iPhone, uPhone, we all scream for iPhone
Hmm, that title doesn’t quite work… 🙂
Regular readers of this blog probably found it incredibly strange that I didn’t at least post some blog entry proclaiming that I think the iPhone is super awesome and I want one as soon as it comes out. 🙂 Well, I was going to post something to that effect, but I got distracted by reading other people’s reactions to the iPhone, as well as other stories about Apple’s legal issues with Cisco, and Cisco’s legal problems with actually owning/not owning the iPhone trademark… Whatever.
I got even less motivated to post my thoughts about this cool device when I saw Sumocat’s posts about the iPhone, because they pretty much echoed my sentiments. So read his blog entries and then come back to this one. Apologies for any redundancy. 🙂
“I’m crushing your iPhone!”
After having a few weeks to think about it, I’m actually more interested in whether or not the 6th-gen iPod is going to have the same multi-touch and CoverFlow interface that the iPhone’s music player has. There have been predictions that the 6th-gen iPod will be announced in the spring, possibly before the iPhone is released. I hope this is true! There are still way more people who would buy a new iPod over an expensive PDA/iPod phone. Honestly, I would buy the 6th-gen iPod over the iPhone if it did have the same touchscreen interface, because it will have a lot more storage, and hopefully longer battery life, than the iPhone. I’m not saying I don’t still want an iPhone (I told the hubby that it’s getting released in June, which is my birth month, which means I strongly recommend he plan on getting it for my b-day… *smirk*). 🙂 I just don’t really want to switch to Cingular, and my MDA can take care of my surfing/mobile RSS/PDA needs just fine. I would love an iPod with the awesome touchscreen interface and updated playback visuals that the iPhone has.
Nevertheless, manufacturers of other PDA/Smartphones better step up their efforts now. They know what’s coming, and I think it’s completely within HTC’s (and co.) power to make PDA phones that are comparable to the iPhone. LG’s phone for Prada at least has the touchscreen interface and finger-friendly large icons on the home screen… At the very least, I hope PDA phones with bigger screens will be more in vogue. My MDA’s screen is kind of on the small side; I really loved the screen on the Dell Axim x50v that I was using before. VGA resolution on a screen with a 3.5″ – 4″ diagonal measurement is great.
Yes, I know, HTC’s, and Nokia’s, and whoever else’s PDA/Smartphones are more powerful and versatile than the iPhone right now. But they are also more complicated, and not friendly to those who prefer to navigate with their fingers (as I do when I’m using my MDA as my music player in the car). The design of the iPhone is a lot more “normal consumer”-friendly. While I’m not a complete novice, I am not a road warrior, either. I have my PDA phone because I didn’t want to carry a PDA and a phone separately, not because I always need to have access to my e-mail when I’m on the go, or need EVDO access wherever I am. I basically use my MDA like I use my Tablet — 80% of the time I’m just checking e-mail or RSS feeds and surfing on it. Most people who are going to buy the iPhone are going to just surf, listen to music, watch videos or show off pictures, check e-mail, and text their friends (or do IM, which Apple really should implement if they want to cater to the younger demographic). WinMo devices aren’t really suited for that, out of the box. They’re more suited towards the executives who need their push e-mail and Outlook info all the time. Note, I said “out of the box”. I know you can set up a WinMo device to be a media/gaming machine, if you want to.
I like having the flexibility of installing 3rd-party apps to extend the basic functionality of my MDA, like eReader, pRSSReader, TCPMP, etc. But if the iPhone’s basic media and browser programs meet my needs, both functionally and aesthetically, then I’m not going to be as hot under the collar as other people who are complaining about not being able to load their own apps onto the phone. I have griped and griped and griped about how iTunes’s podcatching functionality is not customizable enough, yet I keep coming back to it because it’s the only podcatching client that handles displaying, organizing, and downloading podcasts the way I want (to some extent). While it remains to be seen whether or not the iPhone apps will really work the way I want them to work, I have more confidence in that being the case, given my previous experience with other Apple products. Flame me all you want. I still like using my MDA, just keep that in mind.
I tend to believe the theories out there that 3rd-party apps will be available for the iPhone, but only via Apple, either via iTunes purchases, or some Apple-owned website that will allow “certified” applications to work on the iPhone. While I know that it’s not great that the iPhone isn’t just open for anyone to create apps for it, I also subscribe to the theory that the user experience can be better controlled if the applications for the iPhone are controlled. Since getting my MDA, in the first few weeks, I had to hard reset the device a few times and reinstall everything because of bad interactions among programs I installed. And WinMo users are used to the whole “hard reset and restore your device” every few months or so, as Windows users are used to reinstalling Windows every so often. Why must that be the case? I have yet to reinstall OS X on my Mac mini, and I bought it a few years ago. I do have a lot of 3rd party apps installed and 3rd party hardware hooked up to it, yet it hasn’t gotten so mired in orphan files or registry corruption that I’ve had to wipe the system clean and restore it. I expect the iPhone to be the same way, even if 3rd-party apps do come out for it.
Bottom line: I am glad the iPhone is out there because it’ll get more regular users used to the idea of having a “smart” phone, which could propel the adoption of 3G and more widespread WiFi, which would be good for other computing devices like UMPCs. I’m also glad that the iPhone is out there to push other PDA phone manufacturers to innovate more to compete. But when all is said and done, if the 6th-gen iPod has the same touchscreen, auto-rotate, CoverFlow interface of the iPhone, I’ll go for the iPod and wait on iPhone 2.0 (if I can).