ET iPhone home

Now, introducing the greatest thing to hit the market since sliced bread, the best electronic device your eyes have every laid eyes on, the revolutionary new product from Apple, the second coming, the device geeks everywhere have been drooling over since Alexander Graham Bell made the first phone call, the……..i Phone! And the survey says….wah wah. (Insert fog horn here)

I was led to believe that January 9th would bring a product worth waiting for. I was told the only thing worth buying from Apple was stock. I’ll admit that this was a good piece of advice, but I, for one, am disappointed in the announcement of the G6 iPod/iPhone. (As a side note, I’m very excited about the other product elaborated on today – the iTV. This is a very very cool product and I think it has a huge future, but that’s another post) Why, you ask? Well, for a few reasons:

  1. What the hell am I going to do with my other 78 gigs of music that don’t fit on the 8 gig model, or for that matter, the 82 gigs that don’t fit on the 4 gig model? They call it an iPod/phone/internet communications device (which is fancy tech-talk for web browser), so you’d think it’s 1/3 iPod. Well, 1/3 of my iPod is still 10G, so I’m not sure where the missing 6 gig went (on the 4 gig model). Maybe it’s in the other 2/3.
  2. Uh…Zack Morris called. He wants his phone back. I thought the idea of developing technology was to get smaller, but according to this convenient Flikr stream, it’s not getting any smaller. I haven’t seen any weight comparison, but what difference does weight make if you can’t fit it in your pocket anyway?
  3. This is supposedly the second coming of the smart phone, “5 years ahead” of the other phone/mp3 players on the market. Well, I know exactly one person who has a smart phone, and I don’t know any that need one. (BTW, if you don’t know what a smart phone is, you don’t have one.) It may well be the best smart phone (alternative) that’s on the market, and it could be for the next 5 years, but what the heck do I care? I don’t need one, and neither do you. I’m not against buying one just because it’s a smart phone…if it were a good replacement for my phone (which is probably on its way out), I’d be open to getting one. But the fact is that it’s not a replacement for a normal phone used by normal people (who also want an iPod), it’s a replacement for someone with a smart phone.
  4. Cingular? C’mon…are they the only carrier who would agree to play by Apple’s rules? I know very little about cell phones and carriers, I’ve been a loyal Sprint user since Pedro was throwing the heat back in ’99. But of the little I know, Cingular has always been on the bottom of the list. I often see quotes like “Less dropped calls? That’s because I can’t connect to make a frigging call to begin with!” An open CDMA phone seems like it would have been more of a effective choice for grabbing more customers…of course then the Cingulapple users would lose their pompous bragging rights, a comfort zone for so many (not all) Apple users.
  5. The design. Yes, the phone is sleek and minimalist, very typical of Apple products. Looks like it has a very nice interface and is really easy to use. That’s why all Apple products sell so well, and rightly so. Apple makes great products for their target consumer (like for example: everybody!, who was their target consumer for the iPod). However, I see some major flaws with this design in its robustness. Maybe creative thinking will solve these problems, but how is that screen NOT going get scratched when it’s in my pocket? As it is a touch screen, the screen cannot be encased in hard plastic like the G5 iPod, and my iPod somehow finds a way to scratch itself, even while encased in a hard candy plastic shell. So does my phone, just from being in my pocket. Where am I to keep this iPod to protect it…a safe deposit box? How is it NOT going to smeared with my fingerprints the first time I use it? Do I have to wash my hands before making a call, or should I buy a box of rubber gloves? I suppose existing smart phones have this problem, but as they are not touch screens, they can be protected. We’ll see…I guess I’m not the target audience.
  6. $500 for 4G or$600 for 8G? Are you crazy? Maybe this is typical of phones of this technology, but I wouldn’t know. Again, I guess I’m not the target consumer. And when they say “$500, with a 2 year Cingular contract”, I would imagine what they mean is “$500, in addition to a $65/month and a 2 year Cingular contract.” I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think you get 2 years of service with the $500 phone, which was my first impression when I read the keynote. A little misleading, if you ask me, but what phone company isn’t? (Sidenote 2: If this were the case, I’d be first on line…my current plan costs me $480/year. This would be a no brainer, provided Cingular is better than what I’ve heard about it)

So, that’s what I think is bad about it. But to be fair, it does have a couple of really nice features, from what I’ve seen so far:

