Let’s cut to the chase: the iPhone is the most innovative communications and media device of the 21st century’s first decade. The other devices and manufacturers don’t even come close. Before the iPhone, you could think the competing devices had evolutionary interfaces, a step up from the previous interface. Now, you can’t help but think them mediocre in comparison to the iPhone. The user interface is the iPhone’s forte, followed by the convergence of widescreen media player, full featured web browser, PIM, and cell phone into one device. Is my opinion clear enough?
All that being said, the iPhone is not ideal, nor flawless. The PIM features are, in my opinion, incomplete. I am referring to the fact that you can’t enter new data into the Notes, Contacts or Calendar apps, except by syncing the device to a Mac running Stickies, iCal and Apple Address Book. I hope Apple starts to see the potential market this has with more PIM features. Maybe they were pressed for release, and cut the features out for now to add them later. We’ll have to wait and see on that.
Apple could also open the device for third party development. According to Apple, it’s just Mac OS X Tiger inside. Perhaps someone will figure out how to hack Safari to download Mac OS X apps on to it. Or at least let us install Dashboard widgets on the thing.
But this being an Apple product whose name begins with I and P, it is a great media player. Strong Bad Emails, Ask A Ninja, and Tiki Bar TV rule! They’re my favorite videoblogs. Evil Genius Chronicles, Coverville, Raven n Blues, and Bandana Blues, are among my favorite podcasts. Since the iPhone is essentially a phone with 8GB video iPod features, we’ll be able to access all our new media on it, with a better interface than anyone has ever produced. I predict Apple will bring the iPhone UI (without the phone features) to the rest of the iPod family within the year. They’ll be stupid not to. MultiTouch rocks!
Of course, the iPhone’s price has to come down for it to be really mainstream. I predict (you heard it here first, folks, LOL) that next year, the 8GB model will be the low end, and a higher capacity (16GB?) model will be the $600 high end.
In order for the iPhone to be really successful and mainstream, it should also be sold unlocked, free of carrier lock-in. Not everyone wants to be Cingular subscriber. The whole carrier lock-in thing is bone headed anyway. It surely has been demonstrated in Europe that expensive carrier-exclusive phones are not necessary to retain customers. And the practice isn’t that effective for that purpose either anyway. Carrier chickenshits, if you ain’t got good service, an expensive locked-in phone won’t help you keep any subscribers you’ve pissed off. They’ll just sell it on eBay and move on.
In conclusion, the iPhone is a great innovative cellphone/media player with some PIM functionality. The crux of its innovation rests on the MultiTouch touchscreen interface and wide screen media playback. It has a few flaws, namely the lack of smartphone PIM features and a closed development model. To really hit it big, it has to come down in price a bit, and be available at more than one carrier in the US. In any case, Apple has essentially raised the bar way up in the user interface front, making the competition look ancient in comparison.