More iPhone news: no SIM slot?

And still the iPhone news comes!  After 3rd party apps, release date and videos, 9 to 5 Mac are reporting that, contrary to the iPod which, when plugged into a Mac or PC will show up as an external drive (and hence is often used as a backup device or to swap data from home and work computers), the iPhone will interact through iPhoto and iTunes.  That should increase ease of use for novice owners, but likely frustrate everyone else.

Also of note is the apparent lack of SIM card slot; while this could be down to preproduction models being taken as gospel, the expected slot on top of the handset is missing.  While the geek in me hopes this is a casing issue and not a final-model detail, the cynic in me wonders if this could be another attempt by Apple to prevent the iPhone "blackmarket".  It'll certainly meet with little favour in Europe, if that's the case, where SIM swapping is a fact of life and customers expect to be able to do it.

That cynicism is bolstered by the news that no OEM or SIM-free handsets will be offered – it's AT&T's iPhone or nothing – and that means the 2-year contract and no availability if you're outside AT&T's service could be a big stumbling block for some. 


On the software front, while 3rd party applications look to be coming at WWDC this month the iPhone's embedded OS (now up to version 1.0) appears to be missing iChat.  Of course in the weeks leading up to launch this could quite easily be added back in – or released as a post-purchase firmware upgrade.  And it's not all bad news: hands-on feedback suggests that Safari is particularly lovely to use, complete with tabbed browsing, and a VPN client to increase the phone's smartphone status.

Last, but by no means least, the form-factor gets some praise: 

"[The phone] is just perfect. Small enough to fit in a suit pocket without messing up the lines, with an unbelievably blemish-resistant screen"

I think the iPhone is going to be one of those things that, like the Nano, sells itself to you as soon as you hold it.  It really does look incredibly tactile, and even with all the stumbling blocks in the way of easy ownership there'll still be queues round the block for it.

Some very interesting iPhone developments [9 to 5 Mac]