The Oaks Ignore Their Pleas

More iPhone Hype…or not

Posted in Products by Jeff Graves on January 12, 2007

Well, after months of speculation and rumor, Steve Jobs and just-plain Apple (no Computer) have unveiled the iPhone.  There’s a pretty slick demo on the Apple site, and Apple has apparently done exactly what they are good at -they’ve delivered a smooth looking product, with some legitimate innovations, including (it appears) a feature that will automatically change the orientation of a photo based on how the phone is held.  Apple has also started to blur the lines between a phone and a computer, with a graphical voicemail tool that lets you choose which voicemails you want to listen to, in the order you choose. 

But outside of some really neat UI, is the iPhone really a radical departure for a cell phone?  At it’s core, it’s a phone, with email and photo capabilities, and while the interface is really smooth, is it all that much different that my Blackberry 7105 in terms of raw functionality?  And, at the end of the day, you’ve got one telecom choice if you buy an Apple – Cingular.  While I’ve heard good things about Cingular’s coverage, you’re still tied to one provider.  If you live in an area where Cingular’s coverage is spotty, your iPhone isn’t going to be all that useful.  All in all, this seems like a really good deal for Cingular, since there are tons of Apple-philes who are going to be lining up in June to plunk down $499 for an iPhone.  But how much of a deal is it for the customer, who’s going to be at Cingular’s mercy when it comes to pricing plans?

Maybe down the road, this will turn out to be a good deal for the average consumer, IF Apple uses their new relationship with Cingular to go beyond basic hardware/software design, and develop some innovations that push the envelope of what a mobile phone/computer is all about.  The iPhone is a start, and I think it’s going to be a slick product, but I’m not sure it’s going to move markets the way the iPod did.

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