iPhone love...

I've been watching, only slightly enviously, as lots of my friends on the far side of the Atlantic Ocean get their Apple iPhones.

About two years ago I realised with something of a shock that my main requirement for a cellular telephone beyond the basic phonebook and call-making ability was that it fit comfortably in the breast pocket of my shirt.  Up to that time I had incorrectly believed that it had something to do with advanced functionality and being a “smartphone”.  Smartphones are large and unwieldy, over complicated, and full of compromises.  They offer bad web browsing, poor tcp/ip performance, and have lousy user interfaces.  In fact, they aren't what I need.

I suppose that, over the years, I have experienced a fundamental shift in the way I perceive the importance of form vs function.  In 1990 I would have claimed not to care about how something looked and felt - function was all.  When it came to computers, the Unix command line was (and still is, a lot of the time) my natural home, and I went around with a sexy Psion Organiser II LZ 64 that was generally referred to as my “brain” (hello Jane, if you're out there!).  To complete the picture, you can imagine a bricklike cellphone attached to my belt somewhere in a bad imitation of Batman.

As time went by, and phones and PDAs allegedly converged, I tried to merge them but always ended up carrying two things around with me.  In 2005, I gave up, abandoning smartphones for the smallest and cheapest phone model that matched my minimal functional requirements.  I haven't yet replaced the phone that I got on that occasion - it's the longest I've ever had one.

So why do I suddenly want an iPhone?

As a geek, there's a lot I like about Apple stuff.  I like that OS X has Unix in it, I have loved both of the iPods I've ever had, and I like to feel that I am kicking back a little against the Microsoft hegemony.  However, on consideration, I'd have to say that the main reason that I covet an iPhone is that I think they are just beautiful - both in terms of hardware and software. When I watched the video of Steve Jobs launching it at Macworld, I instantly wanted one.

I wonder what I'll do if it fails the shirt pocket test.