What iPhone hype taught me about life

The iPhone is here, and it's just what everyone wanted it to be: a brilliant, imperfect device that has enough going for it and enough drawbacks to make everyone happy with their decision.

This really isn't what it's all about. Corrine Schultze / CNET Reviews

The iPhone is here, and it's just what everyone wanted it to be: a brilliant, imperfect device that has enough going for it and enough drawbacks to make everyone happy with their decision.

And that's what matters: everyone being happy with their decision.

Working in the technology journalism industry during this time has taught me a lot about the way life works. The iPhone really won't change anything in your day-to-day life, but it will give people more to look forward to and more ways to think about what really matters.

Here's what matters to me, in particular.

1. Many people focus on the negative
Guilty as charged !

2. Inconvenient facts are not attacks
It's true that the iPhone is expensive and has some shortcomings in hardware, service, and functionality. That doesn't mean people who point that out are biased. It may mean they see opportunities for improvement and would rather offer their opinions so that those issues can be resolved. Ignoring them doesn't make them go away, and fixing them may mean more people will get the iPhone.

3. Be passionate about what you like...to an extent
This may be the main point of contention between Apple fans and Microsoft fans. It's the Red Sox-Yankees, tech edition. Loving one side means hating the other...or does it? It does if you define yourself solely in comparison to the competition, which is what Apple has done with Mac vs. PC ads as far back as the 1980s. The big picture reveals that neither company would have their own identity if the other didn't exist. The competition has helped them both, but it gets ugly at times.

4. Anyone who gets the iPhone to make others jealous should re-examine the equation
You should just be happy for yourself and do whatever it takes to get there.

5. This is the rare device that has been reviewed for its future potential
That may be the true sign that the iPhone is revolutionary. If Apple makes good on everyone's expectations in subsequent iterations of the device, Apple can attract more buyers by letting the features do the talking. Early reviews indicate that the first-gen iPhone is a phenomenal start.

6. It ain't that cool if everybody has one
That's the real catch-22, and it's a shame. Gadgets lose their wow factor when they're ubiquitous. Still, I think everyone will remember the first time they saw the iPhone in person (Me: CNET 5th floor, 8:00ish p.m., June 29, 2007. I was hesitant to look directly at it, for fear of acting like the apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey.)

7. Form can be just as important as function
As Kent German and Donald Bell point out in their full review of the iPhone, "the iPhone is noteworthy not for what it does, but how it does it." The same can be said of the iPod, which is great news for the iPhone and Apple.

8. Different ways of thinking aren't 'wrong'
Some people value function over form, some people value budget purchases over big-ticket items, and some people just would rather ignore the hype and make decisions for themselves. Those passionate about Apple look to the company's former slogan: "Think different" (sic). But thinking different(ly) means you should respect and listen to others who think different(ly) from you.

9. Some people don't like bold claims without supporting evidence
When Steve Jobs revealed the iPhone at Macworld, he said the device would "reinvent" the telecom sector. That is a bold claim, and it may turn out to be true, but it's easy to take offense or pick apart that claim.

10. Secrecy breeds mistrust
Apple revealed basic information about the iPhone at first, and some critics were interested in what was missing from the product specs (3G, affordable price point, user-replaceable battery, storage capacity, details about battery life). Support for third-party apps was a mystery until the WWDC conference in mid-June, and many were disappointed that the iPhone wouldn't support "true" third-party apps. Advance access to the device was limited to only a few technology reviewers, and pricing plans for iPhone service, as well as details about battery life, were not announced until the weeks leading up to launch. Apple is also very secretive about future products. This means a lot of wow factor, but at the risk of creating skepticism about what Apple might have been hiding. Apple didn't engage in a discussion with potential iPhone users, it seemed more like they just talked at potential consumers. But you've got to hand it to them: it worked.

 

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