Time labels iPhone as Invention of the Year

Stop. I mean, don't stop reading this, but stop thinking what you're about to think. Or, O.K., I'll think it for you:

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:

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Why would you guys expect TIME to showcase an actual invention as invention of the year?

If you want real tech news, then just worry about what real tech news sources say, like trade journals or whatever.

Why bash a mass media crap magazine for spreading mass media crap? Of course they are going to; just ignore it.

yup, TIME is a cultural magazine, not a knowledgeable magazine like national geographic or something .... 'Invention' for them means something from the cartoon storyline wonderland of PR campaigns, not something which actually took real work to find and create , which actually lets us do what we couldnt do before...

nowadays human progress has branched out so much that all the interesting things are happening in really obscure and inaccesible parts...

I have an N95 which does everything the iPhone does pretty much. It's lacking touch features yes but overall its the same. I haven't seen an iPhone yet but the highlight for most people is the touch features which is now a feature of the iPods anyway. I think Apple has realised that anything that looks nice and has jazzy features will sell. As said before the iPhone doesn't have anything more than other products that have been out there for years.
Restricting it to other networks is pretty poor. Surly they will sell more units if its on multiple networks?
I guess though there isn't much else to go up against the iPhone in terms of new inventions this year.

I agree that the N95 is a nice phone. It is a shame it is vastly more expensive than the iPhone when bought without carrier subsidies.

Im a long time Windows Mobile user, and whilst I wouldnt buy an iphone nor recommend one, I accredit it with a few things.

1. One of the best contemporary demonstrations on the power of consumer information and marketing. For the most part bar multitouch and the 16g capacity there isnt a feature of the iphone that WM hasnt been able to do for years. yet you show people a WM device and they are often perplexed that they have never heard of them or associate "Windows" with a complex and mythically unrealiable device.

Thats the problem here, Microsoft have been content to occupy the business market for touch screen/smartphone devices without seriously branching out into the consumer market as a whole, especially when the devices have dropped so much in price that they are now an affordable alternative. But the key failing of MS has been their inability to even educate consumers properly on the differences between smartphone and pocket pc phone. A minor technicality with little consequences but if you cant get the differences between that right, what hope to inform ppl of the features of WM as a whole fo you have?

So why does everyone know what an iphone is, yet few know of Windows Mobile despite being *arguably* the more mature and still advanced device platform? Really has to come down to Advertising and getting the word out doesnt it? Ive been using these devices for years and never seen a WM ad, yet the iphone isnt even in Aus yet and ive already seen iphone advertisements....


2, Multitouch and the resilent scratch screen. Something HTC and Microsoft should have worked on long ago. It shouldnt have taken apple to capture the consumer market before HTC and Microsoft realised regular consumers sans high end business would be interested in functional touch devices.

3. Full touch screen. I give apple credit for taking the chance on this and making full use of the technology. I think they have sacrified functionality by limited the OS to full use of the fingers/touch as opposed to stylus, but making full use of the touch screen over the majority of the device was a bold move that is likely to set the trend of future devices.

4. Competition. As I said longtime WM user, not much of an apple fan. But MS has an unfortunate history of letting markets deteriorate until they face comptition. Its been the case in the Windows mobile market. So little innovation over all these years. In the short time the iphone has already been around weve seen Microsoft collaborate with Tmobile to build a user interface for their roms, as well as more freely flowing info on future updates and a recongition of the need to build closer ties with partners like HTC.
Fingers crossed for an i-umpc so Intel and Microsoft breathe a bit of life back into the technological and design progress of that platform.

Good post.

What some Neowinians continue to fail to realize is that a devices ease of use means much more to the general consumer than how advanced or powerful a device is. The iPhone is so successful because people who can't even set the time on their VCR's can use them.

QuarterSwede said,
Good post.

