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by adam mathes
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That Mac Stuff

The iPhone is so good that after three days of use my father - who’s more curmudgeonly than me and has steadfastly stayed with PCs for years and told me he didn’t get this Apple stuff told my mother -

“Well, maybe Adam was right about this Mac stuff.”

The interesting thing about this is not just the “wow” factor of the iPhone, but something a bit more subtle. My father has owned lots of devices that did similar things including numerous phones and PDAs, going all the way back to the original Motorala Pilot (that’s before there was a Palm to make Palm Pilots.)

This one was different.

“I plugged it in and it just worked.”

Computers and gadgets are so poorly designed and poorly implemented (note: this is different than “too complex” which is often what people say, good design makes the complex seem simple) that in the rare event that things actually work without a hassle, people are shocked.

I told him he could add music to it by just putting the CD and running iTunes.

“I had to delete the stupid MusicMatch thing so it stopped popping up all the time, but after that it was fine. I did 10 cd’s in a few minutes. That probably would’ve taken me hours with other software.”

Anyway, the iPhone isn’t just good - it’s inspiring. It makes you think that with enough talent and smarts and engineering people can make great things and be a part of something that is something special. I imagine this is what the original Mac developers (or NextStep, or Amiga, or BeOS, or any number of other inspiring technologies) felt like. The web as platform that might actually be useful anywhere – not just connected to a desk.

And more than that - it’s fun to use. When was the last time you had fun using your phone?

On the downside, the Notes application is just wrong as many people have noted. This probably bothers me more than most users since all I do is putz around with text files for a living.

It’s not just the aesthetics (which are bad) which I imagine will be fixed via a software update at some point. The real issue is it needs to sync (not sure why my iPod Nano has a notes sync but my iPhone doesn’t?) and be able to handle arbitrarily large documents. I sent a 500kb text file via email to myself and Mail croaked. The notes app should be more about carrying data created in other enviornments with you rather than “noting” things for yourself, which the current Mail app does just fine.

The camera could be better but who cares? You have a useful web browser in your pocket. And the standard compliant web browser (not Flash, not ActiveX, not Java) is the platform that matters.

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