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The New iPhone's New Winner

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Depending which iPhone rumor you believe, the 3G version of iPhone has either been delayed or already landed on U.S. shores and is on its way to being announced at Apple’s WWDC in San Francisco next month. The interest in the 3G version of the iPhone has been building since AT&T executives “accidentally” talked about it at various events.

But whether it’s a new 2G model or a super-fast 3G, there is one thing that’s for sure: The new iPhone has Global Positioning System (GPS) built into it, thanks to legal requirements put in place by the FCC. The company supplying the GPS to iPhone is going to be a big winner in this space; according to my sources, the contract has been nailed down by Broadcom, a relatively new entrant into the GPS market. The Irvine, Calif.-based chip company had acquired Global Locate in July 2007 for $143 million in cash and $80 million in incentives. In the past such a deal would have gone to someone like SIRF, which is in a bit of pain these days.

A recent report in Popular Mechanics outlines some of Apple’s GPS moves. Last year, Google’s Marissa Meyer told us that the Google Maps usage from iPhone was off the charts. Now imagine that Maps feature married to the built-in GPS; the combo could give location based services a big massive boost. Pelago, an LBS social service has already received $15 million in funding for its iPhone application.

Such applications could drive the demand for iPhones, which in turn could be a pretty good thing for Broadcom. I do wonder what impact it will have on standalone devices and if it will catalyze change and new innovation in that market.

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143 Responses to “The New iPhone's New Winner”

  1. its OS X because it runs the Mach micro kernal same as desktop OSX. I didn’t know WM ran win32. If it does that’s news to me. That’s why iPhone is OS X and win mobile is not windows. As far as A2DP the average song file has a bit rate of 128-256 Kb/s consistant Bluetooth tranfer rates are between 4-8 Kb/s that’s why it sucks. You may be right about the market share and I shoulve cited a source. So I’m not gonna comment about that.

  2. Pieter

    @ Surur

    About your comments about API/binary compatibility: Is that different from WM?
    No. WM is also not binary or API compatible with Windows.
    (Hell, Windows itself is not compatible with Windows sometimes…_
    However, the iPhone API is using the base OS X APIs, such as the different Core Frameworks
    (Core Image, Core Video, Core Data, etc.)
    Separate from that, some APIs are added for the mobile device (e.g. multi-touch events) and
    some APIs are removed that do not make sense on a mobile device.
    Of course on the iPhone the UI is different.
    That is because Apple has the idea that on a phone you need a simple button UI and
    not the Start menu style as WM tries to copy from a desktop computer…

    About cheap hardware:
    WM devices are not cheap. They cost the same or more as an iPhone…

    About updates:
    Maybe those items you mention are not really requested or needed?
    And maybe the v2.0 software will add those items…
    On the other hand, how about some HTC drivers that indeed do hardware accelerated video drawing?

    About Opera:
    That doesn’t matter in the end. WM is not succeeding as an internet device.
    As written by loosely_coupled, the iPhone/iPod touch devices are used more for internet browsing
    than all WM devices ever sold combined.

    It seems that Apple is doing something correctly.
    Maybe the amount of features of a phone is less important than the amount of features usable by normal people,
    instead of computer geeks/techies that can use and (like to) work around problems of a device.

    Yes, I consider myself one of those geeks.
    However, I am going to buy the 3G iPhone when it is available.

    BTW, why is it that a new WM/Symbian/Linux phone is always positioned as an ‘iPhone killer’ and
    never as an ‘BlackBerry killer’, ‘WM (fill in brand&type) killer’ or ‘Android (fill in brand&type) killer’?

    Are some people jealous or scared of the iPhone product?
    (Also same for the iPods)

  3. Surur

    So its not binary compatible, and not100% API compatible, and this is different from WM how?

    I am sure any technology Apple doesnt use, like MMS, A2DP and 3G sucks for you, until Apple uses it of course.

    BTW, the shortages only started in Q2. I wonder what their Q2 marketshare looks like.

