Thursday, June 28, 2007

iPhone, you phone...

Can you tell I'm in an Apple mood? My phone's been ringing and my inbox has been buzzing this week because tomorrow's the day when the world as we know it will change. Freed from the shackles of electronic gadget mediocrity, June 29th, 2007 will go down in history as the day we emerged from the Dark Age of the Smartphone. All dates before this date shall heretofore be annotated as B.I. (Before iPhone), and Steve Jobs, the purveyor of all electronics that are good, shall be our new nondemoninational-in-black-jeans hero.

Oops, slipped into Apple Cultspeak for a bit there. Sorry about that.

(I'll drop the Your Turn in a little early so you don't miss it, as this is a super-long entry. Sorry.)

Your turn: Where do you stand on iPhone-mania? Is this all just a little much? Click the comment link below and sound off. But no profanity: my mother reads this every once in a while.

The good news in all of this - aside from the fact that we won't have to deal with iPhone craziness in Canada for at least another few months - is that I got some pretty neat media attention from the growing Apple iPhone mania. Here's the rundown:
  • Business News Network. I was on TV again earlier today, discussing Research In Motion, the fate of the BlackBerry, and the iPhone's impact on the other, more business-focused fruity device. I spoke to Kim Parlee, and the link to the interview can be found here.
"The iPhone's arrival is serving as a catalyst for the other handheld makers to finally get serious about their converged smartphone offerings," says Carmi Levy, senior VP for strategic consulting at AR Communications. "The smartphone is finally emerging out of its awkward adolescent phase."

[Snip]. Later in the article, when I was asked to comment on the Helio Oxygen device, I said this:

What's more, says Levy, "Helio's online/call center subscription model allows customers to bypass the typically Byzantine retail channel and provides more direct control over the service through the life of the device." Providing relief for mobile phone users fed up with the traditional carrier-dominated model, this innovative system "could be just as significant as any flashy hardware launch announcement."
  • The Ottawa Citizen. I spoke with Vito Pilieci, who wrote Canadian access to IPhone won't come easy. Also picked up by other papers in the CanWest chain: the National Post and the Victoria Times-Colonist. The Global National television network also ran it. Here's what I said:

    And getting it to work in Canada could be even harder.

    "I wish them the best of luck," said Carmi Levy, senior vice-president of strategic consulting for Toronto research company AR Communications Inc. "There is no guarantee that the product will work the way it is supposed to."
[Snip] Coleman noted that it is against Rogers policy to unlock the phones of other networks.

She refused to comment what Rogers employees will do if people manage to unlock their IPhones and demand that Rogers activate the phones on its network.

Levy agreed that opening the IPhone to work on other networks will be extremely difficult.

"You can bet your mortgage that Apple has locked it up," he said, adding that it will take talented hackers a long time to figure out how to take off the AT&T locks. "It's not something that I or my mother-in-law could do. Most people just won't want to spend the time, money or effort to do that."
  • Montreal Gazette. Marc Saltzman interviewed me for his piece, Why the iPhone is on hold in Canada. Also picked up by MSN/Sympatico. Here's what I said:
    "Like it or not, the U.S. market is an order of magnitude larger than the Canadian one - there are 10 times as many consumers there, as there are here - so it makes bottom-line sense for Apple to get things rolling in its most critical market before it turns its attention elsewhere," says Carmi Levy, a senior vice- president at AR Communications Inc., a Toronto-based marketing communications firm.
"Demand will also far outstrip supply in the first few months - so much so that Apple will likely not be able to satisfy the American market, let alone international ones," says Levy. "So by staging its launches on a country-by-country and continent-by-continent basis, Apple can create new hype cycles in phases around the world, and in doing so minimizes the risk of disappointing local fans with months-long waiting lists."

Can Canadians do this (use it in Canada with a transplanted SIM card) with the iPhone? Not likely, say the experts.

"While this is a fairly quick, easy and inexpensive option for most basic cellphones, it's a little more involved for a sophisticated device like the iPhone," explains Levy. "Apple's new offering extends well beyond basic voice or data service and as such its rich multimedia toolset might not be properly supported by a hacked SIM card solution."

Even if the technical issues could be overcome, Levy points out a more basic problem. "Simply getting an American-sourced iPhone for a SIM card transplant could be the biggest challenge of all - there's no telling how long the lineups will be at American stores after the device goes on sale."

"Maybe early Canadian adopters will want to call ahead," Levy adds, "on something other than an iPhone, of course.


MsT said...

How funny - I just wrote a post on multi-tasking, which is the whole purpose of the iPhone, isn't it? And I really don't see why we need one gadget to do several things at once - can they really do them all well? That being said - I saw the commercial for the iPhone, and thought it was pretty cool AND pretty cute. And if anyone can make something like that work - it's Apple. Michele wants one too!

b13 said...

The iPhone looks sweet and although I feel like a technophile I couldn't possibly allow my monthly phone bill to rocket past a Ben Franklin.

Bill Deys said...

I would totally be in on one! I'm kinda glad that they are not launching in Canada for a while. It'll keep the temptation away, I was just forced to get a new BlackBerry as I broke my old one. I am a Bell customer too so I can see that being a big problem for some people, even with cell number portability. I looked into that and it's not quite as easy or painless as they make it sound.

kenju said...

I think it would be fun to have one, but I'm too old to mess with such technology and don't need all it capabilities anyway!

