07 October 2007

iTouch Too Much

Over the last few weeks more than a few people have attempted to draw me into a "Are you going to get an iPhone?" conversation. This is because more than a few people know that I have both a) an unhealthy interest in gadgets and b) a depressingly unbalanced money-to-sense ratio. While it is kind of them to acknowledge my interests and engage in such a conversation, it is however rather unkind of them to attempt to stimulate my unhealthy addiction (akin, if you will, to beginning a conversation with a former junkie with a casual comment about the new mint flavored heroin you were reading about).

My reaction to this conversational gambit has been to reply with a stern, "No", spoken firmly and with conviction. This response has confused more than one acquaintance who has understandably assumed that I would be on the first flight to Cupertino with my Trocaire box firmly in hand. I have also refused to elaborate on why I will not buy an iPhone, both to disavow the two-dimensional image they have of me as a rampant consumer, and to preserve what little shred of dignity I have after a recent lapse of judgement involving a Soundwave MP3 player (yes, it actually transforms).

However I believe that there has now been enough distance between the launch of the iPhone and this posting that I can take a moment or two to elaborate on the overall feelings of "meh" that it inspires in me. To begin with I'm not too impressed with the technology behind the iPhone. My previous use of a touchscreen (with the LG Prada) was disappointing; I am a heavy user of SMS and email on phones and I found it cumbersome trying to type on the screen. A 2 megapixel camera also does not excite me, even the Nokia N93 I was using last year had 3.2 megapixels. As I have been using the Nokia N95 for most of this year the combination of 5 megapixel camera and a proper keyboard, along with features shared with the iPhone such as wifi, GMail and Google maps applications and an Opera-based browser (in my mind just as bad as Safari) gives it a technological edge. With the free Multimedia Transfer program available from Nokia, it even syncs with iTunes and iPhoto.

Secondly there is the proprietary nature of the service. I use a Pay-as-you-go service with Meteor, and am very happy with it even for data. My monthly spend rarely goes over €20, including data, as most of the browsing I do is over wifi. The thought of locking into a 2 year contract with any service provider fills me with the sort of bile that linux users feel towards MS, or normal people feel towards DRM music. The fact that the N95 also runs on Symbian, an open platform that has allowed many developers to push applications both useful and mundane, in comparison to the closed shop of the iPhone appeals to me even though I rarely use any of these 3rd party apps. A number of friends went as far as buying the phone in the US, unlocking it, and now thanks to the magic of Apple's updates have a $600 paperweight. I am known as a bit of a Mac evangelist, but the way in which they have approached the launch, including the $200 price drop within weeks of launch (which has created a new generation of surly adopters), has taken much of the bloom off of the rose. The Onion hit the nail when it set the Apple backlash date for March 21st next year.

For my money, the N95 is the best phone on the market today. It may not have the same "wow" factor when seen by others, but for usability, features and technological democracy it beats the iPhone hands down, and why you will have to pry it from my cold dead hands before I buy an iPhone.

Which is why I bought an iPod Touch.

Boy is it cool, probably the best thing ever made. Very responsive touch screen, wifi-goodness (which means it has replaced my laptop in the office as I travel from meeting to meeting, synced with iCal and accessing GMail via the wireless network), great sized screen for watching stored videos and streamed YouTube fun, oh, and it also plays music.

I love Apple. They complete me.


At 1:23 am, Blogger Felix said...

What a brilliant post! Yes, everyone is raving about the iPhone over here but I won't be buying one either.

Enjoy your iTouch though!

I am pondering a conversion to apple as I need a new computer and I can't face windows vista. As The Man puts it, I have 'no business being on a PC anyway, being an artist and all...' your post makes me think perhaps he has a point.

At 10:40 pm, Blogger Ebauche said...

Oh jeebuz dave...

"I love Apple. They complete me."

I damn well hope there's a touch of sarcasm in there..!

What would your other half think if she heard you say that.


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