I Love/Hate My New iPhone


Talk is cheap. The iPhone, in contrast to all of its rivals however, is not. Not only can you not get it subsidised down to zero with an airtime contract, (£269 for the 8 Mb version) you can only choose O2, at a minimum of £35 per month in the UK.

Ok, so you can have a 'hacked' phone and so on, but really, how nerdy do you want to be about a mobile phone?

So, in the interests of journalistic integrity, I declare: I own one. IT support (responsible for hooking my iPhone up to the server so I can receive e mails) called me shallow.

OK, so I am shallow, and I own an iPhone.

Being called shallow wasn't so surprising (I am), but being called it by IT support was. The company doyen of geekiness and gadget superiority called me shallow!

IT support are not alone. The iPhone seems to have polarised opinion, in the way no other phone has. Why?

The answer seems to lie in the form over function debate, with a little tribal support added to spice it up.

So, what's at stake?

The iPhone and contemporaries are: phones (Hi - yeah, I'm on the train...), browsers (for surfing the internet), and mp3 players (turn on, tune in, drop out). Compared to many contemporaries, the iPhone does have a larger screen, better text input, it looks better, and will connect more easily to desktop PCs and Macs.

On the downside, the lack of connectivity options and capabilities as a personal computer, multimedia device, video camera and as a navigation device, allow the iPhone to be seriously outgunned. Oh, and the iPhone costs more than £200 a year extra to run than some of the competition.

When you throw in to the functionality debate a little 'Apple versus Microsoft' tension, you have not just a conversation about the merits of the phone, but one person calling another one shallow. It's as if an entire personality and possibly even psychological profile of a person, can be determined by their decision to buy an iPhone or not!

It's long been a wide spread PR battle that Apple are pro liberality and generally nice people, (I mean, the Mac, the iPod, come on!) whilst Microsoft are evil technology dictators, abusing monopolies of some kind and being mean. Wow, did that change when the iPhone failed to sail over the functionality bar - omitting picture messaging, video capture, multi texting, a better than average camera, and so on - whilst also forcing only one air time provider on customers AND charging for the handset. My, how smug anyone not buying an iPhone could be!

I guess that's where the steely resolve of the truly shallow comes in to its own. I also have a Mac and have no integrity when it comes to form over function. It's form every time.

So, the debate continues. At the time of writing, I am waiting for my mobile phone number to be ported across to O2. Consequently, both my Blackberry and iPhone are side by side on my desk. Even with the finger smudges on its way too clever touch screen showing up in the light, my iPhone looks like it's a futuristic device from, well the future, compared to the oh-so-dowdy and functional Blackberry.

Apple has asked for customer feedback on the iPhone. Much of the omitted functionality will be brought to their attention. The iPhone can only get better.

For me, the rest of the market has yet to find square one.