“The Holy Grail of Gadgets”
“Shake-Up for the Phone Industry”
“Will Disrupt the Mobile Phone Market”
These are only a few of today’s headlines heralding the advent of the long-awaited Apple iPhone. In fact the scene at MacWorld, following as it did on Christmas, looked for all the world like the geek Magi adoring the holy child of Cupertino.
With a buildup like this it would be hard not to come up short, even if you’re golden boy Steve Jobs.
So what have we got here?
After all the ooh-ing and ah-ing about the slick, no-tiny-keys-or stylus-in-sight design, it’s…a phone. While the touch screen user interface is heads and shoulders above those of PDAs like Palm and Blackberry, even that is not the dramatic advance it’s made out to be. I use the touch screen on my Treo all the time — without the stylus. It’s an evolution not a revolution.
In terms of functionality, I can’t see that the $500-$600 Apple iPhone does anything that smartphones don’t do already at significantly lower cost and with a choice of service providers, unlike Apple which only offers Cingular service. Looking sexy is not a feature that most business users will pay a premium and sacrifice choice for.
I’m not the only one who’s underwhelmed by Apple’s iPhone. VoIP industry pundit Jeff Pulver’s pulse rate actually lowered.
“It sounds like a device that should work better than other such devices have in the past,” he says. “It’s not about songs or ringtones. What I was looking for was a next generation PDA that happened to be a phone.”
“It’s not the revolutionary change agent we expected from Apple,” he continues. “I had hoped when Apple came out with an iPhone that the little ’i’ meant something.”
Still, Pulver concedes the device has a pretty face. “Would I like to leave CES with a phone like that? Sure.” Just what you say about arm candy.