  1. Visual Voicemail is a great feature. This lets you see your voicemail on the screen, and select which one you want to listen to first, as opposed to having to listen to 3 new messages in order to get to the 4th new message (which is always the one you want to hear). I like this feature a lot…it makes voicemail more like email. I hope this technology will make its way to other phones.
  2. Like I said, the user interface looks really nice and easy to use, provided you can get around the smudges on the screen. I love the Web 2.0-ish icons (also very typical of Apple) and the creative things they have designed to navigate the system. Multi-touch touch screen that allows you to shrink or expand a pic by “pinching” it or “whatever the opposite of pinching is” it. Dragging your finger to active certain features (smuuuuuuuuudge) is also a creative way of minimizing on-screen navigation buttons.
  3. The email system, which is a great alternative to the Zune’s “3 days or 3 plays policy” after beaming files to other Zunes (if you can find another person with a Zune.) If this will allow you to email any type of file, which I imagine you could as it is using standard email severs, this could really come in handy (if you can find another person with an iPhone.) Not very often I would use it, but a direct hit to the only advantage the Zune has over the iPod (albeit a very very small one).
  4. The internet is nice, but I don’t care to use it on my phone. The only time I could see myself using it is to get those oh-so-important sport scores, or for directions if I’m lost (and can get a signal). But it’s a nice feature.

Side note 3: Call me bitter, but why does Apple think people care enough about their commercials that they make note of them in every keynote. If that’s not arrogant, I’m not sure what is. “We have a new commercial”. Ooooooh. Who cares? I’m changing the channel just as fast as I change the channel when a Desparate Housewives commercial comes on. You’re gonna have to do a little better than swirling neon hippies for me to watch a commercial.

So, that’s that. I guess to sum it up, I just don’t see this as a general consumer product. It may be a good replacement for all of you with Blackberries and Blackjacks and whatever else you business-driven entrepreneurs are using these days, but it’s not going to take the market by storm like the iPod did. I’m sure there are some more new products already in the works, and maybe they’ll better fit the needs of the masses, but this is not it. It will be a huge seller amongst the Apple fanboys and the tech-savy businessmen, so I’m not suggesting that it’ll flop, but I was expecting more. After all the hype and the build up, I was expecting more. From Jobs’s keynote, you’d think this phone was packed with technology that was revolutionizing, but all of these features are just that. Features. Just like every other phone has. Nothing to write home about, but maybe worth a phone call.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “ET iPhone home

  1. Baby Brother

    My more than expected response. While I do agree with some of your reservations, I’m going to respond from an Apple-defensive position (it’s more fun that way 🙂

    7 Points of interest:

    1. On physical size and capacity: It is thinner than the 80 GB iPod (and any other smart phone, and probably most regular cell phones, on the market), lighter than the 30 GB, and only 4/10ths of an inch taller than current 5G iPods. If a 5G iPod fits in your pocket, I don’t see this being much different.
    Capacity is a more valid complaint. However, increasing capacity would mean a hard drive (in the present, not necessarily in 18 months), which means two things. It would be at least twice as thick, and have about a 1/3 of its battery life (and that’s being generous).
    Heavy, short-life brick vs light and lower (but certainly acceptable) capacity.

    2. On this not being a phone for the everyday person: First there was iPod, then there was iPod mini.

    3. Service Provider: Speaking strictly from a business standpoint (not quality of service), Sprint is not doing well right now (to put it nicely), and is expected to start hurting pretty bad in ’07.
    GSM is an INTERNATIONAL standard, it works everywhere there are cell phones. Outside of Verizon in America, it’s safe enough to say CDMA is, at most, insignificant. Logical choice = Cingular, #1 GSM in America. I have never had a problem with my 3 years of Cingular service, and their customer service has always been a delight.

    4. Scratching and Smudging: The back of a current 5G iPod is known notoriously for it’s “scratchability”, as was the first generation iPod nano. The second generation nano reverted to an anodized aluminum enclosure, which takes a deliberate action to scratch. The rear shell of the iPhone is the same material, I think Apple sees that a phone has a much “rougher” life than an iPod. Regarding the front: I used my Motorola SLVR for 3 months and the screen never received a single scratch. This is a different material than older iPods, and is shared with other modern candy bar style phones. I would also assume that Apple would choose this (or a similar) material. There is obviously no way to know about that, or smudging, until we get one in our hands.

