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Apple's Smart Phone Depends on OS X Tie-Ins 260

anaesthetica writes "According to AppleInsider, Apple is not only working on a cellphone + mp3 player iPhone, but is working on a second model designed to be a smart phone, highly integrated with Mac OS and .Mac. The smart phone has gone through several iterations, as the notoriously demanding Mr. Jobs ordered the elite team working on the phone to redesign and re-engineer their prototypes. Capabilities are reported to include Front Row interface, syncing contacts and iCal with .Mac, "call ahead", iChat video conferencing integration, WiFi, and a slide-out keyboard. Too good to be true?"
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Apple's Smart Phone Depends on OS X Tie-Ins

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  • What!? (Score:2, Funny)

    The smart phone can't wipe my arse and spoon-feed me too?

    No sir, I DON'T LIKE IT!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Well, they're working on it. The first prototype would wipe your mouth and spoon-feed your arse, so Jobs sent the designers back to the drawing board.
    • by Lars T. ( 470328 )

      The smart phone can't wipe my arse and spoon-feed me too?

      No sir, I DON'T LIKE IT!
      Actually, yes it can - but the wiping isn't wireless.
  • by 8127972 ( 73495 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @01:46PM (#17132808)
    .... appears to be taking a page out of the M$ playbook and tying the device tightly to the OS to drive OS X sales. One would hope that he is also smart enough to have the phone be usable to users of Windows & *INX without hopping though hoops to do it.
    • by IANAAC ( 692242 )
      appears to be taking a page out of the M$ playbook and tying the device tightly to the OS to drive OS X sales.

      So what? If sales end up being so dismally low with Mac-only integration, they'll open it up to Windows users as well, much like they did with iTunes. Apple is every bit as proprietary as Microsoft. Let 'em do what they want, but ultimately the shareholders will decide.

    • is buying into a rumour that's going even farther than the long-time rumour-mill favourite iPhone - which has yet to show up.
    • Huh? Tightly integrating it with OSX does not drive sales of OSX. People buying Macs buy the OS with the computer either way. If anything he is trying the reverse -- have OSX drive sales of the phone. In that regard it might benefit him to include a good Windows application to support the phone as well.
      • by LKM ( 227954 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @03:29PM (#17134884) Homepage
        I think the idea would be that a great phone that only works with Macs helps Mac sales. It's like an additional feature for Mac users.
      • Really?? Did you buy a copy of OS X last time you bought a smart phone? No? Then I think that selling a license of OS X with every one of these phones sold would certainly boost OS X's sale numbers. If someone who deosn't own a Mac buys one of these phones, they wouldn't have bought a copy of OS X anyways. And even if they did already own a Mac with OS X, that menas they have then bought 2 licenses. How exactly is that not driving sales of OS X?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by winomonkey ( 983062 )
      I think that he is very smart in offering a Mac-only device. First off, there is a definite need for a nice smartphone that ties in with the full world of Apple. I personally don't know a lot about the lack of devices, as I am still using ol' Windows, but some of my Mac friends have griped about it. So, there is a market need, then a delivery of a product.

      Secondly, Apple has become known for sexy design. Most people, even if it is begrudgingly, will admit that their products are very sleek and very simp
  • A phone I can plug a usb cable into and drop pictures/sounds/contract directly from my computer.

    A nice easy interface to do this with.

    Stop dollaring us to death when we want a picture or a ring tone that we create.

    If it can have music as well, bonus.

    IT would be neat if it used the same connection as the iPod
    • not a new phone.

      When the US Cellular shackles are removed from me, I'm going to jump to cingular []. I'd have considered Verizon, as their overall coverage in my area is the best of any provider, but I just can't handle the crippling they put on their hardware.

      (No, I'm not a shill for cingular - I'm not even a customer yet. Yes, it's the second time I've linked to an 8525...what can I say, I think it's a cool pda/phone)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by e4g4 ( 533831 )
        Fortunately, if you get one of the palm os powered treos (whatever you're opinion is of the Palm OS), it's totally hackable, even on Verizon. I've enabled bluetooth DUN on mine (verizon "locks" you out of that), and naturally, since it's a pda, ringtones are a piece of cake. The only thing I've not yet managed to unlock is the Network settings, so no wifi module for me (yet). At any rate, my Treo 650 has allowed me to be the free-est (as in speech) with my phone of any of the 8 years of Verizon phones I'
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Overzeetop ( 214511 )
          That's interesting about the DUN reactivation. I don't suppose you can do GPS over bluetooth and/or pair multiple devices simulataneously (laptop, headset, gps)?

