iPhone season? Or open season on the iPhone?

The iPhone really isn't all that compelling, until you try one

Well, it's the moment of truth for this year's holiday shopping season: iPhone, yes or no? Tracy Mayor put the Question of the Year to Computerworld Editor in Chief Scot Finnie, PC World Editor in Chief Harry McCracken, Computerworld Online News Editor Ken Mingis and NPD Group analyst Ross Rubin. The panel was tied -- two said yes, and two said no, so Tracy turned to me to break the tie.

The iPhone really isn't all that compelling, until you try one. Scot Finnie made that mistake and now he's hooked.

Though "iPhone Killers" abound, there really is only one competitor to the iPhone: The next iPhone. Will Apple ship iPhone 2.0 soon, or not until 2009 or later? That's the main criteria for jumping on board now or waiting, at least for many would-be Scot Finnies. Well, the Grinch came early this year in the form of AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, who let slip this week that, in fact, a superfast 3G version of the iPhone would ship in 2008 (my guess is June). When asked how much it might cost, Stephenson replied that Apple CEO Steve Jobs "will dictate what the price of the phone is." Uh, huh. My question to Stephenson is: Isn't Steve Jobs supposed to dictate when new products are announced, too?

In any event, iPhone fever is slowly spreading across the globe like SARS. And many are grumbling. The Canadians, for example, are feeling like unwanted stepchildren as Americans gloat about their iPhones and launch dates are announced across Europe. The likely ship date in Canada is rumored to be Jan. 18, too late for the holidays. Meanwhile, the British have had their iPhones for three weeks, and some there are complaining both about the high price of the phone and also about spotty reception.

Nobody's complaining in France this week, however. The iPhone launch in that country took place last night spectacularly on the Champs-Elysees, complete with long lines and thrilled buyers.

Whether you buy one this holiday season or not, there's no denying that the iPhone is an iconic, game-changing device on par at least with the original Mac. Transforming the cell phone business is just one reason that Jobs was named this week by Fortune Magazine as this year's "Most Powerful Person In Business" (the other four businesses he transformed are the computer, movie/TV, music and retailing).

New Google Maps: GPS (without the GPS)

The brand-new beta of Google's Maps Mobile application unveiled yesterday looks and feels like the previous version, with one spectacular new trick: When you press zero on your phone's keypad, a blue dot shows up on the map representing an estimate of your location, no GPS required. It works on just about any phone.

Google performs this neat trick -- called My Location -- by learning which cell towers your phone is using, then guessing your location. It's not super accurate, but it does make it more convenient to use Maps on your phone and, unlike GPS, works indoors.

The new maps version, which can be downloaded free at www.google.com/gmm or by texting the word "BLUEDOT" to 33669.

Who says iPhone isn't ready for business?

The iPhone just got more business-friendly thanks to -- are you sitting down? -- Microsoft! When it ships in January, the new Office 2008 for Mac will let users port PowerPoint presentations to iPhones and video-equipped iPods.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mike Elgan

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?