July 2nd, 2007

default, pepper

Obligatory iPhone post

As tugrik mentioned, I did indeed get an iPhone.

It’s almost superfluous at this point to describe it, in part because so many people had their minds made up about the thing before it shipped. The best comment I’ve seen was this, from Michael Mulvey:

Why there’s an iPhone craze:

This is real simple and doesn’t require a long-winded explanation.

The iPhone is the floating car we imagined we’d be driving in the future.

The Jetsons, Star Wars, Blade Runner, Minority Report …the iPhone is that touchscreen gadget they all used (metaphorically speaking) to communicate with. As John Gruber points out (so obvious we all didn’t catch it), the iPhone is the first mobile device being promoted for its interface, not hardware.

Either that makes perfect sense to you, or it sounds nuts. Some people in the latter camp have moved to the former camp by actually using one. (I’ve heard from more than one person who really wasn’t interested in an iPhone until they had some time to play with it.)

I will tell you the most valid criticism, which contains many problems rolled into one observation: this is a version 1.0 product. It could be faster and cheaper, it could do more, it could do what it does better. There are a handful of poor design decisions, and a few long-solved problems have become unsolved by the new UI.

I will tell you the least valid criticism, too, because it is true yet misses the point entirely: there’s nothing the iPhone does that hasn’t been done by something else. The point is that there’s nothing else that does anything how the iPhone does it, and that’s been the focus all along.

I have an old smart phone and an old iPod and have been thinking about upgrading both of them as it is. For me, there wasn’t a lot of downside, save the timing financially. (It’s a fair amount of money to drop just before a convention.) But the price isn’t so out-of-line with getting a new iPod and a new smart phone.

tugrik also mentioned I had some activation problems. When I first tried to activate the gadget, it told me, essentially, that with my credit approval I needed to go down to AT&T and pay a deposit. I went down to AT&T, where I was told the deposit was: $0. They had no idea why it didn’t go through.

There are a lot of news stories floating about right now talking about widespread activation problems. The thing is, AT&T’s credit process, transferring phone numbers, and the other minutae of activation doesn’t magically change with the “i”; 5% of activations are probably always harder to work through than usual. What’s changed is the method, sheer volume, and particularly media attention focused on these activations. It’d have been great if it’d all worked flawlessly, but that doesn’t happen much on this planet.

Oh yes: Twitter Twitter Twitter. Thank you. (The iPhone doesn’t have instant messaging, but reading/sending “tweets” is very easy. Again, I’m “chipotlecoyote” there.)