iPhone: Not just a cat toy anymore

I know, I know: the world needs more iPhone commentary like it needs another folk singer.  Having said that, I’m happy to have won a multi-week battle of wills with AT&T* and to have finally activated my iPhone.  Now instead of just using its shiny screen to create little reflection-pals for my cat to chase (which works great, by the way), I can get down to business.

I have to say, the iPhone is a tour de force.   Inevitable quibbles aside (too minor to detail here), both the interface and the industrial design are magnificent.  I’m not talking just about the well known UI innovations, such as green/yellow/red traffic conditions overlaid on a Google Map; I’m talking about things like a ringer on/off switch on the side.  It’s finding these little details done right that makes me beam.  Like an appreciative designer once said when pulling the handles in my VW: "Dampened… They didn’t have to do that… but they did."

So, hats off to everyone involved in designing and building the iPhone.  Thank you for giving a damn.  It’s an inspiration and a reminder of why we do what we do (we being anyone who aspires to go that extra mile for good design).


*One remaining fly in the ointment: Even though I’ve been auto-paying a ~$85 cell bill with AT&T for more than seven years–meaning that they’ve squeezed some $7,000 out of my pocket, without a single late payment–they required me to put down an $800 security deposit when switching my phone plan to accommodate the iPhone.  What exactly are they securing–my lasting animosity?  I will be sorting this out, but after 35 minutes on the phone with them just to make the switch, I had to get back to work.

0 thoughts on “iPhone: Not just a cat toy anymore

  1. i’m guessing they’re squeezing a deposit out of you just because… they can.
    [To borrow from Kevin Spacey in American Beauty, “That’s… What… They… *Think!*” –J.]

  2. No one ever writes about what it’s like to talk with someone using this phone. How’s that like? Just fine, or better than fine? Glad you finally got yours to work.
    [I find it completely adequate–really no different than the various Nokias I’ve had over the years. –J.]

  3. “well known UI innovations, such as green/yellow/red traffic conditions overlaid on a Google Map”
    Say what? My Windows Mobile phone has had that ever since I bought it six months ago. It looks just like it does on my iPhone.
    Just go to mobile.google.com and you can get the same Google Maps application for any Windows Mobile or Palm phone.
    [Ah–thanks for the info. I don’t want to fall into the trap of assuming that every good thing on the iPhone is an Apple breakthrough. On the other hand, I could never make even basic mapping not suck on my previous Windows Mobile device. (Maybe I never gave it enough of a chance.) I similarly found that I couldn’t easily take photos with that device & send them via email or MMS, whereas with the iPhone everything just worked out of the box. That’s often the difference, that extra mile to which I’m referring. –J.]

  4. Congrats on finally getting your phone to work. I took a look at one in the store, and I will admit it is cool, but it just doesn’t suit my needs at this time.
    My daughter thought the phone was cool too, but not cool enough to trade horse lessons for a month.

  5. Well, yeah, cell carriers can be annoying as hell support – wise.
    But then, maybe they’re taking lessons from Adobe:
    Chuq’s experiences are hardly unique. My journey through Adobe purchase hell is detailed here:
    [I haven’t gotten to read these links yet (I’m running to the airport), but I will check them out. –J.]
    You know the irony of all this? This is the same kind of crap Quark pulled with impunity until InDesign came along and kicked its tuchas.
    [Neither company was, is, or will be perfect. The difference is that in 7 years of working at Adobe, I can’t remember seeing a single Quark person show up on a public forum, and I’ve barely seen them at tradeshows. I don’t know whether they’re now blogging, but their track record was one of aloofness, to say the least. I don’t see that from Adobe. When things go wrong, we try to sort them out. Clearly things aren’t always as smooth as they should be, however. –J.]
    Adobe has a lot of smart people, but y’all don’t have *all* the smart people, and I think y’all are seriously underestimating the amount of hatred this kind of crap is creating.
    Becoming the next Quarkrosoft is not what I would call a great corporate goal.
    [It is not a goal. –J.]

