IPhone? IPass

To the delight of my editor at Mediapost, I have refrained from cluttering cyberspace with yet another column on the iPhone by someone who's never touched one. Until now. It seems almost petulant not to write about the iPhone in a column about mobile on the day before its release. It is the most hyped phone in history and may well be the most anticipated technology launch we have seen in decades.

And I won't be getting one.

My reasons are pretty straightforward.

1. It's frickin $500, and frickin $600 for the 8GB version any moderate iTunes user really needs. Are you kidding me? What happened to carriers subsidizing hardware?

2. Touch screens suck. I hope to be proven wrong by Apple's technical genius. But I reviewed almost all Tablet PCs and touch-enabled Ultra-Mobile PCs (UMPC) since their respective launches. Even with a stylus and a super-sensitive digitizer screen, finger and hand input become tiresome in all but the simplest applications. Traditionally touch screens are good for ATMS and field workers filling in standard forms. I think more than a few users will find the move from keypad to touch, something like returning to longhand after decades of keyboarding.

3. EDGE Sucks. The biggest hurdle for me with the current iPhone is the state of AT&T's network -- and all that iPhone goodness has to fit over 2.5G pipes unless a wi-fi hotspot is nearby. For the kinds of full-page browsing and other streaming media retrieval like YouTube, I will wait for the 3G rollout of hardware and network.

4. Full-page browsing on a small screen? I am not convinced this is the way to go. As snazzy as the zoom feature seems to be on the iPhone, you still need to load that page of data. I don't know if Apple and AT&T plan to re-render pages so they slim down considerably, but the Web is being built increasingly for broadband speeds and wide screens. But more to the point, I think people need and want real-time information in different formats than the Web itself. I am more excited about the latest designs in WAP pages for smaller handsets than I am about the prospect of getting the full Web experience in the back of a taxi. In that context, I am not going to read that front page of The New York Times I see in the Apple ads. I would rather get the Times' very good WAP version of headlines.

5. Did I mention that it is frickin $500?

6. And that Apple isn't sending me one?

7. And that the iPhone launch day happens to fall on Friday, June 29, when MediaPost is holding its OMMA Mobile conference in New York, so I wouldn't be able to wait on line anyway?

I'll revisit my position on Saturday.

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