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Apple’s Jobs: ‘You don’t want your phone to be like a PC’

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007
News Categories: iPhone

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs says consumers can expect more mobile applications for the iPhone by the time the device ships in June—but that Apple will control what applications make it onto the iPhone, much like it has done with every iPod.

“We define everything that is on the phone,” Jobs told the New York Times. “You don’t want your phone to be like a PC. The last thing you want is to have loaded three apps on your phone and then you go to make a call and it doesn’t work anymore. These are more like iPods than they are like computers.” Jobs told Newsweek something similar. “You don’t want your phone to be an open platform,” he said. “You need it to work when you need it to work. Cingular doesn’t want to see their West Coast network go down because some application messed up.”

“These are devices that need to work, and you can’t do that if you load any software on them,” Jobs continued. “That doesn’t mean there’s not going to be software to buy that you can load on them coming from us. It doesn’t mean we have to write it all, but it means it has to be more of a controlled environment.”

During the unveiling of the iPhone, which runs a scaled down version of Mac OS X, Jobs showed off applications for email, web browsing, photos, SMS text messaging, and Google Maps, as well as widgets for weather and stocks. Other icons on the iPhone prototype include Calendar, Camera, Calculator, Notes, Clock, and Settings.

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Comments

41

“Personally…. I’d LOVE to have my cell run like a PC instead of a Mac….. Tons more applications to choose from and cheaper, too.

Plus…. PC can still do way more things than Mac…. and when it comes to choices of accesories….. there’s simply nothing for Mac….”

Hmm, too bad everything you said just simply isn’t true.  Only a Mac can run Mac OS X, Windows and Linux.  There isn’t any PC out there that can do that.  And any peripheral or accessory that works with Windows on a PC also works with Windows on a Mac.  I guess you should have done your homework before you bought that PC.  Hopefully you got it really cheap since it’s so limited…

Posted by RDC on January 12, 2007 at 8:36 AM (PDT)

42

Well, I can see why they would do this, but let’s not all just buy the “3rd party appls crash the phone” line!

Key example - a program called “PDANET” for the windows mobile based Treo (700w or wx).  If you want to tether your Treo to a laptop and use it as a mobile modem (thus allowing you to access the internet on your full-blown PC from virtually anywhere there’s a cellphone signal), you have to pay Verizon or Sprint a “tethering fee” of $30-40 a month.  Alternatively you can buy PDANET and do it for free.  Sure, it breaks the terms of the contract, but TONS of people do it.

Clearly this is an example of the cellular provider doing something in their own interests, and they would just love it if they could control whether or not you can install PDANET on your Treo.  Thankfully the free market says otherwise, and I would hope that in future Apple will be subject to such forces too.

Posted by Dopial on January 12, 2007 at 9:04 AM (PDT)

43

Well IU guess the main reason 3rd party soft will not be able to be installed is mainly for money reason. Think if somebody come with a Divx player on the iphone, nobody (or at least a lot less) will buy movies from the itunes shop. and so on and so on and that for sure Cingulare (or any other operator) want to see that. That is I guess the same reason why you cannot put your own song as a ring tone.
I really wished I could make my own aps on it so it could really replace my palm TX. It does not seems it will be able (but it still look very cool)

Posted by breadbox on January 12, 2007 at 9:12 AM (PDT)

44

it’s amazing how ppl are so quick to drink the koolaid. 50% of the comments would’ve done a 180 if jobs had said the platform was open. but once he spoke and the RDF was released, ppl got in line and started spewing the talking points like they were American politicos. this is real simple: just like apple doesn’t want to open their DRM to cannibalize their iPod sales, so to do they want to keep useful but monetarily disruptive tech from their iPhone users. if the phone had a VOIP app, ppl would just get pay-as-you-go contracts for use in the car. it’s as simple as that. his statement is insulting to ppl’s intelligence.

Posted by mrfett in Washington, D.C. on January 12, 2007 at 9:28 AM (PDT)

45

The thing is more people will be looking at the iPhone and saying, “Oh it looks nice but it’s does too much.  I just want a phone, not an emailer and iPod” than will be looking at the iPhone angry that they can’t use program X.

There is always going to be specific niche software that limit some people to a smaller selection of devices, whether PC/Mac/Linux or Treo/BlackBerry/iPhone. 

One large market for example is government employees who for security reasons (no camera, safe semi-closed platform, no Bluetooth) go with non-Pearl BlackBerries.  For them a lot of those features we all love like bluetooth, wi-fi and the like will be deal breakers.

