Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Call me on my iPhone

The wait, my friends, is over.

Well, almost over. We have until June. But then Apple will finally release it's much-rumored iPhone.

It was announced at this morning's Macworld keynote speech by Steve Jobs, right after the AppleTV product update.

It's gorgeous. It's amazingly beautiful. It has the potential to shape cell phones, mobile computers, MP3 players - all of that - for years to come.

But Jesus is it expensive. $499 just to get you started.

No buttons to press. Few switches to switch. It's controlled by your finger and a touchscreen. Scroll through your iTunes library by dragging your finger along the screen. Resize pictures on the fly by "pinching" and "pulling" them - literally.

You control your music, your e-mail, the web, your contacts, your calendar, and your mobile phone all through this smart, intuitive, clever little gadget.

It's enough to make you want to run out and...well, save up. It doesn't come out until June.

What I love about it (just by watching the keynote - you can view it here) is how it makes navigating and controlling and organizing all your info so goddamn easy. Apple loves to make things easy. Look at the iPod. Look at iTunes. Look at the Mac.

Driver and I discussed it after the launch, and we both wonder about a couple of things. First, you have to use Cingular (Apple's reasoning being they're the biggest and best), a giant dinosaur that has been absorbed into the even bigger dinosaur, AT&T. I don't like AT&T, but if I want an iPhone I'd have to stick with them.

Driver worries about battery life: how long can a device that does so much and look amazing while doing it last? Jobs bragged about five hours of continuous usage, but he likes to over-estimate his products.

We both worried about the price, and I worried about storage. A four-gig and eight-gig model? How much music and pictures and videos and movies can eight gigs really hold?

And frankly, I'd use the thing without the damn phone part. But it has to be a phone, too, and you have to pay for it.

But I remember thinking when the iPod was released how obnoxiously overpriced it was. Maybe, like all things, the price will come down a bit. I really think it could be worth it. It's like a mini-Mac, a full-sized iPod Nano, and a cell phone all in one.

When I first got my cell phone, I flirted with the calendar and the notes and the alarms and all that, but I gave up after realizing I hated inserting letters with a 10-digit keypad. It's crude, and slow. What I would love is to be able to sync it with the iBook and be done with it. And I know there are phones out there that allow you to do syncing stuff, but no one seems to have it down pat.

Not until now.

With the iPod so successful, and now the iPhone and AppleTV, Apple is getting more and more into non-computer related fields and making them a user-friendly experience. So "Apple Computers, Inc." is no more. Now there's just "Apple, Inc."

If you have a spare hour or so, sit down and watch the keynote, because it's hard to capture the beauty of this beast in a stupid blog. Think your iPod is fun to use? Wait 'till you see this.

Friggin'. Visual. Voicemail.

Instead of slogging through six voicemails to hear every one of them, you can select - with your finger, not your time and ear, which ones you want to hear in any order you wish.

Want a keypad? Hit the keypad button and they appear. When you're done, they disappear. The keypad on my current phone doesn't disappear when I don't need it, does yours?

The Safari web browser shows actually pages, not truncated, squat versions of webpages. Need to see something closer. Tap it with your finger to zoom.

Apple found a way to make all that stuff we get frustrated with and...well...just fix it. Poof.

So six months from now, maybe I'll have the $500 to buy an iPhone, maybe I won't. I didn't think I'd get an iPod, until I went to the Apple Store in Novi and actually tried one out for a while. Maybe that's what I'll do this time - make a little recon trip.

And hey, my current cell phone contract expires in July. Coincidence?

Yup. But I'll call it good timing too.

Now if only they would work on an iRemote Control for our TVs...

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