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PC World's dashed WWDC expectations

While some people came away from WWDC feeling like it's Christmas in June, it doesn't look like PC World was among them. But after reading their laundry list of unrequited hopes and dreams for WWDC (WWDC No Shows: 10 Things We Wanted From Apple and Didn't Get), it seems like PC World really doesn't seem to get it.

Let's walk through these points one by one, shall we?

1. The Apple Tablet

We've been hearing rumors about this one since the Newton disappeared. I don't think anyone realistically expected the tablet to come out this year, much less at WWDC. It's getting to the point where every single event has people leaving and saying, "B-b-but where's the tablet?"


2. The "iPhone nano"

I haven't heard of a single credible source indicating that Apple was even pursuing such a thing. And really, why would they? Cutting out features people consider essential, wrapping it up in a turgid shell, and then selling it for less cost than the premium models people actually want to buy is something other certain cut-rate PC manufacturers do. Apple has a good thing going with its current iPhone, and by lowering the price of entry to $99, they've all but guaranteed that anyone who's willing to stomach dealing with AT&T for two years will go ahead and get one. Why, exactly, does Apple need to make a cheaper, less capable version of one of the best-selling mobile phones of all time? And who would really be satisfied with it if they did?

3. iPhone FM transmitter

Between Bluetooth, 802.11b/g, 3G, EDGE, and GPS, there are already several methods for getting data into and out of the iPhone. Aside from streaming music to a car stereo (something already possible through dock accessories) or "squirting" music like the Zune (ha), what would be the use of this, and what would it be other than an added component cost, battery drain, and layer of complexity for the user?

4. A new iPod

I guess these guys have been asleep for the past seven autumns. Major iPod events happen just before the holiday fiscal quarter. Always have, always will. In fact, Phil Schiller blatantly said so a few months ago. Cue the Tempos: "Seeee yooouuu in Septemmmmber..."

5. Adobe Flash Support

Adobe needs to get Flash working properly on the Mac first. If my MacBook Pro's 2.6 GHz processor pegs at 80% while watching lo-res YouTube videos, what chance does the iPhone's far slower processor have? And if the Flash plugin crashes the full Safari browser so often that Apple has gone out of their way to sandbox browser plugins in Snow Leopard, how much of a rush should Apple be in to do the same thing on a platform whose small size and relatively low processing power necessitates more streamlined software? Yes, let's have Apple dive into Flash support for the iPhone right away, and see what it gets you: one hour of battery life, flashing banner ads all over the place for you to accidentally click when you're just trying to scroll the page, and Mobile Safari crashing every five minutes.

6. Removable batteries

This is seriously becoming the new version of the "one button mouse" diatribe. You've got a choice here: keep the iPhone slim and portable, or bulk it up with a removable battery. Considering some people are already complaining about how "big" the iPhone is, Apple's not going to do this. And you know what I say? Good! Because the last phone I had, any time I dropped it the first thing that happened was the battery popped out and slid to the other side of the room. Plus, given how much Apple charged for batteries for its notebook lines (back when their batteries used to be removable), even if they did offer a removable battery on the iPhone/iPod, people would inevitably complain that the replacements cost too much.

7. iProd and iFPGA

I wouldn't be at all surprised if Apple threw these codes into developer builds to provoke exactly the response they got: leading rumor-seekers down blind alleys in search of phantoms. Or maybe the iProd is some sort of new, electronic cattle motivator with built-in WiFi, and the iFPGA is a nine-iron with a multitouch grip. Who knows? Were these guys really expecting to hear about this on Monday?

8. MMS and Tethering Support (That Can Actually Be Used)

News flash: the iPhone is available in several dozen countries outside of the United States. As a matter of fact, some enterprising UK iPhone owners have managed to enable MMS on their O2 network iPhones already. At any rate, the blame for this one falls squarely on AT&T; frankly, I never thought I'd be thankful to be on Vodafone NZ's network.

9. Carrier expansion

Everyone wants the iPhone to move to Verizon. Sure, why not? It would only involve Apple completely retooling the phone's wireless antenna so it could work on Verizon's CDMA network. It would also mean Apple would have to create two separate versions of the iPhone -- one that uses a CDMA chip and will therefore only work in North America, and one that uses a GSM connection and works everywhere else in the world. I don't know, maybe this is a good idea after all: then Apple could call it the iPhone 3G S CDMA to differentiate it from the normal model. Why not add on even more letters and call it the iPhone 3G S CDMA 1701-D?

10. Steve Jobs

It seems like everyone else already knew Steve wasn't coming back to Apple in any public way until later this month. Look at it from another perspective: having Schiller do the keynote without him is a show of confidence in the man's abilities. If he'd been shuffled away for WWDC so Jobs could swoop in and give us the goods in his stead, we'd have another four years of articles about how Apple will follow Steve Jobs to the great beyond.


You know what I'm sad didn't show up at WWDC? Nothing. The upgrades to the notebook line took me completely by surprise, the enhancements to Snow Leopard and the low upgrade price guarantee that I'll be a zero-day updater, and the new features of the iPhone 3G S are tantalizing enough for me to buy it and pass my iPhone 3G down to my wife. Apple is at the top of the heap right now, so they could have afforded to simply iPhone this one in -- but they didn't.

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