03
Aug
06

Is this the Apple iPhone?

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Those kids at Engadget are amazing. (Well, this time, maybe it’s their connections that are amazing.) The Mac community is known for having a cult of mock-up products — fan art disguised as a new Mac product or advertisement. Sometimes it’s completely clear that it’s a fake. Sometimes the lines of reality are blurred a bit until we see what Apple releases later in the year.

For a few years now the Internet has been buzzing with rumors of the possibility of an Apple branded phone. The rumors have been getting stronger lately. Yesterday, Engadget posted this photo of an advertisement for the new phone. Sure it’s grainy and I’m sure given Photoshop and this schematic, someone with a bit of talent can whip this up in a few hours. But something makes me think this might not be faked. The image of the phone looks sorta real. The ad itself is classic Apple. If this is indeed a fake, the Apple advertisers in Cupertino need to call that man and give him a job.

Many are saying that the phone is nothing more than someone taking the Apple Front Row remote control and photoshopping it by adding a screen and buttons. Well, we’ll find out at the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC). Apple holds the WWDC each year as a gathering of developers and where Apple assists developers in working with OS 10 and occasionally releases upgrades or makes new announcements. The conference is schedule to begin on Monday (August 7). At the conference, most are anticipating the announcement of an Intel Core2Duo-based PowerMac (perhaps renamed the “MacPro”?) There have also been rumors of a revised iPod (but I’m thinking they’d hold on to that until later in the year.) Now I’m hearing more and more about this phone.

People have dubbed me an Apple “fanboy”, but I think this should kill it once and for all — I’m not in love with that phone. There would have to be some huge functionality that I’m not able to see from the photo to make me consider it down the road. If this is the phone, I don’t think it’s aimed at mobile phone users. It looks like a phone you might use for Skype or iChat voice calls perhaps. But not as a stand-alone competing-with-Nokia-and-Motorola mobile phone. At least I hope not. If this is aimed at mobile phone users, don’t expect to see me carrying one of these. As a matter of fact, unless the design was that of a SmartPhone, I doubt I’d be interested at all. I don’t see how a company like Apple could make a phone that doesn’t have PC-like functionality. (When I say “PC” here, not talking about Wintel PCs — just all personal computers.)

On the other hand, if this is a phone to be used in an 802.11 network for iChat calls…. well, perhaps that might have some use. Not saying I’m buying one…but perhaps there’s some use. You’d be able to take a phone anywhere in the house without lugging around a hot MacBook/MacBook Pro. Perhaps have video chat calls? I dunno. We’ll see how the community responds if this is in fact the phone, but I think the response is going to be pretty lukewarm.

Totally off topic, but this is an excellent example to dispel the rumor that all Mac loyalists are fanboys. There are several products released that many brand loyalists wouldn’t touch. Nobody liked the G4 Cube. The first iBook was cheap in price, but thick and clunky. Nobody’s digging the new iPod Hi-Fi. (Who wants their iPod sticking out of the top of a device?) As a matter of fact, I think even Apple knows that the iPod Hi-Fi is a flop — if you go to the main store link it’s nowhere to be found, but they are featuring the attractive Bose Sound Dock, now offered in black.  And on a few posts I’ve been talkin’ trash about the new Bluetooth Mighty Mouse. I might be alone, but just being able to objectively judge these products (and in some cases call them crap) separates objective brand loyalists from fanboys. Real fanboys would be reading their mobile phone agreements now to see how much they’d have to pay to get out of their contract so that they could get the new phone.

I think there’s a huge contingent of non-Mac uses who quietly envy the close-knit following that the Mac community has. Mac envy. Those are your real fanboys. Discounting devices they haven’t tried. But that’s a different post altogether.

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