Salon columnist Farhad Manjoo has returned his iPhone to the Apple store. His complaints were, primarily, the huge expense ($600 iPhone cost plus a pricey two-year service plan), and the slow EDGE Internet network. Manjoo believes that when these problems are solved, we'll all have iPhones or iPhone equivalents:
It may sound indulgent and tech-obsessed to argue that having constant access to the Web changes the way you think about the world, but give it a try and you'll see. When you've got the Web with you always, printing out grocery lists or directions become unnecessary. You never have to call 411. You can find out what's playing at the movies while you're in the car. You can look up reviews of products and comparison shop while you're in the store.
sometimes technology excels exactly when it eases the banal, when it lifts the pressures of the workaday life. I imagine that before they changed everything, mechanical refrigerators once struck some people as rather too grandiose, too -- what was so wrong with the ice box?
Or recall how, a decade or so ago, you thought about cell phones: That you had no need for them, that because you weren't a drug dealer, a doctor, or Gordon Gekko, you could wait until you got home to make a call. But then you finally got one -- because everyone else did -- and now you can't imagine going without. In all kinds of ways, every day, you use the cell to manage your life. Its presence is ingrained in your consciousness. The iPhone is that kind of device; it marks a new way of life. One day we'll all have iPhones, or things that aim to do what this first one does, and your life will be better for it. Don't believe me? Bookmark this page and come back in five years.
Since I'm a complete cheapskate when it comes to cell phones, I'm not likely to take on the bleeding edge expense of an iPhone any time soon. But I completely agree with Manjoo. In five years the Internet will be a constant companion for most of us.