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“Got kitesurfing on the mind, mixed with some search & classification tech, and a dab of political ranting”

Will you iPhone?…iWon’t

Posted by direwolff on January 10, 2007

Well, it looks like Cisco has filed suit against Apple in no time flat upon their announcement of their like-named iPhone. Cisco apparently owns the trademark on iPhone, so it will be interesting to see how newly dubbed Apple, Inc. will fare in defending this intellectual property. Especially in light of Steve Jobs saying that he would vehemently protect the new iPhone’s IP. I wonder if he thought that the legal games would begin so soon?

After seeing Jobs’ keynote, I continue in my belief that he is a master showman second to none. There wasn’t a moment through the presentation where he would utter the words “isn’t that cool?”, that I mouth the words “totally Steve, totally”. But amidst this day dream of a presentation I started thinking of the interactions I have with my “crackberry” 8700, the things that I’ve not liked about the Palm Treo, and then went further to think about how much I truly trust Apple. It’s with all of this in mind that I guess I was jostled back into reality and came to the conclusion that the iPhone, sadly, isn’t for me.

On the knits side of things, I really don’t like screen keyboards. Something about the lack of tactile feedback that really makes them uncomfortable for me to use. The Palm Treo offers the option to use the screen but on any of the one’s I’ve tried (including my wife’s) it’s always easier to just use the keys below. As well, the iPhone’s didn’t seem thumb-able. Steve’s one finger typing just doesn’t cut it for me, even where I can see advantages for dialing while driving. Which brings me to the other point. Apple did this with the iPod too. If I can only remember a word or two from the song or artist I like, there’s no easy way for me to find that artist on an iPod without analysing the full list until I find them. Given that there’s no keyboard, I can’t search. Well, I have over 4000 contacts in my crackberry and over 1200 appointments that I sometimes need to search through. Didn’t seem like the iPhone was well suited for easy searches through this content, nor the music content.

Now, the device itself is a thing of beauty, but given how poorly Apple executed on its iPod Mini, with the easily scratched or broken screens, it’s tough to say that I’d trust them with this delicate and expensive device. How is it easily carried in one’s pocket with any sort of guarantee that it won’t snap in two given how thin the device is? As for the Bluetooth phone ear-piece, from Steve’s presentation he seemed to imply that the Apple ear-piece would be connect to the iPhone more smoothly than others…hmm, I wonder why if others are also using Bluetooth. I like my Motorola HS-850 headset and would want that operating smoothly too. Apple has a bad reputation for closed systems, and this would be a sad mistake in this case. Already the idea that this device only operates on Cingular I think was the wrong move, despite the fact that I enjoy being a Cingular customer.

The whole album and video representations and “coverflow” were sweet to see in motion, but Apple still remains a staunch user of DRM (digital rights management technology) and that simply no longer sits well with me. I’ve stopped buying music from iTunes no matter how convenient I found it in the past because I don’t like the idea of being locked into their world…no matter how cool the device operates.

There is one kick-ass feature that they included which I feel compelled to mention despite the fact that it alone won’t get me to buy the device, but visual voicemail was a genius move if for only its simplicity. It’s great to see that Apple did keep in mind some of the simple things that needed to be fixed with current systems and addressed them so nicely.

So all-in-all, despite my base desire to join the cult of Steve, I find myself unable to follow, but I do believe that Apple has done a lot with the iPhone to forever (once again) change the landscape of what it means to provide a communications device. And indeed it is amazing how they’re able to keep innovating into existing industries like this. However, I was surprised that during the initial part of Steve’s presentation, where he mentioned the product Apple had innovated, he started with the Macintosh, then the iPod, and now the iPhone, but somewhere in the mix the Apple II seems to have been forgotten. That too was an innovation during its time and I’ll never forget it.

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