Bits At The Edge Post by Padmasree Warrior - Motorola CTO
Wednesday - January 10th, 2007
Regarding the announcement of the Apple iPhone:
Padmasree Warrior - Motorola Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
iPhone, uPhone, We all Phone!
January 10, 2007
Lights, camera, action!
As worshippers come out of the heady, enthralling, grandstand production called Macworld, the hype settles and reality sets in. It's called "the morning after"!
Many people ask me what I think about Apple's announcement of the iPhone. If you are one of those, here is my opinion. If you are not, my apologies for making you read yet another post on the much-anticipated Apple iPhone.
First, I am thrilled that an innovative tech company like Apple finally decided to "join the club" and build a cell phone with multimedia. I have always been a fan of Apple's creativity and cache for the cool factor. It is great for the mobile industry to have an icon like Steve Jobs stand up and say that it took his company over 2 years to build a multimedia cell phone! It just goes to show how complex it is to get into this business. The photos and pictures of Apple iPhone did not disappoint me. I expected nothing less from the likes of Jonathan Ive. Disclosures - I am a Jonathan Ive fan, I have owned an iPod since early launch, and I am a nut for cool gadgets.
I am also delighted because Apple's announcement validates what I have always believed - mobility will change the world and transform communications, computing and entertainment. At Motorola, we call this vision, "Seamless Mobility" for the Mobile Me.
Having said that, here are my morning-after doubts:
1. Touch screens have been around for a long time. I wonder how practical users will find this on a "phone". There is a huge difference in the usability between a portable media player that you can put in a pretty case and carry on your hip versus a mobile phone that you constantly take in and out of your pocket or purse, hold up to your face, drop on the floor many times in the course of a day! Smudges, scratches and breakage are big issues. Let us hope we don't have to spend more money and carry special cleaning lotion and buff cloth as accessories!
2. There is nothing revolutionary or disruptive about any of the technologies. Touch interface, movement sensors, accelerometer, morphing, gesture recognition, 2-megapixel camera, built in MP3 player, WiFi, Bluetooth, are already available in products from leaders in the mobile industry - Motorola, Nokia and Samsung. So, what appears to be the initial pricing at $499 and $599 with a minimum 2 year service agreement seems a stretch.
3. Battery life is problematic. User experience will be compromised with a mere 5 hours of talk time, and what about standby time? Speaking from over 20 years experience building products for the mobile industry, power management in mobiles is a non-trivial problem!
4. At a time when the entire industry is moving to 3G, UMTS, HSDPA, 1x EV-DO and WiMax for wireless broadband, why launch an "internet device" on a 2.5G EDGE network? It is weird to me that high-speed over-the-air data access is under-leveraged. I am also puzzled as to how this will increase ARPU for the service provider, how will it drive traffic onto their high-speed networks? IMO, a super way for Apple to differentiate itself would have been snappy over-the-air music and video download and synch.
5. I am not sure about the lack of a keyboard. Remember most people use a cell phone to make calls, especially when they are driving. I reserve judgment on how easy this will be for making calls or texting while we are moving at high speeds.
6. Is 4GB or 8GB of embedded memory necessary on a mobile, especially when you can have a cheaper option with an expansion slot that allows the consumer to add the memory and pay for it separately if they need it?
7. Lastly, when you have billions of devices - is a closed, proprietary system the right strategy? What happens to the operator's differentiation with branded services? Is this signaling a sea change in the service provider's mark on the UI?
As always, Apple raises the bar with a compelling concept; and this time to enhance the vision of Seamless Mobility for the Mobile Me - which I welcome.
Stay tuned for other great products from others and us in the mobile industry! The race continues.
Now I don't mean this in a bad way towards John Chambers, but exactly why did he hire Padmasree Warrior to be the new Cisco CTO?
Yours truly has serious morning-after doubts about his choice!
Brad Reese cofounded BradReese.Com Cisco Refurbished, which enables affordable Cisco networks globally by assuring customer satisfaction with guaranteed one year warranties on both Cisco Repair as well as Refurbished Cisco.
Don't be shy, contact Brad Reese online or call him at 717-707-0704.