Wednesday, January 10, 2007

iPhone craze

It seems like everyone suddenly went crazy over iPhone. The new gadget is being discussed in multitude of blogs, newspapers publish articles on it, and the stock prices for Apple skyrocketed over the past two days. My coworkers show each other web pages with photos of the new device…

Well, I knew for quite some time that, when it comes to marketing, no one can beat the Apple guys. They are geniuses. And I am sure that the craze over this new gizmo will just increase over time, and, most probably, it will become one of the most wanted and hyped devices of this year.

But, frankly, I don’t understand what’s so great or special about this new thingy. Let’s cool down a little bit, and look at the device more attentively. Yes, there are many nice touches about it: stylish design, more or less decent on-board storage size (up to 8 Gigs), camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS – everything is included. You can take pictures, surf the web, play music and movies, may be even play games. There are interesting new features, such as:

  • multi-touch UI;

  • different built-in sensors which, for example, detect when the phone is rotated and switch automatically between portrait and landscape mode (though I assume sometimes that might be annoying);

  • visual voicemail – a list of voice messages (I applaud Apple for this one!)
    integration with Google maps.

But there are also quite many drawbacks:

  • operating touchscreen with fingers means having grease, scratches and fingerprints all over it. A reporter from NY Times states that “You still get finger streaks, but they’re relatively subtle and a quick wipe on your sleeve takes care of them”. The reporter was playing with the phone in an office, with clean hands. I hate to thing what will happen to the screen on a hot and humid day.

  • The same reporter admits that “Typing is difficult. The letter keys are just pictures on the glass screen, so of course there’s no tactile feedback.”. The difficulty is somewhat relieved by some ultra-smart installed software – but, still, it’s not the same as having a real keyboard.

  • Speaking of the software – according to Engadget, the phone is first-party software only. In my view, that diminishes the appeal of the phone tenfold.

  • No removable battery

  • No expandable memory

  • No Exchange support

  • And a hefty price tag! 600 dollars for a phone (as far as I understand, with a 2-year contract) – isn’t it too much?

And, except the visual voicemail, there are no real phone innovations in this product! (though this seems to be a problem of the mobile phone industry in general – all new features have nothing to do with telephony.) Blacklisting and whitelisting of the callers, scheduling of the notification sound types (automatically switch to vibration only at night) – those and similar features existed in crude russian Caller ID phones in mid-1990s, but none of the features is present in the ultra-modern devices.

I will not rush for the iPhone. No doubt it will have an owerwhelming success – but not with me.

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Anonymous said...

First-party only? But how in this case can they claim that "All the power and sophistication of the world’s most advanced operating system — OS X — is now available ..."?

Al. Shv. said...

Yeah, people realy have crazy about it. Take a see, in top, from 10 topics 6 are about iPhone. Guess, Stive Jobs is more than happy now :)

Richard said...

Honestly, as Sheakspeare said: Much Ado About Nothing... ;-)

Richard said...

Ouch... Shakespeare, of course...

MJ said...

Hey i have an iphone and i really like it. its the perfect ohone 4 a teenager. sure it can be more better but i still like it
so far it is the best phone out there

Anonymous said...

Iphone makes developers A LOT of money. Even if the language is crap and insane.

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