July 14, 2007

iPhone: Not just a cat toy anymore

I know, I know: the world needs more iPhone commentary like it needs another folk singer.  Having said that, I’m happy to have won a multi-week battle of wills with AT&T* and to have finally activated my iPhone.  Now instead of just using its shiny screen to create little reflection-pals for my cat to chase (which works great, by the way), I can get down to business.

I have to say, the iPhone is a tour de force.   Inevitable quibbles aside (too minor to detail here), both the interface and the industrial design are magnificent.  I’m not talking just about the well known UI innovations, such as green/yellow/red traffic conditions overlaid on a Google Map; I’m talking about things like a ringer on/off switch on the side.  It’s finding these little details done right that makes me beam.  Like an appreciative designer once said when pulling the handles in my VW: "Dampened… They didn’t have to do that… but they did."

So, hats off to everyone involved in designing and building the iPhone.  Thank you for giving a damn.  It’s an inspiration and a reminder of why we do what we do (we being anyone who aspires to go that extra mile for good design).

J.

*One remaining fly in the ointment: Even though I’ve been auto-paying a ~$85 cell bill with AT&T for more than seven years–meaning that they’ve squeezed some $7,000 out of my pocket, without a single late payment–they required me to put down an $800 security deposit when switching my phone plan to accommodate the iPhone.  What exactly are they securing–my lasting animosity?  I will be sorting this out, but after 35 minutes on the phone with them just to make the switch, I had to get back to work.

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