Steven Levy Nails It Again

Apple Computer Is Dead; Long Live Apple

The things you do with an iPhone are familiar to many mobile-device users—e-mail, photography, messages, music, even watching video. But Apple’s relentless focus on simplicity, efficiency, utility and fun makes the iPhone seem a different species than its competitor, something more personal, more approachable and, ultimately, more desirable than anything else out there. The best I can compare it to is the transformation that came when Macintosh popularized the graphical user interface in the computing world, and the cold environment of the digital world suddenly welcomed “the rest of us,” as Apple’s ads put it.

And then there’s this tidbit from Jobs Himself:

“You don’t want your phone to be an open platform,” meaning that anyone can write applications for it and potentially gum up the provider’s network, says Jobs. “You need it to work when you need it to work. Cingular doesn’t want to see their West Coast network go down because some application messed up.”

Still, since the iPhone runs a full version of OS X, the operating system of the Macintosh computer, it’s reasonable to expect the device to take advantage of that power by running lots of applications, even if Apple has to vet them to make sure they won’t compromise the integrity of the network. In the version we saw last week, there aren’t a whole lot—the notable ones include SMS text messaging, the Safari Web browser, e-mail, iPhoto, Google maps and two mini-applications (known as widgets) for weather and stock prices. Jobs says we can expect more apps on the phone by the time it ships in June. (For instance, one might expect the iPhone to allow users to view Word documents, something that the prototype doesn’t do today.)

And this too from The Steve:

To Jobs, the whole issue of what future applications may run on the iPhone, and what billing system it uses, really isn’t the point. The big picture, he emphasizes, is how Apple has delivered what he considers a triumph on the scale of the original Macintosh and the iPod. “[The iPhone] is five years ahead of what everybody else has got,” he gushes. “If we didn’t do one more thing, we’d be set for five years!”

We’re getting rid of television. We’re getting rid of the Command and Control model. I guess it’s now time to get rid of the existing cellcos. Get to it, Silicon Valley!

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