Kind of a mixed reaction here

9 Jan

I don’t blog about technology often, even though I kind of like the stuff. I’m a big Mac user (our household has three active Macs, plus a few sitting in the “museum” in the basement), and I think the iPod and podcasting are great additions to life.

So I was pretty geared up today when Steve Jobs took the stage at the annual Macworld conference to deliver his keynote address. For the Mac faithful, this is as close to a religious experience as it gets. Those great moments when Jobs introduced the new, groundbreaking hardware are memorable.

Today’s event is no less memorable. Apple has created and introduced the iPhone. This is not merely a cellular phone. It has a built-in video iPod and runs a version of Mac OS X so that you can surf the internet, email people, and even get Google maps to help you find your way around. The iPhone uses nothing more than your finger to do everything, and you really need to check out the iPhone pages to see the demos to appreciate this quantum leap forward in the user interface. I have few doubts that this device will be as revolutionary as the iPod.

But I’m also a bit disappointed. I was hoping for more. New Mac hardware, for example. The iPhone would have made a great “one more thing” that Jobs is known for in his keynotes, but this one left me feeling empty. I guess it’s because I didn’t see anything new that I see myself using in the future. As my wife knows, I rarely carry my cell phone around. I am trying to get into the habit of just having it near my car keys so I can take it with me to have in the car in case of emergency, but I’m just not a cell phone power user. (I should probably switch to a Cingular Go Phone or whatever they call it and save some money each month.)

I love the cool technology in the iPhone, but I don’t see myself spending $500 on it, plus the monthly service cost.

Apple could have given us something small, like an update to iWorks or iLife. Yeah, the addition of Paramount Pictures movies to the iTunes Store is a nice move, but I’m not one who downloads movies to my computer. I kind of like DVDs and the TV over my iPod’s video display. And, no, the Apple TV doesn’t get me excited. I don’t need a device to hook my computer up to my TV.

Maybe I’m turning into a Luddite, I don’t know. I love the ideas of new technology, but I also want to see how I can use them in my life. I don’t want to have to change over from DVD technology to Apple TV technology just to watch a movie.

Or maybe I’m just grumpy today. Either way, kudos to Apple, Inc. (they dropped the “computer” from the official company name) for another landmark in the technological race forward. I may buy an iPhone some day after I have the chance to see one in person. (I was among the first to buy Apple’s Newton when it first came out, so there is some precedent for my acquiring new technology before it hits the mainstream.) Or perhaps I won’t. I just know that as a Mac enthusiast, today’s keynote was somewhat of a letdown. Perhaps I’ll feel differently after I watch the web cast.

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