Wednesday, June 27, 2007

iPhone Hysteria

I admit, I’ve become caught up in the iPhone hysteria.

What? You don’t know what an iPhone is? Shame on you for not staying on top of the tech world! Haven’t you seen the amazing commercials? Heard the hype? Why, it’s the most scrumptious piece of technology since the personal computer.

The iPhone is only the most delectable, orgasmic techno toy that geeks like me could possibly ever dream about! It’s a beauty of engineering, slim, sleek, with a flat face about the size of a playing card and no buttons. The flat screen is a touchscreen capable of registering finger swipes and presses, so all the buttons are digital. It goes on sale in two days (June 29), available only from Apple Computer and AT&T outlets.

This marvelous beauty is a cell phone, digital camera, iPod, mobile internet player, streaming video and movie player, digital photo album, and PDA all wrapped up in one. Throw away all those other devices!

Here is Apple’s webpage for their new iPhone:

I beg you to visit. If you haven’t already seen them, you’ll be blown away by the videos of the iPhone in use.

Ah, but what’s the catch? There’s always a catch, don’t ya know.

The catch is you have to be a frickin’ millionaire to afford the damned thing. The cost of the iPhone is expected to be between $500 and $650(US dollars) depending on memory size, though there may be some initial discounts. AT&T is the exclusive carrier for all internet and phone service, with a $36 activation fee. No other carriers are allowed. They offer three different choices for monthly fees, which differ according to number of minutes and text messages. The cheapest is $60 a month. So, all told, you’re looking at a one-time cost of at least $536 plus at least $720 a year in monthly fees. Ouch. But this is an all-inclusive fee that includes mobile internet, phone, text messages, and (I think) iTunes subscription, so if you don’t already have these things, maybe it’s a little more acceptable.

Report on monthly charges:

Is it worth it? Hmm, lets see. I can either wipe out half a month’s take-home pay for the most anticipated gadget my lustful geeky heart could ever dream of, or I could pay for four months of groceries for my family. Hard choice.

Do I really need a cell phone? I admit there are times I would like one. Do I need mobile internet? No, I’ve got a computer at home and another at work I can use, but on occasion it would be nice. Do I need an iPod? I don’t really listen to music a lot, but maybe if I had this I would. Do I need a video player? No, I have a TV for that, and I barely have time to watch it. Do I need a portable digital photo album. No, my home computer does just fine, but, again, it would be nice to show off my kids’ photos when I’m with friends. Do I need a digital camera? Yeah, I admit, it would be nice from time to time.

So do I really need it? I put it on par with a very good vacuum cleaner. Yes, I said vacuum cleaner. I like to use vacuums as examples – go figure. With vacuums you can make do with some crappy hand-me-down that’s noisy and doesn’t pick up dirt well so you have to go over each strip of carpet several times to clean it, but it gets clean in the end, or you can pay several hundred dollars extra and get some quiet model with lots of accessories and parts that don’t wear out that gets your carpet clean the first time. Is it a luxury you could do without? Sure, but aren’t you glad you made the investment? And you wind up getting a lot of use out of it.

Of course, the iPhone is just the first of a revolution of new combinatorial technology. It won’t be long before every device is like the iPhone. Those of us who are above, oh, 18 years old still see a distinction between computer, stereo, TV, and phone as separate devices. If you ask anyone younger than that about those distinctions, they’ll roll their eyes and text “WTF? That’s like so last century!” to their friends and make fun of you behind your back.

And when they make fun of you, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll use their new iPhone to do it.

So will I buy one? Are you kidding? My wife would kill me for such an egregious waste of money! I'll at least sit back and watch the techno-feeding-frenzy and wait for the bugs to be worked out.

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