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Jewish World Review
Sept. 12, 2007
/ 29 Elul, 5767
IPhone -- Promise or Pariah?
The easiest thing to imagine about Apple, Inc.'s IPhone after
last week's price cut and end user backlash is that it's some sort of
fad. The device, one non-technical critic, Joe Nocera in The New York
Times, averred isn't that great of a phone or e-mail device, even if
it's OK as a music player.
As this is written, I've finished off a rather nice dinner, prepared
by using a recipe from Cooking Light magazine I found online. I used
the IPhone in the kitchen as I was cooking, and was able to read the
instructions very easily. The meal came out great, by the way.
Yes, you can view a recipe on a Treo or even a regular cell phone, but
the IPhone's Web experience is, by and large, the same as you'd find
on a desktop or notebook computer using a Web browser. An Internet
page there looks the same on the phone as it does on a regular
computer. No big deal, perhaps, except, of course, that you can carry
the IPhone in your shirt pocket, and thus can access the Web just
Not every Web page works in the same manner as on a regular computer;
there's a number - don't ask me the percentage - that function
differently and are a bit difficult to read on the IPhone. This also
is another wake-up call for all of us who want to see your businesses
or organizations well represented online. Mobile users are going to
drive the next wave of Web development, so get with the program and
develop sites that can work on a handheld as well as on a desktop.
That still begs the question of the overall IPhone experience. For me,
it still remains a good one, and the recent repositioning of the
product line is a plus. The 4 Gigabyte model is no more; only 8GB
models will be available, and at $399, versus an original list price
of $599. Those who purchased the higher-priced 8GB units immediately
before the Sept. 5 price cut (or, more precisely, within 14 days of
that date) get a full refund. Earlier buyers get a $100 Apple store
credit, good online or at the firm's retail outlets.
I've been using the IPhone for about six weeks, and it performs
superbly in most situations. Voice quality is as good as any AT&T (nee
Cingular) network phone that I've used. Data speeds could be better
over the AT&T network, but they're not impossible for e-mail
operations. Web browsing is definitely better over the phone's
built-in WiFi connection, when such are available. But it's
still better than many other handhelds - not to mention any other
"plain" cell phone - that I've seen.
The $129 IPhone Bluetooth Headset, as Apple calls it, may seem a bit
pricey, but still represents what I believe is a decent value. The
headset is very, very light, and that's a good thing. Talk time is
good, as is standby time; a single button controls on/off functions as
well as call answering and hangup. The unit comes with two sets of
cords to simultaneously recharge the phone and headset, a very nice
touch. I heartily recommend it, especially when on the go.
I still believe that, someday, all handheld devices will emulate the
superior fingers-not-a-stylus-or-tiny-keyboard interface of the
IPhone. Someday, they'll probably have the range of applications and
features the IPhone has today. And someday accessories will be as well
coordinated as Apple has done. Instead of waiting, however, the
IPhone, at its new price, is now perhaps the most compelling handheld
available anywhere today.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2007, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com