Monday, July 2, 2007

iPhone, i-you, i-me

(copyright REUTERS/Jeff Zelevansky)
As described in a recent Reuters article, the much hyped and talked about iPhone finally hits the stores. The American stores for now. Hundreds of eager people queued days ahead of the launch, many even paying others to queue for them.

The iPhone is not just a mobile phone but MP3 player, camera and web browser all rolled into a ‘sexy’ looking device. Then again, there are many other similar devices already in the market, all vying to be your ultimate all-in-one gadget.

The question that begs to be answered: Will Apple succeed where many other brands failed?

Let’s look and the iPhone feature by feature and see if we can predict the outcome.

Music Player
The iPhone offers one of the best integrated music player as it rides on the same iPod interface. It behaves like a real iPod and has a seamless synchronization with your computer. However, unlike the iPod, its storage capacity is currently limited to 8GB. We can probably expect Apple to introduce higher capacity iPhones closer to the holiday seasons when the Flash memory capacity storage will increase.

This alone will draw many Apple and iPod fans alike to purchase an iPhone.

Being in control of its own ecosystem, Apple enable users to transfer pictures from their phone to a computer with relative ease. The built-in iTunes will serve as a multimedia manager not just for songs but digital pictures as well.

The iPhone has been hailed as revolutionary and rightly so. Though many of its advanced features are currently tailor-made to work between Apple and AT&T, it is only a matter of time before other operators both in US and internationally join in the game!

Internet Browser
Its not only the in-built Safari browser that allows you surf via wireless or GPRS connections which is amazing but its automatic screen rotation. You can even zoom in and out using Minority Report’s gesture control. Unfortunately, websites are becoming more sophisticated and require a lot of resources. A majority of these websites are not designed for surfing through mobile phones yet.

As with other devices, the iPhone allows you to check emails. We probably need to see how the security system works is compatible with major professional emailing and VPN systems.

As mentioned earlier, the all-in-one concept is not new. PIMs (Personal Information Manager), as it is commonly known, has been around for some time. New technologies continue to be embedded or some would claim invade mobile phones. Does this mean one will stop using dedicated devices? I highly doubt so.

Both the all-in-one and dedicated devices serve specific needs of consumers and will continue to do just that. The market is large enough for it to flourish. Business users, who rely on a WM5 or Blackberry device, may still own the iPhone as a multimedia companion. For the Mac user, the iPhone helps complete the digital hub. For students, it probably will be the ultimate ‘cool’ or in thing to own an iPhone despite costing over US$1500 for a 2-year contract.

The iPhone goes beyond its claimed list of features. After the PSX (PlayStation 1), after the iPod, after the PSP, after the Wii…the iPhone is the new product in the list of ‘must haves’. Forget any rationale on whether you should or should not get the iPhone. .

At the end it does not really It doesn’t really matter. After all, the only difference between men and boys is the price of their ‘toys’

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