Tuesday, 1 February 2011

What's an iPhone for

I have an iPhone, supplied by work in the days when I was responsible for keeping things working, so they could phone me up and tell me the world had crashed. As operations manager it was always my fault if it wasn't fixed.

And I didn't like it. Didn't like the glass keyboard, didn't like the appalling battery life whenever it saw a friendly wi-fi router, the crappy camera, etc etc. So much so that when I bought myself a new phone I bought a Nokia E63 - good email integration and push email, a keyboard you can (almost) type on, good battery life.

And I still prefer it over my iPhone. But last week, in Berkeley, the land of free wi-fi, I had a revalation. As I was flying back that afternoon, I wanted to check the news and weather at home, and also see what was happening in Egypt.

So I sat in a coffee shop on College Avenue, and watched the ABC Australia 90 second news bulletin via my iPhone.

And that's when I got it. Yes they need special apps rather than the open slather of the web but within the Apple ecology they can do some quite impressive things. And in our always on world, especially where increasingly people post videos of presentations rather than just the slides, powerful. Basically the iPhone is a content display device just like an iPad, except you can make calls with it, but it needs a decent infrastructure behind it to deliver.

Without either a cheap 3G data service or a wi-fi service all it is is a pretty crappy phone. With the backing infrastructure it comes alive as something way more useful ...

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