In what has to be one of the worst kept secrets Apple ever had, the new Apple iPhone was announced yesterday. Surprisingly the buzz here at CES about it was less than I expected.
Sure many of the geeks and gadget freaks think it's very cool (I am in this group) and it may be the first device that really brings a rich Internet experience to mobile devices and the idea of Web 2.0 to a mobile phone, but by only being EDGE, not UMTS or HSPDA ready, the speeds are pokey. My experience with EDGE on Cingular was far less exciting than an EvDO experience on Sprint or Verizon so given Apple's bleeding edge approach to graphics I would have hoped for more.
Also surprisingly Apple made no noise about iChat functionality on the phone. I would have loved to have seen a real integration between SMS and iChat so somehow someone missed the boat here, or maybe none of the coverage has focused on that.
What I do like is the fact that it is OS X based which means many of the applications that work on the Mac can likely be easily ported. Given Apple must have won a bloodbath to get WiFi on the iPhone (the Nokia E62 was "castrated" by Cingular unfairly) it would not be a stretch to see GizmoProject ported over or Skype in time for the mid-year delivery of the iPhone. In my book both companies would do well having their softphones up and ready by then.
Given the success of the iPod and an audience that wants a more feature rich, easier to use mobile phone, Apple may have a hit on their hands, one that will only get better over time and with higher speed on the data side...then again, the Cingular Network is still being built out so that may explain the EDGE choice for now.
Update: Irwin Lazar has some very good insight about what the iPhone means, or doesn't mean, to the Enterprise market and how the new Apple offering may or may not impact the others who are already there.
I'm also rather keen on Imran Ali's comments about openness over at O'Reilly's Emerging Telephony blog.