January 10th, 2007
I have to get to bed as soon as I can (it's after 2 am here in Tokyo), so I might actually miss out on the last part of the keynote... but for me, it won't matter too much, as I'll just wake up and see it then. But so far, the MacWorld Expo Keynote is showing good news. And Wall Street seems to expect good news--even before the keynote started, Apple stock was up more than $2, and it's still rising moment by moment. I wonder what it'll do when the Apple phone is announced. The news so far: contrary to a prior "study", iTunes Store sales are not slowing down. They have gone up, rather sharply in fact, with more than 2 billion total tracks sold, 5 million more sold each day. 50 million TV shows sold. That's not too shabby at all. And finally Steve announced a new studio signing on for movie sales--that would be Paramount--although many expected more studios to be signing on as well. Then there's less-than-stellar news, about the Apple TV (formerly "iTV"), with the expected WiFi-n superfast streaming from up to 5 computers in the house. TV shows, movies, music, pictures can all be streamed through to your TV and stereo system, temporarily residing on the Apple TV's 40 GB hard drive. But that's it. The ability to stream wirelessly from computers to your entertainment system. No rental-movie scheme. I don't get it. Why spend $300 on that? Apple stock just dropped $2! They must agree with me that the iTV is a bust. But now Steve has dropped a bombshell: he announced the widescreen, touch-controlled iPod, the iPhone, and a third "Internet communications device" all in one swoop! Edit: it looks like they are all the same machine. First, the iPhone (yes, "iPhone"): it uses an intelligent, next-generation touch-screen interface. It runs OS X. The screen displays 160 pixels per inch, 11/16ths of an inch thick, proximity sensor (to tell if it is near your face), orientation sensor to tell if it is held in portrait or landscape mode, 2 MP camera built in. And an iPod, of course--as well as just about everything else on OS X. Beautiful interface. Photos shamelessly ripped off from Engadget. Apple stock just jumped $2.50. And rising. The iPhone is a "quad-band GSM + EDGE phone," whatever that means. It has both WiFi and Bluetooth 2.0 (eat that, Zune!). And yes! It has a keyboard interface that makes sense! No more hitting a numeric key seven times to produce a single letter! I am getting one of these babies! The Zune is now officially dead. No way it can overcome this. The iPhone uses Safari (excellent web surfing, with zoom feature), widgets, Google Maps (including satellite images), POP3 and IMAP email, WiFi and "EDGE" networking (EDGE gets up to 384 Kbps Internet connection). Photo gallery, all sorts of software... this is like a mini-computer. [Holy crap--unless someone's playing a gag on me, John Varley just left a comment in a past entry. What a night!] Apple's stock is flying--up $4.12 for the day so far, rose $2 in the past ten minutes--after Steve checked it on the iPhone and it was at $2.43. A month ago, when Kevin Rose speculated that the iPhone would sell for $250 (4GB) and $450 (8GB), I wrote: "Frankly, I don't know about paying $450 for a cell phone; it'd have to be pretty goddamned spectacular." Well, it's pretty goddamned spectacular. And I would drop the cash for one right now. More: Bluetooth means you can use Bluetooth accessories, like wireless headset. 16 hours battery life for audio, 5 hours using the video screen/phone. And here's the price: more than expected, it's $500 for 4GB, $600 for 8GB. Still well worth it. The first bad news: due to FCC and other regulatory roadblocks, it won't come out until June. I was just about to type that I know what I'm gonna get for my birthday... when I saw that it won't be out in Asia until 2008. Damn!!! This will be one device I will know the most about and anticipate more than anything else... and still will have to wait a year or more before I can get one. Argh. I just realized that the 2 hours are nearly up and Leopard hasn't even been mentioned yet. If there's more, it'll have to wait. I gotta get to bed. Good night.