Am I the only one who is unmoved by the iPhone?

My wife owns an iPod nano.  Its neat bit of kit but my Rio Carbon does the job just as well in my opinion.  However, it does demonstrate to me Apple’s ability to design really cool products that are easy to use and look great.

However, when it comes to mobile phones, my view is that ambitions are way too limited.

I want my mobile phone to do much more than make calls and texts.  Calculator? Camera?  MP3 player? Surf the web? Sure! But what about much more than that?

What about electronic access to my home, my car, my place of work?  My ID card, my passport?  What about my CostCo membership, my gym membership (OK I was lying there – see my photo), my football club season ticket?

What about the ability to “shake hands” with interesting people you meet and exchange identity details (business cards are so last year and they aren’t big enough to put all your electronic details on any more)?

However, the killer app for me is as a true electronic wallet and that means the ability to make payments.  So I should have access to my “virtual” debit and credit cards and be able to make secure payments online and in-shop – perhaps using iris recognition, or a PIN number as security for example.

One of the problems of using a debit/credit card for every transaction however, is the cost of processing.  Using today’s technology you wouldn’t walk into your local newsagent and pay for the Times with your credit card.  So it seems there is also a requirement for a small payments mechanism.  A way of loading the phone with electronic cash that can be transmitted directly to another person.  There should be no need to record the transaction which also helps with the conspiracy theorists out there.

I live in England and visit London frequently.  I therefore have an Oyster card which is a prepaid proximity card that allows access to the London transport system including the Underground.  Recently, Barclaycard and Oyster announced an alliance to develop a “wave and pay” system for use in a variety of retailers and businesses – but this is card based.

Who needs another card in their wallet?  I don’t want a wallet at all.  So for me (although as a Barclays and Oyster customer I will undoubtedly use it) this development is no more than a stepping stone.

I am aware that there is a growing number of companies now developing technology for mobile phones as a payment mechanism (HSBC/ViVOtech here for example) and I am watching with interest.

I don’t deny that there are problems to overcome, not least how quickly you could get a replacement phone when stolen or lost.

However, physical cash is an outdated concept – will it still be around in 2050?

One Response to “Am I the only one who is unmoved by the iPhone?”

  1. » Blog Archive » iPhone is too expensive Says:

    […] opened this weblog in Feb 2007 with a post extolling my disinterest in the iPhone.  Sure, Apple is a master of design, especially the user interface and experience, but price is a […]

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