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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Apple 23 Years Later

When the first iPhone came out I was amazed at how much computing power Apple had created for a persons pocket and how, as an electronic device, it has no comparison. And yet, there is still something remarkably Apple about the iPhone. The iPhone brings back all the same thrills and chills of the original Macintosh unveiled during the half time commercial during the Superbowl in 1984.

Not unlike the first Macintosh, I was also astonished at how much Apple left off the iPhone. When the Mac first come out it was crippled with one disk drive and no internal storage. When the iPhone came out it was using the antiquated Edge protocol for communicating with the internet. Finally in 2008, Apple will upgrade the iPhone hardware to 3G

When the first Mac came out it was limited with 128K of RAM and the iPhone clearly has too little memory -- 4GB was discontinued almost immediately and 8GB is way too small at a time when 16GB (already available on the iPod Touch) and 32GB are already becoming widely available in flash drive devices. No doubt, the new iPhone coming in January 2008 will have 16GB and hopefully a 32GB version also.

When the Mac first arrived many complained about it having only a one button mouse (one can argue this philosophically) and the iPhone is limited by having no video capture ability, no Flash or Java and most vociferously, the iPhone is extremely crippled by its exclusive contract with ATT. As Walt Mossberg exclaimed, "Break the lock" and now European countries have joined a chorus of complaints against the way Apple has sought to limit the technological freedom of its users.

However, Apple triumphed over all these drawbacks with new releases and bleeding edge technology by making computing devices that completely redefine how we use them. Apple makes devices with jaw-droppingly cool features and easy to use interfaces that are simple yet powerful as tools.

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