Friday, January 12, 2007

I'll wait (a long time) for the $200 iPhone

Suppose you decided to pay $600 for a cellular phone with a mandatory two-year contract. Suppose, too, you were an idiot. But I repeat myself.

I'm allowed to paraphrase Mark Twain only because, while working at Netscape back in 1996, I was silly enough to purchase the high-end Motorola StarTac cell phone for just under $1000 (I don't now remember the model number), and I'm sure the sale included a mandatory contract, as well. There's no rational explanation for the purchase. $1000 was then and is now a large sum of money to me. Only two or three people at Netscape had the phone, Jim Barksdale among them, so there was a certain cachet to be had sporting the handset on your hip or at your head, which, as we all well know, is the silliest damned reason to spend money on anything, but especially on a plastic phone that will be outdated before you change out of yesterday's underwear.

Anyway, ten years on and I'm older and wiser. I discarded my Danger Sidekick II middle of last year in favor of a sleek little $50 Motorola RAZR, and I'm done with phones that double as door jams. And yet, oddly, I find myself wanting the Apple iPhone. I probably wouldn't use the WAP browser and MP3/Video player much, if personal history is any indication. Ditto with the camera, the email client, and half of the widgets that are available. I probably would use the Google Maps client, but not nearly enough to warrant the $600 outlay.

Mind you, on a purely subjective level I "like" that all the above features can be had in one relatively small device, but I wouldn't use them sufficiently, in aggregate, to justify the cost and size of the handset. Perhaps when my two-year Cingular RAZR contract expires middle of 2008 I'll look into version 2.0 of the iPhone. Should be improved in all areas, have some new features, and cost perhaps one third the current price.


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