Friday, June 29, 2007

What's special about the iPhone?

The most hyped phone ever is now available (well sorta) from Apple: the iPhone. What good things can we expect from it? Is this author cynical? (mostly yes, but read through the end)
A critical mind, upon hearing all the hoopla would ask the natural, logical questions:
  • Is there something here that I should be getting excited about?
  • What awesome new innovations will be on this thing?
  • How cool does it look?
  • What are it's strengths? What, if any, are the weaknesses?
  • What types of people was this phone designed to serve?
Well this phone is made for GenXers and younger. It's made for people that wear rectangular frames and clothing from chic, downtown thrift stores. It's for people that wish they could tell other people that they make their own clothes, but probably have limited their sewing experience to making one uneven, heart-shaped pillow in their junior high homemaking course. Also dudes with scruffy beards that wear hoodies will want this device, along with their girlfriends.

It's weaknesses are that it will probably need to be cleaned very regularly (it has a virtual input/keyboard interface), that it won't have any 3rd party software written for it (b/c Apple won't be releasing a SDK), that it can only send email and txt messages (notice--no unlimited instant messages), and so on.

It's strength is in the sexiness of the design and that it is the heir apparent to the mighty iPod. The wave that is iPod will be cruised on by this tiny surfboard-like digital device--bringing near to it's users media of all kinds and from all sources. The one truly new feature that I can see is a multi-touch screen; I'm not sure how awesome that could be--but ok, I'm game. Truthfully, though, the iPod has such a following that this is a minor detail, along with the tiny detail that the screen automatically switches landscape and portrait modes (*cue sarcastic gasps, oohs and ahhhs). Sociologists and marketers should (and probably are) join together and furiously study the phenomenon that is the iPod. There is such a huge amount of momentum behind Apple products right now that if Steve Jobs started his own religion called iChurch, people would line up for weeks and give 50% of their salaries to him--no doubt.

Reading my comments above about the iPhone, I must ask myself why I'm spending a good amount of time researching this device. It doesn't seem to have any functionality to get me to camp in a waiting-line for weeks. So I'm not excited to get my hands on one, really. I'm mostly excited by any device that will open up the USA's mind. People have moved slowly in changing their notions of "what society believes a phone should do." The iPhone, riding the iPod wave will wipe out many peoples expectations and will leave behind a paradigm that will forever change the people's attitudes on handheld computing. Over the past six years, I've adopted several devices that function similarly to the advertised iPhone features; I'm excited to see a fire lit under the feet of United States cell phone providers (the oligopolistic cell phone service providers). See my previous blog-stories here and here.

The iGeist of Apple will take us to new heights, whether we are Mac users or not.

*-great article


Blogger Justin said...

I know you're a big smartphone guy, Chris. I think that's why you wouldn't get the iphone. For once someone has rethought the smartphone from the ground up and made it elegant and easy to use. I hope that it will cause a sea change among the mobile industry to make things easier to use. Windows Mobile is very customizable, but it is not easy for the typical home user to tweak it.

I'd definitely like an iphone, if it were not for the incredible price ($600) along with the ridiculous contract (2 years). If I'm going to spend that much, I want to be able to use it however I like. I expect that by the time the iphone 2 comes out in a year or so it will be full 3G and carrier-portable, and it might be worth my money.

It's just so easy to dismiss the iphone because it isn't catering to power business users. That's not the market share they are aiming for, so them not releasing an SDK makes sense. They want to control every aspect of the UI, to make it easier for the soccer moms.

For me, a $600 device needs to have GPS, and more than 8gb of memory. But since I am a mac fanboy, I want one mostly for the integration with OSX, so I don;t have to set up multiple sync options just to get a handheld working the way I want it to.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Justin said...

I think this sums it up really well, if you can get over him using the words "happy" and "joy" too much.

2:36 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home