Not a C4 wrap-up post (iPhone!)

Soundtrack for this blog post: “The Touch”… from the 1980s Transformers feature.

Yesterday Apple announced new iPods, plus cool stuff like the Starbucks integration and iTunes Wi-fi Store. I was out at lunch and errands, so I followed the announcements on my iPhone with Safari and Twitter. If the new store had been available, I probably would have bought some music too.

“Dave Winer had mixed feelings about the new stuff”… but likes how the iPod is evolving to be its own full-featured client:

"They are interesting if only because they illustrate so clearly that it's possible to get content onto the iPod directly, without synching, without tethering to a laptop or desktop computer. I think the users will love this, and it will quickly become the primary way music gets on the device."

The $200 price drop on the iPhone was a surprise. My first thought: Apple is totally playing to win. With such an aggressive price drop, they plan to own the high-end market, and maybe some of the middle too. It never crossed my mind that I was ripped off paying $599 until I started reading “comments in this TUAW post”… These are the same kind of people who say “I like your software but I wish it was free” to indie Mac developers.

The iPhone was expensive at $599 but worth it, and the new price doesn’t change that fact. It’s allowed me to work even more remotely, stay connected to friends, get unlost using maps in a new city, and greatly improve how I use a mobile phone.

(I wrote most of the rest of this blog post a couple weeks ago. It was originally titled “1000 emails in your pocket”, but that was before I saw Craig Hockenberry’s excellent “Benchmarking in your pants”… blog post, which while not as directly accurate to Apple’s original iPod marketing, was much more funny.)

I’m not going to post specifically about the sessions at C4 yet, because anything I say would be redundant against posts from “Alex Payne”… “John Gruber”… and “Mike Zornek”… among others. Instead I want to follow up “my original iPhone report”… with how the phone performed during travel.

There were a lot of iPhones at last month’s C4 conference. I had such good luck using the iPhone at the airport and on the train and walking around Chicago, I took my MacBook’s dead battery as a sign to stick to the iPhone all weekend, using it exclusively for email, Twitter, blog reading, and general web surfing. I responded to a handful of emails, used SMS for sending tweets, and hit the iPhone version of Newsgator Online (synced from my NetNewsWire subscriptions) for news and blogs.

Sure, I was jealous of everyone running Twitterific while I had to refresh manually, but overall the experience was great. As “Matt Haughey has blogged about”… the iPhone is a computer, and 3 full days of use proved to me that it’s extremely competent.

Fast-forward to two weeks ago and I went on a weekend road-trip to Dallas with only the iPhone, confident I could respond to email if needed. Same thing over the long Labor Day holiday: drove 7 hours both ways for 2 nights in Louisiana, easily able to follow up on bugs from a recent software release without my MacBook.

Of course there are a few rough edges: I don’t do significant server-side spam filtering, so deleting spam on the iPhone is getting tedious; paying a premium for SMS is annoying and counter to the unlimited web bandwidth; and my typing is only now to the point of pretty good. But otherwise any limitations with the built-in software are quickly becoming solved with new 3rd-party offerings, which have blossomed faster than most of us expected in no small part thanks to “Nullriver’s excellent installer”

Now the the only question is: what do I do with my “free $100”…

Manton Reece @manton