Saturday, March 28, 2009

Anything more for iPhone 3.0?

After reading about the iPhone 3.0 last week and summarizing in this post here, I have a feeling that there will be more surprises for this coming WWDC 2009 held from June 8 to June 12.

Well, first of all, very little is said about tethering. It means connecting the iPhone to the desktop for the purpose of Internet access. Most handphones in the market supports tethering. There was only a short mention of it during the private conference held last week, mainly because someone asked about it. I feel that for iPhone 3.0, this is going to be one of the features, with Bluetooth, and maybe even Bonjour support.

Next, I really hope that the iPhone would be sold direct from the Apple store, without contract. There are already rumours that AT&T is preparing for this. Some says that it's to clear old stock for the upcoming new iPhone. In a way, I believe that this is partly the reason. The next reason is that I feel that it makes practically no sense for Apple to restrict the iPhone to certain carriers. Apple can always list out a list of carriers that is compatible with the iPhone, but there is no reason why Apple should restrict it to the selective carriers. The customers should have a choice if they wish to get the device, and just pop in any 3G SIM card.

Last but not least, the iPhone hardware. Unlike some of the rumours on the net, I do not believe that they are going to release a new iPhone based on some new chip that they are developing. Why? There is one very good reason. iPhone 3.0 is available on the 1st and 2nd generation iPhone. As a product developer, you would want to only concentrate on 1 particular platform, especially when you're a new player, and you're adding new features that customers have been bugging for a year. Although the new chip rumoured is also ARM compatible, I do not think that Apple may risk it to launch the hardware with only 1 year of work. It took Apple more than 1 year to plan and migrate from PowerPC to Intel.

However, I do believe that there is new iPhone hardware, and I believe that it should be video call. Yes, that means a camera facing both inwards and outwards. There might be a slight increase in the MP, but I'm not really looking for it. Yes, that means that video may also be enabled for the iPhone, other than just simply taking pictures using the camera.

Actually there is one thing that I learnt from the iPhone 3.0 conference last week. That is although something might appear very simple to the users, it can be very very difficult to do when you're on the other side of the fence. Example, cut copy and paste.

For those people who did ask me, I told them it's going to be quite difficult for Apple to do cut copy and paste on the iPhone based on my experience on the same feature in XCode. If you tried to do copy and paste for the Mac desktop applications, you will understand the difficulty for Apple to port it to the iPhone. The other difficult part is how do you enable this throughout all the applications already deployed, without much coding. Apple managed to nail it after a year. I particularly like the way they handle the copying portion. Kudous to them.

Morale of the story? Do not look down on "simple" features. It might appear very simple to the user, but it may take months of hard work, and a supporting team to make it a reality. Another example will be the Yahoo Mail User Interface (UI). Do you know that it was out in beta since 2005, and it was only launched last year in 2008? I only said beta. How long it was in development? More than 4 years of development to launch a UI that mimics the desktop mail client. Simple UI enhancement? I don't think so.

Well coming back to the iPhone, I hope they can port this cut,copy and paste from the iPhone SDK back to the Mac XCode SDK. This looks like a useful API. :)

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