iSurprise with Kleiner’s iFund

Wow, who would have thought Steve’s “One more thing” would be a $100 million fund dedicated to iPhone apps. (It’s not everyday that I can blog about Apple AND Venture Capital in the same post…)

The only part that threw me was it’s Kleiner Perkins and not Sequoia. Unless my history is wrong, Sequoia backed Apple, not KPCB- so why aren’t they running the iFund? Accel are running the Facebook Fund. If you back the original, surely you back the ecosystem too?

That aside, I’m really excited that Kleiner are putting some muscle behind development for the platform.

World Mobile Conference- The Year of the Browser

The number one thing that jumped out at me during the conference was Google’s report that there are 50x more searches originating from the iPhone than any other mobile handset.

Just to put that in perspective there are 4 million iPhones in the wild compared to 3 billion other mobile devices. This goes hand in hand with O2’s report that 60% of U.K. iPhone users are sending or receiving more than 25 MB of data a month- which is unheard of on other handsets.

Android was only available on a few booths- AMD, Qualcomm, etc. From the demo I saw, it’s clear that Android will offer iPhone-like touchscreen functionality along with a tightly bundled suite of Google Apps and browser. It’s important to highlight that Android is using WebKit- the same as Safari on the iPhone (and Mac OS X desktop).

Opera was demoing their latest 9.5 release- showing off Opera Desktop, Opera Mini, Opera Mobile and Opera Wii. They’ve created a browser for many, many other non-handset devices (Wii, Airplanes, Archos, etc.) They allow users to sync their profile, bookmarks, widgets, etc across all devices. (This is the exact same functionality that Apple should be offering.)

I didn’t see Mozilla, but Firefox is coming soon.

Great browsers, combined with device specific site optimization (e.g. iPhone) or server-side optimization (e.g. Novarra) mean 2008 could finally be the Year of the Browser on mobiles.

iPhone should learn from iPod Suffle

I posted this shuffle tip ages ago:

This one is straight from Apple’s eNews March 10, 2005 newsletter:

If you’re after the highest quality tunes and regularly import songs at bit rates higher than 128 Kbps, iTunes offers you the best of both worlds, letting you keep your high-quality songs in iTunes while exporting leaner versions of the songs, sized just right for iPod shuffle.

Here’s how: Connect iPod shuffle, open the iPod Preferences dialog, and click the iPod tab. Click the check box next to “Convert higher bit rate songs to 128 kbps AAC for this iPod.” Then click OK.

The next time you Autofill iPod shuffle, iTunes will automatically convert songs to 128 Kbps as it exports them to iPod shuffle. The original versions in your iTunes collection, meanwhile, will remain in your library at their higher encoding rate.

With everything the iPhone offers you- video, podcasts, audibooks, etc., WHY didn’t Apple offer this same option for saving space on the iPhone? If I’m out on the town listening to music, I’m probably not really going to notice the difference in quality, and would really like to more space for vodcasts, TV shows, etc… (that or simply more music!).

London iPhone Launch

Opening the Doors
Originally uploaded by Jason Ball

I stopped by the Apple Store on Regent Street last night for the iPhone launch. You can see from the picture that the crowd was spilling over into the street…

I decided not to brave the crowds and went back to the store around 8:45pm to pick up an iPhone- no problems at all getting in, buying my phone, registering it, etc. The guy helping me was absolutely glowing. It was his first day as an employee (after lots of iPhone training).

Also, if you have an American iTunes account, it works fine with the iPhone (even though this is a UK phone with a UK contract). The next task I have is porting my Vodafone number to my O2 account…

Europe gets an iPhone. Or not. (Well, kind of…) [Updated]

Where is the iPhone 2, with 3G for European markets? A truckload of journalists were shuttled into BBC’s offices to view the Stevenote:

New nano. Check.
New iPod Classic. Check.
New iPod Touch. Check.
New cheaper iPhone. Check.
New 16GB iPhone- now available in Europe. Or not. (see iPod Touch above)

That’s a load of unhappy journalists and unhappy mac fans. Maybe we’ll get an iPhone for Christmas….

[Update] 18th September

iPhones before Christmas! There’s lots of complaining going on that it’s not 3G and that Nokia phones are better, blah blah. I’m not going to sit around for 12 months waiting for Apple to sort out the battery issues associated with 3G chips.

The Cloud integration is good- and the £35 per month isn’t much more than my current Vodafone contract…

[Update] 29th September

The Cloud today announced that it is giving Wi-Fi access to owners of Apple’s new iPod touch in thousands of hotspots across the UK. From Monday, users will be able to use their iPod touch to access the internet and Apple’s online iTunes service in Wi-Fi hotspots provided by The Cloud.

The new Wi-Fi service, called Cloud Unlimited Music, will be available from Monday 1st October 2007 for £3.99 per month, specifically for iPod touch, and is not subject to any minimum term contract.

iPhone- Killer hardware and killer apps

The slide to the left is from a Morgan Stanley presentation from 2005. They were doing some crystal ball gazing about the wireless internet…

There are two key “?”s on the slide: a killer 3G handset and a killer mobile app.

I think Apple has nailed both: the iPhone and Safari.

The iPhone has gotten loads of coverage, but the services that are popping up in Safari (in the form of widgets currently) seem to be flying under the radar.

See my previous post on Jajah, and then look at Zimbra’s email client and (if you’re running Safari 3 on Windoze or Mac) have a look at the Leaflets demo page.

As I see more widgets being written for Safari, I think this is the real trojan horse…

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