An iPod with a radio?
Tuesday, September 4, 2007 by Dave Winer.
Tomorrow Apple is going to announce something new, people say it's an iPod of some sort, and there are rumors that its big innovation is that it supports digital radio, with a tie-in to the Apple site that sells music.
I feel that way about the iPhone, it's a chickenshit device, from a company that used to be a daring hell-raiser. Apple, after all, was the first mainstream PC manufacturer to build networking into every box, starting in 1985. I'm not even sure that every Dell sold today comes with networking, no matter, Apple was way ahead of its time, and helped make it inevitable that a new network with storage and computing power at the terminals would exist. The world desperately needed that at the time.
Apple was also the company to break through on wireless networking for PCs. It was eight years ago that the first Airport was released, it was a completely new idea, a long-term bet, and because they had the guts to break through there, we now have widespread wifi as a worldwide standard. I can't use my cellphone everywhere in Europe, but I can use my MacBook.
What if the iPhone didn't come ready to talk to AT&T over the cellular phone network, rather it came ready to work over an EVDO network? What if, like all Macs, it could then make its wifi capability available to all computers in range, wirelessly of course (Windows machines too). And what if there was already a wifi signal, that the iPhone would magically "just work?" And then just leave out the EVDO. Yeah sales would be slow at first, because wifi isn't available everywhere, but then when Apple shipped the Airport there weren't many computers that could use it either. And there were cheaper ways to connect Macs to Laserwriters, but full networking created a powerful platform.
Okay they didn't do it. The iPhone is a nice device. On Entourage last night, Johnny Drama is showing pictures on an old non-iPhone phone. It looked dated. Stylistically the iPhone is a milestone, but technologically it's just a brick.