Snow Leopard 10.6 and the 3G iPhone

Mac OS 10.6 was announced to developers. It apparently has 0 new features (not including Quicktime jumping 2.5 version numbers to 10.0). Probably just as well, given the mess Mac OS 10.5 has been. The last update was more than 400MB. still does not make a sound when I receive new email, even though it is set to do so. The promised resolution independence for apps hasn’t yet materialised for end users. Nor has Chinese text-to-speech, which was listed on the new features to be included with Mac OS 10.5 Leopard prior to its premature release.

The new iPhone announcement left me wondering why many of the iPhone 3G improvements are not included in Mac OS X. The underlying software is the same. It is only the apps on top and the interface that differ. If the iPhone functionality were included, desktop Mac OS X would have some very useful features. For example:

  1. Mac OS 10.5 looks a lot nicer, but Windows Vista includes more features I find useful for language study. Chinese input is better, for one. Why can’t Apple include the ability to write characters on Mac OS X for desktops like they do on the iPhone 3G?
  2. During the iPhone 3G keynote, the developers noted problems background applications wasting battery life and making the system feel slow. The solution on the desktop (and Windows Mobile, as shown in the keynote) is to create a task manager where one manually has to find the offending application and force quit it. On a desktop or laptop Mac, I run into this problem almost every time I use iChat. If there is a connection problem, I have to manually force quit iChatAgent, since it has no user interface, then try again. Perhaps they should extend this background app ban to the desktop as well, especially for some of the poorly written software coming out of Apple itself.
  3. While demonstrating the new Mobile Me service, the iPhone played the appropriate alert sound for receiving new mail. This has been broken during the past few releases of the desktop version of Mac OS 10.5, including Mac OS 10.5.3. Of course, Mobile Me (the new .Mac) working properly would be a nice change in itself, which has been subject to frequent outages and slow speeds for years.

On the other hand, the iPhone being legitimately being available in mainland China, Taiwan, and Korea would be nice. They aren’t among the 70 regions due to get the iPhone this year. Though I bet behind the USA, mainland Chinese people own the second highest number of iPhones. I hope the hearsay about not being able to buy iPhones without a contract turns out to be BS. Otherwise, they can guarantee I won’t be using one.

Perhaps Apple doesn’t like the fact they can’t get kickbacks from mobile companies that charge money for phones up front rather than charge an arm and a leg over the course of a contract. I figure they are trying to hit a very low up front price point. During the keynote, Steve Jobs said "The price is a maximum of $199 around the world."

No currency mentioned, so in Hong Kong I will just have to assume Hong Kong Dollars, or about $26US.:-) At that price point, I might be willing to buy a 2 year contract just to get the phone.


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