The inevitability of the iPhone

I thought I could evade the iPhone. I was wrong.

Apple

I walked into my local AT&T Wireless store on Saturday fully expecting and prepared to get a Blackberry 8820. My Blackberry 8800 died while I was in London last week, and both Visa and American Express tried to protect me from fraud by disallowing my attempts to order a new phone over the web. Hence, my face-to-face visit with AT&T.

Unfortunately for Research in Motion, maker of the Blackberry, the in-store price for the 8820 was the same as the iPhone. I deliberated for all of three seconds and walked out with the iPhone.

My reason was simple: I needed something that would sync consistently with my Mac. My Blackberry-to-Mac sync has been hit or miss for the past year (though I've been testing a beta of the new PocketMac and it is quite good) and I'm fed up. I just want something that works.

The iPhone "just works," and then some.

I thought I wouldn't be able to type on the iPhone without tactile feedback. I was wrong. I'm actually faster on the iPhone than I ever was on the Blackberry, and that's with only an hour of "training."

I thought I would miss a host of things with my Blackberry, but I haven't. Instead, I've been blown away by the innovative use of gestures and the user interface. I resisted the iPhone for a year or so, but looking back it was inevitable that I'd end here.

It is the best-designed phone that I've ever seen or used. It's not perfect: It aggravates me that I can't create SMS groups so that I can blast groups of friends (the Blackberry also lacked this), though I can simply save a "conversation" with a group and use it to send out group texts. I also could do without the clever (but time-consuming) graphics that accompany the deletion of an email, for example. Plus, the lack of Flash makes the full-blown browser a bit less "full-blown" (though I hear Flash is on its way).

But all its good points make up for these negatives. The iPhone is an amazing device. It was inevitable that I'd find my way to it, just as it's inevitable that it will continue to take more and more market share, eventually breeding lower-end devices that will change the way we use mobile "phones."

The iPhone is designed too well to be anything less than inevitable.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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