I’m not so sure.
I remain a critic of the iPhone. I’m sold on its almost perfect industrial design, and I agree there is nothing close to it for browsing (short of a micro-notebook or web-tablet), but it’s still limited by its hardware.
The lack of a flash makes the camera fairly sub-par, even for a cell (although it remains a decent 2mp shooter in good light). The lack of 3G means that a Wi-Fi connection is critical. And the bizarre omission of video means that it can’t compete with the Nokia N95 (my current cell of choice), or the recently announced N96. Also, having typed on the iPhone a fair bit, it’s nowhere near as intuitive and ergonomic as my BlackBerry 8800. Let’s also not forget that the iPhone can’t multi-task – a fundamental characteristic of the modern computer since the Amiga. Developers are already arguing that this drastically limits what they can do on the device.
Hardware, of course, can be remedied. AT&T have promised a 3G iPhone eventually, and flash-memory boosts will keep the line fresh. But I’m still to be sold on the idea that the future of computing is handheld. True, as Google hints to with its upcoming mobile OS, handhelds are a very juicy preposition for advertisers, but people are not going to spend hours surfing on their handhelds when a full-size computer or laptop is available.
Also, who is going to use a handheld device for production? No photographer I know is going to use a handheld for Photoshop. No accountant is going to build spreadsheets on his cell, and no writer is going to tap away anything more than an email or blog post on a mini touch-screen. Yeah, we may use smart phones when on the go, but they’ll never replace a traditional PC.
Maybe Apple will dominate the future of computing. Sales of Macs are rising and the platform is now seen very much as the one to have (even in non-production circles). And I’m sure if Apple does own the future, the iPhone and iPod will be fundamental; but let’s not get carried away, the iPhone is not revolutionary, just evolutionary.