Monday, August 07, 2006

Of Leopard Mail and iPhones

Brian Lam at Gizmodo writes:
It's the day before Apple's WWDC, and we're dreaming of what goodies Stevie J. will reveal at the keynote. Last week, O'Grady got his O'Hands all O'ver what looks like details of the next revision of OS X, AKA Leopard. Giz took a look at the long-ish post, and sorted out what we thought were the new operating system's five best features. (All speculation, of course. Please don't sue us, Steve.) Apple Rumors: OS X Leopard's Six Best Spots
Personally I'd be happy if Mail in Leopard gets the ability to connect directly to Apple's .mac through WebDav and web browser protocols. Why do I have to copy and paste outgoing messages from Mail to .mac's hopelessly outdated webmail interface just because my employer (or my WiFi hotspot) is blocking IMAP/POP? This is the kind of reason I pay for .mac (or why I might not cancel it). I'm more than a little intrigued by the rumours of a significantly-beefed iChat: If Leopard is going to deliver a proper Apple VoIP solution (it had better work with Skype) then all of the iPhone rumours might not be related to a GPS handset after all. Here's my prediction then: iPhone as a software product (perhaps rolled into iChat, perhaps something else) and an Apple-branded handset for talking. Initially I'd thought it might be Bluetooth to your Mac (Apple might not want to compete in the low-margin computer handset market, though they do make a Bluetooth mouse); now I'm thinking it'll be a WiFi handset with display and integrated functionality (address book, SMS, maybe iSight) and an upgrade to Airport basestations which turns them into simple VoIP phone hubs. I'm not betting on a WWDC launch (it's a consumer product), though I think we'll see a teaser for the telephony features in iChat. We'll see very soon what WWDC brings. I'm betting that Apple takes a very different line in tackling the phone network operators to the one people expect. It won't be head on, at least in the first instance. Every dealing I have with my phone network convinces me more and more that the answer is simply to bypass them for more and more services. My SkypeIn number, voicemail and the SkypeOut service (along with my very sweet Ipevo USB handset) may not deliver the greatest quality or most reliable calls I've ever heard, but it saved me a fortune in Bangkok last month. While it's true that mobile phone design needs a rethink, the bigger problem is the network. My K610i has a functional Blogger client and a workable web browser, but the damn network doesn't want me to see my blog, because it might not work well on a phone sized screen. Sigh.

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