When I first heard about the iPhone, my reaction was "I'm definately going to get one!" However, after spending a few days reading more about it and thinking it over, I'm not entirely sure if I will get one or not. The iPhone still leaves me with many questions that are holding me back...
Being a slave to Cingular for 2 years
In order to get the iPhone, you need to sign up with Cingular (soon to be AT&T) Wireless and sign up for a TWO year plan. Noone else will have the iPhone, at least for the next couple years. I really dislike Cingular. I was a customer of them for many years. I had frequent problems with not getting a signal, dropped calls, etc. Yeah they have that 'Rollover Minutes' feature, but who cares? I never use that many minutes on my cell phone a month, so I don't really need them. I also really dislike 2 year cell phone plans. I don't like 'signing my life away' for 2 years with a company who's service and/or features could end up going downhill a couple months into those 2 years. If that happens, you are trapped. You are stuck with an expensive cell phone plan, crappy service, inadequate features etc. I don't mind 1 year plans. I can always 'ride out' 1 year and then leave for another company once the year is over. With cell phone number portability, it really has no impact on me. I can easily move my cell phone number to another carrier. Most cell phone carriers are really pushing 2 year plans these days, no doubt in an effort to 'lock you in' for as long as possible. You can still get a 1 year plan if you ask for it and push hard, but they don't like giving them out. I suspect that it's possible to get an iPhone on a 1 year plan, but I doubt it. Also, there is no information on how much this plan will cost. I fully expect Cingular to suck this incredible deal for as much as they can. There will be tons of people wanting this phone. They'll get their phones, but Cingular will lock you in. I forsee many problems with Cingulars network once this flood of new users come in.
Where's the Widescreen iPod???
Yes, this thing functions as a widescreen iPod. The problem is, that while it has an ideal screen and features to act as a widescreen iPod, it lacks the storage capacity. We have HD based iPods with 80GB of space. This thing at best has 8GB of space (1/10th the storage capacity). If you are going to be watching video, you are going to want MUCH more space than 8GB. It really isn't practical to watch video on this thing, due to limited battery life and limited storage space. When is Apple going to make a non-phone version of this? Just take out all the hardware in there that you need for the phone, and replace it with a 80GB or larger hard drive. Boom. Instant real widescreen iPod. I expect they will eventually do this, but as it stands right now, once again I need to become a slave to Cingular to get the iPod I want. What if I want all the features but want someone ELSE for my cell phone service. I'm out of luck right now.
During the keynote Jobs mentioned briefly that the iPhone supports Core Animation and Cocoa - both technologies that exist in the upcoming version of OS X. This would seem to imply to me that you can write your own software for it. That would be fantastic! The iPhone has PDA written all over it. It is the 'iPod PDA' that I've been dreaming about for years! I would certainly be writing apps for it and I'm sure MANY others would too. However, in later news, it was revealed that Jobs said the iPhone was going to be a 'closed platform'. In other words you can't write apps for it. Only Apple can. If this turns out to be true, this really angers me. Yeah, the old iPod is a closed platform as well, but that doesn't really bother me. The iPod is very limited in it's UI. You can't really do much with a click wheel, application-wise. But the iPhone seems perfect for writing portable apps. With a color touchscreen, there is almost no limit on what you can do with the UI of an app. I could easily see full screen PDF viewers (if it doesn't already have one) on this thing. I can easily see a large market for third party games.
It runs OS X?
Ok, this strikes me as a bit evasive on Apple's part. In the keynote, Jobs announced to much applause that the iPhone runs OS X. This would lead people to believe that any app that runs in OS X would run on the iPhone. I seriously doubt that. I just can't see myself running Photoshop on my phone! Also, from looking at the UI we've seen, it clearly has a different UI than OS X does. There are no title bars, no windows etc. This is clearly not running the same OS X as on Macintosh computers. It is clearly running a scaled down embedded version of OS X. This is really a new OS that they wrote specifically for the iPhone. Why not just be clear about it and SAY that? Call it "OS X Mobile" or someting like that. I'd be find with that. I just find this choice of only calling it "OS X" a bit deceptive. Supposedly the iPhone will be available in June. This is not long before their yearly Worldwide Developers Conference. I can easily see them spending a lot of time talking about the programming side of "OS X Mobile" at that time. Of course this all hinges on whether they allow people to develop for it at all, which they have so far indicated, they won't.
I have to say that right now the iPhone leaves me with way too many questions and concerns to decide whether I'm going to get one or not. I'll just have to wait and see.