  6. I had some real hassels getting my CS3 Design Suite Premium upgrade. Misunderstaning what could and couldn’t be upgraded at what prices, Adobe really messed up. Not only in saying what would be available, but not training sales people adequately on release day. (Of course, I HAD to upgrade on the first day possible. Stupid me!)
    But they were really understanding about how I felt cheated. So they gave me $100 off the upgrade to CS3 Design Suite Premium. (Don’t try this at home, I had some extenuating circumstances.) And they even ended up screwing that up temporarily. Instead of a $100 refund, they overcharged me an extra $100. But to their credit, they called me and told me about their mistake. Yes, they called. They didn’t email or send a letter. They called and apologized!
    So all companies are going to make mistakes. And with this being the biggest upgrade in Adobe’s history – and having a product matrix that makes Microsoft Windows Vista matrix look like an amateur, it really wasn’t all that bad in the end.
    Though at the time I was quite steamed! I think I even sent a terse message to this blog – for which I now am finally going to apologize. Sorry John. That free drink in San Diego is still on me! ­čśÇ

  7. hello John, you’re a lucky man.
    so we have the hope to use Flash apps on iPhone soon?
    [You know what I know. (And if I knew any more, I really doubt I could share it here.) I think everyone agrees that Flash would be a terrific addition to the iPhone. We’ll see what develops. –J.]
    with this multitouch screen capabilities, it will be possible to make turn (and zoom in) some Flash 360┬░ panoramas with the fingers, very intuitiveÔÇŽ
    sample Flash panos:
    made with the best player Adobe should buy or promote:
    [Yes, that’s very cool indeed. I would love to see Photoshop panorama-creation technology tie into this kind of technology. We have plenty of fish to fry between now and then, however. –J.]
    apparently QuickTime VR is not supported (a shame),
    so please bring Flash on iPhone!

  8. John (C Welch):
    Chuq’s issue seems to stem from the fact that he read “CS2” as ‘suite CS2’ rather than ‘PS CS2’ as an upgrade path to PS CS3.
    Perhaps Adobe’s upgrading is a little opaque, but most people manage to grasp this suite lock-in bizzo, even if they don’t like it.
    John (Nack):
    I’m glad you’re feeling the iPhone love. Wish I could say the same (on many levels). But how’s this captcha working out? It’s pretty simple (simpler than many I’ve seen and contemplated), so do you receive significant levels of spam using it?
    [Overall it’s been great. I used to get hundreds of spam comments each day; now I get maybe one or two. I think the key thing is that I still approve comments by hand, so on the couple of occassions when it appeared that someone tried a scripted attack, I was able to screen out the messages. As it becomes clear (I hope) that the spam just isn’t going to get through, these cretins appear to turn elsewhere. –J.]

  9. My Treo has a ringer switch at the top. It also has Google Maps with traffic and directions. It also has a fast EV-DO network and I can use it as a modem for my computer when on the road. The Treo even has a threaded instant messaging app that allows me to be signed on to AIM, Yahoo, and MSN simultaneously.
    There’s no doubt that the iPhone is very cool. But it just doesn’t fit my needs. Sure, it’s really nice for looking through photos, but I never spend time looking through photos on my phone. I only use my iPod when I’m running and the Shuffle fits that need very well. Add the AT&T network to the deal, and getting an iPhone just doesn’t make much sense for me. I love my Treo.
    But the iPhone is damn cool.

  10. Mordy:
    Comments like yours are really interesting. No-one said you had to buy an iPhone, or that it was perfect for everyone, etc. Yet, you post all the reasons why your present gear works for you. Great. Guess that you are not the market – don’t buy an iPhone, then.

  11. Well happy iPhoning ­čÖé
    but i will agree with Mordy. Treo is a “cool enough” device not to set aside because of iPhone.

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