Apple just dropped the price of their iPhone by $200. Go get one.
I've been a believer in Apple's iPhone from it's announcement in January of this year, months before its release. While others, like Michael Robertson on his blog, were predicting it's failure, I was confident it would be a success, so much so, that I purchased a large amount of Apple stock that very day and recommended that others consider doing likewise. (Apple's stock was $85 before their iPhone announcement in January of this year, and is at $142 as I write this, up nearly 70%. ) While Robertson was decrying the iPhone for not playing with his other start-up ventures (SIPphone and MP3tunes), I knew the average consumer wouldn't care. Would they care they can't use MP3tunes, when they CAN use iTunes and mp3 files? (BTW, you can use Skype on the iPhone.)
What would matter, is that the iPhone completely tore into the mobile phone paradigm, leapfrogging past anything else on the market. The very thing many complained about (most without ever touching an iPhone), is the very thing that revolutionized the user interface for mobile devices...the lack of a keyboard.
Everyone knew you could make a better device if you didn't need to use up real estate for a keyboard, but rather than just follow the conventional wisdom that you simply MUST have a keyboard, Apple set out to innovate and figure out how to make a device work without one. They solved the problem with artificial intelligence which calculates, based on your typing and location of the keys, what words you were meaning to type, automatically correcting words as you go. As Walter Mossberg said, "My conclusion is that the keyboard issue on the iPhone is a non-issue." Walter said that within five days of using the iPhone, he could type as fast on it as he could on his Treo, which had physical keys and he had been typing on for years.
As the Vice President of Technology for Franklin Covey back in the early 90's, the largest time management firm in the world, I started using PDAs long before the cell phone was ever popularized. I have owned dozens of handheld devices, PDAs and cell phones over the years, and ended up using several versions of the Treo over the last few years. Today, I look at the Blackberry, Treo, Nokia, etc. phones, and they all look so outdated to me. It reminds me of how I felt looking at at typewriter, after I had started using a word processor.
I believe Apple has changed the rules for the UI for mobile devices, and Nokia and others better scramble quickly to catch up.
In my next blog I'll explain why I wished I had an iPhone years ago, so that I could have learned an important lesson for desktop Linux.
PS: There are hundreds of apps for the iPhone, with more being written every day. Here are just a few of my favorite iPhone applications:
And one I wrote in minutes: http://kevincarmony.com/eat
Great program to use your iPhone's MP3 files for ring tones: http://www.efksoft.com/products/iphoneringtonemaker