Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Monkey business

690 words

All right – the day of the iPhone launch and things have been crazy for the past week or two. You simply couldn’t evade discussion of the tiny machine which Americans are queuing in front of closed stores for right now. Even in Germany, where on the one hand people are much more sane than in the U.S. and won’t dump a big heap of money on some shiny toy if they can get a cheaper crappy one and where on the other hand the iPhone won’t even be sold right now or in the next week. Not just did the online yellow press chime in but even our otherwise respectable daily paper newspaper dedicated most of their second page. Which I find quite absurd – perhaps not as absurd as ‘news’ editors wanting to bring the story of some porn star coming out of jail as their top story, but nonetheless.

I’m not against the iPhone per se. Quite the opposite. Let’s just say that one of the reasons the mobile telephony revolution went past me without me taking notice was that the vast majority of the phones I saw are utter crap. The kind of nail curling crap that’d make me gasp everytime I’d have to use it. And I hope the iPhone – or at least the iPhone shuffle in 2009 – will inject some new ideas even in the lower regions of that market. On the other hand I am pretty sure this will bring us loads of wannabe copies which will superficially look the same but be crap otherwise [giving Apple the benefit of the doubt for the moment and assuming that apart from cellular internet speed the device doesn’t suck].

Those lower regions of the market are the main thing. Most of the people I know have a mobile phone. But very few have a sophisticated one. And I don’t think that anybody has a fancypants mobile phone contract like it comes with the iPhone or would want to spend €50 a month to surf the intarweb when they have more than enough network access at home and at work.

Perhaps the exact price point of the contract that Apple forces on its customers will be a bit lower around here. That is, because as far as I understand mobile telephony works a bit different in the U.S. where (fairly, I should add) the person using a mobile phone has to pay fees, potentially even when called while the caller just pays the same he’d have to pay for a call to a landline. In Europe they schemed up more cleverly and make the caller pay a shitload of money to call someone on their mobile phone (or even its mailbox) which probably means that phone contracts can be cheaper because providers can still rip off the callers. (As a consequence of this, calling a mobile phone in Germany is about ten times as expensive as calling a mobile phone in the U.S. – both from my phone line here. It’s really silly!) On the other hand, Apple are well known for adding their ‘you’re not buying in the U.S.’ tax on the stuff they sell, so that could make up for differences.

So now we’ll see how people like their new iPhones. And I guess we’ll be surprised how happy people will be with devices they queued for and spent a fortune on. Really, they couldn’t be any bad, could they? Let’s just hope that at some stage in the not too far future we can make it all the way through a day without being confronted with an iPhone.

Ultimate thing for the rich kids: Have someone buy an iPhone for you, ship it to Europe and use it here on roaming charges. (Too bad Concorde doesn’t fly anymore as that might be even quicker than DHL). Just saying…

Uh, and look, my friends at Karelia made an iPhone amazon.com browser which may help people in both usability and access speed. Har-har, for Safari-only websites… CSS work is a joy without having to worry about the numerous versions of Internet Explorer.

June 30, 2007, 0:59

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