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sootman's Journal: The iPhone looks great. Too bad I won't be getting one.

Journal by sootman

(Again, filed under 'OS X' because there doesn't seem to be an 'Apple' topic. But they've got 'Amiga' and 'Be.' WTF?!?!?)

The iPhone looks great. Despite what some pundits and slashdot readers think, I'm sure it will be a success, as I've discussed here. I'd love to get one... but I won't. At least, not any time soon.

I can't say this enough--I'm sure the iPhone will be an incredible device. I love great gadgets. I'd love to have one. But...

- I've got a video iPod, but I don't watch movies on it, so a widescreen iPod is not something I need.

- I do a decent amount of text messaging but the fact that it saves my conversations in an iChat-like interface is not something I need--most of my messages are read once and tossed.

- Speaking of texting, I've got a Nokia 6820 with a QWERTY keyboard. I'm sure the touchscreen will be nice, but it'll be hard to beat a physical keyboard. I'll reserve judgment until I try one out, but regardless, I already have a real keyboard, so even if it's decent, the iPhone's full keyboard won't be a huge step up--it's not like I'm coming from the world of texting with 12 buttons.

- visual voicemail looks great--and it's about damn time!--but I don't get that many messages. When I miss a call and get a message, my Nokia offers to show me the number I missed before it offers me the option to listen to the message, so before I call in, I generally know who it is that called. I don't stack up a lot of messages since I don't get that many calls and am usually available when people want me. So it's another cool feature that I don't really need.

- the Internet stuff looks great. Despite the fact that my Axim X50v has twice the screen resolution (640x480 vs. 480x320) I don't doubt that Apple will make browsing better, especially since web browsers on handhelds mostly suck. But again, I'm rarely someplace that I don't have Internet access and an actual computer. Would it occasionally be useful to check the weather while I'm sitting in a movie theater, or look up the price of something online for comparison purposes when I'm in a store? Sure. Would this really be life-altering stuff? No. I doubt (I hope, but I doubt) Apple will make Cingular offer a decent data plan to go along with this. You'll probably be looking at $100/month to really use the Internet over a cellular network--and I don't think the speed via anything but 802.11 will be that great. (Plus, using Google with a regular phone is pretty great.*)

- email. This is the one thing I would kinda really like to have. I'm not a crackberry addict, but there are times I'd like to be able to send real emails instead of text messages. My Nokia should be able to send email, but 1) I never got that working, and 2) I'd prefer it if the messages came from a 'real' email address. But, I've lived without it so far, so again, this one feature won't suddenly make this $500 device worthwhile. Push email is nice, though--no more checking to see if you've got new messages: if they're there, they'll be there. But again, I don't live and die by email, so this isn't a huge deal for me.

- 2 MP camera. Nice. I actually find myself using the incredibly crappy camera built into my phone surprisingly often--mostly for odd-but-useful things, like taking a picture of a store's door to capture the hours it's open. And I wish it were a lot better than it is (352x240) and I wish I would remember to carry my real camera with me for when I see cool stuff. But that alone is not worth shelling out the money for. I really should just keep my PowerShot in the car.

- All the other stuff, like the fancy address book, is nice, but again, just not something I need. Sure, it looks great, but I can use my current phone pretty easily. 90% of my calls are to 10% of my contacts, so I usually just use my 'recently dialed numbers' list, which is 1 button away on my Nokia. Maps looks nice, and I'm sure it's great for finding "nearby' businesses, but I'd rather have real GPS capabilities.

So it does lots and lots and lots of cool stuff, but it doesn't do a single thing I really need. I'll probably get one in late 2008 or early 2009, when my Nokia is dead and the iPhones are $249. But for right now, my Nokia will do. Plus there is one mark in favor of my Nokia that the iPhone will never reach--since it isn't also a widescreen iPod, it's quite small. If you haven't seen one, it's about the size of a candy bar. Bigger than the smallest of phones, but much smaller than the iPhone. Maybe not thinner, but probably shorter and about half the width.

* Google's text messaging features are pretty great. Just put together a short query and text it to GOOGL (46645) and get a text message response back with your query results. It's not a text portal to the full Google site--it's geared towards local stuff and stores and it gives short answers, but it's handy. I've used it to...

- get the number and address of businesses

- get weather info--send 'weather' and your zip code and you'll get the current temp, wind, etc., plus a week's forecast

- check prices--I was in a Best Buy and they had an amp on sale, but they were out of stock. I sent the brand and model to Google and found out that not only was it available at bestbuy.com (just so happened to be the match that they sent back) but that it was $40 less online! (I did the actual purchase at home.)

- and I'm sure there's tons of other stuff it can do, like movie showtimes and whatnot.

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The iPhone looks great. Too bad I won't be getting one.

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