iPhone = Smartphone


Matt Hickey, the west coast’s James Bond, disagrees with me. He doesn’t like Pearl Jam, he supports street vendors and he doesn’t consider the iPhone to be a smartphone.

Hickey is clearly a boob.


What makes it not a smartphone? I asked him. He went into some cyberpunk rant about it not integrating with corporate Exchange servers, not having Office support and not supporting any instant messaging clients out of the box. Those first two complaints sounds like something a WinMo agent would say, while the latter will be moot once the SDK rolls out next year. That you can use iPhoneChat, apparently, doesn’t count.

I don’t dispute that the iPhone is not a business phone. Was it ever intended to be, though, I wonder? Look at the way Apple advertises it: a dog riding around on a skateboard in a YouTube video doesn’t exactly scream “corporate TPS reports” to me.

From Day One, iPhone was meant to be a slick cellphone for everyone, not something your boss would use to keep you within arm’s reach 24 hours a day; it’s not a BlackBerry.

Great, but why do I consider it a smartphone? Because, to me, a smartphone is any cellphone that isn’t dumb. While the iPhone may be dumb—it never impressed me like it does Biggs, for example—, it isn’t dumb. It does things that many of my friends and family’s cellphones couldn’t possibly do.

So in that respect, the iPhone is a smartphone.

I can browse the Internet with Safari, albeit without Flash support; I can read my e-mails, albeit sorta with a so-so interface; I can use any number of small applications, from Google Maps to whatever third-party developers can whip together with a little bit of AJAX. Better still, starting in February, I’ll be able to use more, “real” applications, provided they receive Apple’s seal of approval. (Or, right now, I can say “screw it,” hack it like it’s hot, then install a whole host of other goodies on it. That’s not just smart, but damn smart.)

Put another way: a non-smartphone can only make and receive phone calls (and text messages). Anything beyond that, in my book, puts in the in the smartphone category. The iPhone is beyond that.

Who is going to sit there, smugly, and argue with me that the iPhone is “dumb”? I’m on Christmas break right now, so I’ve got all the time in the world to argue with you.

To me, it seems that insisting that the iPhone isn’t a smartphone is nothing more than some super-nerdy, I-know-more-than-you-do attack on it. “It’s not a smartphone, it doesn’t do this, that and the third.”

Look, chief, it’s not some crippled, Verizon Wireless, entry level POS. That’s not a smartphone.

Make no mistake, I’m no iPhone apologist; I could give a damn if Apple sold 10 or 10 million of them. But to put on an “I’m smarter than you” hat and insist that it’s not a smartphone is a waste of my time and yours.

For a whole lot of people out there, it does enough smartphone things to make it a smartphone.

I’d use an iPhone over a WinMo disaster any day of the week.