It’s the age old dilemma: the secular world versus the spiritual; the things you can’t touch and the things you can’t stop touching. And this Friday, the conundrum continues, when Apple’s long awaited iPhone lands in the UK - on Diwali.
I’d booked the day off work, picked out a traditional outfit, planned my route to the temple (casual shirt, hipster jeans, Central Line to the Regent Street Apple Store). I was all set to get in line and get an iPhone (at 6:02pm - its official launch time, inspired by Apple’s O2 partnership), when my mum called.
“Don’t forget Diwali on Friday,” she said.
Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights. And although the iPhone boasts - amongst other things - a backlit touchscreen, queueing for one on Regent Street is not, apparently, an appropriate way to give thanks to God.
At £269, with a minimum 18 month contract, the iPhone is rather an appropriate way to give thanks to Steve Jobs, blue jeaned and turtle necked co-founder and CEO of Apple, who in September announced the iPhone’s arrival in the UK.
“We can’t wait to let UK customers get their hands on it,” he said.
I can’t wait either, Steve. But instead, at 6:02pm tonight, I’ll be putting my hands together and celebrating the return of Lord Rama. I’ll also be praying that there’ll be iPhones in stock by the time I get to an Apple store on Saturday.
But why am I so blasphemingly excited?
Well, the iPhone is, to the mobile phone market, what the iPod is to MP3 players. Neither are the first, but both are quite easily the best - light years ahead of anything else - and clear solutions to the problems that have plagued consumers since computers could talk to peripherals.
For years, you’ve been able to synchronise your mobile phone with your computer - it’s nothing new - but, honestly, who does it (without wincing)?
The software has been clunky, the hardware flimsy and the whole process of navigating your phone awkward and messy. Apple cuts through that predictable haze with a phone that’s a joy to use (I know because I’ve used one), and built on the iPod/iTunes model that’s served an unprecedented 119 million customers.
At its price, and worrying O2 lock in, the iPhone might take some time to reach those kind of sales. I don’t doubt that we’ll see a price drop in the next year (or an iPhone nano), but in the meantime, expect to see iPhone-flourishes in all new mobile phones, as manufacturers step up their game, as they have post iPod.
It looks like we can all give thanks to Jobs. So, this weekend, put your hands together, in your pocket or on your iPhone and have a Happy Diwali/iPhone Day.
- iPhone - [via Apple.com/uk]