Negative pre-iPhone buzz is short on Apple facts

Apple A Day

Plugged In

June 21, 2007|By David Zeiler | David Zeiler,Sun Columnist

Chris Hazelton, a senior analyst of mobile device and technology trends at IDC, speculated in a Computerworld Web article that if the early buyers of the iPhone don't like it, the negative chatter will rapidly torpedo the device. Hazelton went on to make this show-stopping statement: "It's a complicated phone, basically a computer, and like computers, like Macs, it may crash, maybe a lot." Then the Computerworld story paraphrases Hazelton's theory that reports of the crashing iPhones will turn it into "another Newton," Apple's ultimately unsuccessful personal digital assistant device.

Where to start? First, Hazelton implies that Macs crash a lot, which any veteran OS X user will tell you is untrue. I generally reboot my Mac at home (running Tiger) only after installing system updates. I once had my Mac at The Sun running continuously for over 100 days. The iPhone runs on the very same Mac OS X. Crash a lot? I don't think so.

As for the Newton, that's a sore spot with longtime Apple fans. The 1993 device was ahead of its time, but its Achilles heel was its handwriting recognition feature, which performed so poorly in early models that it was widely ridiculed. The Newton never recovered. If the iPhone does have such a major flaw - and that's unlikely - "crashing a lot" will not be it.

I'm not sure why these fellows foresee such peril for the iPhone. Perhaps they simply don't wish to be perceived as Apple fan boys. But I imagine in a couple of years they'll be served a generous helping of humble pie.

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