (yep, Doc M’s valve-replacement anniversary is coming up, too. June 27). Congrats and keep on walking.

    I wish, on this wordpress site of yours, that you had a horizontal link from one single post to the next post. If I make my way into comments from one day, I’d like to check the previous or subsequent day’s comments w/o too many clicks.

    Because I’ve been mucking around inside wordpress, I know that there’s a template tag for next and previous post. More than once I’ve wished for it in your comments. Having next/prev in use would make it easy to navigate to the next or previous, to see if there was, for instance, an interesting conversation about blah-diddy blah that I know you wrote about recently. Having a calendar would also make it eaiser. I could, I guess, just manually change the URI to just the date and change the date, too. But with manual URI changing and the other method I use–going out to the top and finding the neighboring post and clicking the comments link for that– requires a bit of navvy savvy on part of end user to find interesting conversation in your comments.


  8. Posted by jjames on June 15, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    you might not like the keyboard on the 8800 series. many don’t.

    the curve (8300) is a nice upgrade from the 8700. you’ll still want to try out the keyboard, but i like as much as my old 8700. it’s slimmer and adds a 2MP camera.

    there are rumors of a 8320 that will add wi-fi. probably on t-mobile, but you’ll be able to unlock it and use it on at&t/cingular’s network.


  9. I think you just went a long way to explain why Palm has been so slow to put WiFi on their Treos. After all, one can by a Treo that isn’t bound to any cell provider, and if you combine that with Skype… Suddenly the cell telco is out the revenue stream for both the voice and data plans. Combine that with just how much the cell telcos allegedly subsidize phones, and it’s tough to see how Palm would have the leverage to put WiFi on board if the cell telcos don’t approve.

    Because, yeah, an unlocked WiFi PDA with VoIP must scare the bejeezus out of them.


  10. >Because, yeah, an unlocked WiFi PDA with VoIP must scare the bejeezus out of them.

    Agreed. What I don’t understand is why this kind of device doesn’t exist though? I’ve sketched iit out here previously:


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