The iPhone

The iPhone is stunning from many perspectives. It’s a paradigm-busting device: a pocket-sized, highly networked computer, with a real OS, that is usable. (Oh, and it also has a phone.)

If it functions as promised (and is successful as a product), it could open many interesting areas of exploration …

  • Location-specific apps: you walk into McDonald’s, and the iPhone downloads a widget from their wireless network that lets you place your order directly and charges it to your bank account. Or: you walk into Borders and pull out your iPhone to search the store’s inventory, see your neighbors’ reviews of the books being sold, etc. (Eg. Amazon in the real world.)
  • Speaking of location-specific apps: Advertising! Advertising! Advertising! With rich media, even! (Not sure I’m happy about this.)
  • If it runs Bonjour (and why wouldn’t it?), there are tremendous possibilities for enabling rich social interactions (there’s a camera and a mike built in!) between iPhone users (and Mac users) in their vicinity. This blows Zune out of the water.
  • Speaking of apps, the ones shown in the demos look a lot like dashboard widgets. Given that webkit is a part of the package, it’s probably safe to assume they are dashboard widgets. If so, creating apps for this thing is incredibly easy. (Let’s hope Apple makes it fairly open.)
  • A real browser in a decent-sized screen: if competitors follow Apple’s lead, we no longer have to worry about providing a “mobile” version of apps.
  • It could be a device that allows you to “tag your world”. (Imagine if future versions include GPS.)Also, it has folks talking about the advantages of good user experience design, in major media outlets even. This is good for all folks concerned about improving the bottom line via good UX!
  • On another note: the UI looks stunning. It (again) raises the bar for anyone doing any type of application design, including web designers. The iPhone UI reminds me of the first Mac I ever saw (1985 or so); other PC interfaces suddenly looked like museum pieces. The iPhone does the same for all other mobile devices I’ve seen, including (perhaps) the current iPods.

Some people are complaining about the price, but I think $500 is fair. (It’s a computer, after all. How much is an Oqo?) If this thing really has OSX running under the hood, it has the potential of changing how people interact with information, their environment, and each other, in significant ways. I want one!