On the iPhone Hype

I have Talk of the Nation on in the background here at work right now, and it seems that even NPR is getting in on the iPhone hype. Momentum has been building for Friday’s launch of Apple’s first mobile phone for months now — something you’ve likely seen if you’ve recently read websites devoted to Apple, gadgets, phones, or any sort of technology for that matter.

The iPhone hype has gotten so out of hand that I thought there was no way for it to live up to expectations. Early review say otherwise, however: Walt Mossberg gives it a thumbs-up, as does David Pogue and USA Today.

Everyone’s biggest letdown so far: AT&T’s craptacular EDGE wireless network. It’s slow — way too slow to actually do anything useful, apparently. Good thing it’s got built-in WiFi.

I’ve been watching the iPhone with peripheral interest, always with the knowledge that I won’t have one for years, if ever. As I said when it was first announced back in January, the fact that it’s AT&T (Cingular) only is a deal-killer for me, as it is for many others. Setting aside the fact that they have a reputation for horrible customer service, they don’t even have real coverage in North Dakota or northern Minnesota.

So personally, the best thing about the iPhone is that it’ll force everyone else to wake up and start making phone that have both good hardware and software. For example, if Verizon offered a smart phone with Z1 text input, I’d be there in a heartbeat. Take a look at these demo videos (QuickTime required) to see what could possibly be the way you’ll write on your phone or PDA in the future. It’s an amazing idea that seems really obvious once you see how it works…