I can’t remember the last time a piece of high tech equipment got this kind of hype. Of course, I’m talking about Apple’s iPhone which goes on sale within the hour.
It’s pretty neat. As is normally the case with Apple, the software is elegantly simple and intuitive. The TV commercials are tantalizing. I haven’t seen it yet, but there’s surely one where it’s slicing bread!
Unfortunately, the iPhone also suffers from some designed-in weaknesses.
It seems pretty odd the phone won’t use AT&T’s fast G3 network and instead sticks with an older implementation. That’s huge, if web surfing is going to be a large part of the iPhone experience.
The iPhone also doesn’t record video nor will it operate properly with corporate email servers. That’s not good and there’s more. Its battery is not replaceable and its SIM card isn’t removable.
There’s also the question whether a non-tactile keyboard is a good idea. I’ve never seen a successful one before.
I have been considering a ‘smartphone.’ It probably won’t be an iPhone.
Right now the (as yet unreleased) Motorola Q9 looks likely. I’m not 100% it will be sold by AT&T, my cell carrier.
The Q9 operates on the higher speed G3 network, takes video, uses Windows Mobile 6 and has a real QWERTY keyboard. It looks like an updated, better performing “Q,”. A co-worker has that phone, which I like.
The online consensus is, I can buy a ‘smartphone’ like the Q9 or the Samsung Blackjack and a $19.99/month data plan from AT&T and be done with it. I’m not sure this is AT&T’s preferred combo, but people are consistently doing it and I sense AT&T isn’t sending their money away.
My guess is, the iPhone will not be the unmitigated success this level of hype implies. It’s possible. I’m not a mobile computing analyst with lots of background info and insight. This is a seat-of-the-pants call. There are just so many strikes against it.
Working against my prediction is Steve Jobs, who has a Svengali-like ability to mobilize the Apple faithful.
What the iPhone does do is increase the profile of mobile computing and the competition between carriers and between hardware manufacturers. I don’t see a downside to that… at least I don’t yet.