Scott Hanselman

Why You Deeply Want an iPhone - NOW

July 01, 2007 Comment on this post [25] Posted in Musings
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IMG_2080Because you're bored.

Possibly because Steve Jobs said they are cool, but ultimately because we are all pretty much bored with computers. The whole keyboard and mouse thing is just about over. Maybe another 5 years, then it'll be keyboard and Multi-Touch. There will be some mice and some tablets/styli, but the majority of us will be lovingly caressing the non-scratch screens of our computers with our greasy hands.

Speaking of greasy hands, I stopped by the local AT&T store to check out an iPhone. To be clear, I didn't camp out or hire a college kid to stand in line. I mean, seriously, who does that? (Apparently all my friends.)

No, I just swung by at 10am yesterday. It went like this.

Me: "Hey, how's it going"

AT&T Dude: "How can I help you."

Me: "You're probably all out of iPhones, right? I wanted to touch one."

AT&T Dude: "Sure, we've got 8gig and 4gigs."

Me: "Waaa? You're not sold out? Didn't you have campers here?"

AT&T Dude: "Yes, but they got their iPhones, and we have hundreds left."

Me: "What's this? Hundreds you say? Why'd they camp out."

AT&T Dude: "I dunno, I mean, it's cool, but you're here on the next day"

Me: "But there's no one here at AT&T. Weird. Anyway, my wife won't let me have one."

AT&T Dude: "I hear that a lot. Well, feel free to use it as long as you like."

And I did. I spent quite a bit of time with it. It's gorgeous and I must have one. Why? Whether it's Microsoft Surface or the iPhone, Multi-Touch is brilliant. I know this  because I've seen touched the promised land. And because I'm bored.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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July 01, 2007 22:33
Okay, now I'm officially torn. On the one hand, I've got Scott Hanselman telling me why I deeply want an iPhone now, while on the other hand, I've got Jeff Atwood telling me why I don't want an iPhone yet.

I'm so confused.
July 01, 2007 22:48
I think I'll pass on the iPhone. I'm glad the device came out because I think it will spur the usual bunch of device makers to rethink their UI, for the better. But I have to agree with Jeff Atwood and also I believe that by the time iPhone 2.0 is ready, the more open platforms (Windows Mobile 6 and Blackberry) will have "borrowed" enough from the iPhone to really narrow any gaps in terms of UI and usability.

I agree that multitouch is the future, but iPhone != multitouch, iPhone is just one example of it and I think it could be done better (on a more open platform with more choices, 3rd party software, better PC integration etc.)
July 01, 2007 22:55
I like the "my wife won't let me" line....

I neogotiated a swing set for the kids ( Tina's want ) with a drift boat for me... You'll be that good in a few more years Scott. By the time you have been married for 20 years you'll both just get whatever you want. Jack

Oh for you tech folks a drift boat is a device that carries you down river under the power of self, hopefully catching many Steelhead, Salmon and Trout. You also get sunshine on your face and fresh air blowing through what little hair you might have left.

Scott I'll take you and your Dad out this summer.

July 01, 2007 23:21
I agree with your prediction about the mouse/keyboard "fad" coming to an end. Now that it's cheaper to get compact hardware, it should be within a couple of years that we start developing different ways to interact with computers... or is it that computers will interact with us?

The iPhone is cool, but isn't it just a phone? I mean, it has the word right in its name! ;-) The "cool factor" is the way you interact with the device so it seems more natural and less phone-like (kinda like the wheel in the iPod). The more natural interaction you have with the device, the more you feel in "control of it."
July 02, 2007 0:02
Forget about the iPhone--tell us more about your Ultimate Developer Rig. There's still life left in stodgy old computers yet.

If you're bored, start putting that computer together and tell us all about it. :)
July 02, 2007 0:51
I can wait for the 2nd or 3rd generation iPhone. Hopefully the one with 3G, complete bluetooth support, internal 60g hard drive, and hopefully for other carriers like Alltel. Plus if you wait there will be competition, probably from Microsoft and Zune, and Mr. Jobs will allow the engineers to release updates to the software and upgrades to the hardware for the next version.
July 02, 2007 1:12
You're forgetting the considerable benefit that you don't need to support your arm's weight in order to use a mouse.

If you think that touch screens will replace mice, I'm guessing you've not tried using a touch-screen all day. Or you have massive upper body strength.
July 02, 2007 1:32
We bought 5 for the office to test out all of our products (Griffin Technology). All of our power products work, but none of the docks/FM transmitters work because starting with the iPhone and continuing with every new iPod from 6G on you have to include an authentication chip for the iPhone/Pods to recognize the accessories. Apple did this for security... cough... (to make more money on every single accessory sold). We already knew this was coming, so it's not a big deal as we'll soon be releasing new versions of everything. I played with the iPhone yesterday for a bit, connected to wifi, and here is my two cents.

The interface is really slick with nice transition effects and very clear resolution. The zooming worked great on everything; pictures, maps, and web pages. It was really easy to flick through web pages and song library as well as the photo album which I thought was really cool. Way easier than moving through the photos on my RAZR. Unfortunately it doesn't support MMS, so forget about texting your pics to your friends and family. Supposedly you can attach them to emails you send, but I have yet to try that out and it doesn't really help me much because nobody that I would send pics to uses email on their phone.

I found typing on the touchscreen keyboard to be harder than I thought it would be without any tactile sensation. I really think we need to come up with a better way to input text, than a qwerty keyboard at this point.

I also like the fact that it has an external speaker so you can play your tunes/videos without headphones.

I did manage to freeze the phone up by hitting this[1] page in Safari and I had to reboot the phone. It works fine in Safari for Windows, so it's a little puzzling. I'm currently working on a web app targeting the iphone (not the one below), so I'm interested to see what kind of things I run into.

