Apple made some big product announcements today. Three observations:
- Except for the entry-level product, Apple now has video in all its product line: Nano, iPod, iPod Touch and the iPhone.
- Given the new product line, Apple picked an interesting time to send NBC (and the Sci-Fi channel) packing off to Amazon.
- The iPod Touch — an iPhone without the GSM capabilities — is either brilliant or foolish (but given the leverage off the iPhone R&D, it was probably a relatively inexpensive experiment.)
Personally, I find the iPhone Touch most intriguing (although the name is terrible — it’s really an iPhone Lite). It is Apple’s take on the product category of the Nokia N800 WiFi tablet introduced by Nokia in January — a category also being promoted by Intel.
Interestingly, the N800 comes with Skype (unless of course it’s disabled by a carrier). How am I going to make VoIP calls on my iPhone Lite? With Skype via one of the two web-based solutions? With iChat? (Without a microphone, it will need a 3rd party adapter to work with a standard headset).
I wonder if Palm (headed by a former Apple exec) got wind of the iPod Touch and that contributed to canceling the Foleo. Both products are positioned between a smartphone and laptop, but the iPhone Lite is able to leverage off the iPhone’s enthusiastic reviews. Now Palm gets to watch Nokia, Apple and Intel try to establish the new category, and then decide whether it’s worth releasing the rumored Foleo 2 (or just use the new Linux OS for their phones).
iPhone DevCamp notwithstanding, the iPhone and iPhone Lite still badly trail the Nokia (and Intel and promised Palm) products in the ability to add native 3rd party apps. Moving more iPhones to more users (and developers) will either make this weakness so painfully obvious that Apple has to address it, or bring out the ingenuity of developers to deliver useful apps using WebKit.