My iPhone Groan

Okay. Before I get into the meat of this entry, let me state the obvious: I REALLY like Apple. I won’t say “love” yet, but, thanks to my MacBook Pro (15″), I’m on the way. I believe OS X is an OS that can hang with the best of them and deserves more credit than it gets. Building on the BSD foundation and cozying up with open source was a stroke of genius on the part of Apple. Steve Jobs is who he is because of moves like that. That said, I still don’t get why people are buying into the hype regarding the iPhone.

When I look at the specs on the iPhone, I see a “pretty” device. That’s fine. After all, most things Apple are pretty, and that’s not a bad thing. We humans admire pretty things. They do pretty better than just about anyone in the business. Look at an Apple computer or laptop and compare them to just about any other company’s and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s obvious their design engineers lover what they do, and earn every dime they get.

Apple also takes the “out of the box experience” very seriously and does it better than anyone else. If you own an Apple computer, you know exactly what I’m talking about (for those of you who don’t, all I can say is when you unpack one you’ll know what I’m talking about. I know it sounds crazy! I sure thought it did, but then I experienced it). Nevertheless, the experience would much less impacting if OS X wasn’t as good an OS as it is.

Getting back to my point, the specs for the iPhone do not impress. If what you want to is a phone that makes calls, can send SMS messages, uses EDGE technology (what is up with THAT?!?), with a 2 megapixel camera (I’m not kidding, those of you in Europe), and allows you to listen iTunes songs this pretty device is for you. And all for just $500-$600! It is pretty you know! But please bear in mind there are plenty of other phones you can get for that price that can do a lot more. And some don’t look half bad. Take for example the upcoming Nokia N93i (which will be my example of choice for this entry for the sake of brevity. It has nothing to do with my being married to my beautiful Finnish wife, or my absolute bias for Nokia mobiles. Not at all. :))

For what presumably will be around the same price, you’ll get a phone that makes phone calls, sends SMS and MMS messages, is mp3 capable, shoots videos in DVD like quality at up to 30 frames a second, for up to 90 minutes (with expandable memory for even more fun), has a 3.2 megapixel camera, uses WCDMA (a type of 3G technology = faster than EDGE), DTM (which no one seems really keen on defining exactly) used in EDGE networks, EGPRS class B, and GPRS class B (also known as 2.5G). Simply put, you’ll be able to transfer data faster with this phone than with an iPhone. Maybe some of you are thinking, “That’s fine, Harlem, if all you want to do is make video podcasts and take pretty pictures,” but here’s something to think about.

Nearly three years ago I was sitting on the bus on the way to work. Sitting to my right was a teenager who was deaf. Seeing as my job is near a school for the deaf, this was no surprise at all; however, what was a surprise was when he took out his mobile telephone. Some would think deaf people would have no use for mobile phones. That would be wrong. Mobile phones have vibrators and are SMS capable. They utilize these functions just like anyone else. But this was way above that. This young man took out his phone, flipped it open, got the other party on the line, and started signing (using sign language). I’ll never forget that moment. It was awesome. It seemed so blatantly obvious once I witnessed it. The deaf were using the 3G network for communicating in a way they never could by phone before. I was impressed with Sweden before, but that particular moment was a flat-out “WELL DONE SWEDEN!!!” moment. And again, this was nearly three years ago, and that’s a very long time in the world of mobile phones.

So, soon onto the stage will step the Apple iPhone boasting a measly 2 megapixel camera, EDGE technology, SMS messaging, iTunes capability, and last but not least — in fact the best thing about the phone — some very cool touch screen capabilities. How much will this impact the phone industry? Outside the die hard Mac maniacs who will buy any and everything Mac, I don’t think sales will be impressive. Definitely not with the specs being offered today. And Apple is locked into a 5-year deal with Cingular… The more I think about that, the more I shake my head in disbelief. It seems foolishly suicidal from a business standpoint in comparison with the way things work in the mobile phone world. But what do I know. I’m simply a measly phone tech living in Scandinavia. I know nothing.

In closing, I need to be fair and state that Sony Ericsson also produces some pretty good phones as well. Their sales numbers sure say that. AND they have some pretty models as well. Even Motorola puts out some pretty mobiles. The Razr is great to look at, but just fair under the hood. But when it comes to the total mobile phone experience which includes a more than capable phone, great user interface on the phone, and a great interface for your PC as well, nothing touches Nokia. Their phone interface is top shelf and very intuitive. Their Nokia PC Suite software for the PC is the best out there, in my humble opinion, and what I miss most from the PC world (HINT! How about an OS X Nokia Suite, thank you very much!!!).

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still crazy about Apple. My MacBook Pro has made a believer out of me, and I plan on getting good use out of it. But I can’t help but wonder if there won’t be a scene in the future where someone asks Steve Jobs, in a Dr. Phil like way, “What were you THINKING?!?” We shall see.



One thought on “My iPhone Groan

  1. DTM – Dual Transfer Mode (A steppingstone to UMTS?)

    My understanding of DTM is that it provides GSM networks with some of the functionality found in UMTS (3G) networks. (e.g. simultaneous voice and data traffic, Video calls?) In other words I think this is how the providers will give today’s GSM users a taste of what UMTS can do, and that way increase the demand for UMTS networks. (hm, could this be a product of Ericsson, Nokia and other vendors wanting to sell more cell phone switches…?)

    ref. CAT.INIST
    “Class A dual transfer mode of GPRS/EDGE operation addresses barriers in the migration path from the so-called 2.5G services offered by GSM to similar ones offered by UMTS and the ability to offer users a reasonably priced service that combines voice and data interchange capabilities with a low-cost mobile station.”

    Both Nokia and Ericsson have whitepapers about the EDGE Evolution:

    Nokia EDGE Evolution
    Ericsson GSM/EDGE continued evolution

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