July 02, 2007 1:51
Huh ? Scott bored ?!? I hope this is a joke ;).
July 02, 2007 2:24
Tommy - it's being built as we speak.

Ian - I do, in fact, have massive upper body strength. Thanks for noticing!

Jamin - Good info!

Eric - Bored with my mouse and keyboard...I'm all about the alternative interfaces.
July 02, 2007 4:00
Microsoft Surface? Not as useful as an iPhone and a real bitch to carry around with you. It's just a big ass table. :)
July 02, 2007 5:44
I hate my mouse. I don't hate many things, mostly just Olives and my mouse. It's possibly the most unproductive part of my day. I'm pretty sure my cube-neighbor and I are going to duke it out over this very argument before we part ways. He likes olives, though, so he has bigger problems.
July 02, 2007 6:23
The fact that the iPhone rides on ATTs slow-as-molasses non-3G network is a real shame.

What's even more of a shame is the poor folks who buy the iPhone thinking what a great Internet experience they'll have (these are NORMAL people, people shouldn't have to know or care about the differences in mobile data networks) only to find out their browser sessions run at speeds similar to fast dial-up.
July 02, 2007 11:28

The mouse and keyboard will be with us for many years. Think of the alternative. Your arm is going to get tired after 5 minutes from extending it to use the screen. Also how are you going to do pixel positioning with your 'fat' fingers?

I am glad the iPhone is out now. I am sick of the all the iPhone hype I have been getting for the past 6 months. It's just a phone.. not some truly new device.
July 02, 2007 11:55
perhaps the mouse could be replaced by a horizontal multitouch secondary display with a wrist support (like a mouse mat). UI designers could come up with really interesting uses for the screen that wouldn't require you to always be looking directly at it.

i don't think they keyboard will be replaced for a long time though - the tactile feedback of a mechanical typing surface is just too important IMHO.
July 02, 2007 12:14
Why did you play with the IO for a Portable device and concluded that the IO for desktops will change? Between portable and desktops, you get different apps (graphics, gaming...), different position between man and device, different usage time (many hours / spot usage).

Another reason why the mouse will still be here for quite a time: gaming. Honestly, the keyboard/mouse combo is heavily used for modern FPS and MMORPG games, and I can't really imagine another kind of interaction coming out any time soon.
July 02, 2007 15:43
Being in Europe (and therefore still having to wait until the end of the year before the iPhone is available), there are two things the iPhone must have for me:

1) Better GPRS or EDGE communications - WiFi is too patchy.
2) GPS, I have a HTC phone with GPS built-in and use TomTom for my naviagtion. It's so useful having the mapping/positioning information right in a device you carry around everyday - no getting lost trying to find pubs in back-streets of London!

Hopefully v2 will include some of these functions!

July 02, 2007 17:44
+1 for GPS London pub stumbling
July 02, 2007 18:04
Boohoo... no iPhone in India yet... Anyway, although I would love to have one, I might wait for subsequent versions... I got my wife to agree to one though :)
July 02, 2007 20:37
My wife needed a cell phone and picked one up on Friday (no lines at the AT&T store after 7pm) and I must say that I think the iPhone rocks. There are a lot of things that can be added to make it even better, but I think that this is truly the beginning of the hand held pc revolution. A lot is going to change as the memory dramatically increases in the next couple of years, but this is a fantastic start. There's no reason why Apple's browser functionality can't be applied to everything -- Powerpoint slides, Excel spreadsheets and all sorts of widgets and web services. What about something like Windows Meeting Space/NetMeeting? The sky's the limit.

What I would like to see added to the device or as add-ons: GPS, voice commands(not just voice dial), a digital tv tuner, a killer rss app, custom video ring tones, the ability to easily import your Google widgets and this would be killer: a remote desktop app.
July 03, 2007 7:17
This brings to mind what I saw on eBay: people selling the iPhone for THOUSANDS of dollars. It's not like Apple only made a few of them. They're not signed by Steve Jobs (not sure if they would up the value or degrade it). They're not accompanying free service for life. They're not even GPS, MMS, 3G-enabled 32GB iPhones! Just iPhones!
July 03, 2007 17:15
Let's start with the premise that v2 of the iPhone will probably include alot of the gaps that exist in v1.

Now that that's out of the way, I bought one, and so far I'm in love. Are there issues/limitations/challenges? Sure. But the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages IMHO.

I think this is the first smartphone I've used so far - and I have used many of many of them - that actually has delivered on the hype. The marketing material for once didn't stretch the story - it does what it's been purported to do!
July 03, 2007 21:44
I have not gotten one yet, and I don't plan on getting one. While I do think they're quite amazing. I am already trying to use the phone I have less. If I get one of those I think it will somehow manage to attach itself to me.

We all know that these things are going to be more addictive than crack. And pretty soon everyone on the street will be walking around with one of these things. As if people are not already addicted enough to cell phones and iPods. Great product, but I really just cannot get one yet. Too dangerous.
July 04, 2007 1:38
that bullshit things. sorry.
we just do'nt need that stuff whatever way.

by the way you have been on Israel.
the promised land made your feelings about iPhone. ;)
July 04, 2007 3:55
All of our power products work, but none of the docks/FM transmitters work because starting with the iPhone and continuing with every new iPod from 6G on you have to include an authentication chip for the iPhone/Pods to recognize the accessories.

Correction: Products without the auth chip will work with the iPhone, but you have to OK it by going through a nag screen and you can guess that YMMV. Apparently our direct attach iTrip and several other products work after going through this nag screen. A downside is that if you get a call while using the transmitter/dock you will get a bunch of audio noise, which can really suck if you have your speakers turned up really loud.

Sorry for the previous incorrect info, but I guess that what's I get being a software developer at a hardware company. ;)

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.