My iPhone is my phone, calendar, email device, iPod, video player, gaming machine, GPS … and the list goes on and on. As it stands now, carrying my iPhone already means there are numerous times when I no longer bring my notebook with me. Unless I have heavy writing or other serious work to do, the iPhone serves me just fine. It is, on many levels, the best converged device I have ever used. It would seem however, that the iPhone may be poised to replace numerous other gadgets, as well. This time, in fact, it could be some of Apple’s own products.
Depending upon the feature set Apple puts into the next iteration of the iPhone, it is starting to look like even the most Apple-centric of us may soon simply have a desktop (or a MacBook since many of us have given up on having a desktop at all) and the iPhone, but still be able to do everything that used to require four or more different devices. Let me explain my thinking.
Even though I only moved to Apple devices about a year and a half ago I currently have an iMac, a MacBook, an iPhone, an iPod touch (for app reviews), and an Apple TV. I use all of them fully. My iMac is always on and serves as my primary computer, a desktop television, and a server for streaming a variety of media to my iPhone when I am out (Simplify Media!), as well as allowing me to access any of my files regardless of my location thanks to the apps LogMeIn, Ignition and Briefcase. My MacBook serves me well when I’m on the go and need to do some heavy lifting, while my HP 2140 primarily serves as an opportunity to access Windows applications when necessary and keep a foot in the netbook world for review purposes. My Apple TV is connected to my television and allows me to access all of my iTunes media in the den.
If the rumors are true, however, the upcoming iPhone will be a powerhouse with additional features and functionality, and as a result it may soon replace everything but my iMac.
iPhone as Notebook/Netbook replacement
Apple has already revealed that it will allow external accessories to access core features of the iPhone when version 3.0 is released. That means a blood pressure cuff, a credit card scanner, and more can be added to the device – either through a physical connection or Bluetooth. When working in consort with a specific app, this would turn the iPhone into an entirely new device. If blood pressure cuffs are possible… why not external keyboards??? A Bluetooth or wired keyboard connected to the iPhone would be a terrific on-the-move solution for write far longer documents on the tiny device with ease.
That alone would immediately remove some of the remaining reasons for carrying any notebook, be it a MacBook or a netbook.
iPhone as Apple TV
I love my Apple TV. It extends my entire iTunes experience into the den in a seamless manner.
The Apple TV is good for…
HD movie rentals from your living room.
With a few clicks of your remote, you can rent high-definition movies from the same place you watch them: your widescreen TV.
The best TV shows in HD.
Buy your favorite TV shows from leading networks — commercial free — and watch them in stunning HD anytime you want. It’s à la carte high definition TV.
All your music and photos, all in one place.
With Apple TV, your home entertainment system becomes the best place to shop the iTunes Store, play your music, and show off digital photos in gorgeous slideshows set to your favorite songs.
Let’s see, the iPhone can now play back television and movie programs loaded from iTunes, stream music from my iMac or any number of web-based solutions, display pictures that are both resident on the device or accessed from my iMac or Picassa. The rumor mill is rife with discussion that the new iPhone may support HD out. Hulu and SlingBox will eventually arrive in the App Store. Put all this together, and you have a powerhouse of a media device that fulfills all the functionality of the Apple TV.
Now, instead of using the Apple TV to access your iTunes library, you will simply need to connect an iPhone to a “video out” cable connected to the back of ANY television. That will allow access to all the content on it (32GB??), music streamed from your desktop thanks to SimplifyMedia and streamed video from Slingbox and Hulu. And all of it, if the rumors are true, in HD! Suddenly your living room may look more like this…
And even if the rumors aren’t true about the HD part, the iPhone with the right cable offers much of the same functionality Apple TV, without the need for an additional device.
And all this is just the beginning…
The iPhone is an amazing device that just keep getting better and better. If the new hardware and Version 3.0 of the OS offer even half of what the rumors are saying, then the iPhone can and will effectively eliminate the need for many other devices. (It also means the NEED for an Apple netbook-esque device is largely gone… although that won’t stop a lot of us from grabbing one.)
That was after all, the initial idea behind converged devices when the smartphone first appeared a few years back!