Has Steve Jobs done it again? That’s the million-dollar question today, and opinion is certainly mixed. For one thing, thanks to leaked information and a lost prototype iPhone a while back, yesterday’s announcement of the iPhone 4 at the World Developer’s Conference was only everything we thought it’d be, with few surprises.
“In 2010 we’re going to take the biggest leap since the original iPhone. This is really hot,” said Jobs. But was it really hot enough, and was the leap really enough? The handset looks much like the previous versions, but is actually slimmer while weighing a tad more. More importantly, at least for those who depend on their iPhone for all facets all of their life, the handset should consume less power, in part because sub-components can be switched on and off depending on the need. The internals of the phone, including the Apple iPad’s A4 chip, are where the real magic happens. The new chipset further can do processing a bit faster according to Jobs, while actually consuming less juice.
The handset has also increased the resolution to 960×640, which improves upon past versions. This will come in handy as the built-in camera now features a larger lens and improved sensors for taking higher resolution video and photographs – and notably the iPhone 4 now has a flash. The iPhone also has an added videoconference camera that works with standard VGA resolution, and this can be used with third-party apps.
There was also no surprise that Jobs offered praise to HTML5, a possible next standard computer language that could serve as a technology meant to make Adobe’s Flash technology obsolete. While some would argue that Flash and HTML5 could live together quite well, Jobs has been anti-Flash, so much so that the technology isn’t even supported with the iPad. As for HTML5, Jobs offered that it “is a fully open, uncontrolled platform that is forged and defined by widely respected standards bodies.”
It is interesting in some ways that Jobs would talk about “fully open and uncontrolled” when many complain that the biggest downside to Apple’s iTunes method is about complete control in a closed system.
As for the iPhone 4, the question now comes as to whether some early adopters will have to pay a penalty to obtain one. But AT&T, which for now remains the exclusive carrier of the iPhone, has eased up on its 18-month in-contract for users to be eligible for a discounted handset. This should come as good news to anyone who purchased an iPhone 3GS last year when it came out, and feared they’d have to wait for six months to make the leap to the iPhone 4.
And while there were rumors that AT&T would be dropped as the exclusive carrier, for now it looks like the two As – Apple and AT&T – will remain two peas in a pod.
High-Margin Puts Apple at Most Valuable Technology Company
And speaking of all things Apple, an important milestone in the technology world was recently reached, thanks in no small part to the iPhone and the iPad. Apple has become the world’s most valuable technology company based on the sales of high-margin hardware according to iSuppli Corp. “Apple’s introduction of its latest iPhone today perfectly illustrates the company’s route to corporate dominance: generating huge profit by selling high-margin, high-value-added hardware, with the iPhone’s Average Selling Price at a whopping $600,” said Steve Mather, principal analyst, wireless, for iSuppli. “The company makes the majority of its profit on sales of hardware. This approach defies the often-cited route to success used by many technology companies of selling hardware at low margins and cashing in on revenue generated by high-profit software.”