While many people are saying "TGiPhone" today, I'm not so sure that I really must have the must-have device of the moment. Maybe it's just iPhone fatigue, with the non-stop media barrage masterfully orchestrated by Steve Jobs. (Disclosure: I too will be priming that pump as a guest on ABCNews Now today to comment on the madness as the phones finally go on sale).
Maybe it's the gnawing feeling I get that no matter how cool the iPhone may seem right now, it will soon seem as quaint and clunky as the very first iPod. You remember, the one with only 5 gigabytes of memory, a black-and-white screen, and those protruding buttons around the scroll-wheel.
Maybe it's the fact that the iPhone right now is a tease, hinting at what a broadband mobile computing device should be, but hampered by AT&T's worse-than-dial-up data network. (Okay, it's a bit better than dial-up, but not much, since AT&T "boosted" its network speeds over the past few weeks). Steve Jobs says he opted not to go with AT&T's faster, next-generation, 3G network because such phones would be too battery-hungry right now. Fair enough. That's just another reason to wait.
And don't tell me that the WiFi crutch is a good substitute for now. WiFi is not everywhere, and even where there are networks, they are not always open or free. And connecting to them can be a real bitch. In the real world, WiFi phones still have a long way to go (see my recent experience with T-Mobile's Why Phone). These networks are not controlled by Apple (AAPL) or by AT&T (T), so there is only so much they can do to try to make those connections work.
What good is a broadband phone if you can't get a broadband connection? All the Web-surfing and video-streaming capabilities of the iPhone will be intermittent pleasures at best.
There are a litany of other deficiencies as well, including the inability to buy iTunes songs over the air, a camera that cannot record video, Word or Excel files that can be read but not edited, the inability to download contacts from your current phone, poor search functions, no support for instant messaging clients, and no GPS, to name a few. I'm confident that many of these features will be added, improved, or corrected over time. I can wait.
Then there's the price: $500 to $600, plus $60 to $100 a month for the wireless service. If you go all out and get the best phone with the best plan, that will knock you back $1,800 in the first year alone. You know what? I'd rather get a pimped-out MacBook and still save $300.
Update: Glad I waited. My boss just returned his.