If you need a certain medical or legal database program that only runs on say a Palm OS, then you’re going to be buying a Palm.  I know of several programs that only run on Palm and despite a WindowsMobile device allowing you to load software on it, those programs are still only on Palm.  Thus people who need to use them are limited to Palm.

Now if you read the article you’ll see that there will be third party applications, they’ll just be approved by Apple.  Exactly like a Mac and a PC.  You buy software for both OSes and it has the little logo of OSX or XP on the box showing you it was approved to work with that OS.  Not every application you download from the internet will have that, but controlling the applications loaded onto the iPhone is not that different than either Apple or MS’s control over their computer OS, so until it’s actually out then it might be worth waiting before dramatically calling one somewhat vague statement by Jobs a deal breaker for you.

As I said most people who buy phones buy simple and cheap ones.  The killer app is the phone, and most people aren’t going to need anything more than that.  However if your killer app is adding random programs on the phone from the internet, then clearly this is not the phone for you.  However Apple did the math and decided that that was okay if you and people who wanted to do the same thing did not buy one. 

The larger, though less vocal on the internet, group that just wants the feature already in the iPhone is who Apple is going after.  They’re not going to get the people who want free phones, and they’re not going to get people who want to add lots of non-approved programs to the phone.

Apple want to protect their brand by making sure everything works.  Enough people load a piece of badly written software that cripples their phone, and the word gets out that the iPhone had a bug or doesn’t work and that will hurt both their computer and iPod sales.

1% or 5% of the cellular phone market is still a huge, huge number of phones and a goodly amount of money for a company that before this week was not even in the business.

Posted by Jeffery Simpson on January 12, 2007 at 9:30 AM (PDT)

46

Well said Jeffery, I totally agree with you. I think Apple sees it more as controlling the experience, to make sure it is a good one, not controlling what you put on it. And if you don’t like the experience Apple is offering, don’t buy it

Posted by dozx on January 12, 2007 at 9:41 AM (PDT)

47

Regarding Comment 23 above, just by introducing a device (iPhone) that does more than mainly play music (iPod), Apple has introduced complexity.  And that complexity will be what inhibits the iPhone success, at least initially.

Posted by Gary on January 12, 2007 at 12:17 PM (PDT)

48

I think Google has all the productivity software for iPhone ready to go.  Do you really think they stopped with Google Maps and Google Earth functionality? 

As for Games… when my kid sister visited me in ‘04 (she was 17 at the time) she was glued to Yahoo Games (and AIM, but text messages and teens go hand-in-hand).

Posted by T.D. Shadow on January 12, 2007 at 2:00 PM (PDT)

49

Let us just say it is all about the brand. Apple has always been concerned about controlling its brand thus it wants to ensure that all applications in its products are tightly controlled.

Also if there are no 3rd party applications Apple has full control over the platform ... and its future destiny.

Posted by hip2b2 on January 12, 2007 at 3:54 PM (PDT)

50

Steve baby - you read the script wrong - you were meant to say ‘You don’t want your phone to be like a Windows PC’;)

Posted by NJO on January 12, 2007 at 3:55 PM (PDT)

51

Funny… I’m old enough to remember an Apple SuperBowl advertisement making fun of people who were mindlessly lined up for the “tightly controlled” environment.  Jobs will say whatever he needs today to get his way.

Posted by Glorfindel on January 12, 2007 at 4:22 PM (PDT)

52

look this a jewel for all people who says iPhone is gona fail

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=500&page=2

Posted by Aberracus on January 12, 2007 at 7:33 PM (PDT)

53

I agree with Jobs. I didn’t initially, but my Treo 650 literally crashes 3 times a day.  Running only very popular apps.  Don’t get me started on Windows.

What sucks: when software locks up my Treo and I don’t know it and don’t receive important phone calls for half the day.  That really sucks.

Posted by James Scherber on January 13, 2007 at 2:12 AM (PDT)

54

I don’t much mind the lack of an open platform, but lack of voice dialing? That’s a deal breaker for me.

Also, not too keen on it being only on Cingular but that will probably change over time. And I’d want more capacity before I would buy one, so for me this is a “wait for newer model” product which is a bummer as I am in the market for a new iPod right NOW. Have been for over a year. But not going with a smaller screened video. I was waiting for something larger and now it looks like I have to wait even longer. You’re frustrating me Apple.

Posted by Greg on January 13, 2007 at 3:37 AM (PDT)

55

“too many hands in the pot ruin the dish…..”

one word:
linux

Posted by phil on January 13, 2007 at 11:24 AM (PDT)

56

Lack of voice dialing is very poor. Phones have had this feature for around 10 years. Let’s hope the complaining filters up through the ranks and this changes before release.

