Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I do love saving some surprises when I can. I avert my eyes from movie commercials and have stopped watching trailers online. I am careful about when to say what, in order to set up some savory moments for my friends, in a way that people don't seem to do much anymore. And when dealing with things that have secrecy is an integral part of their identity, like crushes or Yale's societies, I'm barely even tempted to talk. For some reason that I don't fully understand, I don't yet feel any such obligation of secrecy to Apple. Perhaps it's because I'm not fully on board with their marketing (which arguably portrays the mac as some sort of black box (or should I say white box, or blacboox) that the user doesn't need to know anything about. I feel that everyone would benefit from a campaign that showed us more of how to use it, or that alluded more to the ease and power of the mac flavor of the nerdier stuff). I have to admit that Apple is doing a sick job with their software - after a bit of a lull save Garageband, they have thrown off Pages, Keynote, Aperture, and iWeb, which are four amazing tools that are barely at the beginning of their lives, but will undoubtedly become some of the most important software platforms of the next decade as they gain users and the code evolves.

So it is with only a couple grains of salt that I pass on this speculative account of one project Apple probably has in the works and may release later this year. The report was in the form of a super-long comment on thinksecret by a user identified as George Homier. We know that a new phone-mac interface will debut this summer; George suggests that it will have more features that most of us expected. In particular, he mentions

  • make calls straight from your mac or pc

  • send fax or data during an ongoing phone call (using a new IP standard that allows color fax and much more)

  • high quality audio recordings and transcriptions of all your conversations (as well as text-to-speech conversion for handicapped users or people sitting in libraries or uncontrollably noisy spots)

  • customized voice mail messages for different callers, auto-blocking for annoyances like telemarketers and collection agencies

  • any number of phone numbers, any area code, total portability

  • wireless transmission of data from cameras and such; access and control everything through the tv

  • easy setup of automated menus and custom hold music like customer service numbers use

  • a journal to help manage what you have talked about and need to say in future conversations

  • a clever interface to your voicemail from any computer

  • an auto-dialer that helps make bulk calls and can use recorded messages (and record responses)

  • obviously, total integration with iChat and Apple's other apps, and full provision of all the phone features we already have elsewhere


There are a few reasons I believe this, even though I have not heard anything like it before. First, it's easy enough to program. Not easy, but easy enough. Once the main pieces are in place, the hundreds of features can fall into place without too much back-breaking work. This is the payoff of the stupendous platform Apple has evolved for putting software together without a hassle - the rock-solid bottom parts that make absolutely everything work better and faster, the things I think should factor just a little bit into their marketing. Second, Steve Jobs said in January that this is the year of the mac - and while I couldn't be much more impressed with the previews of Leopard and the iPhone, I'm sure AppleTV will be cool after they add features like recording and blu-ray, and very confident that there will be a new laptop before the wintertime, this stuff is perhaps not quite enough on its own to make a claim on the entire year. This phone platform would make it enough. To top it off, Apple should also release a huge flat tv with a full-out computer inside. (The recent step away from DRM could also go down in the history books).

Third, the iPhone announcement puts a few assumptions on the table for us. We know the reason they waited so long for a product so many were dying to see is because Steve likes his products to have a polish and simplicity and reliability that evokes the word 'perfect' far too often. In that context, this telephony software is almost implied: it hasn't been released or previewed because it isn't polished enough yet, but without it the iPhone would fail to wow its owners enough - and they'd still be tied up by twentieth-century phone issues on a regular basis when they used landlines. Also, Steve pointed out that one of the main reasons for the somewhat-unpopular exclusive deal with Cingular was that serious innovation is going to take place at the level of the standardized protocols that the iPhone will use to communicate with cell towers, to enable all sorts of things that other cell phones simple cannot achieve, in addition to the many conveniences that wireless companies simply will not let us have so they can try to squeeze more dollars out of us.

Some details I didn't mention above: the phone software may require a $50 peripheral (although I expect the phone bits to be built into the laptops before long). Also, the code name for the software might be CallCenter, a name which reminds me of the style Apple went for with BootCamp. Although code names are fleeting, I find myself hoping this one sticks, as I find it very classy despite the negative connotations of what real call centers typically do today, and very easy to fit comfortably into sentences about normal day-to-day stuff that's not computer-related. Hopefully we'll get to see it in June or thereabouts, although I could be accused of being very wishful there, perhaps to the tune of a full year. No one's going to buy vista, and by this time next year macs will seem about four times as common as they are now. So enjoy the year of the mac - it's only just started.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to say thank you for noticing what I happen to know about this platform in what is ahead...and it far more extreme than what I present because it's far more ahead of what I even presented way back then. My Namme is George Emmett Homier III, or Christ B'Emet, or Emmanuel. It's nice to see believers...dreamers. And wait until you see Apple when you see the integration and the Phone company that they are underway building as we speak...to basically place in everyones home and automobile...displacing Vonage and all companies, because they can, using X-Serve technology and the server array technology platform that they built in from the beginning that even the U.S. Government utilized to build the fastest World's super computer using Apple's computing technology. Now that was in the days when X-Serve had one processor...so imagine the days of tomorrow...when this flies...with processor switching, not real switching which is the limitation of gigabit switching today for networking speeds. Wait until you see the integration and the program the is seamless in how it handles your communications and phone calls and your schedules and your life and efficiency, why, because Apple understands these things, because they study these things, they don't try and make crap around them. And just as a caveat for all to know the strategy for all to know. Apple right now can run windows on Unix, their Operating system, simultaneously...but Apple now has the capability to run windows software alone on Unix without the need to run Windows software as the shell at all to run the software...and will put Windows out of business, intends on it, and all PC makers within a time frame that you cannot expect is even possible...why? Because they aren't even making a profit anymore on the products they sell because they have undermined the very market they have sold within and destroyed...all because of a horrible business model that has absolutley destroyed itself. Proof positive! Thank you author for writing my name and seeing what I had to say...just know, it doesn't happen over night with Apple...but it does happen bigger than I say with Apple. And it will. But know this. I AM with Apple in a way bigger than you think, in ways larger than anyone there would even know with who I AM, doing large things. But it does take time for perfection as it does make. And Steve Jobs is wonderful at it most of the time. And more perfection is coming their way. So just know, the things you have stated are behind the curve in what is coming, because more is coming and on the way, but thank you for believing in me, and stating my vision and my projection of future and getting it out there for the company that I believe in...but just so everyone and yourself knows...it's a little misplaced at this time...a little behind the real curve of what is to come right now...so hold on tight because Apple is a little further ahead than anyone knows about or thinks. Thanks to Moore's Law, and God. I AM. Amen! George Emmett Homier III, Christ B'Emet, Emmanuel.

12:54 PM  

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