Why the iPhone is important

I didn’t wait on line for 100 hours for an iPhone. I’m not getting one yet. I’ve been burned too many times by first generation hardware to want to plunk $600 down and take a plan from a carrier that has crappy reception in my house.
But the iPhone is important in the same way that the introduction of the iMac and OS X were important. It shows us what our phones COULD BE.

I have one of those “blueberry” iMacs in the corner of my office. Not fast by any means, and quite limited in upgrades and memory. But wow, is it different from the old Dell sitting next to it. Color, size, shape, it looks…happy. The old Dell is just a box.

And OS X. Was it that much better than Windows 2000? The ultra-geeks can argue about the BSD base and the NEXT stuff inside – it just looks sexy. And it showed us what a sexy operating system can look like, act like, and feel like. When it comes down to it, I can use my Mac or my PC and get lots of the same things done. But the Mac kind of feels better to use these days. (Note: Redmond friends, I’m happy to try out Vista and give an honest review if you want to send a free or discounted copy. Right now I’m scared to spend money on my old hardware). The sexy, sleek, OS X moved the market to where Vista had to do much of the same stuff. The Apple hardware moved the market so Dell bought Alienware – the cool PC maker – to try to keep up.

So, is the iPhone that much better than the Treo + iPod that I walk around with now? Reviews say it’s got some great features. Hey, they managed to get WiFi into a phone in the US, which is a serious feat considering many of the carriers have tried to keep it out for years. They have a browser that can actually handle many websites without having to munge the pages up.

But in reality, this is a wi-fi iPod that answers the phone and it’s really, really expensive to drop. That’s not what Apple + AT+Tinglur is selling. They’re selling the possibility that this will be a better phone+internet device+music player+phone camera than you have now. It doesn’t matter if it is or it isn’t. I just raises the bar for the other carriers and phone manufacturers to start putting better features into their phones – you know, features like they have in Korea or Japan, or much of Europe. People will get frustrated at the slow speed of EDGE and ask for faster 3-G. They’ll hate the dim display and crappy browsers their phones have now seeing the iPhone. And that may move the market. One can only hope.

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