          I'm not for or against palm, as long as I can sync to something with a calendar and contact list.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by e4g4 ( 533831 )
            I do believe you can do GPS syncing over bluetooth, IIRC there are a number of products out there that come with Palm software. As to pairing multiple devices simultaneously, I've honestly never tried - generally when I'm using the laptop, that's my mode of communication, and when I don't have my laptop I use my treo, and I've yet to find a bluetooth headset in my price range that I actually want. However, given Palm OS's less than great support for multitasking, it may not work flawlessly if it does at all
            • You can pair a headset simultaneously with other devices. I don't know that you can pair with two devices when neither is a headset. I imagine the need to do that would be pretty rare, though. Bluetooth in the Treo 650 is strong enough that I can sync with my PC halfway across the house, which is about 70 feet. Well, it's either that strong in the Treo or in the Belkin USB Bluetooth dongle (which is sadly plagued with shitty driver software that WILL destabilize your machine ... made by Widpro or somebody l
          • by e4g4 ( 533831 )
            And yes, calendar and contact sync (and just about any other kind of syncing) work like a charm via bluetooth.
      • while I have always have had cingular they are nearly as bad as verizon.

        I think t-mobile has the better setup and prices. but I haven't used their service so I don't know for certian.
        • T-mobile cripples their phones too. On my Nokia, unsigned midlets can't access any network stuff so no e-mail clients and the like. Their "t-zones" service is severely limited, once in a blue moon I can actually get to my gmail account via WAP, but certainly not the Google Maps or Gmail clients Google released as the necessary ports are all blocked (and the above 'unsigned midlet' crap). Nope, I've learned my lesson. All future phones I buy are gonna be unlocked & from a 3rd party.
        • I have no doubt that cingular's customer service is absolutely abyssmal. In fact, I think all the major providers are tied for last place. I have USCC, and they are absolutely the pits. The best info I've heard is that the 8525 that cingular is selling (a customized version of the HTC TyTn) is not crippled in functionality in any way except that the cingular version of the phone does not have a video-phone camera facing the user or the video-call button. Since I don't have any need for a video phone (appae
    • by spectral ( 158121 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @01:52PM (#17132944)
      Stop using verizon. My phone uses bluetooth (no cable involved) and windows treats it like a file system (IBM/Lenovo laptop) that I can browse and move stuff to/from the phone whenever I want. Mac OS X uses the bluetooth file transfer utility, and I think you have to do that if you're using a non-IBM/lenovo laptop as well (or an IBM/Lenovo laptop without their bluetooth stack). I use Cingular. Most GSM phones are the same. Verizon is the only one to cripple their bluetooth so badly, that I know of.
      • by geekoid ( 135745 )
        That includes the ringtone?

        And if so, what files does it play for ringtones?

        I ahve asked several stores about this, and they all said no. This include cingular.

        • My Motorola V600, from T-Mobile, does all this. To make a ringtone just copy the desired mp3 via bluetooth into the audio folder. Wallpapers go into another folder.

          It's all straightforward - I think I had to deal with endian issues in the mp3; that was the only hangup.
          • Yeah, any motorola bluetooth phone will let you do this. HOWEVER the functionality CAN be locked out. For GSM phones, like T-Mo, this is easy to hack back on. Go look at or on howardforums motorola for "triplets" hacking. I just sold a V555, which is basically a V600 without colored ring lights (and is also known as a V551 in other parts of the world.) Or I should say, I'm selling one. It's on fleabay now. The one on ebay is upgraded with the flash, I got a full additional da
        • by jZnat ( 793348 ) *
          Well, the ringtones from Cingular are MP3 files. Specifics: 22.05 kHz, 2-channel, 48 kb/s.

