When I first heard the specs on the Apple iPhone I must admit I felt the drool starting. There is so much about this thing to like.
Apart from the fact it uses a weird mash-up of Google and Yahoo to provide the web search and services backend (when we have a much better solution with Windows Live Search, Messenger etc for Mobile - and Steve, we've had this going for a while now... it's not revolutionary) this is a pretty amazing device in many respects.
Apple are, if nothing else, masters of design. This looks pleasing, easy to use and capable. And despite Robbie Bach's misgivings on their ability to execute they appear to have come close to exceeding everyone's expectations.
The fact that this is an OSX device with support for a bunch of cellphone standards as well as WiFi and Bluetooth, sports a large touch screen that can cope with multiple points of contact, knows where it is in the world as well as it's orientation and how close to your face it is makes for a pretty capable platform.
On top of that add a standards compliant, fully featured browser (Safari) and a decent HTML mail client - without forgetting that it's also a phone and music player with all the polish of an Apple designed UI it's going to be popular.
Or is it?
Kevin Wilson has a good point:
My take on the iPhone? It's an awesome product. But I don't think its going to make a dent in Research In Motion's (RIMM) business. I don't see myself going away from a device with a keyboard. I think iPhone is going to be a big hit in the consumer smartphone market (with the caveat that the price point is an issue). But for mobile mail, there isn't a better device than the blackberry and I've tried them all.
I also think the exclusive deal with Cingular is nuts. Why force people who want an iPhone to switch carriers? Apple is an obnoxious company. They make wonderful products that blow me away. But I really dislike their approach to business.
And he's not alone though the nay-saying is, I think, waiting until more people have had this in their hands - though if they can't resolve their trademark dispute with Cisco (and Citrix) it might be under a different name.
My take on it is that it's not perfect. It lacks 3G support (important outside of the US) and the forward facing camera that are required to do that properly. It's also very shiny - are we going to see the same saga of scratches and fingerprint residue that's plagued many of the iPod versions?
Battery life seems a little low for a device that's going to be always on, and always with you... and I wonder if they've learnt anything from the non-replaceable battery issues of the iPod. Update: Seems not, and 9 more things they've not learnt.
My first thought was "I want one" but overnight reflection says "wait for 2.0". At the moment I'm getting along fine with my K-Jam and Windows Mobile does everything I need... though not everything I want.
It'll be interesting to see how Microsoft (and the Window Mobile hardware OEMs) and the "traditional" cellphone companies (along with Symbian etc) respond to this.
I was bemoaning only recently that I don't want to carry both a Zune and a cellphone on my hip and look like Batman.. for many I think the iPhone will balance the need and the nerd sufficiently to raise the bar for consumers in this space.