iPhone: Is it magic?

Mike Elgan has an article on iPhone: 20 things we don’t know (Jan. 12, 2007) in Digit a magazine about “the future of digital design”. In particular I agree with his questions about the touch screen interface and virtual keyboard – will it be responsive enough for Blackberry users who do push e-mail?

Image of Apple NewtonOne way of asking about the iPhone is to think about the Newton PDA which was also supposed to be a magical reinvention of personal computing. Like the iPhone, and unlike the iPod, it tried to do lots of things and as a result didn’t do anything well. The Palm Pilot got the PDA market right by doing fewer things very well and in a small enough package to fit in your pocket. As pretty and desirable as the iPhone is, I worry that it will be a delicate and fat phone; a slow and poor Internet device; and an expensive iPod with little memory.

That said, it will shakeup the cell phone business. If it doesn’t take off, someone else will get the need for new designs and digital integration right.

Update: Shawn pointed me to an article Apple Ushers in Era of the Fluid UI by Om Malik. Malik correctly, I think, identifies the fluid interface as the important innovation.