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July 30, 2008
Seven Reasons Why the iPhone is More Computer Than Phone
You had to be living in a cave over the past ten days to miss the iPhone hype, and while it’s now replaced by the Batman hype, I thought I’d share with my experience a week or so in.
There have been plenty of articles written about the new iPhone 3G: Walt Mossberg, gizmodo, Engadget and cnet, so I’m not going to give a review, but I am going to tell you why it’s a game changer and why it’s more computer than phone. Building on what David Pogue wrote about last week regarding applications, let’s go a little deeper and talk about usage.
First, if you take a look at any of the reviews listed above, you’ll notice that the phone usage comes last. Why? Well, like I said, this is more computer than phone. It’s about what you can do with it, and oh, by the way, you can make calls as well. As I look at my usage over the past week, it’s weighted about 80% data/computer and 20% phone; if anything, I think I’ll probably up the data/computer percentage a bit over time. We’ll see.
And the roll call:
#1 It crashes
I’ll get the negative out of the way first. Sure, I’ve had some BlackBerry restarts and crashes, but I’ve had more in the last week on the iPhone than I’ve had in the last few months on my BlackBerry Curve.  So iPhone -1
#2 Application store
It’s a single place to get all the goods for the iPhone and plenty of applications, many of which are free, that really expand the usage of the phone. And that’s the key; the application store is a conduit for adding features to your phone. Just as your computer doesn’t do much without software, the hardware and application software from third parties takes this phone to another level. Application store +3
So let’s talk about computer-like behavior and some of these applications that enable it.
#3 Where you at
Borrowing for a second from Boost Mobile and Kanye, you really don’t have to ask this again. Loopt, demonstrated at WWDC, does run on other mobile platforms, but on the iPhone it really shines. Add your friends to your networks and Loopt keeps track of where you are via the built-in GPS, as well as letting you share photos and messages, all without a call. Location-based services +2
#4 Music
Devices that play music anywhere have (in many thanks to the iPod) become almost ubiquitous, but the iPhone with its applications manages to best them all. First, Pandora --yes the one that your IT dept. may be trying to block on your network--runs on the iPhone. Once I installed the app on my phone, using my same Pandora log-in gave me access to all my stations that I’d been listening to on my Mac. And it has the same thumbs up /down feature so Pandora can keep learning about the kind of music I like and don’t. Oh and it plays over 3G as well as WiFi, so truly music Pandora on the go.
Shazam, and I don’t mean Captain Marvel. Instead, launch Shazam and hold it up to a radio/tv/speaker and Shazam will listen to and identify the song. Now you’re one touch away from previewing and buying it on iTunes. Music on the iPhone +3
#5 Games
Taking full advantage of the accelerometer games like Crash Bandicoot and iPint (which by the way is a GREAT example of advergaming gone right!) allows the user to control the games by simply tilting and rolling the phone. Playing feels definitely un-phone-like, more like a PSP like experience, a great way to kill time when you’re not making a call. Game play +2
#6 Social Networking
What computer phone would be complete without social networking tools? And with the new iPhone came AIM Chat; as expected, it’s connected to your iChat / AIM account so it uses the same log-in to give you access to your buddy lists.
Recently updated (thankfully, as the initial release version was light on features) is the Facebook app. So chat and the majority of my main Facebook features, all on the go, a winner. Staying Connected +3
#7 Email and calendar
Building on the Mac’s already well-integrated email and calendar in Leopard, Apple’s new MobileMe gives you Over the Air (OTA) syncing, just like those corporate BlackBerry Enterprise Servers. Now admittedly, MobileMe had some issues in the maelstrom of switch from .mac and new iPhone release and some users have had problems with the OTA syncing, but my usage has been great. And I love that my calendar, email and contacts stay up to date across my computer, web and iPhone. OTA syncing +1
I’ll stop with seven reasons, but the list could go on, mainly due to the great applications, leveraging the hardware and software that Apple built. It’s a game changer in my opinion. Why? Because it’s less about the phone and more about the device. Being able to work, play, connect, post, etc. pretty much wherever you are is very powerful. And while other devices were here first, the iPhone just gets it a little more right. 

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For more than 15 years, Chris Mller has created, built and led businesses in the digital marketing space. He is a regular speaker at agency conferences and forums and is a recipient of numerous awards including agency of the year by Revolution Magazine, Cannes Cyber-Lion, One Show, Addy’s and Gold Effie. Currently he is the SVP, Group Managing Director, Interactive at Draftfcb and is actively involved with the majority of Draftfcb’s clients.
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