It’s alive! It’s alive! You can almost hear CEO Steve Jobs screaming from the back of a dimly lit laboratory at Apple HQ. While his masterpiece has been created and is in its infantile stages, he, much like Dr. Frankenstein, may have created a monster.
Let me rephrase that, his PR and advertising people may have created a monster. By becoming the most highly anticipated gadget this side of the Milky Way, any minor flaw or hiccup experienced by first gen iPhone users is sure to cause more than a little indigestion with the folks who’ve shelled out part of their pension to purchase the handheld and switch service providers.
Most doubters of the iPhone are immediately recanted by some Apple fan who points to the iPod as an indicator of the iPhone’s assured success faster than you can say Newton, the common iPhone doubter’s comeback. However, both of these arguments take a backseat to another quick phrase: first generation. Although the iPod may be more popular than Luke Perry in the early 90’s, we mustn’t forget that it was, at best, a cast member on the Surreal Life before it was introduced to Windows and had its kinks worked out in subsequent generations.
Where the kinks in the first gen iPod and the potential kinks in the first gen iPhone differ is the fact that there were essentially no expectations for the original iPod. As far as we knew, it was another attempt to make a decent mp3 player by a computer company who had lost its luster over the years, and little more. The iPhone, on the other hand, has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon. As you read this very article, there is no doubt a group of techies gathering food and supplies to stock their tent for the next three and a half days outside in the heat in front of an Apple store.
You can imagine the joy they will feel when they get their cellophane wrapped cardboard box filled with the relic they have been lusting over for the past six months. Unfortunately for Apple, you can also see the disappointment on their faces when any minor element of the device fails to meet expectations or has a glitch; and for someone who has been psyching themselves up for such a moment for several months, there is at least one element that is bound to disappoint.
It is quite possible, some might say probable, that Apple will come out with a very good phone. But very good, quite frankly, isn’t good enough. Apple has put its baby up on a pedestal that cannot afford just good reviews. In the words of Wayne Campbell (of Wayne’s World and SNL fame) what the iPhone must do is “Something extraordinary. Something big. Something mega. Something copious. Something capacious. Something cajunga!” for it to meet the expectations of millions of Americans who have already expressed interest in adding it to their mobile repertoire.
With reviewers salivating at the chance to take their jeers and cheers at the “second-coming” of mobile devices, we will most likely find out by Friday evening whether the iPhone is a hit, or whether it will be replacing Screech as the bad boy in the next season of Celebrity Fit Club.