Hello, Again

There's no way I can realistically give unbiased an review of the iPhone, but it feels silly if I don't say something. My personal opinion is that it exceeds even my high expectations. But you don't have to take my word for it, I think you'll find that's a common reaction.

It was a little bit surreal hanging out at the Apple Store at Valley Fair on Friday, looking at the crowds. I'm told there were at least a thousand people in line. All of those folks — whether they know it or not — are buying a Mac and investing in that bloodline. Pretty amazing.

iPhone Crowd
Chicago Gallery

I usually don't get too into pop culture events, but this is different. The Mac is going mainstream in a big way. And seeing as the Mac is something a lot of us have contributed to in some form, and something that many others had written off long ago, I think it's okay to enjoy the moment and celebrate the beginning of something new.

So I say enjoy the now, and we'll move onto the next big thing tomorrow.
Design Element
Hello, Again
Posted Jul 2, 2007 — 24 comments below


Ulf — Jul 02, 07 4451

Is it correct to refer to the iPhone as a Mac when it is running "OS X" instead of "Mac OS X"? I agree that this is a new computing platform from Apple but I would not refer to it as a "Mac".

Marc Edwards — Jul 02, 07 4452

I'm really looking forward to the UI and framework advancements that creating something like the iPhone will bring.

OS X is the real winner from this.

Marc Edwards — Jul 02, 07 4453

Ulf: True. Wait for the hacks though... touch screen terminal? Cool ;)

Joe Goh — Jul 02, 07 4454

The Mac is really just a marketing term to label the lineage of operating systems that started off in 1984. So if Apple decides not to "bless" the iPhone and label the operating system in the iPhone with the word Mac in it, I agree with Ulf that we can't really call the iPhone a Mac.


There's a really good possibility that the non-Mac users in line buying an iPhone will probably switch to a Mac after a few months of using it. So although they might not be Mac users now, they certainly might be in the near future.

Jesper — Jul 02, 07 4456

Scott, in some sort of caffeine-deprived frenzy, did mention to me the other day that the people who wanted to proclaim the iPhone is not a Mac "will have to go through him first". I saw his point then and I see it now. But.

I finally have a good comeback to this. The iPhone is a Mac insofar that it runs OS X. It is decidedly *not* a Mac in that it doesn't run *Mac* OS X. No menu bar, cursor, trash can, Finder, Spotlight, System Preferences or labels. No cutting, copying, and pasting. No Exposť, no services, no Dock, not even non-forceful Quitting. And no multiple users.

The iPhone is as much a Mac as your typical Linksys or D-Link router is a Linux workstation. That is as it should be.

That's not to say the people buying iPhones aren't investing heavily in technology that flourished and grew stable in use in Mac OS X. Core Animation is one example of a technology that's identical in both OSes. But I guess what I'm saying is that while there's heritage, there isn't equivalence.

Scott Stevenson — Jul 02, 07 4457 Scotty the Leopard

You guys sure are funny about things. I know the iPhone is not a Mac in the literal sense. Imagine your son has a son. He's technically your grandson and that's the word you use, but does it really matter? It's all the same family.

Jrgen Olsson — Jul 02, 07 4458

I think it is much as the title of the comments to this blog "Thoughts from Our Fellow Countrymen" - I live in Sweden, but I still feel like a countryman to all other users of Mac technology so I think it is OK to put my comments in this blog.
Apart from that, I can not wait until the iPhone comes to Sweden - will it be a great success here too? I have a feeling that Europeans are more sophisticated when it comes to using their mobile phone - and we don't tend to have as many free surf zones as you have in the US.
Hopefully we will see the launch of the European iPhone at the same time as Mac OS 10.5 - indeed intersting times...

Jesper — Jul 02, 07 4459

And, like you told me, you could have avoided it by being a little more clear with in what sense you were using the word "Mac". Is it "funny" of people to think that with "Mac" one means "a Mac computer, a computer running a Mac OS operating system"?

Scott Stevenson — Jul 02, 07 4460 Scotty the Leopard

@Jesper: Is it "funny" of people to think that with "Mac" one means "a Mac computer, a computer running a Mac OS operating system"
I was just surprised people would call me out on it. To me, it's like fretting over whether to take the white limo or the black limo. Either way, I'm thrilled.

Jesper — Jul 02, 07 4461

I would have bought that explanation if the whole post hadn't been about people running out and buying "Macs".

There's a bloodline, you're right. But, like you say, it's a family. I just happen to think it's a reasonably big deal to differentiate kid A (at 23, going on 24) and kid B (fresh out of the oven, so to speak).

Kenneth — Jul 02, 07 4462

I'd take the black limo, it looks so much better ;)

Andras Puiz — Jul 02, 07 4463

It's the new Macintosh. It's the son of the old one. The DNA is nearly the same, but it's a new entity.

Blain — Jul 02, 07 4464

The entire debate is silly, but fun. I doubt anyone outside the mac community, or possibly even the mac dev community, is having this debate. And, after thinking about it, it comes to the duck test.

