Mobile Search

Yesterday, Apple unveiled the forthcoming iPhone 3.0 (san the hardware) that will be available this summer.

I'll get into a little of that here on Onxo and more at On Apple. However, I do want to stress one of the features that was stressed but hasn't really been picked up by the bloggers is search. Specifically, I'm talking about Apple's search feature for the iPhone called "Spotlight".

For those who have Macs, you use it very often. It's fast and easily one of the most indispensable features on the Mac OS. Now, it's available for the iPhone.

What struck me was how seamless it was to use as far as I can see from the demo. More significantly, it what Apple said Spotlight will do beyond searching on the iPhone. It'll go into the servers to get you the information you want.

That might not be too significant right now or even with 3.0. It might be a feature we'll be more familiar with when Apple's next OS, Snow Leopard, is available, also around summer.

The fact that search will go beyond the mobile device into the servers may be code for something larger. Could Apple be looking at search and testing out its own mobile searches? There is precedent for this from Apple.

The iPod Touch. ATT certainly did not see that coming. At least not so quickly after the original iPhone went on the market. Then last year, Apple added "recording" capability to the iPod Touch. When pressed, Apple execs said VOIP is certainly a possibility. Then again yesterday, we find out that 2nd gen iPod Touch will gain full bluetooth capability with iPhone 3.0.

As an Apple watcher, this gets better and better by the moment. As a mobile warrior, search by Apple opens up another front in the mobile war against Android, Nokia, WM, and RIM, which is a good thing for mobility in general. And how would these companies respond?

Google and Microsoft. Google has a lot to offer in search already. It's ahead of what Apple can bring to the market. Still it can't simple sit around. Google should at least be uncomfortable with what Apple might be planning. I'm sure it doesn't sit well with Cupertino as far as Android is concerned. Honestly, what's Google without search?

Microsoft has a great Windows Mobile 7 coming but I wonder if they'll need go add search just because of this. Redmond is still looking at Google and doesn't see the iPhone as a threat. Priorities are a bit different here.

For the rest of the market, they need to be concerned. They've got smartphone OS trying to be a mobile platform. That's a lot of work and requires a lot of resources. Apple and Microsoft can move a lot of their desktop weapons to the mobile war. That can't be said of Symbian or Blackberry OS.

It's just one front of the mobile war. Still, it may be a significant one.

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