Iphone: a Work of Art or Work in Progress?

By: Michael C. Podlesny

Monday mornings around the water cooler have become a platform for one of our more vocal sales reps to flaunt the latest gizmo on the technology market. Heath Morrow comes to work each week for sales meeting appearing as if he leapt from a page out of GQ magazine. A tireless fashion pioneer, he arrives to work blending business with pleasure, and this morning he sported a Armani shirt and True Religion Brand blue jeans.

"This thing will do everything but make my morning coffee," he boasted of the sleek little device in his hand. "Look how clear the picture is."

Heath was showing us his new iPhone, and in that moment you would have thought he was a paid marketing guru for Apple, the manufacturer of this electronic piece of eye-candy.

"And watch as I turn it upside down." Heath rotated the device on its end and the high-resolution screen oriented itself right side up for readability. "There`s no keyboard to fumble over since everything`s touch-screen, and it`s super easy to use."

On July 29, 2007, Apple launched its iPhone, and I admit on Monday morning I marveled at this remarkable piece of work. But lest I judged too quickly, I thought I might balance Heath`s high appraisal with some research of my own. Is the new iPhone a work of art or a work in progress?

First, what is the iPhone? Aside from its being an impressive mobile communication device, the new iPhone also allows for web-browsing (using Safari) and email. And for those with MTV sensibilities, music and video playback (including Youtube.com) has never been more convenient.

But there are other gadgets out there that offer the staple "smart phone" features en vogue today, including easy web access and liberal file storage. What makes this sleek new apparatus so special? The short answer is (and if you saw Heath`s impromptu presentation on Monday morning you would agree), it`s a pleasure to use and it just plain looks cool.

Other notable features include the OS X (a customized version of Mac`s own operating system), up to 8 gigs of space, Wi-Fi, Visual Voicemail, and compatibility with iTunes.

Need a map? The iPhone takes you directly to Google maps, where you can pinpoint the corner florist, get directions to your next appointment, and even access expected traffic conditions.

Want to access weather reports and stock analysis? The iPhone delivers. Although the data is not quite "real-time," you can access quasi-current stock values via the Internet. Likewise, Yahoo weather gives you the current conditions as well as a six-day forecast.

So where does the iPhone fall short? The list is actually quite longer than I expected, given Heath`s high praise at the water cooler. However, like all things Mac, we can rest assured that this list will shrink as updates hit the market.

iPhone limitations include: no picture and video messaging, no video capture, no photo zoom, no TV-out signal, no Internet radio, no stereo sound, no Flash, Java, RSS, RealPlayer, or Windows Media, no Skype, no edit documents or copy/paste, no undo feature, no voice dialing, no voice memos, no call recording, no GPS, and no access to iPod games.

So, if you can justify spending $400-600 in spite of the limited colors on its palette, the iPhone may be your style. Thankfully, Apple`s latest and greatest palm device wasn`t chiseled out of stone like Michelangelo`s David. Instead, it`s more like a clay figurine, taking shape according to the demands of its users.

My perspective? I think I`ll keep my clumsy little Razr around for a few more months until Apple unveils an iPhone that even Van Gogh can put to use.

By: Jason Hudson
Edited By: Bruce A. Tucker

IPhone
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