Another WWDC Steve-Note has come and gone, and my predictions were right in some ways, and totally wrong in others. I’d expected the keynote to be iPhone heavy, but not iPhone only! The fact that OS X 10.6 got no more than a passing mention is a little disappointing. As expected, we got to see lots of cool demos of apps for the App Store, as well as a demo of the new features in the new iPhone 2.0 software. The biggest surprise there was how cheap the new software will be for iPod Touch owners, just $9.95! Unsurprisingly, half the planet was right about there being a 3G iPhone, however I’m pleased to have been wrong about GPS. Mobile Me is roughly what I’d expected, but not all I’d hoped for, the lack if iDisk access from the iPhone is disappointing. The continued lack of any sort of access to files for iPhone apps limits what developers can do with the SDK. Un-surprisingly we didn’t get a BlueTooth keyboard for the iPhone, or a Mac Tablet. The biggest disappointment of all is that iPhone 2.0 software still seems to be missing basic text-manipulation functions like select, cut, copy & paste, and that Notes on the iPhone still don’t seem to sync to anywhere.

[tags]Apple, Steve Jobs, WWDC 2008, WWDC, iPhone, Mobile Me[/tags]

As usual, the Keynote was planned and executed to perfection. I saw it as having three distinct phases, first, wow the CTOs out there in the Enterprise world, then wow the developers, then wow the public. The video at the start served just one purpose, to make it clear to CTOs that the iPhone is enterprise ready. The demo of the SDK was impressive. It was clearly aimed at converting developers who have no experience with programming for the Mac and are not sure if they dare make the jump out of their familiar Java/.Net worlds into XCode and Objective C. The software demos really rammed the point home. Developing on the iPhone is fun and fast and you can make really cool and shiny stuff.

Mobile Me has been very cleverly thought out. Full support for OS X, Windows, and the iPhone as well as a very impressive looking web interface is a good strategy. “Exchange for the Rest of Us” is a very interesting slogan, it’s certainly not aimed at enticing more Mac users to Mobile Me! I positively hate the name and the logo, they both look like something the folks in Redmond would vomit out from a focus group, but if it delivers on it’s promises it will be a good thing. As I’ve explained before, I have no interest in push email because I use IMAP so I already have all the advantages of Push Email without the disadvantage of it demanding my attention each time I get an email. However, I do like the idea of changes to my calendar and contacts being pushed out instantly rather than being delayed until the next time I sync my iPod Touch or my Macs. I use the same calendars on three computers and my iPod Touch, iSync is far from perfect at keeping them in sync, this new system looks like a real improvement. The galleries are just a gimmick to me, but they’ll be of great interest to many others. The iDisk file sharing also looks useful. It just better work as advertised, and of course reliably. .Mac always looked good on paper, it was just the implementation that sucked, lets hope the same is not true of Mobile Me.

Finally, the new iPhone itself. The big news here is the price. None of the rest was really surprising. The rumors were pretty much all correct. It’s ticked all the boxes for the enterprise, it has 3G, and it has GPS. The only thing it’s ‘missing’ is video conferencing, but that’s no loss as far as I’m concerned. What Steve didn’t explicitly say is that the 3G iPhone is an admission that Apple’s unique pricing structure for the first iPhone was a failure. Revenue sharing is gone. The iPhone is now being sold like any other cell phone, as a subsidised handset. No more special treatment, it’s just like any Nokia that the cell companies will sell you. I’m not even remotely sorry to see the revenue sharing model go the way of the dodo.

The price drop changes the game though. Here in Ireland the tariffs remain un-changed but the phone is now subsidized so the 8GB iPhone on the cheapest monthly package now costs only €169. In the US people are not so lucky. They get the phone a lot cheaper but the are having to pay more per month, so according to some news reports, the total cost of ownership over the entire contract has actually gone up. However, the big things is the initial big out-lay, and that’s come right down. I don’t think anyone doubts that Apple can reach their goal of selling 10 million units by the end of 2008 now.

All in all we have a lot to look forward to with the new iPhone OS, the launch of 3rd party apps, the new iPhone, and Mobile Me.