          Yes, they're not even DRM'd! You can't transfer bought stuff using the phone, but if you transfer files from/to your phone via your computer, you're able to get the files.
        • I can't speak for EVERY phone, but of the three phones I've owned with bluetooth, you can upload audio files and use them as ringtones. I don't remember what audio files I could use on my Nokia 3660, but between my S-E s710 and RAZR (hate the phone) I could use MIDI, MP3, and I assume WAV as ringtones. It's going to depend on your phone though. Chances are, unless it is severely crippled or really old, you'll be able to play some standard audio type. I'm sure you could write the company or check a publi
        • On my Verizon phone (Motorola e815), they limit you to only using sound files (mp3 and wav, I believe) that are stored in the phone's memory as ringtones. You can copy sound files to an SD card via a data cable and play them on the phone, but they disable the ability to use them as ringtones (because they are not on the internal memory). Also, they disable the ability to transfer these files from the SD card to the phone's memory, effectively locking out the ability to set them as your ringtone. If you
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by javaxjb ( 931766 )
        You're correct. I make a BlueTooth connection to my (Cingular) Motorola RAZR and can drag and drop files between the devices. I downloaded an MP3 edit and take snippets of music to make ring tones (even via iTunes by burning the song(s) to CD, converting to MP3 and back to the phone -- Hello ST:TOS theme). And OS/X iSync recognize the phone and syncs my Calendar and Address Book (I set up a smart list in the address book to sync only those contacts I wanted on the phone).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pauljlucas ( 529435 )
      Unfortunately, at least in the US, the wireless providers have a stranglehold on phone manufacturers. If the providers don't like your phone because it cuts into their profits, they will neither offer it for sale nor allow it to be activated on their network. AFAIK, only GSM customers have choice due to SIM cards, but the top two providers in the US use CDMA technology (which doesn't use SIM cards or any equivalent).
    • Re:Nokia 9300 (Score:3, Informative)

      by mpapet ( 761907 )
      A phone I can plug a usb cable into and drop pictures/sounds/contract directly from my computer.

      I'm pretty sure my nokia 9300 does that. It has a very handy mmc slot too so I back up the system state and transfer it for safe keeping. I don't know if the nokia software is an "easy" interface, but it's okay. Runs the symbian OS and some j2me apps work well.

      You can make your own ringtones too. Just transfer them as an mp3 onto the phone and you are good to go.

      My understanding is this phone isn't very popul
      • by geekoid ( 135745 )
        I talked to a rep about that with this very model, they said I couldn't do that.hmm..

        OTOH I had to spend 10 minutes with her just to get her to understand what I wanted and why I wanted it.

        • are you sure they said it couldn't be done, or ... "you're not allowed to do that" :) they are trained to tell you that you can only do what they want you to do on their networks.
        • by mpapet ( 761907 )
          I don't think she understood.

          I just found the application that turns the phone into a "universal" remote control too. I thought it was out there because of the IRDA support, I just didn't go looking until now.

          There is an oog/mp3 player for it on sourceforge too. But, on my phone it appears something about the symbian OS version breaks the application.

          If unlocking the phone wasn't frowned upon a million different ways I'd say that's your best bet. Of course I wouldn't know about those things because I fol
      • by benedict ( 9959 )
        I have a 9300. The software is awfully flaky. It has its good points, but I'd never buy one again.
    • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @02:09PM (#17133298)
      I want an acceptable mobile browser (much like the proxied browser that the T-mobile Sidekick has). I don't want to have to scroll around the screen to see the entire thing and I don't want it formatted to look like ass. I certainly do not want WAP. I want to see the web page, as it was intended, on my device -- just smaller.

      I want an adequate QWERTY keyboard. The Treo is not acceptable. The first few iterations of the T-mobile Sidekick SK -> SK2 were good. The new individual keys of the SK3 are not as good but remain superior to the Treo.

      I want it to have wifi, GPRS and EDGE (or whatever advanced radio networking they have on other providers), as well as the ability to tether for free. I don't see why I should be paying higher rates because I have it hooked to a computer.

      I want it to work with all OSs. I don't want to be tied to one or the other.

      It should be available as a USB mass storage device and not require anything other than a USB cable.

      The applications should be easy to use, understand, and modify to work regardless of provider.

      It will remain a dream.
      • by geekoid ( 135745 )
        I have zero desire to look at web pages from a phone.
        These days I have very little desire to look at a webpage on my computer!

    • i do all of that with my Sony Ericsson z520 that i got for free from cingular. It does not have USB, just bluetooth (i like it better that way), but beyond that i can do everything you say in your post. It works like a disk with the OSX when i connect with bluetooth. The only issue i have with it is that i does not have a SD slot or any kind of expansion for additional Mp3s.
      • by Hao Wu ( 652581 )
        You are foolish to let this slip. Now thieves know you have a good phone and are wealthy enough to buy pricy calling plan.
    • I would add one stoopid feature - a FLASHLIGHT!

      Seriously - nothing fancy - just a single, white, LED bulb with a button on the side of the phone where I could dig for the keys I just dropped without having to grope like Mr. McGoo in the dark.

