I use Apple products, but am no Apple fanboy. That said, I want one. An iPhone that is. And I’ll take the Apple TV while we’re at it.
Predictably, after the near-24 hour initial buzzfest, we have a counter-attack by a squadron of the “I woke up this morning and wondered why the hell I was so excited yesterday” journalists and bloggers. The Dick Cheney School of Realism Commentariat, those weary (and wary) been-there done-that skeptics who recognized the fast one Millenial Hipster Steve (almost) pulled on all of us. But who awoke the following morning, jolted back to reality by the strong coffee, and hit the keyboards and did their duty to remind us IT WASN’T THAT BIG A DEAL (and besides it’s really expensive and it doesn’t have a keyboard and we were just temporarily sucked in by the Reality Distortion Field).
(An aside: Paul Boutin caught the zeitgeist best on valleywag on Wednesday morning. And Walt Mossberg had the best, most balanced reaction combining genuine enthusiasm with a little wait-and-see. UPDATE: and I commend the Kottke roundup for it’s thoroughness, and Lefsetz is as always a fun read.)
Except. Except. That I don’t think any of us have seen a device that looks so cool, that we’ve all really, really wanted (like, tomorrow, Steve), not for a long time.
My view is, forget all the posturing, the knowing cyncism and give it up for Apple. One could make an argument — looking at just the phone and iPod combo — that this isn’t that big a deal. That other devices have had similar functionality for a while. That you would be insane to pay $499 for this thing. But that misses the point. The main thing about this phone.
What got me excited today watching the replay of the keynote (I waited 48 hours purposefully to watch to see what it would feel like after the hype and counter-hype) is the “internet communicator.” The fucking cool as shit web browser where you can zoom in by pinching your fucking fingers (Bob Lefsetz just took control of my keyboard for a moment). Where you can dial up google maps and info on an actually decent sized screen, get a phone number and just dial. How can you not get excited about that, or not want one?
I want one because it will be the first time you’ll be able to have a portable device that really does work as a phone, an iPod, and an internet web browser (genius mantra in the keynote). The other smart phones have been truly, epically crippled on this last front. It’s the full featured, sexy internet browsing that changes the game, and makes it a must have device for me.
And I suspect will make it a must-have for other people. Who never needed (or, frankly, wanted) a crackberry or BlackJack or Sidekick texting device, but instead want to be able to go out, get on the subway, listen to some music, look up the address for that lunch spot your meeting your friends, dial them maybe if you’re running a little late, and do all of it with just one device. That works as designed, and even brings a sense of wonder and joy while using it.
Also. I’m surprised no one has discussed, or seemed to think much about, the upgrade cycle opportunity. The folks who bought iPods in 2002 or 2003 or 2004, and will be ready for an upgrade to their iPod in the next twelve to eighteen months. What are you gonna buy? A Zune? A San Disk? A new iPod without the phone or Internet Machine just to save a couple hundred bucks? No, no no. People are going to be buying these iPhones to replace or supplement their old iPods. The memory issue is only a big issue for us music wonks.
If it works as well as it demos, this thing will be a huge hit. Perhaps even bigger than the iPod. Maybe Steve Jobs isn’t the nicest guy (I don’t know), maybe Apple’s too closed and proprietary. But this is the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time, and Apple deserves a big hand if the real device turns out as good as it looked on Tuesday.