By: Adam Knapp, Wichita Business Journal
May 27, 2007
This summer, it’s all about the iPhone.
The latest innovation from Apple Inc., which was just approved by the Federal Communications Commission last week, will hit the market next month. Technology stores in Wichita have been swamped with inquiries about the iPhone, which is expected to retail at approximately $500.
Using a widescreen iPod with touch controls, it combines three features: Storing and playing music, taking pictures and accessing the Internet. And of course, it is a telephone.
“But (Apple has) changed the whole user experience,” says Blake Heinemann, owner of River City Digital LLC. “Cell phones have been stuck in this quagmire of crappy interfaces … They’ve rethought how you interact and deal with a phone. It’s not the same tiny screen and tiny buttons.”
The iPhone has a two-megapixel camera, a visual voice-mail system and instant message capacity. It also allows television watching on a vertical or horizontal screen.
“Basically, it’s a small computer,” says Jason Opat, owner of Rule Productions of Wichita. “It’s more than just a phone. It’s just … cool.”
Apple says it plans to ship 10 million iPhones for the 2008 calendar year, according to a company report. It plans to expand its store-within-a-store concept with Best Buy from 50 to 200 stores, each staffed with Apple employees.
It’s the gadget that many tech heads have on the top of their wish lists this summer. Here are many other cutting-edge gizmos that are already out there, according to Wichita-area tech experts.
Apple Inc. / Retail: $500
The most anticipated product of the year will hit shelves in June. The device combines a mobile phone, widescreen iPod and Internet communications in a slick new interface.
TouchSmart IQ770 pc
Hewlett-Packard / Retail: $1,800
Think of this as a modern version of the bulletin board. It’s a desktop computer that uses a touch screen for a calendar to schedule professional and personal events, television viewing — whatever you want. It also stores photos, music and other data. It is one of the under-the-radar “miscellaneous” items in Wichita.
“Basically, you can do everything with the touch of a screen,” says Alan Kaufman, a salesperson at Comp USA. “… A lot of people don’t realize what this is yet.”
Ultra Mobile Portable Computer
S-XGen / Retail: $1,400
There have been two big complaints about small PCs: Lack of battery life and typing limitations. But this one has a fold-out keyboard and a battery life of eight hours. It weighs 14 ounces and has capabilities for Bluetooth and tri-band cellular technology.
1080-I high definition camcorder
Sony / Retail: $1,300
Still fairly new on the market, it features a 30 gig hard drive and may also be used to take regular photographs.
“It’s just phenomenal,” says Rod Moore, director Wichita Technical Institute. “The neat thing is you can shoot your video and then copy it directly over to your computer (and onto a DVD). The faster your processor, the faster you can get it done.”
Treo 700 W
Palm Inc. / Retail: $300
Until the iPhone comes out, it will probably remain the hottest cell phone on the market. It’s a personal digital assistant and a cell phone in one, allowing users to carry agendas, documents and various other pieces of data.
“This is just now getting adopted in the corporate world,” says Kevin Colburn, director of corporate technology and facilities for High Touch, a Wichita-based software-development company. “We’ve been using different versions of this for some time now, and it’s probably one of the most important mobile tools we use.”
Sierra Wireless / Retail: $300
Used mainly for business travel, this allows you to get a secure channel back to the office from your laptop. This brand gets high marks for its dependability in areas with weak signals.
Sling Media / Retail: $150
This device attaches to a DVR, digital cable or satellite receiver at home, and allows you to channel surf and watch television from your portable computer.
“It’s huge for business travel,” says Jason Mock, a sales engineer at High Touch. “Theoretically, you could have someone sitting around in the airport watching the football game or the local news from back home.”
SCH-u620 mobile phone
Samsung / Retail: $80
This is one of two Samsung mobile phones carrying television service. It also can be used for navigation purposes through mapping and even voice directions.