The essay below was originally published on February 23, 2008, a week after I had purchased my first iPhone. Since today is the 15th anniversary of the introduction of the amazing iPhone, I thought we’d update the post a bit and wish the most life-changing and revolutionary electronic device introduced in the 21st century a happy birthday…
The iPhone is a (r)evolutionary device
Last Saturday I purchased an iPhone and ended my four-year hellish experience with Motorola phones. Before I begin describing what a revolutionary and evolutionary device the iPhone is, let me make my parting comments about Motorola.
Motorola has been living off their (undeserved) reputation for a long time. I owned a Motorola i730 from 2004 through 2006 (two different phones because of “firmware issues”) and a V3c RAZR from 2006 through this year (also, two different phones because of “firmware issues” — do I see a trend here?). Both were crappy products with lousy software, and GUIs that appear they were designed by imbeciles for imbeciles. Suffice to say I will never buy one of their products ever again. And, if recent news articles are true that Motorola’s cell phone sales have plummeted because of customer dissatisfaction, I’m not the only one thinking that.
(Note to Verizon Wireless: your disabling my ability to copy my pictures from my phone to my desktop because of your desire to cross-sell me a crappy picture service I wouldn’t have used anyway, makes you not only greedy, but stupid and incredibly short-sighted. Now that I know that you think your customers are idiots, I won’t be coming back. Your signal was pretty darn good, though.)
I’ve had a week to work and play with the iPhone and it’s a marvel. This is the first time I have used a cell phone where I can honestly say it was a pleasure. It has a large easy-to-use keypad for dialing, it’s loud enough to hear in traffic, it sports a wonderful interface that is intuitive and easy to use (thanks to the OS masters at Apple Inc.). You can add IMAP (or POP) email accounts in a flash (I have five accounts, including my work account, and it was easy as pie to set them all up), a superb calendar, a notes application, and a lot more. The keyboard is just fine for me, but I know some people have complained that the placement of the keys are too close together.
Oh, and did I tell you it’s an iPod as well? That’s icing.
The iPhone has one major weakness, though: battery life. It eats battery power. I stopped using it as an iPod the third day I had it because the charge did not last ten hours. If you listen to your music or podcasts for longer than three hours a day, and intend to use it for everything else it does, forget about it. If this is going to be your only device, that is, if you plan to use it as a cell phone, an iPod, as your primary email client, your calendar, etc., I suggest you buy a crapload of chargers and have one wherever you place it. For me that’s not a big deal because I have an iPod and I’ll still use that. The other major weakness is the crappy AT&T EDGE network. Very slow. I should have waited for the G3 version, but using my RAZR was becoming hazardous to my mental health.
This device has revolutionized cell phone design and has everyone else scrambling to top it (fat chance). Apple correctly saw that the ubiquitous cell phone had to evolve into something else, something that was so useful, and that would become so necessary to help us run our digital life, that it would be unthinkable without it. I think they succeeded admirably.
Give it a test drive. I’m warning you, though, if you use it for more than an hour to its full potential, you will never be able to go back to your old-fashioned cell phone.