The iPhone Reviews Are In!

The iPhone Is a Breakthrough Handheld Computer

The iPhone Matches Most of Its Hype

What if it WORKS? THAT’S the fascinating question, not if it doesn’t.

Oh, we’re used to disappointments. Letdowns. Ever watch a prizefight? They build it up for months, and sometimes in NINETY SECONDS, it’s OVER!

Or, how about a movie. The only movie in the last fifteen years I can think of that lived up to the hype was "Pulp Fiction". But Tarantino hasn’t done much for us lately, and how many times can you watch one damn film?

And it’s not even like a record. The iPhone isn’t subjective. It either works or it doesn’t. YOU use it. It’s not like an album, which you spin and form an opinion on. There are people who HATE "Sgt. Pepper". Will people hate the iPHONE?

Well, people hate Macs. Just not that many anymore. Because of the iPod.

The halo effect is real. After someone buys an iPod, they’re OPEN to a Mac. Because the iPod does one thing Windows never did, and that’s JUST WORK! Oh, let’s not talk about battery failures, let’s just talk raw usability. If you’re frustrated with an iPod you’re not even in the MARKET for a smartphone. All you can do with your cell is dial. But, most people get iPods and are stunned by the way you just plug it in and it syncs, the way you can manage your tracks in iTunes without reading the manual. How you can do SO MUCH without reading the manual. So, if you’re an iPod customer, even a WINDOWS iPod customer, you’re interested in an iPhone.

What do Mossberg and Pogue say are the negatives?

Well, the primary one is AT&T. With its insanely slow network. 55 seconds for to appear? 100 for Amazon? TWO MINUTES FOR YAHOO?

That’s why I won’t be buying an iPhone soon. I’m used to Verizon EVDO. But, if you’ve never experienced Verizon high speed… Or you’ve got a Verizon smartphone and have never figured out how to USE the Internet… Or if you’ve got a Wi-Fi pass allowing you to surf the Web on your iPhone at high speed… IT MIGHT NOT BE SO BAD!

And the typing?

Walter Mossberg said he was maddened for three days, happy after five. Kind of sounds like my two letter per key BlackBerry. Hey, have you heard anybody bitching about their PEARL? People LOVE their Pearls!

And after that…

Well, price. But if price were determinate, then the iPod would have been a failure. And the iPhone plan is a full TWENTY DOLLARS CHEAPER than my Verizon BlackBerry plan!

You’ve got to get a new battery after 300-400 charges. Then again, most people get new HANDSETS within this window. To pay to have your Gen-1 handset upgraded, that doesn’t seem so bad.

In other words, the future is here. Mossberg and Pogue have given the equivalent of raves, new products don’t get such glowing endorsements. So, NOW WHAT?

1. Apple doesn’t dominate the handset business like it did with iPods. Not everybody needs data, yet…

2. No smartphone producer can compete with Apple, because of the underlying SOFTWARE! If you think Windows Mobile is a usable alternative, DO ME A FAVOR AND STICK WITH IT!

3. Steve Jobs becomes the most famous person in America. A new Charles Lindbergh, but with true cred.

4. The price of iPhones goes down as volume increases.

5. Macs blow up! An iPhone runs the same OS X as you’ve got on a Mac. Do you really think people are going to use Mac handhelds and want to stick with their Windows computers? Not gonna happen.

6. Although Apple Stores will continue to do boffo business, the days of going to the mobile store to get a phone and sign up will be GONE! The most interesting news to come from Apple today is that you activate your iPhone via iTUNES! And you know that will work… As for needing to go into a store to select a phone, HOW FUCKING COMPLICATED IS IT? That’s one thing Steve Jobs did when he came back to Apple, streamline the product line. And if you NEED handholding, you can go to the GENIUS BAR, as opposed to visiting the mobile store peopled with barely trained employees who barely last. Otherwise, you’ll just buy your iPhone on the Web.

7. Web-surfing will be de rigueur on handsets.

8. People will come to expect functionality from handsets. And the word will be spread by iPhone owners, who will demonstrate their prized possession to EVERYBODY! You could look at a Razr, but no one demonstrated how it worked, after all, it was JUST A PHONE!

