Sunday, November 04, 2007

IPhones and Laughingstocks

So, when the iphone was introduced, I was probably one of the few people in America who just didn't care. I say "America" because of what Mossberg writes below - a lot of the world didn't understand the buzz over iPhone, either, I'm sure. I was more interested in the Apple Tv, but everyone was tripping over themselves to talk about how Apple's entry into the mobile world is "changing everything". Which I just found puzzling. Oh sure, Apple fans will buy it. And people who fetishize over consumer electronics and other trinkets will buy it and/or chatter about it incessantly.

Here's why I find it puzzling - people who have used the iPhone interface will say "it's just amazing", but almost never really can articulate why. How does a new interface change everything about an experience that's terrible from a consumer level as a whole? And the iPhone actually makes that experience *worse* - by having only one provider, and picking a slow network. Yawn, okay, you can touch your interface and have it do stuff? How about choice of altering it without accidentally bricking it? How about being able to switch providers?

And don't think I'm just some Apple hater. My dad bought one of the first Macs and I remember it fondly. I used it for many a high school paper, and I also used a Mac all the way through university. I own an iPod (my second one, actually), and I've kicked around the idea of getting an OS X machine. I just think a lot of Apple fans uncritically adopt whatever thinking Apple wants them to adopt...and they buy whatever Apple wants them to buy. I overheard one Apple fanboy at work talk, with great fanfare, about something that Leopard adds to the mix, and it's something that Linux has had for well over a decade. From what he was describing, it's called virtual desktops. XGL can even spin the desktops in 3D for a few years, too. I smiled and kept that one to myself, since this person has never been able to speak about Apple in a rational way.

Anyway, it looks like I'm not the only one who thinks that the world of cellphones needs a real shakeup and some real changes. Mossberg, a person who's opinion I value for the most part, has written a great op-ed about the cellphone industry in America, saying that we in America are basically laughingstocks when it comes to the state we're in, and comparing it to Soviet Russia.

Keep your touch interface for now; I want real changes. I've bought the hardware; I'd like to think the phone is *mine*, not the carrier's, and not the manufacturer's. The current state truly is an embarrassing one.

Who knows, when my contract on my Blackberry is up, I may just look around and find that the version of iPhone offered at that time is an attractive one and I just may buy one. But I won't be so brainwashed as to go around saying that Apple has "changed everything".

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