Since everyone was expecting the 3G iPhone that Steve Jobs announced Monday in San Francisco, I was officially less interested in that than in everything else. I’m more curious about other stuff – like, what’s next for OS X? Will Apple unveil a new suite of software for the iPod Touch and iPhone? And have third-party developers come up with anything thrilling?
Below, a look at the major announcements, and which other companies are affected.
1. iPhone 2.0 software. Steve Jobs is going straight for the BlackBerry’s jugular. He kicked off his keynote by saying 35 percent of the Fortune 500 have been working with early versions of the iPhone 2.0 software, which potentially cuts into the BlackBerry’s customer base. To drive the point home, Jobs showed a video of IT managers testifying to the iPhone’s greatness. One recurring theme: The iPhone does a good job with Microsoft Exchange and Sharepoint. In fact, it was so heavy on the compatibility message that could have been a Microsoft promotional video. Loving it: Microsoft. Hating it: Research in Motion , Palm , Nokia , Motorola (MOT).
2. Developers. Apple introduced a “push notification” service for developers that allows them to remotely notify users when a piece of software is ready with an update. There were also a lot of demos. Ready? SEGA showed off a slick version of the goofy Super Monkey Ball game, eBay showed a nimble new auction app, Loopt showed a friend-finder service, TypePad showed a fast blogging app, Associated Press showed a new site thick with photos and video, Pangea Software showed two graphics-rich games, Cow Music showed a funky music-making app, MLB.com showed live video highlights, Modality showed an interactive map of the anatomy, MIMvista showed a 3D view into the body, and Digital Legends Entertainment showed a stunning 3D fighting game. The key to each jaw-dropping demo was the multi-touch interface. Loving it: Every software developer. Hating it: Every iPhone competitor, especially Microsoft, Symbian, Google and Palm.
3. Productivity. A few new features for workers: Search contacts, bulk delete and move e-mail messages; iWork compatibility; Word, Excel and PowerPoint compatibility, multi-language support, and custom app distribution options for enterprise and for education. Loving it: Business users, educators, Microsoft. Hating it: No one, really.
4. mobileMe. Exchange “for the rest of us,” Apple calls it; Phil Schiller casually slips and calls Microsoft’s ActiveSync product “ActiveStink.” Apple’s mobileMe keeps all of your address, calendar and mail products in sync, on Macs and PCs (including Outlook compatibility). It also has a slick web-based e-mail and contacts interface. Only problem: It’s $99 per year. There’s a 60-day free trial, but no ongoing free version to get people hooked. Loving it: People who used the .Mac service before. Hating it: The masses who use free web 2.0 apps.
And of course, there was a 3G iPhone announced. But to me, the other stuff matters just as much.