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Apple and iPhone. Fantasy or reality?

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Apple's "The Next Big Thing"? A phone with integrated PDA functions.

Whether it's the world of cell phones, or rather the world of smart phones, one of the future fields of interest of the Cupertino company has long been one of the favorite topics of the sites dedicated to rumors. But now to reintroduce the indiscretion no less than the prestigious New York Times.

In an article that appeared in the past few hours, the newspaper says that the signs that Apple is thinking about something that has to do with phones and organizers are manifold.

The main signs would correspond to the new features included in Mac OS X 10.2 which are all, or almost all, desirable when it comes to connecting a phone, especially a smart phone, to a computer.

In addition to this, the newspaper mentions the problems that Palm is encountering in trying to produce reliable and complete software for the connectivity of its PDAs in Mac OS X, an enterprise in which it is strangely trying itself almost without any help from Apple. .

Finally Apple, in the context of the agreement with Pixio for the supply of the iPod operating system, would also have included a clause to use the Os also in another digital device.

"If you take the dots drawn on paper – Charles Wolf of Needham & Company told the NY Times – the name that will spunter will eventually be that of the iPhone".

Recently, the newspaper always remembers, Jobs had once again diminished the growth prospects of simple handhelds, defined too complex for the actual functions they perform, but he had not failed to underline how on the contrary the prospects for smart phones are instead bright. "The PDA will disappear – Apple CEO had said in an interview – its role will be taken by the phones"

According to other experts interviewed by the newspaper for Apple it would be relatively simple and cheap to buy the components necessary to build a mobile phone, but in reality the fundamental problem would not be exactly this.

Looking ahead, we seem to identify several "logistical" difficulties that could make the management of such a specialized product by a company that deals essentially with something else a nightmare.

The first, also underlined by the NY Times, in the fact that already today there are several companies that produce smart phones and that are several months, if not years, ahead of the Cupertino iPhone. Some of them, such as Handspring, specialize in this type of product and could be highly specialized and well established on the market (as well as compatible with the PC world) before Apple enters the arena.

A second problem, which in our opinion appears even more serious but which, perhaps due to the "US-centrism" that has always characterized the American media, eludes the New York Times, the technological one.

A hypothetical iPhone should deal with the babel that still reigns in the field of telephony in terms of standards. Without going into a field other than our own, we remind you that there are several incompatible systems in the world.

Those who want to launch a product of this type must not only think of the USA, but also of producing compatible systems on a global scale. The dominant systems on a global scale are at least three the old analog / digital system used in America (where there are already several standards) European GSM and the Japanese i-mode and GPRS which is struggling to gain a foothold in the USA. South America still uses other standards and that there are third generation phones on the horizon and it is understood that for a computer company, producing a smart cell phone is not the simplest and cheapest thing in the world.

Of course, if Apple really specialized in this sector, then it could devote sufficient energy and resources to manage what actually appears to be a promising market. But at the moment it seems much simpler to build in the operating system everything needed to manage the computer-cellular relationship and to entrust those who make this job the task of building the phones as evidenced by the recent "unit of intent" with SonyEricsson in advertising iCal , iSync in combination with the recent products of the global telephony giant.

Another way, to integrate cellular technology, would be to insert on your machines an all-purpose card such as those available in PCMCIA format from Nokia and which provide GSM and GPRS connections, add these features to an Airport card and use the 'special slot to insert it also on iBooks on all Apple computers that are predisposed (now the whole range for over 2 years) … but also here we are in the field of fantasy …