I also hope they realise that although they’ve provided some awesome apps, the phone market needs/wants more than they can provide. I hope they develop a 3rd party scheme and sell these apps (as well as their own, natch)via the iTunes store. A really obvious example is the lack of a Word/Excel/PPT reader.

And apparently Safari can’t do Flash…no mobile YouTube etc. If they’re going to tout Safari as the first grown up brower on a phone, it needs to be able to do this.

Finally, the apparent inability to run Java apps (I’ve been getting games and other programs on my SE phones for years) is disappointing, but not surprising. I hope that they release games that take advantage of the touchscreen (amazed that not a single one was present, but maybe they’re on their way). I also hope the release schedule for any apps is better than for the iPod games…

Posted by skip on January 14, 2007 at 8:32 AM (PDT)

57

Seems Jobs was on drugs when he was talking about some application bringing down Cingular’s west coast network. Windows Mobile has been around for more than 5 years (starting with Win CE) now and I’m yet to come across a single instance when any of network was brought down because of application on phone. Grow up boy bcoz with iPhone there is nothing new apart from packing in good looking UI (which also is debatable to see why it is so close to LG’s new phone ?)

Posted by mj on January 14, 2007 at 6:40 PM (PDT)

58

Aberracus-

That is such a fallacy and an egregious one at that.  The fact that Apple created a product in the past which was widely regarded as a failure, but which in the end came through, doesn’t mean that every product Apple makes in the future which people happen to regard as a failure will come through and be as successful as the iPod has been.  If I recall correctly, Apple made a [sarcasm]fantastic little[/sarcasm] device called The Newton, which, to put it lightly, was no more functional or useful than the dross found on the bottom of my shoe.

Principal Skinner [speaking at an assembly]: Children, the times they are a-becoming quite different. Test scores are at an all-time low, so I’ve come up with these academic alerts. [hold stack of cards] You will receive one as soon as your grades start to slip in any subject. This way your parents won’t have to wait until report card time to punish you.
Martin: How innovative. I like it!
Kearney: Hey Dolph, take a memo on your Newton: beat up Martin.
[Dolph writes “Beat up Martin” which the Newton translates as “Eat up Martha”]
Bah! [throws Newton at Martin]
Martin: [being bonked on the head with the Newton] Ow!

My gripes with the iPhone go as follows:

1.  $600, I believe, should be more than enough money to cover the cost of the phone without a subscription to the Cingular service, but $600 is the price after the rebate you get for signing up for two years of service.  If anything $600 is too much to pay for an uncontracted 8GB iPod with a few extra features, so how much does it freaking cost without the contract?  This is flagrant fleecing.  In addition to the fleecing being done by Apple, Cingular will be doing plenty of that as well.  Cingular really is the very worst service provider in existence.  Despite their claims, they have the MOST dropped calls, and they charge ridiculous amounts of money for every little “service” they provide.  (i.e. “You pressed the 7 key, that will be $10”)

2.  Steve Jobs is a total bullshitter.  Either that or he is a stupid asshat who doesn’t know what the #### he is talking about.  I tend to think that it is the former.  Steve Jobs is only willing to please his customers in as much as he believes he will get money from doing so.  He only does as much as he has to and no more.  The phone might have some stability problems if it were open-ended, but there is no damn way a poorly written program is going to bring down the entire Cingular network - and this is the Cingular network we’re talking about here!  The biggest piece of #### that ever was.  Come on, Steve.  We aren’t that dumb.  (I hope not anyways)

It’s true that Steve has the right to do whatever he wishes with his iPhone (including shove it up his ###), but we don’t owe it to him to buy his products.  That should only be done if his products meet our demands and desires.  If he can’t meet the demands of the consumers, he isn’t going to make any money.  I believe that what consumers want is an open-ended phone. (it’s what I want anyways)  Users who don’t know how to keep their iPhones from becoming unstable with third-party crap are probably the same people who won’t want to put anything on their iPhones anyways.  Those who actually want third-party software on them are probably smart enough not to risk their $600 investment
by putting random #### they have found in a dark, moldering, smelly corner of the internet.  I don’t want them to divest the phone of full functionality because it is known that a bunch of stupid people are going to be using the device as well.  Yes, let’s punish the competent because if we don’t the incompetent will harm themselves and their phones.

Posted by hoshikunai on January 16, 2007 at 11:51 PM (PDT)

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