It will sell like proverbial hot cakes when it goes on sale in the US in June — but why? What’s the point of having so many devices on something that is still essentially a phone? Did I miss something? I thought a mobile phone was about being able to make and receive phone calls while you’re on the move. ~Dennis Marinos

Apparently Mr. Marinos and I inhabit another world in which being able to carry around a phone in your pocket is technological revolution enough for one lifetime.  It would appear that he is something of a curmudgeon, and so am I, and thank goodness for that.  The marketing genius of the iPhone, like the iPod before it (another one of Steve Jobs’ gifts to mankind that I don’t have and whose amazing reputation I don’t really understand), is that there is literally no good reason for it to exist–but technological ingenuity and the dynamo of consumerism have produced something new, shiny and intriguing to whet the appetites of consumers who have already become bored with something so last year as a “Razor” or “Chocolate” phone.  (I don’t even know what makes a Chocolate phone a Chocolate phone–I have heard the name, and that is all I care to know.)  Now a new waste of money and time approaches on the horizon–rejoice, O ye gullible and easily persuaded!  Give Steve Jobs credit for creating a massive media hype (to which even curmudgeonly critics are contributing) for a product that literally no one needs.  The last time I heard this much hype about a new innovative miracle of technology that was going to blow us all away, someone released the Segway, that ridiculous high-tech scooter, which is something that virtually no one outside of a few metro police forces uses.  A lot more people will use the iPhone, but what nobody seems to appreciate is that iPhone and Segway users will share the honour of being big dupes. 

But, the fans enthuse, you can touch the screen and select things with your finger!  It’s like magic or Star Trek or Star Trek and magic together.  You can listen to music on your phone!  Forget about the shabby world of ringtones–the future is now!  Before long, there will be Apple products that will be able to create a subspace bubble–or whatever–that will allow us to travel through time.  Who cares?  It’s just a phone.  If it has lousy reception or poor network coverage, it will actually be a step backwards from the ho-hum, boring cell phone (mine has no camera, no music, no artificial intelligence matrix to organise my daily planner and cook me breakfast) that I have grudgingly gotten into the habit of using.  (I have had the exact same cell phone for over three years now, and somehow my life has not fallen apart.)  If it works just as well as other phones, you will have to pay a lot more to get the exact thing I have.  You will also have a bunch of really impressive-sounding junk that you don’t need and will not use often enough to make it worthwhile.  Count me out.