updated 07:30 pm EDT, Wed March 26, 2008
Industry torn on mobility
The iPhone is among the most widely accepted portable internet devices, and some in the industry are torn on whether this is a sign of the prophesized death of desktops. PC Magazine writer Lance Ulanoff argues that the iPhone, coupled with the long-awaited SDK, is creating a brand new era of computing standards that will some day kill the desktop, and possibly the laptop. Ulanoff argues that the iPhone has found a market with many different groups.
Ulanoff also points the the iPhone's multitouch screen and built-in accelerometer, saying that these elements provide a significantly more interactive computing experience than typical computing platforms.
"How about a notepad app that stores notes with a shake or acts like an Etch A Sketch and erases scribbles with a jiggle of the phone?" writes Ulanoff. "What if you could pass notes between iPhones by shaking them in the direction of a recipient, or play "catch" by gently tossing a virtual ball from one iPhone screen to another? Or, imagine adding effects to video simply by making the same motion you want the moving image to make."
"Instant messaging will take on a whole new flavor as you tickle the screen to create a smile on the other end of the conversation or give the phone a hard shake to send an angry face to your chatting companion. You'll push slides in presentations by shaking the phone left or right, play Concentration by rocking the phone back and forth, and store ten on-screen files in one folder by tilting the phone and "pouring" them all in."
PC Magazine writer John C. Dvorak takes a much different view of the matter, saying that the change is not a welcome one. Dvorak cites the need for desktop machines in several professional instances, and notes the various benefits of owning a desktop. Desktops are less expensive, easier to fix, easier to type on, with greater component and storage versatility, whereas laptops and smaller only seem to benefit from portability.
"Some even hope that it will replace the laptop as the primary PC platform," writes Dvorak. "And what if it does? What are folks going to do when they spill coffee on their iPhones? They've already done a lot worse--they drop them into toilets over and over. PodShow's Adam Curry lamented having this happen to him, as did Leo Laporte on a TWiT podcast."