updated 02:10 pm EST, Wed January 10, 2007
iPhone Details and Doubts
The flurry of initially positive press regarding Apple's new iPhone may hide substantial flaws that could undermine the handset's long-term success, according to multiple ZDNet editors. Writing in his blog, Jason O'Grady notes that a combination of using GSM and an exclusive Cingular deal may seriously damage the roaming abilities of the phone outside of North America by shutting out CDMA users and easier access to international roaming through unlocked SIM cards.
"This phone will not work in Japan because it does not support [WCDMA]," O'Grady reports a friend as saying. "A contract with Cingular [also] implies it will be SIM-locked. Frequent international travellers rely on the ability to purchase a local SIM card in the destination country."
Read through for concerns about the iPhone's target audience and the processor likely at the heart of the device.
Criticism is also being leveled against Apple for its apparent neglect of software support, which may further isolate the iPhone from greater adoption. Although "push" e-mail is present in the device as presented by Jobs during yesterday's MacWorld keynote, it lacks the business-level support that drives many people to existing phones, writes ZDNet's Larry Dignan. "Let's face it, there are many BlackBerry and Windows Mobile smartphones in the market because of corporate ties," he says.
Owners should similarly be warned of inherent vulnerabilities in the design, says Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, who points to the giant touchscreen as an almost certain weak point liable to crack or suffer scratches. The author references Apple's tendency towards beautiful designs over pragmatism. "History shows us that this [emphasis] hasn't always meant creating a product robust enough to put up with regular usage" the editor says, referring to the damaged screens and scratch-prone surfaces of the original iPod nano. He warns of possible fallout as owners tied to two-year Cingular contracts may be forced to use heavily scratched iPhones until their agreements expire.
ZDNet columnist John Spooner, by contrast, says he may have resolved the mystery of the unnamed Intel processor known to be inside Apple's handheld. Contributing his own report, Spooner observes that Intel has previously announced an enhanced 65-nanometer manufacturing process, named P1265, that would bring down the power consumption of Intel's most efficient processors to as low as 2.5 watts, catering to the stringent demands of a cellphone environment. Spooner raises the likelihood that the iPhone CPU is a single-core, ultra low-voltage edition of the Core Solo using the P1265 process to achieve its goals. UPDATE: Apple and Intel have jointly denied statements that the iPhone will use an Intel CPU, according to statements given from both companies to Reuters.