The iPhone Blog: Counting Down to the Next Great Mobile Platform: iPhone 3G

This is it. We're in the home stretch. 99 meters down and 1 left to go, all or nothing, and Steve Jobs has just tapped into the speed force. Tomorrow we find out if Apple crosses the finish line first, the two-peat for greatest smartphone (even gadget) in the world, or if they trip themselves up with their mostly evolutionary, not so much revolutionary, next generation handset.

Saturday we mentioned one big change: the fast 3G data chip. Sunday it was GPS. Monday we tackled the 2.0 Firmware update. Tuesday we detailed the rebirth of .Mac: MobileMe. Wednesday we hit the mother load, App Store. Today we pull it all together and look at the iPhone 3G, the next great computing platform.

Why am I calling it that? Read on to find out!

Woz and Steve Jobs gave us the first home CLI (Command Line Interface) with the Apple II. Jobs followed that up with the first consumer GUI (Graphical User Interface) in the Mac. Interlude: the first viable portable digital music device, maybe you've heard of the iPod? And now we have multi-touch mobile for the masses with the iPhone.

Hype? If so, it's deserved. Think about it: UNIX in your pocket. We're talking the Mach kernal, BSD networking, OpenGL and OpenAL, WiFi and 3G connectivity, layered location awareness culminating with GPS, direction aware, "push" updates, capable of gaming, business, reference, education, collaboration, socialization, and did we mention in your pocket, always on, all the time?

Sure, there have been "smart" phone before. The iPhone isn't that. (Dieter was right!). It's something else. It's what's next.

The concept has been approached before. Taken in parts, stripped down to this or that feature, there are other manufacturers and development houses that have got parts of it. But never the whole package. Call it a confluence of time and capability. The power wasn't there before. The infrastructure wasn't there before. The OS's certainly weren't there before. And the engineering wasn't there before. Few companies make the whole widget anymore, and it takes a whole widget approach to create a new paradigm (and I can't even imagine what it takes to do it for the third time).

When you put 3G together with GPS, the interface and software behind 2.0, the coming cloud-based shift that's embraced by MobileMe and ActiveSync, and the flexibility and potential of the App Store, and you wrap it up in a single, highly portable, never mind drop-dead gorgeous package, it's a game changer.

This doesn't only replace cell phones, smartphones, mp3 players, GPS devices, handheld gaming consoles, and even laptops for a few -- it creates something entirely new: a mobile computing platform.

Pick up your iPhone 3G, check your mail, follow a link in full browser, tap over to the latest viral video, call your lawyer to have him DMCA it, preview the demand letter PDF, get a location alert that your spouse has just entered the 1 mile radius, find directions to the coffee house you're supposed to meet at, update your shared "push" calendar to make it seem like s/he showed up a day early, head the other way and start playing Super Monkey Ball, sending his/her angry calls straight to easily sorted-and-ignored Visual Voice Mail while your RSS App's alert badge silently updates with 2 new posts from

And that's just a regular day. Imagine what James Bond Tony Stark could do with it...

It's the next big thing. I know I'm not going to miss out on it. I'll be standing in line somewhere in Montreal (wherever they have stock! C'mon Rogers, help a blogger out!). What about you? Where are you lining up?