  4. of course the binaries are different. The original tiger PPC binaries aren’t compatible with the Current intel binaries. The processors are differnt therfore the binaries are different. Just because it uses different binaries doesnt mean its not OS X. It doesnt have all the same API’s because they aren’t all aplicable. The quality on a2dp sucks. Why include a redundant feature that sucks. Also they lost market share cause they ran out of phones.

  5. surur

    You can say exactly the same things for WM, and that part of its success. It has a windows directory and registry also, and development occurs in Visual Studio too.

    And of course I am writing this on my Tilt, and more easily due to the full hard keyboard.

  6. No it runs OS X. Take a look at the file system on a jailbroken iPhone. For real geeks apple did some that no one else has ever done. They took a desktop OS and put it on a mobile phone. I mean you can run an apache web server on the device. The iPhone is not a product its a platform, the mac platform. Development of apps on the iPhone is identical to that of the mac its called Xcode. If you can write an app on the mac you already can write an app on the iPhone. The device was kept closed on purpose for the first year so apple could make sure they understood how to approach the distobution system for the 3rd party apps and it seems like they got a pretty good plan. The iPhone IS a computer running desktop OS X. It doesnt look like it when you use an iPhone and that’s only because the desktop UI is not good for a 3.5 inch screen. The UI is called multi-touch. At its core it runs the same software as a mac. Also with the intrests of full disclosure I’m writing this post on an iPhone.

  7. Surur

    Is OSX Mobile binary binary compatible with desktop OSX? No.
    Is OSX Mobile 100% Api compatible with desktop OSX? No.

    Is it hellishly bloated, and unable to run on cheap hardware? Yes, and that will lose it the smartphone battle.

    That you are still talking about the phone being wiped by powerloss tells me you have not used a WM phone since 2004, that issue is long solved.

    Regarding the 2 years of free updates provided by Apple – yar one has been a complete bust- where is the bluetooth stack improvemnts, here is the A2DP, where is cut and paste, why cant you use the music on the device as a ring tone?

    Regarding AJAX, I am running the wonderful Opera Mobile 9.5 on my Tilt, and you know, it smokes Safari Mobile. It supports more AJAX technologies, does bettr on Acid 2 and 3 and supports flash, and is much more stable than the crashtastic Mobile Safari. Thats just one advantage of an open platform.

    I guess Apple must be running out of easily impressed fanboys, seeing how they lost smartphone marketshare in Q1 2008.

  8. @ Surur: “Regarding the iPhone running Leopard, the iPhone runs OSX as much as WM devices run Windows.”

    Bong! Nope, Windows Mobile has a completely different kernal to desktop Windows and suffers from a terribly constrained architecture harking back to it’s origins as Windows CE crammed into the tiny amounts of memory then available. Even now it is still around 40MBs in size.

    In contrast OS X on the iPhone is an amazing 500MBs in size and has the same rock-solid BSD unix-based kernal and frameworks as the desktop version of Mac OS X and was designed from the start to run on the powerful 620MHz processor with 128MB of RAM and multiple gigabytes of storage and hardware accelerated graphics subsystem.

    I’ve owned several very expensive Windows Mobile PDA smart phones and can’t believe that you would laud a platform that as a design “feature” would wipe all the data, programs and settings if the battery went flat or it accidentally hard reset – an all-to-common occurrence.

    Then there is their total inability to run Web 2.0 Ajax apps in their pathetic web browsers, their ridiculously tiny buttons and stupid, stupid Start Menu (on a tiny screen like that! Why for the love of Pete?) that force you to use a stylus which always gets lost.

    Then there are all the chromed plastic buttons that stop working after way too short a time and the ridiculously rickety slide out keypads with the too-tiny buttons. The list goes on.

    I agree the iPhone is missing some important features, but most of these lacks are easily fixed with the 2-years worth of free software updates guaranteed by Apple’s deferred revenue policy on the iPhone.

    ps. Who needs terribly expensive MMS when you’ve got free, powerful email?


