Technofetish: Taking it down a notch
This week's technofetish award goes to all those who are drooling about the new Apple iPhone. My reaction at the announcement was: *sigh* a phone. Apart from being a little turned off by the hype (can't anyone see how the slavish followers reflect the 90s Microsoft fan club or is that just an ex-Seattlite privilege), I have to admit that I am not excited by the fact that it is an all in one package - phone, camera, internet device, media player. I actually like my appliances being separate so that when one gets outdated it is less expensive (in theory) to upgrade. Furthermore, the whole phone thing (what Jobs calls the killer app) didn't interest me simply because, surprise, I rarely use a phone (cell or otherwise).
Kottke has a wonderful distillation of all the recent writing about the iPhone.
While I thought the design of the phone and interface was very beautiful both, at closer inspection, leave a little to be desired. I don't want to go into detail (see some of the mentions in the Kottke piece) but I will say that the iPhone does begin to spark my interest when you think of small computers such as the oqo. I am more than eager to see a full-fledged OS X machine in a package slightly larger than the oqo or the iPhone with features like voice recognition and touchscreen/stylus input.
Heck, you could make calls through something like skype if you really needed, as I have ascertained from exhaustive informal research and eavesdropping, to tell your friends about the incredibly mundane things about your life that you wouldn't normally tell anyone (except perhaps your gastroenterologist).
I think if Apple did a small form factor sub-notebook with touch/voice/stylus and it could perform some of the same tasks as both the iPhone and appleTV devices, then I think they'd be looking a more than the 1% market share they are hoping to attract (which I am sure they will get) and would have a product that is perhaps more attractive to the Japanese and European market where space is premium.
But Apple Inc. is more about cleaning up: Taking the jumble that is out there and making it better. My bet, though, is that the iPhone is just a test technology that is a stepping stone to a larger more powerful device (sub-notebook? tablet? both?).
Note: Blake, a grad student, asked why voice recognition and speech-to-text technology that has been around for a while wasn't incorporated to make facilitate speedier texting.