Friday, 15 January 2010

A Bite of the Apple


Today, I finally joined the massed ranks of Apple's iPhone users, swapping out my Blackberry 9000 for the first batch of the popular smartphones to ship out of Vodafone.

I've been patiently for a year now, as O2 users have had the device for rather a long time and have delighted in showing me how limited the Blackberry, which is powerful in its email capability, is when it comes to 100,000 iPhone 'apps'.

I mentioned that I gave my wife one of the HTC Google Android devices for Christmas and to be honest, it's much easier to install than the iPhone and given its powerful integration with the expanding Google product platform, possibly a better device. However, the iPhone has all the aviation and business apps that haven't yet appeared on the Android and from my point of view, it's apps library has some 80,000 more compelling applications available than Google's but I'm sure that will soon change.

In my view however, if you are looking for one of these super smartphones, then the Google Android is probably the best choice, unless of course, like me, you happen to be looking for specific applications or want to integrate the richer Apple multimedia experience through iTunes.

Perhaps one good thing about switching out of the Blackberry or 'Crackberry', is to wean myself away from PDA attention deficit disorder, every time the incoming email tone warbles. Now my mail is set for collection every fifteen minutes rather than in real time but I will miss the Blackberry keyboard because typing anything sensible on a touch screen phone is both tedious and long-winded!

This week, I stumbled across a book that I wrote twenty years ago, being sold on eBay and it rather surprised me to think that it still holds some residual value today. 1989 was interesting time because we were at the cusp of one the great leap forwards in computing, mid-way between Microsoft's Windows and IBM's OS/2 as both Operating Systems vied for world dominance. We all know which of these won! However, there was a huge amount of disruptive convergence happening at the same time and several of the technologies I wrote about in my book never actually saw the light of day as events overtook them. In any event, it remains an interesting time capsule and perhaps in another hundred years, some researcher will find a dusty copy and find it a useful reference in marking a point in history when the biggest and most successful names in the IT industry were quite oblivious to the sudden rise of a Microsoft which would rapidly push them into extinction or a second-rate position in the software business.

I hope the pupils from the Charles Dickens School, visiting Microsoft next week, will both enjoy and benefit from the experience. In ten years time, who can say what PCs and Smartphones will look like and my iPhone may be gathering dust in the attic along with the 'brick' I first used as a mobile phone twenty years ago!