Claiming to have inside knowledge, Digg.com founder Kevin Rose said the Apple iPhone will have a slide-out keyboard, a touch screen, and two batteries — one for the cell phone and one for the music player. Rose also claimed the iPhone will come in two versions, one with a 4-GB drive for $249 and one with an 8-GB
Ah, the iPhone. We presume it plays music. We presume it makes calls. But we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it spawns more rumors and so-called « insider analysis » than any other tech product in recent memory.
The latest chapter in the saga? Digg.com founder Kevin Rose, between gulps from a large unlabeled bottle and more than a few expletives, released several details on the iPhone’s design on a recent episode of his Diggnation vodcast — that is, video podcast.
« What I can tell you is they are truly doing some very unique things, » said Rose. « It’s just gonna be a little different than you think. »
Claiming to have inside knowledge, Rose said the iPhone will have a slide-out keyboard, a touch screen, and two batteries — one for the cell phone and one for the music player, so Britney Spears fans won’t miss a call if they listen too long to « Oops, I Did It Again. »
Rose also claimed the phone will come in two versions, one with a 4-GB drive for $249 and one with an 8-GB drive for $449. His Diggnation performance is now preserved forever — or until Apple demands its removal — on pop culture archive YouTube.
Market Mover or Dud?
Will an iPhone take the market by storm? « The hype is definitely running ahead of itself, » said Avi Greengart, handset expert with Current Analysis. « Unreasonable expectations were a major factor in the Motorola ROKR E1 — the first iTunes phone — not living up to expectations. »
Greengart said he believes that market factors could limit the iPhone’s success, no matter how impressive its design or how large its hard drive. Among these is the fact that many consumers have signed long-term contracts with networks that allow them to switch only by paying a large cancellation fee, often as high as $200.
A second factor is price. « The market dynamics have shifted rapidly over the last 18 months, » said Greengart. « Phones that should sell for $400 unlocked are being subsidized down to $49 with a contract. » Cingular, for one, sells a Samsung phone with a built-in MP3 player, camera, mobile broadband , and more for under $50.
Still, the market has room for an iPhone, said Greengart, in part because most of today’s music phones are hard to use, challenging even the nimblest of fingers. Poor designs, tiny buttons, problems getting music on and off the phone, and an interface that tends to confuse, not clarify, are just some of the competition’s failures that might give Apple an edge.
The bottom line? With its track record of sleek designs that wow even the worst skeptics, Apple could find new customers — and advocates — merely by making things simpler.
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