I tend to refrain from saying things like, “This [fill in the blank] is the best thing. Ever,” mostly because shortly thereafter said item, act, book, either falls short or is replaced by something that can, quite legitimately, be the next best thing ever.
But, because I have been known to break my own rules, I am going to go ahead and say this: The iPhone is the best thing…ever. (I reserve the right, however, to retract that statement at any time). Since giving in and buying one earlier this fall, my affection has slowly grown from a wary adoration to full-blown love. At the time that I’d bought my 3G iPhone, I experienced dropped calls and poor connectivity. A week later, Apple issued an update and it has been smooth sailing ever since.
I know iPhone-less people — those who have no desire to own one for whatever reason or are chained to a carrier that is not AT&T — harbor some dislike for iPhone obsessives. This is perfectly understandable, as we do sometimes come off like over-eager evangelists during a televised fundraiser. But wouldn’t you want to testify if your mobile phone allowed you to control all of the music on your hard drive from another room, have that same collection stream from your computer to the phone — anywhere in the world — or frankly, gave you access to more than 10,000 useful and useless applications that make you stare in wonder at the handheld device?
My love of the iPhone has everything to do with the App Store, and how many enterprising software programmers and developers have used the phone’s open-source platform to come up with ingenious and handy applications. Let’s take for example, Simplify Media, a $4.00 application that allows me to stream all 10,000 songs currently on my iMac to my iPhone as long as I have a WiFi or EDGE connection. I didn’t quite believe it would work at first. To lessen my potential disappointment, I tested out Simplify Media on a Sunday while on my way to a social outing. On the bus (in New York, where buses are still a common form of transportation) I took out the iPhone, tapped on the Simplify Media icon, and held my breath. Three miles from my iMac, I was listening to The Bug’s latest album — crystal clear — without taking up 1 KB of space on the iPhone itself. Simplify Media also allows you to stream the music collections of 30 of your closest friends.
In fact, when it comes to content management and control of AV devices, the iPhone has proven over and over again to be a stellar performer. Asks Sonos, whose popular audio streaming system has been made even more intriguing with the launch of a free iPhone controller application, effectively supplanting the company’s own hefty handheld controller. Sonos has openly noted that the iPhone app (which comes with a demo video of the Sonos system for those who do not own one but are curious about the application) has brought them new customers who start off with a one-room Sonos set up ($349).
Other manufacturers in our space are taking note of the iPhone’s popularity as well, including Lutron, SpeakerCraft, AMX, Crestron, Savant, and others who have created programs that effectively turn the iPhone into a Grade A remote control.
As for me, a former industrial design major, the iPhone represents that ultimate pairing of beauty and functionality. You can never underestimate the power of being able to make calls, find a restaurant, play a four-star game, plan a party, and control your music all on one device. We have officially entered the future.