Andover Eyes the iPhone

Every time Steve Jobs, Apple Corporation’s CEO, announces Apple’s newest innovation, the media, Wall Street, and Andover students immediately take notice. After his epic announcements, the frenzy to purchase the latest Apple products begins. On January 11, Apple released the multi-functional iPhone prototype to the public. The iPhone combines all the joys of modern technology – an iPod, a digital camera, Internet access, and a cellular phone – into one sleek and easy to use device. To many, the iPhone is the zenith of all things snazzy. However, excited consumers must realize that Apple only released the iPhone prototype, which cannot be purchased until June. Also, one bottom line question still remains: Will Andover students purchase the product? Most see the plethora of functions on the iPhone as a chance to replace other products. Nicole Duddy ’08 said, “When I go out, I always have my cell phone, iPod, and camera in my pockets. Sometimes, I even carry around my laptop for convenience. I want the iPhone because that means I only need to carry around on thing!” Before the iPhone, companies tried to down size products. Devices became thinner and more compact, such as the credit card-size Canon Powershot, Motorola’s RAZR phone, and Apple’s iPod Nano. But with the iPhone, Apple introduces a new trend to compact everything together. However, other students seem skeptical about the product. Daniah Missmar ’09 said, “I want to wait a couple more years until Apple has completely perfected the product. This product is so new and so innovative, I’m afraid there will be too many problems with it.” Furthermore, Andover students see Apple’s contract with the phone company Cingular as both a hindrance and a benefit. Cingular’s exclusivity could be a real problem. First, the company will have a monopoly on the phone service for iPhone consumers. Second, residents in Vermont and Nevada are excluded from the iPhone frenzy due to Cingular’s gaps in wireless service. But this business deal was exactly what the two companies had intended. James Rockas ’08 said, “Even though I have Verizon and I get better service on campus, I will give that up to get the iPhone and switch over to Cingular.” Joseph Mensah ’08 is embracing the fact that Apple has collaborated with Cingular. “I have built up credit with Cingular, so as soon as the iPhone is released, I can use the credit and upgrade my phone. The deal is too sweet to pass up.” The iPhone’s price tag, currently at $499 for a four-gigabyte model and $100 more for the eight-gigabyte model, has some PA students cringing. Brianna McCarthy ’09 said, “The iPhone seems really cool but what if I lose it? It’s too expensive to take that risk.” Other students agree. They fear that in one fell swoop everything – music, videos, phone, Internet, and photos – can be lost.” Perhaps for some, the price is more acceptable when they consider all the features and bragging rights that come when you are one of the first to own an iPhone. Even with debates of whether or not the convenience and reliability of the iPhone is worth the price, one thing is for sure – the iPhone lives up to its hype. The device is 0.46 inches thinner than many popular competitors, including the Blackberry Pearl and Palm Treo. There will inevitably be comparisons between the iPhone and many other smartphones like Motorola’s Q, but the completely flat 3.5-inch screen stands out from the others. Also, upon first sight, many people confusedly ask, “But what about all of the keys and buttons?” This is another aspect to the iPhone’s genius. If the phone function is in use, a touch sensitive number pad appears on screen. Searching on the Internet? A full QWERTY keyboard appears that is so intuitive that it senses any range of mistakes and automatically corrects itself. Furthermore, the iPod feature on the device can be used for sixteen hours of audio playback and five hours of video watching. However, unlike the swirling finger motions to control the iPod, all one has to do to scroll through playlists is sweep one finger up or down. With up to eight gigabytes of storage, it has roughly the same amount of memory as the highest volume iPod Nano. For watching TV shows or movies from the iTunes store, the device can be laid on its side, whereupon the iPhone will sense the switch in orientation and transform into widescreen mode. A similar aspect can be used on the photo feature of the iPhone. The innovators at Mac even flawlessly integrated a two megapixel camera into the phone. Many iPod users will really appreciate this new feature, especially since iPods can only store and display photos. Finally, the breakthrough feature of this gadget is the highly advanced Internet feature. Access to the Web is gained through WiFi, the common wireless medium, or Cingular’s EDGE system. Unlike viewing microscopic and condensed versions of a website on current cell phones, the iPhone allows one to view the exact same thing as one would on a computer monitor with just as much clarity. Also, if the type is too small to read, with a simple and literal pinch of the screen one can easily zoom in. The iPhone almost seems like a misnomer because all of the special features overshadow the actual phone feature. The phone is accessed through the home screen, which shows a contact list, favorites, recent, and keypad tab. In addition, voicemail appears in a list and can be accessed and listened to individually. Text messaging, which is also done using the touch screen keyboard, appears on the screen like instant messaging. As of now, there is no other product that is on the same level as the iPhone. The quest to find out whether or not Andover students are in love with Apple’s iPhone must be postponed. Andover can only wait until next Fall Term to see whether students embrace or hate the new iPhone.