      I'm asking for $0.10 for this feature, and would happily throw $20 at it just to not have to look for a !@#@! flashlight in a pinch.
    • A crapload of phones will let you do this now, although not with contacts. Personally I'm a motorola guy, as lame as the interface is it's better for me than the Nokia phones and I refuse to buy a Sony anything anymore. I now have a RAZR V3i; it's got much better reception than prior RAZRs, almost as good as my V555 (which is selling on fleabay right now) and more importantly it's got a MicroSD slot (up to 1GB, I have 512MB) and a Mini-USB connection. The link is very slow but you can switch the phone to m

    • A phone I can plug a usb cable into and drop pictures/sounds/contract directly from my computer.

      A nice easy interface to do this with.

      My Motorola Razr does that. The interface is proprietary, but it works well. The only moderately lame parts are the update and detection routines which seem designed to be teenager proof. Synchs or drag and drop from Outlook Contact and Calendar is dead easy. It also works with Outlook Express and Lotus Notes. You can also drag and drop photos, sounds, ringtones, etc. The software interface comes with a moderately OK tool to do some basic sound extraction and ringtone creation if you have nothing els

    • IT would be neat if it used the same connection as the iPod

      Let me get this straight... you want more vendor lock-in?
    • Best thing in the world. As others have said, the RAZR has a standard mini-USB port, so connection is real easy. MotoPhoneTools lets you move pictures back and fourth, use any MP3 as a ring tone, synch your contacts, and also back up the contents of the phone. Another sweet feature is that the gui for the program is basically your phone. it comes up in the corner of the screen, and not only that, but all your normal phone features are acessible through your computer. You can make calls with a mic and speake
    • Most late-model Nokia phones do this already: the Nokia phone becomes a shell extension and you can access the phone memory/flash card/sim card as folders. Drag and drop works too. I am not saying it's perfect or bug free, but it's here, now, on pretty inexpensive phones (say the 6xxx series).
    • You can basically do that with a Mac and a Motorola Razr (probably a lot of other phones as well), although using Bluetooth instead of USB.

      Unfortunately the phones don't present themselves as Mass Storage devices over USB -- don't ask me why -- but they use the standard profiles on Bluetooth. That means you can shuffle photos/videos/sounds to and from the phone, using only the Mac's built-in software.

      It's dead simple, and in fact quite a bit easier than doing the same thing on the PC (where you need to inst
  • by abes ( 82351 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @01:57PM (#17133044) Homepage
    It's not like the rumor is exactly new. There is the claim by a company that they received manufacturing orders from Apple, as well as other claims from the rumor-mill (e.g. Kevin Rose's claim that his friend at Apple has a 4GB and a 8GB phone).

    I remember when buying my Macbook Pro there were all sorts of rumors not to buy one. That there would something to be shortly released that would supersede it (of course, at the time, the only thing that could be cooler was a iTablet). People claim that Apple enjoys these rumors, though I have to imagine to some extent it hurts their sales. Some speculate it is a good way for them to figure out what the public wants. Others that it is simply subterfuge to hide their real activity from their competitors.

    I give this rumor *some* credence simply because it seems like the hardware is already there. It's not that large of a stretch of an imagination to think of a Nano being put together with a cell phone -- much like how many cell phone companies are putting ipod like devices with their cell phones. Which means the big question is whether Apple actually *wants* this. My suspicion is that easier access to the iTunes store is probably a large incentive to them.

    Personally the iPhone isn't that appealing to me. If the only extra functionality I get from it is that it takes less space, I think I'll pass. However, as far as the iPDA -- that is something I'd want. The iPod already has a large HD (80GBs anyone?), a processor capable of playing music, games, doing calendaring, etc. Is it that big a of a stretch that it should be able to maybe do email? Maybe surf the web? Heck, if Opera can make a web browser for cell phones and DS, it's hard to see why not.

    The big catch seems to be the input device. It's not clear how Apple feels about a stylus. However, things like the Blackberry seem to do well with just a keyboard and a scroll wheel. Sound familiar?

    Also, please, really, PLEASE, if this does come true, don't make us subscribe to .mac. It's not like I can actually afford the iPDA .. forcing me to pay a monthly subscription for owning a piece of hardware is too much.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by johnpaul191 ( 240105 )
      there was a table communicator prototype of the Apple Newton. one prototype that was never built but has been photographed and is somewhat documented. it's in the book of Apple design over the years.

      as for .Mac integration.... *most* OS X features that require .Mac have been worked around in the past. i can't imagine it would be a dealbreaker kind of thing with the phone. when you consider the number of Mac users, and then take the subset that have .Mac, then take the subset that would buy an iPhone (for wh
    • forcing me to pay a monthly subscription for owning a piece of hardware is too much.

