iWant an iPhone

iWant an iPhone

 

When I finally bought my first cell phone in 1997, I felt like a holdout. Lots of friends and colleagues already had them, but I had hesitated, mainly because the instances in which one seemed necessary were few and far between. Now it's hard to believe I ever functioned without one.

 

Still, I don't love my cell phone (a Nokia 6102 from Cingular Wireless) and here's why:

 

- The menus suck. (And now wireless carriers want to integrate ads into the menus? Crikey.) Case in point: It takes 13 clicks to turn on the camera. Thirteen! How am I supposed to use my camera phone to snap wacky shots of things I see as I walk down the street or while innocently riding mass transit if I have to click the main menu button, then click down 10 items to Tools, then click on Tools, then select Camera? That takes too long.

 

- The ringtones suck. I've spent around $15 purchasing ringtones I thought would not suck (compared to the free ones that came with the phone). The "Sex and the City" theme song held me over for about six months. Then I tried "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley, but it was so jarring that I finally tried to replace it with a relatively innocuous AC/DC tune ("Back in Black") - a futile effort, as it turns out. After paying $2.49 to download it, it then disappeared into the ether, never to be found in my phone's MyMedia folder or in my online account. Huh. Now I've got a samba (or is it a bossa nova?), one of the phone's included ringtones, but it's so mellow I never hear the dang thing ring, which pretty much defeats the purpose of having it in the first place.

 

- It looks cheap. What's the point of designing a gadget in ultra-cool black and silver if the silver is cheapo plastic instead of metal? I've dropped it countless times, too, so I guess I'm part of the problem. But still. My 30GB black video iPod looks amazing and I've had it for the same amount of time.

 

- It doesn't do wireless. Silly me: I thought all mainstream cell phones were Bluetooth-enabled. Come to find out, no, that's not the case. I guess I applied the iPod/Mac theory to phones and assumed that something as ubiquitously useful as wireless would be an easy thing to add to all phone models. Kind of the way Apple includes all the software you need to work and play on all new Macs. Or the way iTunes is always free, regardless whether you own an iPod. P.S. Infrared doesn't count.

 

Which brings me to my central point: Although I am notoriously cheap when it comes to cell phones - having, for example, passed over a Motorola RAZR for my cheapo Nokia 6102 because of the $200 price difference - I'd happily shell out $300 for an iPhone. (Perhaps you're thinking, "How naive can she be? Hasn't she heard the latest rumor that the iPhone will cost upwards of $600?" Well, I'm pegging my iPhone purchase price at $300 because I probably won't buy one until my two-year contract on my P.O.S. Nokia runs out in early 2008.)

 

Why am I willing to spend more than twice the cash on an iPhone than I've ever spent on a phone before? Four reasons: 1) Better interface (it's just not possible for it to get worse). 2) Music, music, music! 3) It's bound to look cool and be reasonably sturdy. 4) Built-in wireless (hello, iSync!).

 

Everyone else is counting the minutes until Monday's Mac Expo keynote. Me, I can't wait until January 2008, when I can finally buy my iPhone. (Until then, if you call me on my cell and it rings to voicemail, try texting me instead: The tone for a new text message is much louder than the samba.)

 

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Elizabeth

Dear Leslie:

First of all, I'll be right behind you in line to purchase my iPhone. I've been praying that Apple would enter this market, although I had thought they might have done it as an add-on to the existing iPods. Clever of Apple to create an entirely new device and interface.

Also, on a personal note, I am so psyched to be reading your lovely and witty prose, even if it is no longer as editor of Scrapbook Answers. Do you suppose you might be able to squeeze in a digital scrapbooking byte or two into a future issue of MacLife? :-)

Warm regards from a loyal fan,
Beth

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Carlos Hurtado

Hi Leslie,

It has been a long time since I have seen you! I see guys are still asking for your number. ;)

I just finished watching the Keynote and the Iphone is truly amazing. I have used browsers on my razor and if it wasn't for Google's Killer Apps, I would have great diffulty paying for mobile internet on my cell. As far as paying the $499 for the phone, I don't like spending top top dollar for a brand new technology, but I fear this product is worth every cent.

