Now that it's 2008, the iPhone is no longer the latest and hottest thing about... oh, there are still people excitedly buying them? Huh. (grin) Just goes to show you what great design is capable of, even when performance isn't completely optimized in reality.
Anyway, a friend in the U.K. forwarded me a link to a WIRED Online article "The Untold Story: How the iPhone Blew Up the Wireless Industry". Relatively interesting, but I think it misses the point.
The Phone-less iPhone
It's not just that there's the iPhone changing how we think of mobile phones, but there's the iPod Touch -- which looks something like an iPhone without the phone. The "iTouch" isn't just an MP3 and video playing iPod with a touch screen, though. It's a portable Wi-Fi web browser which works damned well. IMHO, the iTouch is changing how we think of PDA browsers.
As a PDA, the iTouch sucks. You may be able to walk around with 8 or 16GB, but you can't mostly access that memory directly from the screen. You can't mark or copy or save text or images from Web pages.
But it views more webpages and handles more e-mail systems natively than most Windows Mobile (Windows CE) PDAs do and the ability to effortlessly zoom in and out or scroll around on the touch screen makes viewing webpages on a tiny screen more than just an interesting affect -- it's useful.
And that is what intrigues me. True portable yet tiny web browsing that is useful.
New Cell Phones
I will shortly be getting new cell phones for myself and Mrs. Dr. Phil. We bought a pair of Motorola V60i phones from Alltel in January 2003 and five years later, it would've been down to either new phones or a third set of batteries. Except we just got a notice from Alltel that the FCC wants our old phone's frequencies back. They've also been bugging us to get GPS enabled phones for Enhanced 911 use for a year or two.
Would I look at the iPhone? Probably not. The AT&T EDGE network is too slow and the next generation iPhone is still a year or two out. Not going to spend big bucks on that. Also, I just want a phone. I don't want a phone that plays MP3s, games or videos. I don't want to even hint of risky my battery life on stuff that's not mission critical. Because, when your vehicle is dead on the side of the road, it takes time to arrange for AAA and call people to say that you have to cancel class, etc.
No, not the iPhone for me. Not yet. But I would like a phone that I can get a GSM card and use in Finland or the U.K. or elsewhere in the world, if and when we get out of the country again. Yeah, I'd like that.