Hype is great to sell products and this summer two products were hyped to the max: Harry Potter and the iPhone. But the problem with hype is that you have to live to it. And in both cases it was hard. Om Malik has a good article on how the iPhone has not lived up to its expectations. And with Harry Potter being sold at a 40% discount 5 days after it came out I have the feeling that a lot of overprinting has taken place at Scholastic. While I can´t comment on my experience as a Harry Potter reader what people seem to say is that the last Harry Potter novel is good but that Harry Potter 6 was better. But probably what made it not great is to promote itself as great. And the same tremendous expectations were built around the iPhone. I have been walking around with the iPhone for 3 weeks now and the results are mixed. The iPhone is to sophisticated mobile phones what TV is to the Internet. TV clearly beats the internet on screen size and ease of use. The iPhone beats the Blackberry or Nokia N95 along the same lines. But as a lean forward device the iPhone is simply bad (and I say this as an Apple fan, owner of at least 12 iPods over the last 6 years and a MacBook from which I am blogging this post). So what´s wrong with the iPhone? The problem is that the person who is missing when using an iPhone is You.

Every time you want to assert your personality in an iPhone the iPhone seems to say that others are smarter than you. You want to film you can´t, but you can see what others filmed in Youtube with the best quality of any mobile device. You want to write you can´t (at least not easily) but the iPhone has the easiest reading platform of any mobile device to see what others wrote. You want to tell the world where you are you can´t (as opposed to the N95 and the Blackberry 8800 no GPS), now there´s no better screen in which to see Google Maps as the iPhone. You want to record your voice as in other devices but you can´t, but the iPhone is the best iPod ever, perfect to listen to others who speak or sing better than you do. You want to Twit through IM you can´t (I chat frequently in my Blackberry using google talk) but you can read what other people are Twitting better in any other mobile device.  And on the other major dissapointment is the iPhone´s inability to attach or read attachments well.  Bottom line, the iPhone is the opposite of that Time cover that the person of the year is you. The iPhone is a spectator phone, not very web 2.0.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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mkefon on July 27, 2007  · 

You have given a new insight. The rural area in which I live doesn not have AT&T. I had hoped for a PDA-iPhone in the fall. But from what you reveal, that might not meet my expectations. Please keep us posted!

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Pablo on July 28, 2007  · 

On July 21 I wrote this post on my blog: “Harry Potter and the Deathly iPhone” (http://www.pablograiver.com/pablograiver/2007/07/harry-potter-an.html) – It’s a very different take on the same topic… perhaps because I’m actually a Harry Potter fan, not an Apple one 🙂 Cheers

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