After extolling in a quasi-philosophical manner why spending money on an iPhone brings legitimate happiness, a commenter on my other blog asked me to explain why I'm so enamored of this piece of technology.
Glad to oblige.
Tonight I got around to recording my voice mail greeting in which I used the phrase "dearly beloved iPhone."
So just as I was eager to tell people about how wonderful my wife-to-be Laurel was after I met her, it's a pleasure to share what -- after five days of togetherness -- I find so enticing about the 3G iPhone.
(Note: obviously I'm an iPhone newbie. My technical knowledge of the gadget is limited. And I haven't explored all it can do yet. So take this as one man's first impressions of his new love.)
I'll begin with a bit of additional philosophy...
Today I discussed my now consummated lust for the iPhone with some friends. We agreed that only one reason is needed for getting one. Or anything else for that matter.
Pleasure. If it feels good, buy it. No explanation required.
Most of us tend toward Protestant ethics sorts of explanations for stuff that we want. That's socially acceptable, especially in these tough economic times. "I need it to get my work emails." "It'll keep us in touch if an emergency arises." And such.
Well, the iPhone is a useful tool. But for me, it's akin to the Mini Cooper. When I see and touch it, I want it.
Badly. The reasons come later, explanatory add-ons intended to justify my instant non-rational intuitive Oh, baby, you're so beautiful!
OK. With that out of the way, let's move on to some specifics -- what the iPhone does that makes me adore her so much.
This CNET video of the top 5 reasons to love the iPhone gets it mostly right for me (though since I don't access a Microsoft Exchange server, that reason is moot).
#1 on the list was the GPS capability. Right on.
I've been obsessed with firing up the Maps feature, clicking on the button that locates my current position, and then watching satellite images (from Google Earth, I believe) fill the screen as I drive along.
I took a one-mile walk with our dog around a nearby lake yesterday.
The blue current position dot on the iPhone faithfully followed my every step with great accuracy. When I was standing in front of the dock the satellite image showed a blue dot in front of that very place.
You also can have the map show only roads, or a hybrid of satellite image and roads. So the iPhone is a reasonable subsitute for a dedicated GPS device such as the Garmin Nuvi that I also own and love.
Except you need a cell phone signal to use the iPhone GPS capabilities, and it doesn't speak turn by turn directions; but in most cases it'll get you to where you want to go.
Next love reason: all the applications that can be downloaded.
Some are free, some cost 99 cents or more. Many make use of GPS, such as Urbanspoon (which finds nearby restaurants of various types) and AccuWeather (which offers up detailed forecasts and current conditions for your present location).
My overall all-encompassing maxi-reason for getting an iPhone is that it connects you via the Internet, email, text messaging, and (naturally) phone to the big wide world wherever you have an AT&T cellular connection.
Or, for Internet and email wherever you have a wi-fi connection (that's what my iPhone connects to at home, since it is much faster than AT&T wireless).
So basically you've got a mini-featured computer in your pocket or purse. In most areas you'll be able to access the Internet wherever you are, rather than having to find a coffee shop with wi-fi.
Lastly, the iPhone simply works. In a fun fashion.
In the same way as my Apple MacBook laptop is hugely more enjoyable to use than my IBM ThinkPad, so the iPhone is vastly more user-friendly than the LG flip phones that my wife and I have been using.
Whether it's selecting a ringtone, accessing voice mail, adding in new contact info, or simply making a phone call, the iPhone makes it easy to do whatever you want without having to search for a manual to figure out where, in a maze of incomprehensible menus, a particular function resides.
I used to assume that when someone was hunched over a cell phone, fingers tapping away, they were communicating with friends, family, or business associates via text messages or email, or were playing a game.
With the iPhone, though, people like me (retirees who aren't hugely sociable) can sit down, turn the thing on, and have the whole world of the Internet open up through the Safari web browser and cool iPhone applications.
Like a technologically turned-on and tuned-in relative told me recently, "Brian, the iPhone isn't only about making phone calls; it's so much more."
(Here's another guy's five reasons to love the iPhone.)
The issue for me is simply one of cost. To use a-gps on an at&t iPhone in Canada becomes prohibitively expensive. There are some apps in the App Store that will use ONLY GPS to show position very well (with the data roaming feature turned OFF) I have until now been unable to find one that either downloads the maps using only a satellite signal (which may be impossible), or works off a previously downloaded map database... If anyone knows of such a database, kindly let me know!
Posted by: Chris Brancewicz | May 03, 2009 at 10:14 AM