The iPhone Compromise

iPhone was announced officially yesterday at MacWorld. I was really looking forward to it. I was ‘cautiously optimistic’. If you know me, you know that cautiously optimistic, for me, is pretty damned optimistic. I’m an incurable cynic. I can’t help it.

So what about this phone stood out to me?

What stood out with this announcement is the same thing that stood out when the Sony Clie came out, and when the Blackberry 7290 came out, and when the last iPod came out, and before all of that, when the Handspring Visor came out, and when the Sharp Zaurus came out.

What stands out are not as much the features as the response of technical people to the features. The conversations that take place before the announcements are always a lot of “big talk” about “well if it doesn’t do this then I don’t know, that could be a deal breaker” and “they’d never be stupid enough to *not* do that” and “I’ll be able to replace two or three other gadgets with this one”.

And what do we all talk about when the announcement is finally made?

We talk about how we can compromise our lives. We rationalize. We start talking about how cool some feature is that we weren’t even expecting, and how it would be so cool to have that, and we completely forget all of the big talk. Instead of looking at this new thing and recognizing that, six months after its release, it *will* be obsolete, and it doesn’t do a bunch of stuff we would’ve expected, and the stuff it *does* do it does in some half-ass, easily obsoletable way (if that’s a word), we instead focus on the shiny thing. They’ve got you again.

The iPhone is, if nothing else, shiny.

It does bluetooth, sure. But you can’t sync it to a computer. Sure, it has 8G of storage, and sure it’s runnning OS X (!!), but you can’t install anything into all of that space that isn’t deemed worthy by the software overlords at Apple, *AND* you can’t expand the memory. Sure it does WiFi, but it doesn’t do 3G. Sure, it’s a phone, but it doesn’t do anything useful with GSM. Sure, it does push IMAP, but it sounds like you’ll be forced to have a Yahoo! account to make use of it.

On top of all of this, there are no buttons. There’s a very shiny, *flat* screen, which means this thing is going to have its screen scraped up in no time. It also has a shorter battery life than my Blackberry 7290, which I got a few *years* ago.

Of course, there’s already talk that Apple may be shipping *two* versions of the iPhone, so some of what I’m saying may be proven true *or* false depending on your perspective. I’d say it proves my statements true: that basically, the version of the iPhone at the launch is essentially obsoleted by a phone released *at the same time*, *by the same company*.

I like Apple products. I’m happy with my MacBook Pro, as well as my G4 Mac. I like OS X. But this is just a nervy attempt to fleece me out of 5 or 6 hundred bucks.

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  • http://goldcoaster.wordpress.com/ goldcoaster

    I must agree with you about the iPhone – it seems all sexy looking but lacks in a lot of things. Plus it won’t be available in my country until next year some time, it will seem an old phone by that time.

    But I am sure the fans will buy millions!

    http://goldcoaster.wordpress.com

  • http://m0j0.wordpress.com/ m0j0

    You should count yourself lucky – by next year it might even be useful.

    Well, that’s rather negative. Really, it’s not like the phone isn’t useful. It’s just that there are at least half a dozen other phones that’ll do all of this stuff for half the price, and you’ll have the flexibility of choosing which applications you can install on the thing, which is nice.

    I generally like Apple products. I might even be able to afford an iPhone. I just absolutely refuse to be treated like an idiot, and I think anyone who expects me to pay what they’re asking to get what they’re offering must take me for an idiot. I’ll not waste time being offended, but I’ll take my business elsewhere, and let the pretentious BMW-driving, soy-latte-drinking status-symbol grubbers have it.

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