Mac About Town
How Did I End Up Here?
Well, that’s embarrassing! My #1 gadget hope for 2007 is a matter of record. It was a “MacPhone.” A couple of weeks after my January column appeared, Uncle Steve came through for the faithful (albeit with a delayed shipping date) and we were all agog at the iPhone. I dutifully entered my e-mail address on both Apple’s and AT&T’s Web sites and for the next five months soaked up the news and speculation about the machine of my dreams. June found me in a new location thanks to a job change. Everything is up to date in Kansas City, as the song goes. It’s fully covered by AT&T’s 3G network, and we even have an Apple store! I knew that my new iPhone was only a matter of time.
So, here I am at the end of the year with my new phone in hand, happy that I have finally pushed my way through all the decision gates and comparisons and false starts. The only surprise to me, and the source of some personal embarrassment I must admit, is that my new phone is a Treo 775p.
Now before you report me to Scott Bourne as a “hater,” let me say that I am still hopeful that one day Apple will produce the phone that I’m looking for—it just hasn’t done it yet. Who knows, perhaps Steve will have a new form factor at this year’s Macworld Expo. Nonetheless, there are some concrete reasons that I am using a Palm-based Treo and not an iPhone:
- A ton of software: The Palm OS may be getting long in the tooth, but the truth is that it is very stable and has built up an impressive library of software of both productive and entertaining varieties. Moving to the Treo allowed me to bring all my Palm applications with me to add to Treo functionality. Unlike the iPhone, there are no barriers to further software development. Some of the best productivity applications, for instance, overlay the Palm’s core application’s data to bring additional flexibility. It doesn’t seem to have posed any particular danger to the phone’s functioning. Apple has other considerations, of course. The iPhone truly is a mobile computer and thus, one would assume, more susceptible to malware. Perhaps Apple needs to be cautious, but the caution has come at a price.
- Enterprise support: Leo LaPorte, for one, has argued from the beginning that the iPhone is more of a video iPod that makes phone calls than a phone that shows video. I think he’s right. The evidence for the argument can be found in the enterprise functionality (non-functionality would be more accurate) of the iPhone’s basic software. We get Cover Flow for browsing our music, for instance, but no way to manage and manipulate tasks or to extend the limited options available within iCal. I’d be happy to have the iPhone on my vacation, but day-to-day in the office, the Treo has everything I need and then some.
- Toughness: I’m hard on my phones—and my PDAs for that matter. I can’t count the times that I have had my phone hit the floor and watched the battery and cover come off, or dropped my PDA and had the SD card and stylus pop out. I’ve never held the iPhone without a vision of what dropping it would look like. They aren’t pretty images. My Treo, on the other hand, seems to be a pretty stout piece of gear sporting an attractive non-slip case that fits snuggly in my paw.
- AT&T: Speed, cost, service. ’Nuf said. I’m sticking with Sprint.
- Undefinables: Lastly, there was the issue of the bricking. I’m not a person who would tamper with the software of my iPhone, so I wasn’t personally threatened by the bricking of unlocked phones. I don’t even believe that they did it maliciously. That doesn’t prevent me, however, from being troubled by the thought that Apple has been tainted by its association with the cell phone industry and has acted more in keeping with that industry’s standards of behavior than with their own corporate identity—at least what I have thought Apple’s identity to be.
I’m content that I finally have a phone that really meets my personal and business needs. I’m just surprised that it isn’t an Apple. I continue to dream of the day when I can bring my newly-purchased, fully-functional, modifiable, open Apple phone to whatever carrier I choose and have it my way .
In the meantime, however, I’ll be waiting for the call from Steve on my Treo.
Happy New Year, everyone.
Also in This Series
- What a Ride! And It Ain’t Over Yet! · May 2012
- Life in a Post-Apple World? · March 2009
- When Worlds Collide · January 2009
- What’s a Guy to Do? · December 2008
- A Midsummer Night’s Mare (a comedy in multiple acts) · August 2008
- How Did I End Up Here? · January 2008
- Visions of Sugar Plums · December 2007
- Dear Steve: Hurry Up and Slow Down! · July 2007
- Who’s Got Your Back? · April 2007
- Complete Archive