Our minds on media.

Musings on the effects of media on cognition.

Apple iPhone Opinion #5438

That’s to say that there are an awful lot of opinions out in the blogosphere about the new Apple iPhone, and that I intend to be one of them. However, in the interest of trying not to be a total clone, I will restrict my opinion to just one facet of the iPhone, and that is the hubbub about 3rd party applications. There are quite a few people who seemed to be worried about whether the iPhone will support 3rd party software. I’ve read several opinions that the iPhone really doesn’t even constitute a smart phone without “real” office applications. There are also some people who think that the lack of a keyboard will be a problem. These people have really missed the boat, in my opinion, because what the iPhone does more than any other “smart” phone can is make the network the computer.

The thing that surprises me the most is that Apple called it an iPhone. I mean, iMac, iPod, I get it. But there’s also a MacBook. And really this little iPhone is just a PocketMac, right? (Though that would be a cliche name at best) Still, with a great partnership with Google why in the world would you want 3rd party BLOATware eating up your precious mobile computer platform’s processing power and memory? You want all that 4 and 8 GB of memory for photos and movies, NOT over-the-top feature-creeped word processors. Google will make all of those boring kinds of programs available through Safari. Think about it, this device runs most Web 2.0 apps right out of the box, in color, with its gorgeous zooming interface. Name another “smart” phone that can do that. Last I checked you couldn’t use flickr on a Crackberry or a Treo. And yet, a portable camera phone that can connect directly to Flickr is going to make A LOT of flickrfolks’ days. Make no mistake, the iPhone is an end run around old school software developers and is a play for web developers. And as far as complaints that it won’t be a good business tool—I’m really not so sure that’s the point. This strikes me as a gadget for the digirati more than meeting monkeys.

Just a note as well, handwriting recognition software called “Inkwell” is built in to the Mac OS X operating system. I’ve used it with a Wacom tablet and it’s ok—not great. They could make improvements to it though, and if their claim that the iPhone is running Mac OS X is true then it’s got Inkwell, too. In fact, Steve Jobs was so in love with the multi-touch interface, it makes me wonder if we won’t see MacBooks without keyboards this year. Anyone who’s really worried about having to type on the screen is either going to be satiated when they actually try an iPhone or is going to have a ton of options from 3rd party peripheral makers—like a virtual keyboard.

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