Saturday, March 01, 2008

Why I hated, but now love, the iPhone

I'm one of those people you might label a Mac Fanatic. I love my Mac OS and have been faithful to Apple for years, even when they were futzing with Mac clones.

Admittedly, I've used PCs in recent years and they've gotten much better, but... they're still not flashy like Macs are. Macs have an "X" factor which Mac people have difficulty explaining to PC people... Macs are just fun to use. They shimmer.

I know. Sounds hokey.

About the best way I can describe it is a quip I read in an Apple programming manual published in the late 80s, and I'm paraphrasing: "A Mac program must function well, but its design must function well, too. The user must enjoy looking at the program as much as they enjoy using the program." This simple design philosophy is the jewel of love sewn into every computing product made at Apple. The software, the hard case, the cables, the accessories... hell, even the packaging. Macs look cool.

Thus, when Apple ramped up their advertising for the iPhone, I was shocked to hear my lack of excitement. At $400, I thought, it was too pricey for a phone—I was happy with my simple $50 Razor.

And then...

A hard-core PC friend of mine started raving to me about the iPhone. (Around the same time, another hard-core PC programmer had opted to buy a Mac as his next comptuer... because it was better for progamming!) What, I thought, was the big deal about an iPhone? And why wasn't I raving to him about an iPhone?

Apple has been gradually exposing PC users to the Mac OS through the iPod and the iPhone, which I mentioned last January in my post, The Company in The White Suit. Just take a closer look at this chart (click to enlarge):

Flash forward to this last Superbowl Sunday. My friend passes me his iPhone. "Here, Dude. Check it out."

After 5 minutes, I was in love.

With constant internet access, you can get dynamic traffic news reports overlaid on a map—and the map is zoomable by using your fingers. You can surf the web and see actual pages. You can watch You Tube videos with two keystrokes. But best of all—you can view all your contacts' information on Apple's slick OS. This is a big selling point for me because if there's one thing that drives me batty about cell phones, it's their disposability. With my current phone, I always know that within a year or two, I'm going to probably upgrade to a newer phone... which will probably not be made by the same brand... which means I'll have to learn a new OS, and that's another learning curve I'm not likely to enjoy because the whole time I'll be dreading about having to learn the next phone's OS. Grrrrrrrr.

* I'm already familiar with Apple's OS.
* I can upload my contacts once and never have to worry about dealing with a SIM card ever again!
* I know the phone will sync seamlessly with my home system.

But come on, $400? For a phone?

It still sounds like a lot, but only if you're buying a phone. And this is not just any phone—it's a small telecommunications computer designed to sync to your main computer. I can live with spending $400 if it buys me the peace of mind that I'll never have to upgrade to another phone for at least 3 to 5 years.

As my friend Jena told me a few weeks ago, "My Blackberry broke and AT&T said they'd mail me a replacement within five to seven business days. I don't have five to seven business days! So I walked to the Apple store, and 5 minutes later I walked back out with an iPhone. 17 minutes after I got home, all my phone numbers and addresses were synched up and I was back up and running."

So I'm buying an iPhone this year, probably next month sometime. The next generation has broadband internet speed, but it's still in development and probably won't come out until September or early next year. And that's too. damned. long.

Ross <3 iPhones.


Anonymous said...

Be careful with your cost analysis, it may not just be $400. Do you currently pay for an unlimited data usage plan? Compare your actual monthly payments you have now with a friend's ACTUAL monthly payments for an iPhone. The quoted rates are always FAR less than the actual rate when you factor in taxes and fees.

I'm not saying it's not worth it. I'm sure you get what you pay for, but that's true with a Ferrari too. We can't all afford one no matter how much better it is.


Ross Pruden said...

Yes, I agree—though the rate plan literature says existing AT&T customers pay only $20 extra, I'm quite certain the hidden costs are closer to $40 extra per month, but not more. $40/month extra is worth it to me. If it were more than that, we'd hear all about it over the net, no?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to jump in so late on this one, but just wanted to reiterate what the world has already said: the iPhone rocks. I love it. Too much, perhaps.

Also: I've not noticed a huge difference in my phone bill. It really is about $20 more.