PC World recently wrote up a column discussing the 15 biggest technology disappointments of 2007. And while many of those issues revolved around topics that were certainly a disappointment, I was disappointed with PC World's number one pick.
According to the venerable publication, Windows Vista was the biggest disappointment of 2007. Why you ask?
"It's just that Vista isn't all that good. Many of the innovations the operating system was supposed to bring--like more efficient file and communications systems--got tossed overboard as Microsoft struggled to get the OS out the door, some three years after it was first promised. Despite its hefty hardware requirements, Vista is slower than XP."
And while I must agree that Vista "isn't all that good", I can't call it a disappointment. After all, did anyone actually believe this operating system would do anything besides cause headaches and make people want to go back to XP? Certainly we knew better than to expect a great operating system out of the gates from Microsoft, right?
But do you want to know what the real disappointment of 2007 was? No, it had nothing to do with the fact that the high-def format war is still being waged or Net Neutrality is still sitting on your Senator's desk. The real disappointment of 2007, which was touched on in number five of PC World's list, was Apple's unwillingness to stand by and allow hackers to do what they wanted with their iPhones.
To heck with Vista -- the real disappointment fell on Steve Jobs' plate.
As an iPhone owner who has used a number of smartphones and PDAs over the years, I can say with all honesty that no device has ever rivaled the iPhone. Call me crazy, but the iPhone really was the best device of the year.
And while some of the allure washed off as I continued using the device, there's no debating the fact that it lived up to its hype. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the way the device was handled subsequent to its launch.
Let's paint a picture: you're a T-Mobile convert who has been relatively satisfied with the company's services. Eventually, you find out that the iPhone will be an AT&T exclusive and you'll be forced to switch your service and get locked into the grips of a new cell phone company. But just in case you don't like the iPhone, you decide to keep your service for a few months to see how everything works out.
Upon opening the box, you love your iPhone and can't fathom the thought of going back to a Blackberry. And just when you're ready to abandon T-Mobile, you find out that hackers have found a way to unlock the device and let you use your iPhone on any GSM carrier you'd like. Even better, your T-Mobile plan was slightly cheaper than your AT&T plan and you'll be able to save money even though you canceled your AT&T contract.
What excitement! Now you can get out from under the horrific AT&T service and save yourself some cash in the process. Sure, everyone has their own preference, but let's face it, if Consumer Reports is right, T-Mobile is far better than AT&T on most categories.
Then just when you thought things were going well, you found out after you updated your unlocked iPhone that the fine folks at Apple had sent it into a coma (after all, we can't call it a brick). Disappointed yet?
Can you imagine the disappointment in knowing that your iPhone has been rendered useless after finding the right tool to use, jailbreaking the iPhone, playing around with the command line and finally unlocking the device? Sheesh.
Knowing all this, Vista is still the biggest disappointment in the world? Please. If nothing else, Vista is a known quantity -- people know that when they use the OS, there will be growing pains and it will probably work about as well as Windows ME.
But to be given the opportunity to use a device in any way you see fit only to find out that a company has not only stopped you from doing what you want, but has stopped you from doing anything, is easily the most disappointing event of the year.
And if the public outcry (of Apple haters and fanboys, alike) were any indication, Apple and AT&T made a big mistake on this one and so far, very little has been done to fix it.
Say what you will, but the biggest disappointment of 2007 has nothing to do with Microsoft and everything to do with the iPhone.