I had a great time playing with a friend’s iPhone this weekend. The thing is really nice – even more beautiful in person than in pictures and sturdy beyond expectations. And fun, too.
But maybe I won’t buy one for a couple of years. It isn’t so much the 4 or 8 GB of storage (we’ve grown spoiled). Or the AT&T service. Or the Web surfing, which with a Wi-Fi connection is pretty fast (but with a footprint too small to enjoy doing much more than sports scores).
My biggest quibble is the hard wiring of the 16 feature buttons. Sure, you have text, calendar, photos, camera, map, weather, clock, calendar, notes and settings, phone, mail, the Safari Web browser and iPod. But dedicating one of the precious buttons to “Stocks”? And another one to “YouTube”? In version 1.0, Apple isn’t letting you change them out.
If the buttons have to be preselected – ideally, they would not – it would have been really great for the local ecosystem if one had been slotted for a local TV station site. Or a local newspaper site. Or a local search service. Imagine how an iPhone placement would restore CBS’ lost luster.
The robber baron side of me fantasizes at how much CBS would pay for such a great slot. Or a Gannett. Or a Yellowpages.com. Truly, local could be all over this device. Maps and weather are a great start. Using Yahoo! Maps on my friend’s iPhone on Saturday, we found the right turn to the vineyard. But Web browsing via the touch screen keyboard won’t do it. We need more local buttons.