I read something in the newspaper which said that people should not rush out to buy one until they have been proven to do well all that is advertised.
Michele says hi.

Jacob said...

Well, I just wish I had bought Apple stock when I looked at it a while back-- talk of the iPhone had just started then. Now, the stock's up about 30%.

Of course, it would probably take all the profits I would have earned to actually buy and support one. Just not worth the expense in my book. To me, a phone was always something you make phone calls on. Maybe if I traveled more, I'd appreciate the idea of having a toaster oven built into my phone.

If I ever turn up some extra money to throw at the stock market, I hope something like this happens again. But otherwise, I'm not convinced that the iPhone will improve my life, or even carry our race any closer to technological self-actualization.


Linda said...

It's an interesting concept...but in the end, I think it will further isolate people - many are already so self-involved with their blackberries, cells, MP3 players...No one looks up and says hello anymore, they're too busy checking email, yakking on a cell, or listening to music that draws their attention from the folks around them. Technology is great, ain't it?

But I also probably won't ever own one because my husband doesn't like to spend money "needlessly"...I had to BEG him to get cable modem!

Elizabeth McQuern said...

Wow, first of all, you're so much more of a real and successful journalist than I am (with about four published credits to my name so far). You have an amazing career, and a spouse and two adorable kids, as well! I will try to contain my envy.

Secondly, the iPhone thing looks amazing, and although I'm far from being able to afford one, I'm sure I would snag one if I could.

Honestly, as a writer, to be able to basically walk around with the tiny equivalent of my laptop in my pocket would free me to do my work from anywhere. Taking pictures and video, blogging, sending e-mail, and good old-fashioned making phone calls from anywhere? Unbelievable.

But it's also interesting to watch people go so bananas over something like this. My brother has been on several waiting lists for months trying to make sure he gets one of these things. It's sort of a status item in some industries, even though I'm sure a lot of people who feel like they "need" one wouldn't ever make use of all of its features.

caramaena said...

I'd love one. I don't need one mind you, but I'd like it all the same!

Of course it'll be aaaaages before we see them here in Australia.

Carli N. Wendell said...

As I passed the Apple Store yesterday on my way home from work, at about 7 p.m., there was already a line extending down the street, complete with coverage from Wired Magazine and crowd control via the NYPD. It's ridiculous. I have no use for such an item (and couldn't afford one if I wanted one), and wouldn't buy such a new, expensive item in its first release. Nobody knows how well the iphone will work in the long run, and I understand its Internet connection will be very slow. I bet half the ones purchased from that line wind up on ebay anyway.

Congrats on all your good media coverage.

Anonymous said...

I feel a bit lost here. Remember I live in India!


Michele sent me!

Anonymous said...

Hey Carmi. Here via Bobkat's birthday party.

I hate cell phones of all types. The make it impossible to truly be alone with one's thoughts. I get the simplest one I can find.


Tiffany said...

The iphone looks awsome, but who has that kind of cash lying around to go get one? Not me :(

Anonymous said...

Sob....I want one...Sob

shoeaddict said...

I'm a complete loser when it comes to cool things like iphones. I'd rather spend my money on shoes and clothes and trips and makeup and restaurants and books. Those things don't intimidate me.
Michele sent me.
Have a great weekend

nora leona said...

I'll admit to having total iPhone envy.

My cell phone has always been the "freebie" version (no bells, whistles or even a camera) and I don't own an iPod or Blackberry. I feel like I've been saving up for this moment. I was one of those stubborn folks that salvaged a computer and added a dial up modem on my own.
Last year I used a friends iBook and fell in love (with the computer -- not him, unfortunately). With the computer came more writing gigs. Can you believe that I was sending documents via dial-up?
I have a whole new attitude and respect towards technology. I am going to make myself wait until the end of the year to purchase an iPhone…partly because I just bought my first real digital camera. This Luddite is barreling in to the next century! Next thing you know, I'll purchase a car with electric windows and an automatic transmission... Thanks for letting me join your brave New World.

barbie2be said...

i think i am going to happily stick to my samsung T-509.

Anonymous said...

Oh, in my house we would never use profanity when talking about an Apple product. That would never go over with Dad.

Lifelong Learner said...

I love all things Apple, but with this one I'm going to have to wait and see how things turn out. How much out of pocket for phone/internet service, etc. This is one product that has continual costs after the initial purchase, which is what is holding me back. That and the fact that I live overseas. :)

scrappintwinmom said...

I just can't believe people are sleeping on the street outside of Apple stores to spend $600 on a phone. Sure it looks cool...but if I can't do POP mail on it, then why bother? (and before you say anything, even if I use MS-Entourage, there's no way it'll work with a firewall). I'm sticking with my new Blackberry Pearl, thanks.

Then again, I'm against all things Apple by nature. hope you're having a great weekend!

Star said...

Shopping carts. I see them every day, but not in the wasy you did. Thanks for the new perspective. THe manager handled it very well. I can only think that where I work they would have been sure you were up to something and booted you out of there.Michele sent me. Enjoy your long weekend.

Anonymous said...

My husband is an Apple guy from way back; he bought one of the very first Macs in 1984 and has never looked back. Were the iPhone not so pricy, I expect he'd have been waiting in line for one.

I just recently upgraded my 8-year-old, plain-Jane cell phone to a phone that has a camera! and text messaging! ... and I have yet to use either. While I am (as always with Apple products) enchanted by the beauty of the iPhone's design, I'm not likely consider buying one until, say, 2015.