9. After dropping the day of release, Apple stock will continue to climb.

10. Mac OS X Leopard will be a huge story in the press, garnering mucho coverage. Arcane features that only techies would have noticed previously will be trumpeted everywhere, drawing even more Windows users into the Mac fold.

11. More businesses will go Mac. Their employees will DEMAND IT!

12. A new level of functionality and usability will be expected from smartphones. It’s akin to the Japanese invading America with their automobiles. They were better built, and worked better too. The bar has just been raised. VERY HIGH!

13. Jimmy Iovine or one of his music biz buddies will clamor to pre-load the iPhone with their company’s music, but Steve Jobs will say no, he doesn’t want to foist anything upon his users, he doesn’t want to sully the user experience.

14. Movie studios will do business with Apple. This ain’t no iPod screen, this YOU CAN watch a movie on. They’re afraid of missing this market.

15. Dell won’t recover. Microsoft will have its cash, but having lost all credibility, purveying a lame OS, its stock will no longer ascend into the stratosphere.

16. You will remember this week, if not quite the same way as you remember Kennedy being shot or the Apollo moon-landing, close. Because this is a game changing event. Not like the Mets winning the ’69 World Series, not like the Red Sox breaking the curse, but BIGGER! This is not momentary, this is FOREVER! This is like the World Wide Web, this IRREVOCABLY changes the game.

17. You will want one. Even if you never had a smartphone before. You will want to play, just like you purchased your first computer to use AOL.

18. Naysayers will exist. Most losing their credibility, being shown as having an investment in a competitor.

19. The NEXT Jobs speech will be must see TV. Expect new iMacs and new iPods in the fall.

20. Cheaper iPhones will arrive when supply catches up with demand. At the latest, at next year’s January MacWorld conference.

21. iPod growth will start to level off. People will prefer the iPhone.

22. Mobile music stores will have a hard time getting traction. You SIDELOAD the iPhone. To buy music on Verizon? WHY? Unless it’s cheap and sans copy protection, so you can load it on your iPhone WHEN YOU GET ONE!

23. The iPhone will function on AT&T’s nascent high speed network by January, at the latest. AT&T’s stock will go up, it will invest in infrastructure, it will stop hemorrhaging subscribers, its chairman will be seen as a VISIONARY, lauded in "Forbes" and "BusinessWeek" for taking a risk.

24. The 80s conversion, wherein tech became cooler and more important than music, will be complete. The oldsters will run the major labels into the ground, new kids will continue to flock to tech startups, where they’ve got a CHANCE!

25. It will be YEARS before everybody is convinced that one device is enough. Just like those people who carried BlackBerries and cellphones in the past, there will be people carrying iPods and mobile handsets. Until…

26. It’s unclear whether Jobs will solve the next big convergence/tech problem, because right now he’s so far ahead of the game, inventing a device most people didn’t even know they needed, that we can’t SEE what the next device IS!

But Jobs is never first. Not even with the graphical-user-interface. Jobs just enters a market at the right time, with the BEST device. And takes over.

Watch Mossberg’s video. Pay attention to the hype. This is a game-changing affair. You can pooh-pooh it all you want, but soon, you won’t think twice about surfing the Web on your handheld device, you’ll get frustrated that your present mobile is so hard to use, you’ll look at iPhone users with ENVY! You’ll lust after an iPhone until you finally get one.

As for iPhones ceasing to be cool? It’s over five years later, have iPODS lost any of their cool?

I’m not switching, I’m not getting one. But when my Verizon contract comes up, if AT&T has a high speed network and coverage equivalent to Verizon’s, I’m gone.

But for those already on AT&T. Or T-Mobile. YOUR DAY HAS FINALLY COME! Go down to your local Apple Store and LINE UP!

In the seventies, the action was at the record store. Today it’s at the Apple Store. Oh, what a long strange trip it’s been.

This is a read-only blog. E-mail comments directly to Bob.