Che cosa ci ha insegnato l’IPhone – Parte Seconda

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series IT Economy

Nel primo dei nostri articoli abbiamo analizzato in modo dettagliato il successo dell’iPod. Vogliamo ora prendere in considerazione il caso dell’iPhone, che sta riscuotendo un buon successo e che nato (quasi) dal nulla è diventato un prodotto vincente.

Quando un grande player vuole affacciarsi in un mercato che non conosce, deve stare molto attento. Lo sa bene la Microsoft, che con Zune e XBox ha creato una buona base di utenti, ma a faticato non poco per affermarsi e ha dovuto lavorare molto sull’aspetto di management più che su quello commerciale. Inizieremo con un esempio per spiegare la stragegia dell’iPhone di Apple.

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Che cosa ci ha insegnato l’iPod – Parte Prima

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series IT Economy

Grazie al periodo natalizio, pieno di Regali, la redazione di Gioorgi.com è riuscita a guardare da vicino l’Apple iPhone 3G, chiamato anche “Melafonino”.

Così abbiamo iniziato a fare una serie di considerazioni sull’iPhone e abbiamo tratto delle conclusioni interessanti.
In questo primo articolo inizieremo a parlare di iPod, per poi introdurre l’argomento iPhone in un secondo intervento.

Negli ultimi due anni e mezzo la Apple ha iniziato a trasformarsi da società venditrice di Personal Computer di fascia alta con una forte riconoscibilità, ad un a società che aspira a vendere apparecchiature avanzate di diverso tipo. Questo percorso è iniziato con l’iPod, ed è poi proseguito con l’iPhone. Si noti che questa strategia si è affinata nel tempo. Inizialmente l’iPod sembrava più un gadget per veicolare e rafforzare l’iTunes Music Store. L’avventura del negozio on line di musica era molto rischiosa: innanzitutto perché esistevano (ed esistono) già innumerevoli servizi similari, e poi perché il loro successo era risibile. Microsoft ha faticato non poco a entrare in questo mercato, e lo ha rafforzato con Zune solo dopo che l’esperienza della Apple era parsa convincente in quel di Redmond.

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iPhone programming

iPhone is the brand-new Apple product which has changed the way Apple thinks. Because of iPhone, Apple strip the word "Computers" from its brand name. And because of iPods and iPhone products, Lepoard developmenet slip a bit, blurring the focus on pure technology.
To be true, I do not beat on  the iPhone success, but the product success is at least  bright this year. And the iPod touch has also added value to the iPods product catalog. But I am an IT-man, damn you boy! So I want to buy it to play with it, to program with it!

The iPhone Open Application Development, is a fresh book on iPhone Developement, edited by O'Reilly which come into play. The book has less then 280 pages, and is well organized. First of all, the bad news: the book lacks figures and tables (only one, and not so useful) and no Photo on it. Then breaking the iPod firmware is not a thing Apple likes a lot. As far as I know, it is NOT illegal, because Apple is opening the device too.
Anyway, breaking the iPhone firmware can prevent you to get the upgrades so, you must know what you are going forward to do.

And now the good news: the book is well written, and guide the user from the beggining to the end.  There are a lot of way to free the iPhone from the jail.

After that, you can also use Linux to program on the iPhone, where the Apple SDK seems only "PC Mac"-enabled.

The book is composed of 7 chapters. After unlocking the iPhone (first chapter), the author explain us how to write code for it, and what is Objective-C. Objective-C is a very nice idea developed by Brad Cox, in the 1980. It is a C++ language "ante litteram". I like the ideas of Objective-Ch because you get the power of C for fast tasks (like  you know, coding your quicksort or your perfect B-trees :) and you get a true dynamic O.O. language, like SmallTalk is. Objective-C was not so lucky, and there are only two major implementation: the GNU one and the Apple one, used to build the entire MacOSX.
I have no time to study it a lot, but I suggest you to code the iPhone in Objective-C.
Then the books start to explore iPhone features like:

  • Basic user interface building blocks
  • Graphic Services and animation effects. You get also a Coreflow-like animation in the Appendix
  • Sound Control
  • Deep integration. A nice thing is the way to make calls: you simply ask the emmeded Safari to open a "tel://" url

The code presented is always very compact, and the style is nice.
The Appendix give us a lot of code samples.

Programming a so riche device is not easy, but the good news is you have a full O.S. to work with.
Java midlets and J2ME are much more difficult to use, if you will find your way with Objective-C.
A very good book, for very nice techno-guys, and not (only) for nerds!

 

 

 

iPhone success is hard

iPhone is a very nice project, well designed and manufactered, but the market addressed is
an hard bet for Apple.
Big players are already on the ground: Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and Sony for instance.

So it is difficult to play in such market, and some analysts said  "the touch screen was not successful for GSM/phone products".

The launch of "iPod touch" addressed this fear in my own opinion, because the design of the iPhone is very cool, and you can try to at least have it survive ipod-izing it.

Last and more important factor, the iPhone is locked by one carrier in U.S., and the same will happen in U.K.

This is a very greedy move; big player like Nokia are trying to unbundle their product form the carrier, selling phones which can use multiple wireless network (wi-fi, skype, gsm/edge/umts).

Google is doing the same, from the software perspective using the Android project.

So Apple is always smart, but in the portable phone market you must be also price-affordable, fast in releasing new models, and open for working with other competitor.

All things Steve Jobs is not very good at the present time.

Update: At April 2008, Telecom Italy will carry on UMTS iPhones in Italy. I will write an article on them, to understand if the product is a bit less locked.