(HOST) For most people, the big day in January was the Obama inauguration. For others, like commentator Rich Nadworny there was another big day in January: the day the iPhone finally came to Vermont.
(NADWORNY) On the day the iPhone arrived, I went over to the new AT&T store in the Burlington Mall at 8:30 to check the lines. I promised myself that if the lines were too long, I’d wait until the next day. Imagine my surprise when here were only seven other people waiting. The Dorset Street store had all the crowds.
Ahh, sweet joy. I had sky-high expectations for this device, but once I had it in my hands, it still blew me away.
It’s incredibly easy to use. It looks hot. And it’s an iPod! But what makes it really great are the small programs you can download to the iPhone. There are the usual suspects, like Google Earth, live weather maps and streaming YouTube.
Then there are the unexpected ones. Show the Loo uses GPS to locate all the public toilets nearby – I can think of times where that would have come in handy! Zippo Lighter is another one. Remember when you went to concerts and at the end you waved a lighter to the music? Well at concerts these days you wave your iPhone. Zippo gives you access to a virtual flame that flickers back and forth as you wave the iPhone. And then there’s Labyrinth, a new version of an old game in which you try to avoid dropping a ball in a series of holes while tilting the iPhone.
There’s a downside to all of this, of course. It’s expensive.
If someone had told me a few years ago I’d be spending hundreds of dollars on a mobile phone I’d have told them, "No way!" The data plan I have to have with the iPhone doubled my monthly phone bill – right at a time when we’ve cut down on other budget items to save money. After my mortgage and my winter heating bill, it’s now my largest monthly expense – the cost of either indulgence or being with it.
The iPhone is a computer with a phone in it or a phone with a computer in it. I can’t figure out which. And that’s its brilliance. It’s the peanut butter and chocolate effect. Two separate things that work together perfectly – like the first time you got on an airplane and saw a TV in front of your seat? Of course, why didn’t anyone think of that before?
Actually, I experienced this feeling about 20 years ago when I got my first power book. It had a blazing 25 MHz processor and a huge 40 MB hard drive, and as I loaded it with a ton of extensions I thought, "Man, it doesn’t get any better than this."