July 2007
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Day July 6, 2007

The iPhone and the Future of Technology Products

My iPhone arrived today, and although it’s a wonderful device, I don’t want to focus here on the device itself. While fresh in my mind, I want to talk about the reason why the iPhone, along with its “predecessor” consumer device the iPod, is the future of high-tech products.

Last Friday, during the first-day frenzy (ok, at 6pm…) I ordered an iPhone from Apple’s online store. The delivery timeline was quoted as 2-4 weeks, which caused a bit of a stir. Apple clearly followed an “under-promise, over-deliver” strategy here, because Fedex actually attempted to deliver my phone yesterday afternoon, while I was running errands. The delivery came direct from Shenzhen, China, and arrived two days later, within a week of my original order. Given past problems with supply and Apple product introductions, and their quoted 2-4 weeks for delivery, I’m impressed. Thrilled, in fact.

The iPhone came in a small box, with a fully charged battery. Which meant that within minutes of the Fedex truck hitting the driveway, my phone was docked, I’d activated it within iTunes, started the process of transferring my existing mobile number from Verizon, and my contacts, email settings, and other basics had sync’d to the phone. Including my Google Calendar data, thanks to the great folks at Spanning Sync (i.e., via iCal sync).

Everything worked. Everything. In far less than 10 minutes after touching the device, I’d made a phone call (outgoing only, incoming will take a couple of hours given the phone number transfer), added my home wireless network (after it prompted me for the security key), checked my email, looked at calendar data, and was ready to sync a subset of my music over.

I know people have talked about problems activating or registering, but my experience was flawless. It’s hard to imagine how much faster I could get started with a device. And this is really the future of technology products: making it trivial to adopt and switch. Whatever else the future holds for my relationship with the device itself or AT&T as a service provider, the first-day experience Apple delivered here is a clear home run. They nailed it. And raised the bar for everyone else delivering technology hardware.