Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Convergence and the Apple iPhone

Recently we saw the new Apple iPhone unveiled in San Francisco, and although I'm not a user of Apple products, I was quite impressed with what I learned about this new device. No buttons - the interface is entirely touch screen. What intrigues me even more is the display of convergence in this device.

Convergence has always fascinated me. In the last few years I wondered where or when the tipping point will be in consumer electronics where all the many devices we have will merge into one. I think we've found it.

If convergence was at a stand still I imagined the average technophile would have the equivalent of a Batman Utility Belt where he or she would have their cell phone, their PDA, their iPod and maybe a GPS clipped on their person. Not very fashionable and I'm sure Mr. Blackwell would have something to say about it.

Some devices have made honest attempts to converge many technologies into one product. For instance, I have a PDA that I've used for almost three years that I can do many things with such as write and edit documents and spreadsheets. It has wireless capabilities so I can send and receive e-mail and it can hold a whopping 25MB of MP3 files for my listening pleasure! Basically, in one unit I have office applications, an e-mail client and an audio device. This is insignificant compared to iPhone's ability to store 4 to 8 gigabytes worth of audio files, display audio and video and provide a web browser that will shows content as close as possible to what we see on our desktop or laptop displays. And one thing I can't do with my PDA that this new device can - I can't place a call from it.

There's much more to this device than I can report here. CNET has a video review of the product. As you watch the video, pay attention to the number of different technologies they have merged into one. Perhaps you will be as intrigued as I was.

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