A Horrible Thought: What If The iPhone Is Just … A Phone?

I’d like the iPhone to offer some of the things that have become almost conventional with other phones: personally, the ability to do word processing and pair with a Bluetooth keyboard.

But I’m not sure that is ever going to happen.

The iPhone offers a revolutionary weightless scroll. What would happen if a word processing program was plopped into it? Suddenly, that weightless scroll would be an irritant! Not being a code jockey — and even not yet having an iPhone — I have to wonder if the weightless scroll is a feature built into the iPhone’s flavor of OS X. And if so, if that would mean any possible WP program for it would involve creating a conventional “weighted” scroll built-into the software itself, overriding the existing API. (Just as PalmOS WP programmers have had to devise their own file formats to get around the built-in limitations of text file length.)

As for pairing with a Bluetooth keyboard…

First, you just know Apple would want a piece of that hardware action. No way in hell will Steve Jobs permit the luscious aesthetics of the iPhone to be ruined by having it seated next to a fugly keyboard. Apple would have one of its own ready for sale. And it’d probably be the only Bluetooth keyboard that would work with an iPhone. (Aside from the lock-in factor, an Apple keyboard would probably have special keys to access on-screen controls otherwise activated by finger touch.)

Second, I’m beginning to suspect that Jobs has an Ace up his sleeve and is therefore very disinclined to expand the functionality of the iPhone in ways that would make it an ersatz notebook. If my hunch is right, we will never, ever see Bluetooth pairing with a keyboard (at least from Apple).

I am on the verge of believing that come next MacWorld Expo, not only will there be an iPhone 2.0 announced, but Apple will also announce some sort of mini tablet device that would fit between the iPhone and notebook product lines. If this is going to be so, then Apple wouldn’t want to “pre-cannibalize” sales from a future product. The last thing Jobs wants is to introduce such a product and have people react with, “Eh. I can do most of that stuff on my iPhone already. I don’t have to spend more money.” (A reaction not unlike that given to the Palm Foleo.)

It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few weeks and months. If Apple will indeed do a customized Bluetooth keyboard for the iPhone, I think it will be released just in time for Back To School sales. Think of all those college kids snapping it up for taking notes in class. (Ah, yes, college kids! Keep them in mind, Steve Jobs. Wouldn’t the iPhone be insanely great for electronic textbooks?)

One Response to A Horrible Thought: What If The iPhone Is Just … A Phone?

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