  9. Surur

    Apple has gotten their ass handed to them in Europe by the lowly HTC Touch, and the 3G iPhone will get its ass haded to it by the HTC Touch Diamond. These phones will be cheaper, will have better carrier support, more eye candy, and will also actually be able to do more (imagine trying to sell a phone in Europe without a CONSUMER feature like MMS. Great usability there, isn’t it)

    Regarding the iPhone running Leopard, the iPhone runs OSX as much as WM devices run Windows.

  10. To ScionGuy,

    Thanks for a great post. I agree with your take on Apple.

    I have just tried the ipod touch. Interesting device, but you are locked down to the “Apple world”, I thought I could use it with Netflix, oops…
    I guess Apple wants me to use the IToons store till I die. In the end this closed system will move to something else…and a new open system will take over like wild fire all over the world…Apple is just a stepping stone on the path to a open system. Apple’s has always been a inovator, but at the end of the day, their vision is very narrow (the ecosystem is a big as the player), platforms based on a open system – Android is a example, will win, fluid movement from network to network is the best choice for the end user,open networks, open sytems, flex dev practices and eco system which has a high velocity of inovation will will win. The killer applicatin’s wrapped in a open environment will win at the end of the day. The consumer will vote with their wallet at the end of the day to move this along, it will take a long time, but this is where it will go. It is the law of natural selection.

  11. you’re all missing the most important point… The iphone runs Mac OS X with an optimized UI and development environment (cocoa touch). It’s not a mobile OS or a scaled down OS it is actual leopard based full unix (if jailbroken with bsd tools) core animation spitting captive touch Mac OS X. The iPhone therefore is a Mac Computer by the technical definition. That’s one feature no other mobile phone can claim.

  12. loosely_coupled


    You are obviously one of those greasy uber-geeks who hates Apple for the pettiest of reasons, not least because of the trendy image associated with Apple users. You also are of the type that just isn’t able to comprehend why most people care more about usability, integration, and aesthetics than a feature list on the side of a box when purchasing a phone or computer. People purchase Macs or the iPhone because they are excellent devices that are easy and enjoyable to use.

    Don’t kid yourself that the iPhone isn’t one of the most advanced cellphones on the market. It runs on a 620mhz ARM processor with PowerVR MBX graphics core, has a 3.5″ capacitive and glass-covered multi-touch screen, and runs one of the most advanced embedded operating system ever created. But what is MOST IMPORTANT and what separates it from every other smartphone on the market is the brilliant interface and ease of use. It is like no other device I have ever used. It’s laughable that you actually offer up the travesty that is “Windows Mobile” as a superior phone OS with “thousands of software applications”. Windows Mobile is probably the biggest piece of rubbish that has ever been conceived as an operating system. It’s buggy, slow, incredibly unstable, and is truly a pain in the ass to try to use. I mean seriously, have you actually tried to conduct business with a WinMo smartphone? I’ve had at least 6 or 7 Windows Mobile devices over the years, most recently of the “Smartphone” variety, and they all are complete crap.

    Is it really any wonder why not even a year after the iPhone introduction, and only being available on a few carriers in a few countries, that the iPhone chalks up 5X the amount of web traffic of *ALL* windows mobile devices ever sold, combined?

    And just wait until the SDK is finally finished and the App Store goes online. Mobile OSX is going to rapidly become the platform of choice for mobile software development and will completely revolutionize what is possible on a mobile phone. Already, without any formal SDK or even documentation, amateur iPhone hackers have whipped up new applications that put everything made up to this point on Windows mobile to shame. Just watch what happens over the next 6 months.

    If you truly believe that the iPhone won’t have an enormous impact on the mobile industry and the evolution of mobile service, then you are not only a geek, but a damn moron. EVERY cellphone manufacturer from Espoo to Tokyo are racing to create iPhone “killers”, mostly by directly ripping-off the glossy black and chrome of the hardware, and graphics accelerated interface. Major websites, from the BBC to CNN to ESPN are creating iPhone-optimized mobile versions of their websites.

