It’s the morning before the big Steve Jobs keynote at WWDC, and I’m looking forward to it. Oh, not really in the Apple fan-boy kind of way (ok, maybe a little), but after paying close attention to the rumour mill for the last few weeks, I’m looking forward to seeing the feature list of the new iPhone. Because I’m going to buy one. And yes, you could point out that being an “early adopter” doesn’t pay, but here’s the thing: I look at it as those in the last year who bought the first version of the iPhone were the early adopters. And don’t get me wrong: I would have loved to have been one of them, but the first version of the iPhone wouldn’t have suited me. And now, a year later, if half of the rumours that are currently frenetically whipping around the ‘net are true, then this version will.
I carry on me every day 4 devices: my aging, and almost dead, Blackberry (cell phone, email and rudimentary internet access), my aging Palm (a Sony Clie clamshell, my PDA), my aging 60G iPod (which carries my entire music and audio collection), and my getting-older-but still-ok Canon digital camera. Of these, I need a replacement for the following functions: web access (I’ve always needed this – GPRS just doesn’t cut it for data, and the Blackberry’s web browser is barely worthy of the classification), and PDA functions including calendar, ebook reader, note-taking, and various odds-and-ends utilities. The phone works ok for me, thanks to bluetooth, where I usually don’t have to touch the actual phone, and while my iPod could go at any time, it does exactly what I need it to do.
However, the rumours of the new iPhone suggests that I might be able to replace 2, if not all 4 of these devices. Not to say I believe the rumours – I have a dedicated shaker set aside just for these things (and I do love to use it)! The more credible of these (coupled with stuff Apple has said officially) suggests that as a mobile computing platform (which is what my requirements basically boil down to), this is going to fit the bill nicely: the phone is a given – the first iPhone did this well enough for me already, as it did for email. The new firmware and the announcement of the App Store means that it looks like it will suit for those odds-and-ends utilities (without, hopefully, the need to jailbreak it. BTW, one of the apps I’m most interested in is the Palm emulator – there are a few apps on the Palm I don’t see replacements for yet.). The almost-certain 3G capability, coupled with WiFi, will provide the network access I require. As for music and audio, even if the rumoured increase in storage capacity to 32G is true, it’s still going to be half of what I need (and I’d need that just for music – forget about adding apps!), so I’m either going to still have to carry around the old iPod, or change my expectations. I’m guessing that I’ll figure out a happy medium, carrying around what I need (a rotating selection of favorites and podcasts), and the rest of the storage will be file space for other things. Finally the camera: I don’t see my giving up all of the functionality of a real camera for a cell-phone camera, no matter how much they’ve souped it up, but even so, that makes only two devices to carry (and the camera is one of the smaller ones that was available when I bought it), and that will be nice. Still, the prospect of having an adequate (some rumours say the chip used is capable of up to 5MP) sensor, with (rumoured) automatic, GPS-based geolocation tagging, and (almost obvious) automatic uploading to services like Flickr nudges it toward useful.
There was a certain amount of disdain for the “fan-boys” who stood in line for days to be among the first to own an iPhone. I won’t be standing in any lines, but I will order one this week if they are made available. The difference is, as far as I’m concerned, that I’ve already been waiting a year. Now I just have to wait a few hours more.