iPhone, therefore iAm

Watching the furious pace of gadget invention during the past decade or so, we’ve been looking forward to a Grand Convergence, where we only need to carry one gadget instead of two or three. The “iPhone” comes close.

It has everything we like about current pocket organizers: an address book, calendar, and notes, along with a means of typing information into the thing. It has everything we like about the iPod: music, pictures and videos. It can connect to the Internet, we like that. It seems to be a complete hand-held computer, with a beautiful display.

A co-worker told me that he would rather have it without the phone. I tend to agree (putting aside my distaste for mobile phones). A mobile phone is a power-intensive device, and would drain juice from the rest of this gadget’s useful functions. It might be better for the phone to be a seperate device that can communicate both ways with the expanded iPod.
I would trade the phone for a fat hard drive, and I would give it a USB port that can be a master or a slave, enabling the connection of cameras, keyboards, disk drives, and other useful stuff. I’ve read that you can’t access the battery, which means you can’t swap it for a fresh one when it burns out. The next generation of this thing needs a reliable swappable battery.

And there will be more generations. It’s exciting to imagine what this device will do five years from now. I mean, compare the current crop of iPods with the first ones that came out.

Regarding the stink over the “iPhone” name. It was all over the press that Linksys came out with something called the “iPhone” a few weeks ago, so I was a bit puzzled when Steve Jobs trotted out his own device with the same name. But then, he also trotted out the “Apple TV,” which was previewed last fall as the “iTV” (another name already attached to someone else’s product). So given that this new phone won’t be in people’s hands and pockets until June, it may end up being the “Apple phone.” (Like the TV, it’d be branded with the Apple logo with the word ‘phone’ next to it.) Maybe it was all deliberate, that Apple is letting Cisco generate more buzz for the product by suing them.

As it stands right now, this is not a compelling product for our needs, but it may be for a lot of other people. After this product evolves for a few years it may work for us, especially if we can get it without the phone.

Disclosure: we own a tiny tiny piece of Apple.

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