    When the 3G iPhone has it’s worldwide debut and launch in the next few weeks, prepare to truly see the extent of the phenomenon. If you think all this iHype is going to fizzle out anytime soon, then you should put your wallet where your big mouth is and short a bunch of Apple stock. I would love to see how that will go for you…

  13. The FCC does not require GPS. Assisted GPS is enough for the degree of accuracy required by the FCC for emergency services provision requirement.

    The new iPhone may or may not have GPS, but if it does, it’s because Apple decided to include it, not because the FCC requires it.

  14. “The new iPhone has Global Positioning System (GPS) built into it, thanks to legal requirements put in place by the FCC.”

    GPS isn’t required; as the article you link notes, AT&T’s wireless division (formerly Cingular) must be accurate with 1,000 feet (300 meters), which they have mostly accomplished with cellular tower triangulation, which is NOT the same technology used by Apple (which is Google’s cell tower triangulation and Skyhook Wi-Fi location).

  15. @ Scionguy
    “What “great features” do you think the iphone has that WM devices don’t have?”

    My iPhone is easy to use. That is the most important thing, and WM sucks to use.

  16. Scionguy, you just dont get it. It’s not that WM devices have more features or that the iPhone has less, its about how the iPhone allows people to use features that makes the difference.

    WM devices are a nightmare in usability. Pocket IE does not render webpages like a desktop, and the third party browsers still dont come close to Mobile Safari’s WebKit engine. The touchscreens on WM devices are horrible, scrolling is nowhere near as smooth as the iPhone. Everything is buried in menu’s and submenus that make no sense, and I can’t count the number of times my phone has frozen or had some display glitch that required a reboot on WM 6.1. This is not how phones should work.

    To answer your question about what the iPhone has that WM devices do not, the iPhone has an accelerometer, a proximity sensor, a very advanced, large, and hi-res touchscreen with multi-touch technology, one of the most powerful processors, 8-16GB of storage built in, but most importantly, it has software that is smarter, easier, and better designed than WM and that brings all these features together. Name *one* WM device on the market now that can claim all of that (and more as you say they do).

    Yes, it may lack some openness and features, but to be honest I cannot wait to dump my windows mobile phone come june for the new iPhone. Especially with 3G, GPS, Exchange support, and whatever else Apple manages to come up with.

  17. monal

    scionguy is vastly exaggerating WM phone/OS capabilites, I have used WM5 HTC phones, blackberry devices and am now on the iPhone. Sure the WM5 has features galore, I hacked mine to do tons of stuff but does it do any of that without being buggy/laggy 70-80% of the time?? I seriously doubt it and if anyone tells you WM5 phones are vastly superior to what can be done on a jailbreaked iPhone their smoking crack or owning tons of MS stock. Apple sure did ripoff what was out there….but who cares!! They improved on what was already available just as Google’s Android OS is going to do the iPhone.

  18. I’ve had a Windows smartphone for several years. Yes, it has a touch screen, but not a multi-touch screen which is a significant difference. The software is a heap of junk – locking up and just generally not working well. The web experience is a complete joke. I’ve had an iPod touch for a month now and used its features infinitely more than any of the ones on my “smart” phone.

  19. JC (sure, that one)

    Scionguy: “I’m bitter that so many people are duped by shiny devices and hoping to help them realize there are better devices out there already.”

    You obviously have no idea at all about what you are talking about (or have consumed too much of the Kool-Aid), otherwise you would be bitter as all heck at MS for the load of crap they have perpetrated upon society in the form of ‘what they call’ software. All stolen ideas (but aren’t most ideas stolen anyway) that are executed in the most unreliable way. Crash, crash, crash.

    I’ve owned a ridiculous number of so-called ‘smart’ phones and every one of those $400 and $500 devices was a piece of crap that eventually began crashing repeatedly because of poor hardware and poor software design. All these ‘cell phone companies’ and MS & Symbian & Unix OS phones (yep, owned one of them too) ALL FAILED. No (virtually) software updates, unusable web access, and eventually unreliable for use as phones (hard to make or receive calls when the device is always in a state of crashing).

    NOT A SINGLE (smart) PHONE was worth it (Sony, Ericsson, Motorola, Treo, Nokia), that I had purchased… Until a REAL Smart Phone (and really the 1st one!): iPhone.