      So you do not have a cell phone?

  • with iCal integration? Shit, the only thing I'm worried about it whether I'll be able to sell enough plasma to afford two of them.
  • by Scothoser ( 523461 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @02:09PM (#17133282) Homepage

    This is interesting, considering the Leopard release of iCalendar Server for OS X Server v. 10.5. Granted it talks about .mac integration now, but as long as it can sync with other iCalendar software (iCal Server, Google Calendar, Yahoo Calendar, etc.), the product becomes that much more impressive. That alone will be good news for current Mac users that want to have direct calendar updates without the hassle of syncing their calendar.

    The other thing I liked was the mention of iChat Video Conferencing from the handset to a PC. That's something I have wanted with the Pocket PC for ages, and even various video phones. They have a camera, why couldn't they do video conferencing? With 3G wireless networks and phones that can take advantage of it, the technology is finally in place. That would make the iPhone worth it for me alone.

    I had been trying to get cell-phone free for the past two years, and it looks like Apple is going to make that harder for me with this release.

    • by E-Lad ( 1262 )
      I imagine that this phone would support CalDAV [], as that is being touted as a new iCal feature in the forthcoming Leopard release of OSX. The iCalendar Server you mention is based around CalDAV. Theoretically, since Apple is making CalDAV a central theme with their iCal client and in their server, I can only assume that this smartpdaphone would be a CalDAV client as well, and thus be able to interface with other calendaring servers which support CalDAV.
    • The question (for the rest of the world) is whether it will work with *any* iCal program. Windows Calendar (Vista) and, I believe, Outlook 2007 calendar are iCal compatible (for real, this time) and can publish and sync with other iCal software. If this phone could do that, they have a larger market possibility. There have been phones and even calendar watches that sync with Outlook, but for the home users that often don't even run Outlook (and for those to whom the stigma of Outlook's early days still turn
    • es/podcastproducertop20060807.png []

      And I don't think it's a ROKR in the picture... hmm...
  • What would truly be wonderful is if they figured out a way to get it to tie back into any VoIP arrangement you may already have at home. Real VoIP (plugging in a Vonage black box doesn't count) is still the domain of hackers, at least in the SOHO market. Apple has the talent and the marketing skills to really kick it to the next level.
    • Real VoIP (plugging in a Vonage black box doesn't count) is still the domain of hackers, at least in the SOHO market. Apple has the talent and the marketing skills to really kick it to the next level.

      You mean like, uh, Vonage has?
  • 3rd party apps? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    First of all if Apple is going to make a smart phone they have a lot of cathing up to do with Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and other big mobile phone manufacturers. There are a lot of things that go into a mobile phone. It's not as simple as an mp3 player. For example what radio technologies will the phone support? GSM, CDMA, WCDMA, HSDPA...

    With smart phones one of most important thing for me is 3rd party apps. A smart phone is not much of use if there are no apps for it. Other manufacturers already have operat
  • by network23 ( 802733 ) * on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @03:13PM (#17134576) Journal

    Apple will follow their usual model:

    One axis with consumer (think MacBook, iMac, iPod nano)
    One axis with prosumer (think MacBook Pro, MacPro, iPod video)

    In all squares good, better, best
    (Think MacBook White 2x1.83, White 2x2, Black 2x2)
    (Think iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, iPod Video)

    Same for the phones,

    iPhone small and inexpensive
    iPhone nano/macbook
    iPhone pro

    My guess is that the mid version iPhone (nano/MacBook) will be first to be released and at a premium price (like $400 with no contract). After 4 months the iPhone (pro) will be released at a slightly higher premium price (like $500 with no contract) and the mid version iPhone (nano/MacBook) will be reduced to $250 and "one more thing" the youth low end model iPhone (small and inexpensive) will be released like the Nokia 3-series for $149 with no contract.

    ...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

    - - - []
  • by hamsterboy ( 218246 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2006 @07:14PM (#17138578)
    AppleInsider also keeps saying that Apple is working on a Tablet Mac, which presumably is a TabletPC-esque convertible Macbook which uses Ink Services and handwriting recognition.

    I work as a software engineer at Wacom Technologies. If Apple were going to make such a device, they would be using our hardware, and likely some of our software. They have not, so there is likely no such project. AppleInsider is posting items from their wishlist.

    -- Hamster

BLISS is ignorance.