Love, Hate And The iPhone

December 18, 2006

It irks me that the cellular phone has become the hated technology du jour. I myself absolutely adore my phone. I like being able to call people whenever I need to speak to them. I like for my friends and business associates to be able to reach me whenever they need to. If it’s someone I don’t want to speak to at that moment, I don’t answer. And when I don’t want to be bothered at all, I turn the ringer off. (It’s really not that hard.) I find these countermeasures against unwanted intrusion an infinitesimal price to pay to be able to coordinate activities with others on-the-go, or to speak to my kids wherever they are. My cell phone is a blessing and you will only take it from me by prying it from my cold, lifeless fingers.

But I also hate my cell phone. I hate it because in many ways it holds out the promise of even greater technological bliss that it then spectacularly fails to deliver. I’m talking about broadband internet services, integration with other devices, and usability. The frustrating thing about that is the fact that the phones themselves are designed to do a lot of this stuff but the wireless carriers in the United States cripple the phones before they ever reach our hands. There is no reason, for example, why I can’t get video, audio and other web services to my phone at a nominal cost; no reason that I cannot have broadband speeds for the data to my phone; no reason why I cannot place it on the desk next to my computer and have them integrate all my contact and calendar information without me even asking; no reason why I can’t use my own digital music as my ringtone and ringback tone; no reason why it can’t replace my iPod completely. No reason except the active thwarting of the network providers. Imagine if you couldn’t buy a Dell computer except through your local internet service provider, and that provider crippled the computer, made it so that you could only have one start page and could only send and receive data through their partner web sites, only shop at their own store. That’s really the situation we find ourselves in with our phones. And let’s not even get into the abysmal usability of most phones today.

All of this love and hate leads to this: I want Apple to rescue me. They are making a phone, according to every online rumor mill. And that phone will be introduced very soon. Like in a month or two. I know that I’m expecting a lot from the rumored “iPhone.” But look what Apple did for digital music! They didn’t invent it. They simply made it usable and palatable. They realized none of the other players were giving people what they really wanted, so Apple went ahead and gave it to them. Here’s hoping they can do the same for the cellular phone market.

I want an iPhone.


No comments yet

  1. You can have one… but Cisco is making it, not Apple. They’ve actually owned the trademark since the mid 1990’s. Convenient timing to decide to use it now.

  2. Yeah, I heard about that. Apple doesn’t own the US patent to ‘iPhone.’ But whatever it’s going to be called I still want one!

  3. And maybe they’ll saddle it with some phone version of DRM, like the crap they did with iTunes.

  4. Whoa, stop the hatin’! 🙂

    I find Apple’s DRM pretty palatable, and I think there’s pretty much zero chance of the recording industry selling unprotected digital music. Ever. So I see the choices as being 1) palatable DRM that let’s you do pretty much everything you want, or 2) unpalatable DRM that treats yo like a criminal and is a constant thorn in your side.

    Anyway, I fully expect that the iPhone (or whatever it’s called) to be able to play your unprotected MP3s, just as your iPod can. We won’t be exchanging one bad overlord for another. Apple’s way will – I predict – be a welcome reprieve from the tyranny of Verizon. We’ll see if I’m right.

  5. MacPhone? To go with the MacMini and MacBook?

    Actually, a mini-Mac OS on a phone would be awesome; it would have the functionality of a Mac in addition to whatever phone power it has. Through something like AirPort Extreme, it could sync to your desk- or laptop, so it would autmoatically have your iTunes. And if Apple partnered with someone like, say, Vonage . . . well, the sky’s the limit there.

  6. “But look what Apple did for digital music! They didn’t invent it. They simply made it usable and palatable.”

    I’m fine with my drag and drop Creative mp3 player, and online stores such as msn.music or walmart. What’s the big deal with iTunes?

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