I’ve had many mobile phones over the years. But that is another story that might be worth a dedicated post another time. I’ve actually had many smart phones before the iPhone but no phone (apart from my first mobile) changed my life in a significant way. The iPhone did.
I even think that apart from my first computer, my first phone, my first modem (i.e. internet connection) and my first car, of all the things I’ve bought the iPhone most profoundly changed my life.
Before I had spend some time with an iDevice, I was very sceptical about it and I wasn’t interested in an iPhone before the 3GS came out. The Nokia and Windows mobile phones I used before could install programs (although I rarely did it), could sync to Outlook, let me check e-mails, take photos (my last Nokia actually took much higher quality photos than my iPhone) and thanks to Opera mobile allowed me to surf the web (not great but OK) – but I hardly ever did it.
Although I had several iPods over the years, I was sceptical of an all in one device and I was very sceptical of Apple’s closed system.
While I’m still not happy with all aspects of Apple’s approach (and with iTunes), it turned out that all the things the iPhone does so well by far outweighed these aspects. The iPhone turned out to be an OK phone but by far the best pocket computer I had ever owned.
- I love that I can choose between hundreds of great apps and games. Lots of them will be free, most of the other ones will be absolutely reasonably priced. Although I already have hundreds of apps installed, I still keep looking for (and find) great new apps.
- Mobile internet works well, and it is fun and addictive on the iPhone. Safari is capable of rendering almost all websites perfectly (OK, except flash…). I had used mobile internet explorer and Opera Mobile for Windows Mobile before and I have no idea how incredibly well the web can work on a mobile device.
- I discovered and fell in love with video podcasts (see my post on tech video podcasts).
I knew about video podcasts before. However I don’t like to watch videos on my PC (apart from the occasional funny cat video on You Tube) and it never felt worth the hassle to load them down individually and transfer them to the media player attached to my TV. In fact the only one I used to watch like this was (and still is) Techzilla.
When I got the iPhone, I started experimenting a bit with short video podcasts. I was delighted how easy it was to subscribe to them and transfer them to the iPhone and step by step I subscribed to more and more. Now I watch video podcasts all the time: in bed before I go to sleep, while I clean the kitchen, when I take the train, etc. They have substituted TV and reading to a large extend for me.
Finally, the pretty expensive data and voice plan I took for the iPhone lifted any constrains to actually use as much data as I wanted.
I did things I had never or only very rarely done before. I did them all the time now: when I went outside for a cigarette, when I waited for an appointment, when I took the tube – and I loved it.
At the end of the day it’s the combination of the iPhone, the ecosystem and the data plan. I will never voluntarily go back to a device that lets me do less.