The iPhone IS A Netbook! Part 2 of 3

On October 27, 2008

Last week Steve Jobs went so far as to suggest that Apple already has an entry in the netbook universe- it is called the iPhone.

From the very beginning of this website we’ve taken the position that the iPhone isn’t a phone as much as it is a computer. And the rapid proliferation of applications for the iPhone since July 11 certainly bolsters that argument.

In this, the second of three posts, we’ll look at some of the arguments FOR the iPhone being a netbook contender.


The iPhone is a net book –

Since getting my iPhone there are an increasing number of occasions in which I would have brought a notebook previously but no longer feel the need to carry one thanks to my handheld.

It seems logical to consider first what I would use a netbook for before arguing  whether or not the iPhone fulfills the role.

Basically, the netbook is an attempt to get a mainstream version of the failed ultra-mobile PCs (UMPC) at a consumer level price. The ultra-mobile PC was intended as a go-everywhere device that was primarily used as an Internet tablet and for lightweight word processing and other computer-centric applications that don’t require a tremendous amount of processor or graphics power.

From this perspective the iPhone meets many of those requirements. And I know from whence I’m talking because I had four different ultra-mobile PCs for brief periods during the initial buzz. Unfortunately with each and every one I quickly discovered that the idea of the ultra-mobile PC was a whole lot better than the reality of the ultra-mobile PC. Why? They were too expensive, underpowered, ran too hot, and had miserable battery life.

The iPhone allows me to go on the Internet whenever and wherever I want. In this regard, in fact, it is far better than most of the netbooks that I might have chosen. Its seemly ability to handoff between WiFi and 3G is amazing!  Moreover, thanks to a number of increasingly good text-editing programs I have gotten quite good at using the iPhone to create text. And we aren’t talking emails of a few brief sentences. we are talking creating text. This is certainly not something that would happen on any previous “phone”. In addition, the location services of the iPhone bring a level of usefulness to this device that is not yet found in the majority of netbooks.

Moreover, the iPhone has an entry price point which, when you don’t take the service plan that’s required into account, is as low as the least expensive net book. In fact, it is less than a third the cost of the initial ultra-mobile PCs! The battery life, while not as good as I’d like, is quite good.

Best, and most important of all, if the goal of the ultra-mobile PC was to have a device that you take everywhere, yet my phone is the ultimate example of that device. My suspicion is that any of us who seriously use our iPhones rarely go anywhere without it.

Reasonable price point for entry, excellent web browsing, always on connectivity, decent storage  (made unlimited by applications that access Web services), decent battery life and always with you – that sounds awfully close to what the initial goal of the ultra-mobile PC, now morphed into the netbook, is all about!