martes, enero 16, 2007

gadget for 2007

I have to admit it, I'm into the virus. I already had a second hand (or was it third?) old powerbook, and I bought a brand new MacBook for business school. I have an iPod, and I have started to appreciate the simplicity of the things that Apple, Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) does.

Now I'm on a mission: I desperately want an iPhone!!!! I watched Steve Jobs' Keynote at the last MacWorld Expo in San Francisco, and I fell in love with it. Contrarily to some of Apple's software (which I deem interesting and easy to use, but not really best-in-class for most needs), I think their hardware is superb. If I can afford it (fingers crossed, it's internship hunting season!! ;) I will definitely buy an iPhone.

So what makes this device so appealing???

1) Concept

It's pretty neat: integrate an iPod, a PDA and a cellphone. The iPhone is bigger than a regular phone, but smaller than a PDA. However, it provides the functionality of both. I have an HP iPAQ, but I rarely carry it with me: I don't want to carry too many things when I'm not on my desk.

I deem Treo phones (or any other smartphone) as complicated devices: just take a look at those QWERTY keyboards on a 2 square inches are. Some friends have XDA's from O2 (basically PDAs that you can also call with), but they are heavy and difficult to use. You need a stylus.

2) UI

This multitouch thing is one of the biggest breakthroughs: get rid of the stylus and keyboards, manage a computer with your fingers!!! It's analog to the way you usually use your normal cellphone. Brilliant. It's the ultimate pointing device....your fingers!! How come nobody thought of it before?? And have you seen how you can zoom in and out of pictures?? Looks like sci-fi!

Besides, add to it Apple's magic for simplicity of the user interface, great graphic design, not many taps to get to the most-used functions. Eliminate the complications, keep the most-used functions accessible and simple. It's what my grandma used to say, keep it short and simple!!

3) Basic Phone

It's not that special, but it has a built-in killer app: you can all people! Integrated with a nice addressbook and a nice "recently used" numbers, you can practically call anyone with just a couple of taps on the screen.

Visual voicemail (developed together with Cingular) will enable users to access particular voicemail messages without having to actually hear all of them.

OK, it's not state-of-the-art videocalling, but who uses that anyway? What many users want is just to call without having to read a big user manual. Apple has done it. Again.

4) Other neat things:

Push email (just like a Blackberry) if you are on a Wifi or EDGE coverage area, integrated Google Maps, a fully working HTML browser, bluetooth connectivity for headsets, some widgets (I don't really use them on my Mac, but it's a good foundation for future miniapplications), Photo & Video browser....4 or 8 GB of data can make this phone a nice companion for travel (question: can we disable the phone in order to use the other functions while flying? Usually cellphones are forbidden on board, but iPods and PDAs are not.)

5) Summary

I think this project shows that Apple does actually a lot of consumer research and usability tests before developing their products. They might not have a huge market share, but they are really profitable and have very loyal customers. There must be a reason for that somewhere!

Even if it's based in California, it's not a technology company. It's consumer goods. And it really does understand us, consumers, and what we want. Or at least it tries....

So, if you ever need to give me a present.....please, buy me an iPhone!!!

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