    That’s what Kool-Aid drinkers populate these sites defending MS or they’ll have to admit they they were the ones duped all along…

    Apple gets my money ONLY because they give me something that other phones are incapable of doing (regardless of their listed ‘capabilities or chipsets).

  20. Synthmeister

    Regardless of whether or not WinCe devices are crap, they are already getting their tail handed to them by Apple in terms of sales and internet usage.

  21. @apple fan NOT: “I do not why people ge so bitter when Apple succeed. Like scionguy. Windows is ALWAYS trying to catch up with Apple , if you think about it. iPhone is a complete new device that did not exist before. I’ve had 7 smart phones given by my job, could never browse the net or play videos as in my iPhone.”

    I’m not bitter when Apple succeeds, I’m bitter that so many people are duped by shiny devices and hoping to help them realize there are better devices out there already. Your comment is a perfect example. NOTHING on the iphone was new! I can’t count the number of people who have been dumbfounded when I explained that touchscreen phones existed long before the iphone or when I list the features that existed 3-4 years ago on WM that the iphone is missing.

    If you had a WM touchscreen device (i.e. not a WM standard that runs on flip phones without touchscreen) then you didn’t know how to use it. I browse the web and watch videos perfectly on mine and yes the website scrolls with my finger, zooms in and out, is the full page just like it would render on my PC, etc. It even supports Flash Lite which Steveo won’t give you permission to use on the iphone.

    “As far as GPS goes, who cares? my car has GPS built in and do not walk around looking for satellite link.”

    That much we agree on.


    Haha, nope I’m not envious of the iphone at all. I’ll keep my WM device that has more features thank you.

  22. You wrote: “there is one thing that’s for sure: The new iPhone has Global Positioning System (GPS) built into it, thanks to legal requirements put in place by the FCC. ”

    However, the 2005 article you link to talks about a law set to go into effect at the end of THAT year requiring location tracking ability, and which in the case of AT&T (nee Cingular) only requires 300-yard accuracy. Two questions:
    1) If the law required GPS by the end of 2005, wouldn’t the existing iPhone already have it, thus in now way making this a possible feature “upgrade” for a new version of the phone?
    2) If the current iPhone is already compliant with existing law, is there any reason that the new iPhone would be “required” to add GPS?

    Just wondering.

    — Bob

  23. apple fan NOT

    I do not why people ge so bitter when Apple succeed. Like scionguy. Windows is ALWAYS trying to catch up with Apple , if you think about it. iPhone is a complete new device that did not exist before. I’ve had 7 smart phones given by my job, could never browse the net or play videos as in my iPhone. As far as GPS goes, who cares? my car has GPS built in and do not walk around looking for satellite link.

  24. @robarmy: Have you ever used a WM device? Care to elaborate on why it’s “crap”? There are many, many millions more WM devices than there are iphones so it’s flat out wrong to say MS has only put it in the hands of “a few techies”. My WM device doesn’t ever lock up and unlike the iphone, has millions of choices for 3rd party software. Crap software to me is when you’re handset maker tells you what apps you can run and if they don’t have an app you need then you’re out of luck.

    I didn’t mention any anger towards Apple, but if you’re going to bring it up my XP laptop at work works perfectly with no reboots. Our Windows Servers that run our Fortune 500 business work just fine without reboots (literally months at a time and most reboots are just because of upgrades being performed). All of that plus I have choices over what hardware I use, software is designed for Windows first and it’s a hell of a lot cheaper for the same or better specs.

    Ok, back to phones. As I said above WM has many millions more users than the iphone so saying that “it is coming to the masses… something like I said Microsoft has NOT done with their WM platform” is simply a lie. If you had used a WM phone you would have seen the improvements that have come with each version.