You take care, send me a line when you get the chance...maybe I will afford you a rematch Tennis match. ;) Go UCD!

Carlos

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Max

I think it's more likely to impact the PDA market than the cell phone or MP3 player market. I feel bad for anyone who bought a Palm this past month. Regardless, this is going to revolutionize wireless.

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Ripper

Maybe you should have shopped around for a cell phone when you got your Nokia. I have a 2 year old Toshiba phone that has been through hell and looks great. Camera at the push of a button. I found a utility to send any ringer I want to it for free. As far as wireless, I don't care about it, but would have shopped around and got a phone with blue-tooth if I did.

You Apple loyalists drive me insane. Learn to shop around and do a bit of research rather than just waiting for Apple to spoon feed you what you think you need. There are plenty of great, capable phones out there.

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Anonymous

Could you email me a link to that ringtone utility?

zcodyml@gmail.com

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iHope no iPhone?

I agree that many cell phones are difficult to manage properly. And iPods in general somewhat simpler.

However I don't think it is sensible to put too much trust in apple's ability to make things so much better. And I'm not sure it would be wise for apple to venture into this type of appliances.

The reason i am skeptic is that a modern cell phone may many is expected to be a mobile computer/entertainment/communications system, much more than any iPod has ever been.

iPods have been appreciated for being simple and functional. A cellphone which allows you to talk, take pictures, organize contacts, e-mail, send text messages, record sound, transfer files to other phones and computers, run java games, provide internet access and probably a bunch of other things must, just like your apple computer at home, have more than a few simple buttons and menus.

I don't think it is possible to make a modern cell phone simpler without radically changing the way imformation is entered and controlled.

At the same time cell phones cannot be too fragile, we expect them to be droppable and preferrably somewhat water resistant.

I don't think apple can do this, at least not now. And i think any attempts at this point would be a very poor investment for the apple company.

Therefore Ayers, I think you should invest in a new cell phone instead. Not all phones are equal, even Nokia has a few very functional and easy to use models. Of course you work for a mac magazine and probably feel forced to be overly enthusiastic about things you havn't quite thought through.

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Casper

While my phone isn't that old (less than 2 years), it hasn't held up very well... and it keeps resetting the ringtones I've selected to a hideous and annoying jingle. I have no idea how it happened, but I somehow etched the screen with some sort of acid-like substance, so it's like looking through a dirty window. I agree wholeheartedly about the navigation and menu systems of cell phones... they need to be seriously iPod-ized. Come on, Apple, don't disappoint us!

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frankosonik

Every other commercial on TV is for a phone with an MP3 player. The rest of the market has figured that out already. For $600 bucks, Jobs better come through with unlocked phones including VoIP capability, bluetooth media controller, and more or else he'll be locked in to his existing tiny marketshare of Apple users that need to use iSync. It took 5 years for Apple to sell 50 million iPods. Motorola sold 50 million RAZRs in 2 years. Nokia already owns the emerging markets.

The iPhone better be revolutionary -- at least enough to convince people in the US pay the early-termination fee for their mobile phone contract

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theodore

and what was the point of this article?

Oh yes the world must know how cheap you are and that existing phones suck.. thank you for such thought provoking news

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Crash7er

Email me your number, I'll call you ......just so you can check your ringer volume ;)

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KenC

... at least until Tuesday!

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TGA

I too, am an iPhone holdout. My Samsung SCH-3500 that I got in the Spring of 2001, has subjected me to much ridicule from colleagues, friends and my students. And even though I am the envy of many of those same people for my fully loaded 60GB beautiful black video iPod, my bulky phone is soooo 20th Century (some of my students have asked me if I got it in the 80's). I've waited a long time for this, and damnit, I don't know how much longer I can wait!!!!!!!!!
By the way, Leslie, are you single? You're much better looking than Rik. Anytime in Mpls? Call me....612-327.............

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Shogun

Hmm... maybe you should switch the samba tone for the text-message tone.

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