Apple is a company I like more than other companies. I like the design of their computers and operating systems – which was almost always ahead of (affordable) PC design.
I have never bought an Apple product up to now, my parents bought one years ago, it was the first computer in our house and the first I used. No games besides a puzzle, System 7 and (after I found the solution for the puzzle due to being bored by having a look at all these configuration options the system crashed, we got a ram upgrade (12MB, huge!) and System) 7.6.1.
I don´t think that there are much people in these world which are interested in mobile phones and who don´t know the “iPhone”, which is the third business of Apple Inc. next to “Macs” and “Music”.
While the first iPhone already was a breakthrough, featuring some new and “different” features – mainly the multitouch touchscreen and the acceleration sensors, Apple didn´t change that much with the iPhone 3G. Due to more competition, they made it more affordable, they added 3G (many people (most of them, I suppose, never really used mobile internet) complained about the lack of that feature before) and GPS for location enabled services. I think that GPS is the more “interesting” feature, as there seem to be many ideas of what to do with that.
3G only means a faster “everywhere” internet connection (but remember: go to the countryside, and … probably there is no 3G), Apple didn´t include this nasty video telephony feature – I don´t know anybody who uses this and I read somewhere that people don´t use due to looking ugly on the camera as it has a “wrong” angle (internet video telephony hasn´t) and often bad colours – besides that it is still expensive. But I am pretty sure there will be many guys which are dissapointed by the lack of this feature – all these “feature list” readers, which just compare the features – “Well, I don´t use it, but I might someday…”
iPhone 3G has the same camera. I am pretty sure we will (or do we yet) a lots of complaints about that: “SonyErricson, Samsung, LG, Nokia, HTC, Motorola (soon..) they all have better cameras. 5 megapixel is state of art, why doesn´t Apple include a better camera?
Back when iPhone (2.5G) was introduced, I had a look at pictures at flickr – a comparison of Nokia N95s´camera to the one build into the iPhone. I have to say that they where equal, sometimes I would have prefered the iPhones “photos” if I had to choose.
Besides: If you wan´t to take real pictures you should (still) get a real camera. Those guys who just have a look at the feature list, not at the results won´t buy an iPhone (and it´s OK like that ;) ).
This was all about the somehow less important part – the hardware. The main improvements – at least I think so – are on the software side. iPhone 2.0 software (which can run on both variants of the iPhone – something that sounds not that special to us opensource-people, but hey, it is, have a look at the Symbian or Windows Mobile world, where (official) upgrades to the next version of the smartphones OS are relatively rare) has some features for businessmen (e.g. support for CISCO-secured networks (great for me as well —> university)) and a SDK which seems to work pretty well and which reminds me lot of the SDK demoed in this NeXTSTEP video. And apparently, there will be no charge for “freeware” developers to use the Apple AppStore – which is good news as well, I suppose it is possible to create free software for the iPhone (read this article which says it is not, but distributing source code is never impossible, legal issues are ugly), which uses free software – webkit and (correct me if I am wrong) SQLite.
Unfortunately (I think it is like that) there is no free software SDK – development on Mac only using Xcode (like QuantumSTEP development).
So, what do I dislike about the iPhone?
Well, it isn´t that open as I would like it to be. It has crippled bluetooth (at least I believe it as there where no announcements), no support for bluetooth HID or things like A2DP, PAN. No official “free as freedom” SDK. The way it is marketed seems to change, if there will be legal unlocked iPhones available without contract, this is no more point to complain about – but as we don´t know this yet I have to list that point.
By the way: Since wine is close to 1.0, it would be nice to see some more efforts on projects like GNUstep, it would be “huge” (as “his Steveness” always says) to be able to develop for Apple´s Mac (natively) and free software as well, i would highly appreciate a better integration of GNUstep-software into the standard DEs, or the ability to run “Mac” software (not only free software) on free software.