    With such a late entry into the mobile handset market Apple had a great opportunity to deliver something truly amazing. Instead, as with most of their products, they delivered something that is shiny and pretty, but lacks basic functionality that others have had for years. On top of that they kept their horrible philosophy of a closed system that benefits them rather than the consumer. If Microsoft doesn’t make an app for what I need then I have other choices including making it myself (something I have already done). If my battery goes dead on a long trip I just pop it out and put in a freshly charged battery, while you’re left with a dead phone. If it has to be replaced you have to pay about 4x what I would pay, ship it somewhere, wait, wait some more. If I want to use my phone on another network I swap out SIM cards, while you’re left with the 1 network that Apple said you have to use. I can create, read and edit MS Office documents and I can use ActiveSync to stay connected to our Exchange Server at work, while the iphone has about zero functionality for business users. I could go on and on, but the bottom line is the iphone is only good for “hip” people who think it will make them look cool. It’s a huge failure when it comes to users who want actual functionality and control over the device that cost them more than a better WM device.

    What “great features” do you think the iphone has that WM devices don’t have? I can list a TON of features WM has had for years that the current iphone doesn’t have and the 2nd iphone still won’t have. I’d accuse Apple of trying to copy WM, but they left off so many features it’s really nothing like it.

  25. FatsoPilot

    “But whether it’s a new 2G model or a super-fast 3G”

    I’m sorry but any blogger/writer that includes this quote in an article about an Iphone has no creditability in my book. Have you been living in a cave? A GPS chip is a foregone conclusion but the jury is still out on the 3G chip? Please, before you write articles like this do your research.

  26. Karla

    Are the GPS chips the same chips used by SkyCaddie? This is a golf accessory that give you yardage in a golf course. If it is possible, would it not be cool to have this on a phone that has GPS capabilities? Why is it not available yet on phones? I would be cool not to have to carry two gadgets at the golf course. I don’t care what who’s phone has this capability, I will but it.

  27. Wifiguy

    Where did you hear that rumor The There has been many reports of Broadcom sweeping every chip in the iPhone. The Wifi, Bluetooth, FM, GPS, and 3g chipset system on a chip. These rumors must have been made by someone with loads of Broadcom call options. Sirf still seems the best bet. It has the most robust roadmap on the software side. I can imagine coy Jobs threatening Sirf with Global Locate to get a better price but Sirf is much more concentrated on the consumer experience and the carriers love them.

  28. robarmy

    The windows platform you talk of is crap and has been crap for a long time now. Apple will succeed in getting it to the hands of allot of people something Microsoft has not done except for a few techies. I have worked for HP for 12 + years in the Tech field and only a few of us use the WM devices because of all of the problems they have.. lock-ups, crap software, ect. Your anger towards Apple is so out of place. I’ve used Macs for under a year now and I am happy as hell to finally get on a platform that I don’t have to reboot multiple times a day. The iPhone is great, it is coming to the masses… something like I said Microsoft has NOT done with their WM platform. This is Apples first phone and NOT the last, they will improve every year something the WM has not done. Apple came out with an amazing product, something no one else has done before or should I say DONE RIGHT!!!! Good luck with your WM devices, I have noticed all of the great features the iphone has is starting to show up in the software the WM devices run, I wonder why…

  29. Instead of imagining, you could just get one of the many Windows Mobile devices that has had built in GPS for years. They also come with this amazing feature called “copy/paste”. So far I’ve seen that the new iphone is going to add 3G functionality (although no explanation of why such an obvious feature was left off in the first place) and GPS. What about the tons of other missing features?

    As for wondering “what impact it will have on standalone devices and if it will catalyze change and new innovation in that market”.. get real. A phone (that has a very small percentage of the total mobile market share) is not going to have any noticeable effect on standalone devices other than a few fanbois that will somehow rig it up in their car as a tiny, slow GPS. As for innovation, Apple is the one trying to catch up so releasing a feature that others have had for years isn’t going to spawn anything other than questions of why it took them so long.

  30. I love the new GPS feature. It should make it a ton more accurate than the iPhone 1.0.

    I wonder if it will be able to run the new Google Earth API that just came out for embedding on blogs, websites, etc?

    I’ve been playing with the Google Maps API and this is the best I could come up with so far, but I look forward to tinkering with their new Earth API: