My Turn

Apple's iPhone: A 21st Century Newton

- 2007.07.13

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past weeks, you surely know about the iPhone's launch. It's been in the newspapers, the magazines, and the websites.

A lot of people have asked me if I am going to get one. After all, I have been loyal to Apple since April 1989 when I first used one of their computers and still have Apple computers throughout my house (although I do use an IBM at home as well). However, I would never use half of the features on the iPhone and I, quite frankly, feel it will be a flop.

Looking from a personal point of view, I use my phone for talking to people - as in picking up the phone, dialing someone, and having a conversation. I don't use mobile web (the library is my mobile web if I'm on the go and need to check my email), and if I want to play music, I use the iPod or a tape. Besides, I need my next phone to mount in my car so I can go handsfree (the car is already wired), and the iPhone probably isn't mountable. (By handsfree, I am referring to the car-mounted installation, not that stupid looking Bluetooth headset - I'd never wear one of those.)

Money

Now onto other reasons the iPhone will flop: It costs way too much. I'll gladly spend $250 if I need extra hardware for the car, but $500 for a cell phone?

Not to mention the plans. I've heard it costs around $60 per month to take advantage of all of the iPhone's features. And speaking of plans, it's only available through AT&T, formerly Cingular. Verizon has always been ranked #1, and I agree. After going through six months of Cingular turmoil in early 2003 when I got my first phone, I switched to Verizon and have been a happy customer since. It wouldn't be worth it to switch, and I'm sure a lot of people who have made the same move I did four years ago would agree.

Hype

Apple released a PDA in the early 1990s called the Newton. Like the iPhone, it had a ton of bells and whistles. It was also oversized, overpriced, and overhyped. It flopped. Badly. The smaller Palm Pilots, which had less features and cost less, continue to thrive today. The iPhone is probably the Newton of the 2000s.

The hype is also incredible. I've seen a lot of products come out since I got into computers. When Windows 95 came out 12 years ago, I thought no product would ever be more hyped in history. I actually went to Egghead Software (which is now, ironically, the AT&T/Cingular store in my neighborhood) the week it came out and found the entire store was plastered with the logos and product materials for it.

I was looking for some software for my Mac, since my birthday was coming up, but to get to the Mac stuff I first had to go through a huge maze of Windows 95 propaganda. It was all over the press, the magazines, the news, and the bookstore shelves. While Windows XP and Windows Vista caused some minor commotions, they were nothing like this.

The iPhone is different. Windows 95 was being aimed at the folks who owned computers and were savvy users of them. I'm sure that some of you reading this didn't even have a home computer in 1995.

For the Masses?

The iPhone is aimed at the masses. Almost everyone in America seems to own a cell phone, even folks as young as nine or ten (like that girl, Beth Anne, on the Verizon commercial with a "BFF" named Jill).

Also, cell phones seem to be a much bigger status symbol than computers ever have been. Nobody cares if you lug around a Windows 98-equipped laptop that runs at 200 MHz. Laptops are laptops. If you carried around a cell phone from 1998, a lot of Motorola RAZR owning people would probably snicker. Apple recognizes this and therefore is pushing their product a ton.

I can't conclude until I at least mention the iPod. I wasn't sure how the iPod would do when it first came out, because of the newness of MP3 playing devices in 2001. However, Apple's marketing team pushed into a niche where no other exceptional products existed. The iPod was a huge success and continues to sell well. In fact, more people seem to own iPods than Apple's other longtime product, the Macintosh computer. (There have even been people who have thrown out their Windows computers in favor of a Macintosh because of the iPod's influence.)

Expensive

Apple is hoping to use the iPod's success to push the iPhone. However, the iPod is affordable and, as I mentioned earlier, owns its niche because it was a pioneer. In the cell phone world, the Motorola RAZR is one of the cutting edge phones that has been able to sell well due in no large part to Motorola's success with phones.

Motorola had some great phones in the 1990s which were innovative at the time and the company continues to excel in a market in which they were a pioneer. Other companies, like LG and Nokia, also came into play when the market was expanding. However, it may be too late to add another phone maker, especially one that is overcharging for a product and limiting it to one store.

We'll know in about two months if Apple has themselves another Newton.

Share your perspective on the Mac by emailing with "My Turn" as your subject.

Join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Google+, or subscribe to our RSS news feed

Today's Links

Follow Low End Mac on Twitter
Join Low End Mac on Facebook

Page not found | Low End Mac

Well this is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching, or one of the links below, can help.

Most Used Categories

Archives

Try looking in the monthly archives. 🙂

Page not found | Low End Mac

Well this is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching, or one of the links below, can help.

Most Used Categories

Archives

Try looking in the monthly archives. 🙂

Favorite Sites

MacSurfer
Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
MacInTouch
MyAppleMenu
InfoMac
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
RetroMacCast
The Vintage Mac Museum
Deal Brothers
DealMac
Mac2Sell
Mac Driver Museum
JAG's House
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ

Affiliates

Amazon.com
The iTunes Store
PC Connection Express
Macgo Blu-ray Player
Parallels Desktop for Mac
eBay

Low End Mac's Amazon.com store

Advertise

Well this is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching, or one of the links below, can help.

Most Used Categories

Archives

Try looking in the monthly archives. 🙂

at BackBeat Media (646-546-5194). This number is for advertising only.

Open Link