Slide to Unlock…


(Photo: I dunno, I think I look good in black…)

Yes, I did, and I’m glad I did it. It’s not like I had much of a choice. Long ago I drank the Kool-Aid, got sucked into the reality distortion field surrounding one Steven Jobs, and ended up on the road to owning what now amounts to 10 Macs in 10 years. This I figured out last year when I sat down and did a spreadhseet of them all (some of you Macheads know you want to know this: Performa 6360CD; iMac Rev. B; “Wall Street” PowerBook G3 Rev. 2; “Pismo” PowerBook G3; iBook SE Graphite; Power Mac G4 Cube; iBook Dual USB Rev. 1; iMac G4 flat panel Rev. 1; eMac Rev. 2; and MacBook Rev. 1–with all their hard drives named “Rocko”, sequentially numbered Rocko I through Rocko X).

So although I’m moving and really oughtn’t have, with obsessive tendencies like those testified to above, could I really let a year go by without making some sort of major purchase at an Apple Store? Come now. Which is what I did, came right on down to the Apple Store on Michigan Avenue, a comfy 12-minute walk from my still-extant downtown Chicago home, this past Sunday morning. I asked whether they had any iPhones in stock–the 8 Gig model, please. The clerk chuckled and opened a wall panel behind her to reveal heaps and mountains of the little irresistible bundles of cell-phone gravitational pull.

“Oh yeah, we’re keeping ’em in stock. And all those people who bought them last week to try and resell them on eBay are really pissed at us!”

Not me. What I’m really pissed at is my Sprint Blackberry 7130e. Or as I like to call it, the little phone that couldn’t. If I had a nickel for every time my crackberry has frozen, crashed, slowed to a crawl, or simply refused to work correctly since the misguided day I bought it back in October (boy, that was a day of high and eventually unrealized hopes), the early-termination fee I’m going to get socked with from Sprint would be much easier to swallow. I don’t care. I’m tired of having to remove and reseat the battery in the device just to check my email. Or that lovely way it refuses to sync with the Blackberry Internet Service –every–single–time– that I trade time zones when traveling.

Hedging my bets that my new investment wouldn’t be good money after bad, I plopped down my $(oh just don’t even ask) and headed home to see if I could get Apple’s little fucker to work any better. Boy, could I. In iTunes, it took all of five minutes to set up the device and sign-up for an AT&T wireless account (of course, loading my music, movies, and photos for the first time took closer to an hour).

And when I was finished, everything just worked. Email settings, browser settings (and let me tell you it is absolutely amazing to be able to browse full-size web pages on a cell phone), the embedded iPod, the YouTube and Google Maps features, the virtual interface (no buttons, just magically appearing icons on a touch screen for you to swipe away at with index fingers or the occasional opposable thumb). Others have detailed the pros and cons of the device better than I can or care to (see the iPhone reports on MacWorld, PC World, Engadget, MacNN, and from Apple, themselves). Suffice it to say, I’m a happy decamper from the Blackberry camp.

Recently, Jim Baisilie, the CEO of Research in Motion (RIM)–the makers of the Blackberry–called the iPhone a “dangerous strategy” with a potentially “tremendous amount of control”. He’s not kidding. Beyond the overwhelming sense that I’ve been liberated from a willfully moribund and closed platform (God, I wish I had known that back in October when I could have bought a Palm-based Treo), I also have a new obsessive urge.

And that would be to initiate a death match between a now-unused Blackberry and a hard-plaster Marina City wall. The aforementioned PC World report shows that an iPhone can be dropped repeatedly onto a concrete driveway without so much as scuffing the glass touch screen. Considering that I’ve barely had my Blackberry for nine months and its Sprint logo has already fallen off, somehow I don’t think it would fare quite as well.

In fact, I’m counting on it.

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