Apple Waves Its Wand at the Phone


Remember the fairy godmother in "Cinderella"? She'd wave her wand and turn some homely and utilitarian object, like a pumpkin or a mouse, into something glamorous and amazing, like a carriage or fully accessorized coachman.

Evidently, she lives in some back room at Apple.

Every time Steve Jobs spies some hopelessly ugly, complex machine that cries out for the Apple touch -- computers, say, or music players -- he lets her out.

At the annual Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Mr. Jobs demonstrated the latest result of godmother wand-waving. He granted the wishes of millions of Apple followers and rumormongers by turning the ordinary cellphone into ... the iPhone.

At the moment, the iPhone is in an advanced prototype stage, which I was allowed to play with for only an hour; the finished product won't be available in the United States until June, or in Europe until the fourth quarter. So this column is a preview, not a review.

Already, though, one thing is clear: the name iPhone may be doing Apple a disservice. This machine is so packed with possibilities that the cellphone may actually be the least interesting part. As Mr. Jobs pointed out in his keynote presentation, the iPhone is at least three products merged into one: a phone, a wide-screen iPod and a wireless, touch-screen Internet communicator. That helps to explain its price: $499 or $599 (with four or eight gigabytes of storage).

As you'd expect of Apple, the iPhone is gorgeous. Its face is shiny black, rimmed by mirror-finish stainless steel. The back is textured aluminum, interrupted only by the lens of a two-megapixel camera and a mirrored Apple logo. The phone is slightly taller and wider than a Palm Treo, but much thinner (4.5 by 2.4 by 0.46 inches).

You won't complain about too many buttons on this phone; it comes very close to having none at all. The front is dominated by a touch screen (320 by 480 pixels) operated by finger alone. The only physical buttons, in fact, are volume up/down, ringer on/off (hurrah!), sleep/wake and, beneath the screen, a Home button.

The iPhone's beauty alone would be enough to prompt certain members of the iPod cult to dig for their credit cards. But its Mac OS X-based software makes it not so much a smartphone as something out of "Minority Report."

formatting link

Reply to
Monty Solomon
Loading thread data ... Forums website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.