My mate David Clark got himself an apple iPhone on Friday. Not, as I first thought of, by queueing at the Applestore in Glasgow, but by heading to the carphone warehouse within Halfords in Dundee. There the queue consisted of him and one other chap. Clearly, the media hype hadn't penetrated Dundee.
He of course headed round to show me it.. Oh. My. God. What a beautifully designed piece of kit. Even SWMBO -usually a card-carrying Luddite - was tempted (we're in the middle of sorting out her BlackBerry from another Carphone Warehouse cock-up, and so we ere between carriers..).
Okay. So what did we see:
So. Wow. Would I trade in my curve for it? Mmmmm.
- The engineering on the iPhone is fantastic. It just works.
- The sturdiness of the device worries me. Carrying around a phone-shaped screen scares me.
- Incorporating an iPod, Camera, web browser, eMail sync, calendar sync into the phone brings us to the Iain M Banks 'Culture' (series of books) idea that we live in a communications bubble, and always have our 'virtual terminal', connecting us to the rest of humanity. Powerful stuff indeed. And this is first such device that SWMBO (a normal end-user with a loathing of horrible user interfaces) would consider. (Let us not waste time on the windows mobile platform here).
- The lack of keyboard is a biggie. The touch-screen iPhone keyboard is fantastic for the odd text message, but not for an eMail junkie road warrior. Its easy to get around, however.
- Security worries me (though I'm sure it'll be addressed). I'd like to see it passworded and see how easy/hard it is to break into. All of us put more and more personal information onto these devices...
- Geek wise, I'd like to see what happens when third-party applications hit this thing. I'd like to see how hard it is to put applications on here, and to have those applications easily synchronise from my data sources.
- I can see the need for a virtual blackberry on this device so that you can have a personal iPhone with *your* stuff, but still be able to have a business centrally-controlled environment on there also. Similar to the windows mobile virtual blackberry clients that are coming soon.
I guess I'm cheating here because the iPhone - albeit expensive - is aimed at the consumer market. (Odd, isn't it, that the iPhone easily overtakes feature-rich 'business phones' that we've paid large amounts of money for in the past).
- Price wise, we're being ripped off. Its $400 in the US, and at the current rate of exchange - $2.09 - it should be £191. Its £247 - or $516 - a surcharge of $116. Given the US dollar is set to plummet even further (according to my morning commute-friend, Radio 4), surely this has to be fixed?
- At £35/mo, ($70), its towards the high-end of carrier charges. And the 'fair use' restriction of 50mb might be hit really quickly.. Roaming would scare me to (especially at between £3 and £7/mb)...
- Network wise, I'm ambivalent. I've realised that all phone carriers are basically greedy, clueless muppets who deserve nothing more than a beating. O2 was terrible for customer service, but I'm sure Apple have protected their brand by insisting on iPhone support teams with brains. I'd hope.
So would I swap my Curve for an iPhone ? Oh. Its *close*, believe me, but now that the initial hype has blown over, I suspect the Curve wins in terms of what I need it to do for the moment.
No doubt the iPhone will drive customer expectations forward, and perhaps force the sleeping incumbents in this market that they need to start innovating again.. And since the iPhone has been out for a while now, I'd be interested to see what version 2 of this device becomes..