January 12, 2007

Devil's Advocate and the iPhone

By now, you've heard of the Apple iPhone (or whatever they end up calling it after Cisco is done suing them). One of my readers (Yes, I have one!) asked what I think about the iPhone. Having nothing better to write today, I thought I'd expound on the pros and cons as I see them.
    Why they'll sell:

  • It's an Apple product. Brand loyalty amongst the Apple crowd is religious.

  • It's a 'next generation' iPod. If you have money to burn, you get a phone with your iPod. Sure it will have less space than your iPod, but who really listens to 20,000 songs?!?!

  • It's really cool looking. Nice interface, very nicely done user interface.

  • It will just work. This is the Apple way. Whatever the device can do, it will work without too much trouble. You won't have to tweak it or know what IMAP is just to make it read your email.

  • Partnerships with Yahoo and Google will make people go ga-ga over it. The integrated services that will be available on the phone should be pretty cool.

  • Why you'll be disappointed:

  • $599 and a 2 year contract?!? Ouch. Buyers remorse will set in once you find out what you can't do with it and that you're stuck for the next 2 years with a device whose leading edge is lost to fast-paced competition.

  • Slow network connectivity. Yes, it will speak Wi-Fi, but unless you live in a free wi-fi city, this will just mean it's fast when you're home or at work, when a desktop or laptop will be more convenient to use. Until 3G comes along, Internet browsing on a phone is an exercise in boredom. It's too slow to actually be useful, and the network connectivity breaks too often during a commute.

  • No support for Open application development. Apple said it will run OS X, but it won't REALLY. The phone is going to run a minimalist version of OS X, just like Windows CE or Windows Mobile isn't really Windows XP, but looks like it. If you really want to gain access to hundreds of free applications, wait for the linux-based open source smartphone OpenMoko

  • No expandable memory. 8GB is smaller than your iPod, so already you're going to have to cut back on your library, but now add your pictures and applications...I have an iTunes phone that takes miniSD cards, so changing up my song library is done with a quick click/pop/click. It's going to take effort to change out your library on the iPhone.

  • No built in GPS. Again, the OpenMoko solution will have GPS built in to it. The device probably won't be as plug and play as the iPhone right away, but it will be more useful out of the box.

  • No support for Blackberry Enterprise Server. The iPod won't replace your Blackberry if your company is so nervous about email security that they've invested in RIM's technology.

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