The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

converge on this small iPhone now!

February15

you are probably growing weary of me blogging about technology. and, perghaps Apple and Google, in particular. but, I also know you won’t stop reading my blog because you are building wealth and becoming more interesting at cocktail parties because of the plethora of eclectic information I share with you. just jump on my bus (or even my shoulders), and I’ll carry you the rest of thee way.

…and, I’m more keen than ever around my continuing dialogue relative to emerging trends and convergence. the rest of this post begins to tie together many loose ends.

I’ve hinted at this before. but, a smaller, candy-bar-sized iPhone is going to be a reality. Apple is working on a smaller iPhone that would be about half the size of the current model and cost half as much (and, will be quite a contrast to the Tim Cook era 47″ iMac (you read that first, here). if you can’t believe me, the Wall Street Journal has some what sketchier details. the new phones will come out this summer, says the report. we think we are hearing they will be a refreshed iPhone 4, while the new iPhone 5 (with LTE and NFC as part of iOS 5) pounces into your collective lives.

we saw the prototype of the “new” iPhone, and the device was/ is significantly lighter than the iPhone 4, and had an edge-to-edge screen that could be manipulated by touch, as well as a virtual keyboard and voice-based navigation. it’s starting to look like  Apple might also be planning to upgrade the iPhone 4 for different types of carriers (CDMA, GSM, WIMAX, etc have different design requirements). but, the smaller iPhone is coming just like the iPod evolved into the Nano.

we really like the edge-to-edge screen with a touch interface. it reminded me of the obelisk from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

[youtube]ML1OZCHixR0[/youtube]

I know the obelisk is bigger than a smaller iPhone. but, the impact on “humanity” will likely follow (monkey) suit.

the one possibly coolest new feature might be voice navigation. Apple already offers some rudimentary voice control with the current iPhone, so we don’t know if this voice navigation is something really all that new. and, Google already has it anyway. but, for many reasons, when Apple does something, almost anything, it seems more hip, refined, and cool(er).

here is a key, and where convergence drives deep… disparate and recent reports from Cult of Mac claims indicate that Apple will cut costs on the smaller iPhone in large part by drastically slashing the on-board memory of the device and relying on cloud-based content delivery.

so… with Apple deciding to lose some of the memory, which is by far the most expensive component of the iPhone (up to one-quarter of the device’s cost, according to iSuppli estimates)
, this bring “the cloud” more into the product road-map. so… now by “some” of the memory, perhaps we mean ALL of the memory. The iPhone “nano” is starting to look like it won’t have memory for onboard storage of media. this is what Santi says, anyway. It will have only enough memory to buffer media streamed from the cloud.

“think strictly storage memory,” says Santi.

providing all of this speculation thinking holds true (you have to admit we’re doing a good job here based on a visual and light touch opportunity) the smaller iPhone would pull essentially all of its media through a revamped MobileMe service, reducing the need for significant on-board storage in the same way that the Apple has been able to slash storage on the second-generation Apple TV by shifting to a streaming model.

NOTE: going back to the variable design requirement issue, I think that some on-board storage would clearly be required for the (even upgraded iOS5) operating system itself, and other critical system data, including caching of data handed down from the cloud and perhaps storage of photos and videos taken by the device should it include a camera. but, cloud storage (i.e. Apple’s iDisk) should be able to deal with that, right?

see how it all comes together? Steve Jobs has set the stage for everyone with products that scale in the direction you did not know you had to follow. but you will. do it!

but, there might be some conflicts. we also suspect that such a lean cloud-centric device would not be able to support the App Store, as Apps appear to depend on locally-stored content, and would thus require significant modification to run from the cloud.

but, is this another twist in the road where Apple forces developers to make that work, and Google looks stuck, again?

or… Apple may avoid the potential user interface issues of a smaller, lower-resolution screen by simply not allowing third-party apps at all, and opting to use only built-in apps specifically designed for the smaller screen. that’s what the guys at the Wall Street Journal might think. but, I don’t buy that. given the runaway success of the App platform, it would still be impractical for Apple to shift away from an App Store-focused ecosystem for the new device. mostly because it would detract from the larger device and broader Apple community.

there’s been a lot of speculation for a good while that Apple might move towards cloud-based music sync and services. but, licensing issues must be what’s holding up the debut of the service which we thought was originally planned for 2010. Apple may also add music backup, similar to the feature offered by Lala, which Apple acquired in December 2009, and quietly shut down a few months later. Google has also been working on an online music “locker,” but has run into problems with licensing. in any event, another new part of the MobileMe upgrade that some of the aforementioned articles indicate that users will finally be able to access their iTunes libraries without syncing to their computer. instead, files would be served wirelessly. this means the upgraded MobileMe service would give users access to their iTunes libraries from, say an iPhone or iPad, instead of requiring that the devices be synced by cable with a computer, and use space to store the actual files. this begins to make all the more sense  as the Wall Street Journal also says that Apple may open up (make it free) its MobileMe service, which automatically backs up information like contacts, photos, and videos, to a Web service. Currently, MobileMe costs ninety nine dollars ($99) per year. and, with this new iPone costing about two hundred dollars ($200), that makes the iPhone a problem for Google, and Nokia.

Read between the line…

Steve Jobs has said in the past that wireless sync services would come eventually.

if Apple stays true to form, the new service would only be compatible with the iPhone 4 and go-forward devices. obviously you will want to upgrade, and keep upgrading.

along the convergence (Steve Jobs himself told us: video everywhere and anywhere) Apple recently opened a massive new data center in North Carolina, and is apparently already planning an expansion. this could help it meet capacity needs as millions of new users take advantage of the service. Apple is going to eat Google’s Gingerbread.

peace be to my Brothers and sisters.

brian patrick cork

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brian cork by John Campbell





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