Sunday, January 20, 2008

iPhone - what's the fuss about?

I know the iPhone has a great user interface and feels lovely to hold but I don't understand why it is seen as a great leap forward. When I say "I don't understand", I mean "I don't understand"; I don't mean "it isn't a great leap forward".

I think the perception of the phone in the USA is distorted by that country having become a telecommunications backwater, and that the iPhone actually takes them into the 21st century. The Brits don't seem to be as enamoured as the Yanks - but maybe we're just cheapskates?

One thing is for sure, the iPhone has caused lots of websites to be redesigned (e.g. Google) for the mobile device form factor (e.g. IPhone, N800, Eee pc) and very good they look too. Someone is going to make a great mobile internet device - I don't know who yet, and everything out there is very much "first generation" to may way of thinking.


Kathryn said...

You may be correct. It is possible that our mobile neanderthalism has caused the iPhone to be seen as the second coming. I can only speak from my own experience.

I had a "smartphone" from T-Mobile previously. The only webapps that I could access were slow and buggy. I could get sports scores (some of the time), but not weather. Headlines, but not flight updates (even though there was a specific page to enter your flight number. It never returned so much as a bit of data.) Adding insult to injury T-Mobile shut off my phone every month for SIX months because THEY forgot to credit a check I wrote to them. I faxed the cancelled check to them six times, but each time they "lost" the fax and shut off my service the next month. I couldn't wait to tell them good bye.

The very first time I used my iPhone in July I noticed.
1. MUCH better reception from AT&T (a lot better than T-Mobile and better than my husband's Sprint phone).
2. I could now access EVERY SINGLE webpage on the net! Not just the buggy ones that T-Mobile supported.
3. I could get rid of my increasingly ancient Palm device. A slight pain moving all my contacts to Address Book and my calendars to iCal (which I still dislike), but better than buying an already obsolete Palm device.

And I discovered a host of functions that I could NEVER have done before. Clicking a phone number on a webpage and dialing it. Putting a phone number from a webpage in my contacts. Syncing contacts and calendar items seamlessly. And NOW checking my position on Google Maps, following our drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles to Las Vegas complete with traffic predictions on the roads ahead.

What do I miss? Games, but instead I surf when waiting. Yes, Edge is slow, but I am patient and there is a LOT of WiFi around. I wish it had a better camera (but I do have lovely pictures of the Apple Store on the Ginza in Tokyo).

Are there other smartphones that are just as good out there. Certainly. I had a friend show me her Windows mobile (with keyboard) yesterday. She can pull up a webpage, get a map, call their contact number just like an iPhone. BUT we are an All Mac, All the Time shop here, so have NO windows hardware or software. I don't WANT a Windows mobile device or a Palm device. I want a device that talks to my laptops and my desktops. I love my iPhone.

Roger said...

Great comment Kathryn. See my subsequent post.

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