We advise startups to launch when they've added a quantum of utility: when there is at least some set of users who would be excited to hear about it, because they can now do something they couldn't do before.
I'd guess they omitted Flash because the iPhone is too low-powered for it to look good; the iPhone needs optimized native apps. Since "looking good" is a huge part of the iPhone experience, it makes (painful) sense to drop that feature. Same for Java.
It might sound like I'm criticizing the iPhone, but I'm not: it's how Apple managed to create a cool experience for users in an incredibly compact size (they are tiny.)
The result is that when Moore's law does enable reasonable processing power in a device that small, Apple will be in the best position to exploit it, in market position, in design tradeoffs, and in engineering knowhow.
"PB made a point in a talk once that I now mention to every startup we fund: that it's better, initially, to make a small number of users really love you than a large number kind of like you."
It's possible to get people involved with a product if they're not excited about it. There's still growth involved. But the difference between that and a project people actively fall in love with is extraordinary.
"Excitement" is a benefit, not a feature. This distinction from advertising is obvious, but hard to drive into engineering (even when it's me).
Until my current project I always thought that excitement was something that you simulated to get users. The guy who built and marketed Zoints, the start-up I did work for in high school, would IM me and talk about these campaigns he wanted to run on forums where Zoints employees would become forum members to talk about how much they loved the network (it was a social network for forums, essentially). And I thought, Oh, this is how you generate excitement. Then I started demoing Cirqueti to people in January, and suddenly I was getting absolutely ridiculous feedback. Things like, I'd talk to somebody about it on IM, and they would go to their college and talk to their professor or their class about it. One guy keeps bringing friends onto his IM account to ask me questions about it.
It's insane, and it's a terrific feeling, and more than that it's genuine. I love it, because it means I don't have to lie or oversell what I've got: from the initial reaction it doesn't at all look like that'll be necessary, and I can focus on just making it better. And the best part of that is it's not marketing. Like, this isn't some cynical attempt to gain users. It's much more honest, because they're doing it on their own. I've seen that with a lot of web sites, in particular Facebook, which ran no ads on competing web sites (unlike TagWorld, which people thought was a big potential competitor, and which would advertise everywhere). I love it. It shows that if you've actually made something good, then you don't have to worry about advertising and you can just be yourself and do your own thing.