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article imageiPhone Earns Time Magazine Invention of the Year

By Chris Hogg     Nov 2, 2007 in Technology
It's the one gadget the world has heard more about than anything: The Apple iPhone. In their annual award to a product that has stood out, Time magazine has given Apple's handheld the organization's prestigious Gadget of the Year award.
Digital Journal -- When you begin to read Time's Gadget of the Year article, you would initially think it's a damning tech review more so than praising prose.
As Time writer Lev Grossman writes, "The thing is hard to type on. It's too slow. It's too big. It doesn't have instant messaging. It's too expensive. (Or, no, wait, it's too cheap!) It doesn't support my work e-mail. It's locked to AT&T. Steve Jobs secretly hates puppies. And — all together now — we're sick of hearing about it! Yes, there's been a lot of hype written about the iPhone, and a lot of guff too. So much so that it seems weird to add more, after Danny Fanboy and Bobby McBlogger have had their day. But when that day is over, Apple's iPhone is still the best thing invented this year. Why? Five reasons..."
The iPhone has earned Time's Gadget of the Year because it's pretty; touchy-feely; it will make other phones better; it's not a phone, but rather a platform; and because it is but the ghost of iPhones yet to come.
From the "pretty" perspective, Time notes so many tech companies think of design as an afterthought, whereas it's been a key element in the development of the iPhone. We can't agree more here.
The "touchy-feely" Apple earned points not for inventing or reinventing the touch screen, but for knowing how to use a touch-screen interface well.
As far as making other phones better, Time notes Apple scored a big deal with AT&T:
...one reason so many cell phones are lame is that cell-phone-service providers hobble developers with lame rules about what they can and can't do. AT&T gave Apple unprecedented freedom to build the iPhone to its own specifications. Now other phone makers are jealous. They're demanding the same freedoms. That means better, more innovative phones for all.From a platform perspective, the iPhone earned top points for being so comprehensive. Including an operating system, Apple didn't scamp work on the iPhone. Time notes the iPhone is a computer on the go, and opening to third-party developers in 2008 will launch the company even further.
And finally, the ghost of iPhones yet to come refers to Apple's ability to evolve; with 1.4 million units sold in the U.S. to date, the phone will be around for long enough to allow design to change significantly and adapt to new realities.
As Time reports:
Look at the iPod of six years ago. That monochrome interface! That clunky touchwheel! It looks like something a caveman whittled from a piece of flint using another piece of flint. Now imagine something that's going to make the iPhone look that primitive. You'll have one in a few years. It'll be very cool. And it'll be even cheaper
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