Perhaps the hottest phone of the year-- even if few have seen it and none may buy it before June 2007, the iPhone gets yet another post here on MTR. We attended Cingular's press conference today which was basically an hour-long iPhone love-fest with Q&A after. Apple's VP of iTunes was supposed to join two Cingular execs but he was sick, so the two Cingular fellows carried the show.
Here's what we learned:
- The phone will ONLY be sold with a contract. No buying it for full retail without a contract extension. If you want it and you're already a Cingular customer, you'll need to extend you contract 2 years. They would not reveal the actual retail cost of the device to give us an idea of what it costs to make the iPhone.
- Apple and Cingular are acutely aware that folks will try hard to unlock the iPhone. They have done their best to create a robust locking system. Apple is pretty good at locking things down, so we'll see.
- It was Apple's decision to allow only 1st party applications (apps developed by Apple but none by 3rd parties). We'll see if Apple sticks to that decision since it puts them behind smartphones on the market which have a nice selection of 3rd party apps on the market.
- Apple and Cingular have been working on the iPhone for 2 years! Apple seems to have called most of the shots, perhaps making them the only manufacturer to "stand up" to a carrier and dictate hardware and software nearly completely.
- The iPhone will be sold at Cingular stores, Apple stores and online at apple.com and cingular.com. Apple controls distribution, so it's up to them as to what other retailers might carry it in the future.
- Cingular and Apple signed a multi-year US exclusivity agreement. That means no other US carrier will be able to offer the phone.
- During those exclusive years, it's likely we'll see more iPhone models.
- Streve Jobs is the king of secrecy. Point in case: until yesterday's MacWorld keynote, only 3 people inside Cingular had seen the phone!
- You will only be able to sync iTunes via USB cable. WiFi might be in the future. Likely we won't see over-the-air syncing because 1) EDGE would be gosh-awful slow 2) Apple might have to share iTunes revenue with Cingular.
-------------------- Lisa Gade Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview