I have seen the future and the past. And it resides in my pocket. An iPhone is both a bridge to the past and the bridge to the future.
Can we argue any longer that the iPhone is or is not really a Mac in your pocket? How does the current and future iPhone compare to past and present Mac notebooks?
Quite well, thank you. Surprisingly well. With only an exception or three, a valid comparison between iPhone and Mac notebooks of just a few years ago show striking similarities.
DaringFireball’s John Gruber basted R.I.M. and BlackBerry recently, but pointed out that the iPhone compares well with a once highly popular Mac notebook, the ‘Pismo’ PowerPC.
He pointed out that the current iPhone, depending upon your perspective, is more powerful than the iMac when introduced 10 years ago. The original Bondi Blue iMac came with a 233 MHz CPU, only 32 megs of RAM, and a 4 gigabyte hard drive.
How does that compare to the current iPhone which probably carries a 400 MHz CPU, and up to 16 gigs of RAM and storage? The real differences would be screen size and the number of types of applications.
The iPhone is heavy on utilities while the Mac, via OS X, is heavy on utilities, applications, and less eye strain, perhaps less finger strain.
How does the iPhone compare to the popular ‘Pismo’ PowerPC notebook of just eight years ago. The comparisons are striking. The Mac notebook back then had a 400 MHz PowerPC CPU, up to an 18 gigabyte hard drive, and up to 128 megs of RAM, just like the iPhone.
New iPhones are on the horizon, so we can expect faster CPU’s more available memory to RAM, and greater storage, perhaps 16 gigabytes and 32 gigabytes for a higher end iPhone model.
The real differences between a Mac in your pocket in the form of the iPhone today, and a Mac notebook of just a few years ago turns out to be mostly software.
For now, Microsoft doesn’t have a mobile Office version for the iPhone. I don’t expect to see Adobe drop Photoshop into a fingertip application any time soon.
But between weather Widgets, stock market Widgets, and the Goliath applications from Microsoft and Adobe, there will be thousands of new applications for the iPhone by the end of this year, many hundreds of them will be smaller, lightweight versions of applications which already exist on the Mac.
That Mac in the pocket doesn’t look so far away now, does it?
It is not inconceivable to think that in a mere five years the then shipping versions of the iPhone will have all the speed and power of the MacBook or MacBook Pro models of today.
Assuming so, and it still remains a plausible assumption, the Mac in the pocket will be a monstrous platform, rich in applications, utilities, games, and vertical markets.
Already the iPhone is making headway into the enterprise, and will venture further as iPhone 2.0 hits this summer.
So, what are the major differences between a Mac notebook of a few years ago and the iPhone of today, and perhaps next month? Big screen. Big apps. Keyboard. Mouse.
One other difference, in the Big Apps category, is that we ask something different from Mac applications than we currently, I repeat—currently, ask of the iPhone apps. Mac software is rich and varied. Not so the iPhone, still in its infancy, though with many more utilities than the original Mac had at the end of year one.
My question for the day is this: how close are we to having a nearly full-fledged Mac in the pocket with soon-to-be iPhone models? What software will never make the transition to the iPhone? What Mac software is a must-have for future iPhone generations?