Does it walk like a duck? Does it talk like a duck? If so, it's a duck.

Does the iPhone act like a Mac? No. Do you consider going from a powerbook to an iPhone the same as going from a PowerPook to a MacBook Pro? No. Is there more mac programs that you can run on an iPhone than you can run on Windows? No.

The fact that it's got similar code is important, yes, but consider how similar our DNA is to a banana's.

Conversely, we didn't debate transitioning to 68K to PPC, or MacOS 9 to Mac OSX, or PPC to Intel as much. Because, despite the widely different underlying architectures, they passed the duck test.

Apple's been strongly insisting that the iPhone isn't a computer, much less a Mac. On the other hand, they've called it a phone and iPod, despite neither of those using Cocoa or OS X before. Because it acts like a phone, and acts like an ipod.


Ben — Jul 02, 07 4465

@everyone who nitpicks "Mac OS X" vs. "OS X". This is a ridiculous discussion, and it would look like trolling if I didn't know you all actually are thoughtful, invested and passionate in the small community here. Nothing is in a name in this case.

Everyone here knows exactly what the software capabilities of the iPhone are relative to the software capabilities of an iMac. Everyone here also is fully apprised of what stuff these platforms share. We all know what these beasts are, if not as much as engineers on the iPhone team, at least as much as anyone outside that company. So why is it interesting to talk about what Apple might or might not sometimes call, in essentially marketing materials, the OS platform?

You don't buy an Xbox (which is built on NT) because you're investing in the Windows platform. But Microsoft gets a lot of engineering leverage out of sharing some internals, and gets strategic leverage out of getting you into a MS-centric software world.

Apple is in essentially the same position with iPhone.

Ben — Jul 02, 07 4466

Penny Arcade talks about iPhone, name checks Wil Shipley:

If you would like to know if the iPhone is great, well, it is great. Worth waiting in line? There's no question. Yes, ... once you agree to eject yourself from your negotiated Business Plan and pay twenty times more, you will be able to see a map that displays nearby sushi.

Chinmoy — Jul 02, 07 4467

There is not much reason to nitpick about whether or not the iPhone is a "Mac" or not. After all, Mac OS X engineers were supposedly borrowed to help release the iPhone on time.

dela — Jul 02, 07 4468

The iphone outnumbered everything - which in the last two decades came to the IT market. The Apple Newton sold 100'000 times in the first year - not bad but not even close to the iphone.
The older NeXT Guys new that NeXTstep was on something magic called
General Magic und was the same Gadget like the iphone - the same partner ATT but a different environement called ATT Easylink instead of the Internet.
The internet killed the product before the start.
A scripting software called Telescript. The best thing besides some code fragments are the literature information.


(a 15 page summary in german with some background)

Blain — Jul 02, 07 4469

@Ben: Yes, this is a very rediculous debate, wedged somewhere next to "Tastes Great/Less Filling", and egg endianness. And there's good arguements for both, equally trivial in the long run. But it's all in good fun.

The iPhone: The first quantum mechanical device. Like Schroedinger's cat, it's both a Mac and not until you get it out of the box.

Scott Stevenson — Jul 02, 07 4470 Scotty the Leopard

The first quantum mechanical device. Like Schroedinger's cat, it's both a Mac and not until you get it out of the box

I so need to add an "editor's favorites" flag to the comments.

Jamie Frater — Jul 03, 07 4472

I really think this has been a release by Apple that truly comes up to everyone's expectations. I can't wait for it to hit Europe so I can buy one!

Top 10 Resources for Apple Developers

Jesper — Jul 04, 07 4483

Chinmoy: "After all, Mac OS X engineers were supposedly borrowed to help release the iPhone on time."

You know what? They borrowed them at the expense of the next Mac OS X version, so one would think that you'd have emphasised "Mac OS X" instead.

But I don't need to defend my opinion further - Blain (comment 4464) and Ben (comment 4465) basically between them stated what my point was.

If Scott hadn't gone out of his way to beforehand make the 'Mac' part of the operating system name a big deal, and call the iPhones 'Macs' in this post, and then getting all weirded out when a bunch of Mac developers like himself kindly describe that it's not a Mac, it is in fact an iPhone which we can't develop for; anyway, if he hadn't said that, I (along with a bunch of others) probably would never have mentioned it. But he did so I (and they) did.

Blain — Jul 04, 07 4489

And now... the punch line:

Lucky we didn't debate about whether or not it's a Newton!

MJ — Jul 05, 07 4491

Of course it's a Newton.

Software icons along the bottom row....choosing things by touch....total abandonment of the desktop metaphor...software keyboard....

Now...will some enterprising soul do a hardware keyboard. Oh momma...

Ian — Aug 01, 07 4552

@Jesper: Just let it lie.


Comments Temporarily Disabled

I had to temporarily disable comments due to spam. I'll re-enable them soon.

Copyright © Scott Stevenson 2004-2015