    5. On price: The phone is essentially a $200 iPod nano and a $300 Blackberry, wrapped in an unrivaled hardware/software shell. Most people who own a Blackberry also own an iPod ($500). When it comes time to update their equipment in the coming years, this is an appealing solution. The iPod was not an overnight success, it took years, and that is easy to overlook.

    6. Apple: Apple is one of strongest brands in the world (usually ranked in the top 5). They have the branding, marketing, engineering, and design talent to make this work: the stock market agrees with this by giving Apple a market cap. approximately 30% larger than Dells (79 bil. vs 69 bil.). This is the first generation of the first model, and if you shared the room with smart phone users while watching the keynote, referring to the iPhone in this manner is blasphemous. It is literally, generations ahead of anything else out there.
    Additionally, the iPhone was one of the largest, most hyped up products this industry has ever seen (perhaps THE most hyped). With all the hype, it would have been VERY easy for Apple, or any other company for that matter, to fall flat on its face by appearing to underdeliver. Outside of “a combination of an iPod, a phone, and a touch screen”, not a single person’s predictions came anywhere near the true product, which exceeded them all by leaps and bounds.

    7. I’m glad you liked  tv.

  2. Thanks for reading, Brother,
    Rebuttal:
    1. I carry my phone with me everywhere I go. I sometimes carry my iPod, but only sometimes, because it is too big for my pocket. And that’s the 30G, I would imagine the 80G would be like I robbed a brick-layer. I would not want to carry this device as my phone…just too big for me. My iPod is 1″ wider and 1″ taller than my phone (although it is thinner), and my phone is 2 years old. My prediction is that future flash-based hard drives will allow for larger capacity iPhones down the line.
    2. Not sure what you’re getting at, but if you’re suggesting that down the line there’ll be a smaller iPhone, it’s sure to have less storage capacity and less functionality (like the mini compared to the full size). It remains to be seen whether the form factor outweighs the functionality, or if they can satisfy both.
    3. I’ll concede this. Like I said, I know very little about carriers. I’ll have to take your word for it here.
    4. Time will tell, and I’m sure manufacturers worldwide have already started producing clever products to resolve this. However, the difference between the iPhone and the SLVR is the touch screen begging to be smeared and scratched. You don’t have to touch your SLVR screen, and the screens on my phone (both inside and out) are definately scratched. I know for a fact there are scratch resistant materials out there, but we’ll have to see what Apple came up with. The case scratches don’t worry me too much…I see them as casualties of war…but scratches on the screen drive me nuts.
    5. This is very true, and these appear to be the target consumer (for this gen iPhone). Too rich for my blood, though, and my guess is that it’s too rich for a lot of people who would like to combine their iPod and phone and have eagerly been awaiting the iPhone. Not a bad price for what you get, don’t get me wrong, just not in the budget for a lot of people.
    6. Ohhhh, don’t say anything bad about the iPhone. Didn’t you hear? It came down from Heaven on the wings of a golden cherub. Right. I’m still disappointed, mostly because I was expecting a product for the masses, and was considering making the switch. I think the tech critics will drool all over this thing, cause they’re the geeks who’ll dish out $500 for a phone, and technically it’s a good product. But how is it generations ahead? The only innovative feature I see is the Visual Voicemail. Touchscreen is nothing new (maybe new to phones, but so what?), internet browsers are nothing new to phones, mp3 players are nothing new to phones. What generation phones are we comparing it to? I don’t think Apple fell or underdelivered, but I would have been more pleased (maybe less surprised, but more pleased) if these had been 2 devices instead of 1 – a full screen iPod and a iPhone/browser. The reason these were the rumors is because this is what people wanted. They didn’t underdeliver, but they didn’t meet my expectations.

    Maybe my opinion will change once the reviews start coming and we get more details, and I think future generation iPhones have potential. And when I say potential, I mean potential for me to buy one, if they design G2 for the masses instead of for the “elite.”

  3. Correction: Visual voicemail is not a new feature on phones (just new to me), I’ve come to learn. It’s at least 2 years old. Neither are touchscreens on phones, nor are multi-touch touchscreens on phones. They’re newer, but not new. Innovative? Generations ahead? Can someone remind me how again?

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