What some Neowinians continue to fail to realize is that a devices ease of use means much more to the general consumer than how advanced or powerful a device is. The iPhone is so successful because people who can't even set the time on their VCR's can use them.

so if i took any mobile and removed most of the features to the point all you could do was make a phone call. same way people did for years on the landlines. will that be so inovative. anyone could use it!! but it woudl still suck

What you fail to realise is ease of use and prettiness does not make something inovative

Good post. As someone who has had 2 HTC Phones, an HP, numerous Nokias, Motorollas and Sonys, I can say that I prefer my iPhone over them all. The usability is the thing that stands out.

ok the five reasons in the article states are just stupid

The iPhone is pretty - not a reason to be invention of the year - the usual apple crap and the only real reason why people buy them

It's touchy-feely - not a reason to be invention of the year - so is a blow up doll, p.s. get over the apple pioneered the GUI, DEC did it.

It will make other phones better - not a reason to be invention of the year - LMAO this guy is so obvviously a fanboy

It's not a phone, it's a platform - not a reason to be invention of the year - "That makes the iPhone more than just a gadget. It's a genuine handheld, walk-around computer, the first device that really deserves the name" WTF drugs are people on that say this, it doens't even have an SDK out yet.

It is but the ghost of iPhones yet to come - not a reason to be invention of the year - how is in a few years they will have a better model got anythign to do with anything, every company will have a better phone out in a few years

it was a complete waste of time reading this article all his points re fanboy points not legitimate technical reasons

It's a Microsoft fanboy paradise in here.

Maybe one day you people will understand that Apple doesn't make products for geeks. Microsoft has engineers who design products for other geeks pretty much. Apple has engineers who design products for their parents and friends to be able to use. Not for geeks who read Neowin.

WolfpacKid said,
It's a Microsoft fanboy paradise in here.

Maybe one day you people will understand that Apple doesn't make products for geeks. Microsoft has engineers who design products for other geeks pretty much. Apple has engineers who design products for their parents and friends to be able to use. Not for geeks who read Neowin.

Ok move along.

WolfpacKid said,
It's a Microsoft fanboy paradise in here.

Maybe one day you people will understand that Apple doesn't make products for geeks. Microsoft has engineers who design products for other geeks pretty much. Apple has engineers who design products for their parents and friends to be able to use. Not for geeks who read Neowin.

How did Microsoft come into this?

.AlleymaN said,

How did Microsoft come into this?

Since we don't agree with iphone as invention of the year therefore we are Microsoft fanboy.

LMAO...

I dont see how people disagreeing with it being the INVENTION of the year has anything to do with Microsoft! The phone is far from revolutionary, yet it is proclaimed invention of the year.

They should have instead given Apple the marketing and brainwashing campaign of the year!

3. It will make other phones better
Jobs didn't write the code inside the iPhone. These days he doesn't dirty his fingers with 1's and 0's, if he ever really did. But he did negotiate the deal with AT&T to carry the iPhone. That's important: 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.

Like, unlock it for instance? Apple's update is the one that locks out unlocked phones, isn't it?

2. It's touchy-feely
Apple didn't invent the touchscreen. Apple didn't even reinvent it (Apple probably acquired its much hyped multitouch technology when it snapped up a company called Fingerworks in 2005). But Apple knew what to do with it. Apple's engineers used the touchscreen to innovate past the graphical user interface (which Apple helped pioneer with the Macintosh in the 1980s) to create a whole new kind of interface, a tactile one that gives users the illusion of actually physically manipulating data with their hands—flipping through album covers, clicking links, stretching and shrinking photographs with their fingers.

This is, as engineers say, nontrivial. It's part of a new way of relating to computers. Look at the success of the Nintendo Wii. Look at Microsoft's new Surface Computing division. Look at how Apple has propagated its touchscreen interface to the iPod line with the iPod Touch. Can it be long before we get an iMac Touch? A TouchBook? Touching is the new seeing.

This is the only point I support.

The iPhone is definitely not the invention of the year.... other mobiles have the exact same features.... they just have different software..... the invention of the year (technology) should belog to some new technology feat rather than some production that doesn't bring anything new to the game... except it's ability to present the features in a better manner.

What's the point of toaster that's so complicated that no one is willing to use it. That's the reason the iPhone has been so big. It brings so called "smart phones" to the general public.

bah. This device is for people who dont have the mental capacity to learn to use something that has more features (just like a mac is for a person who is not capable of learning to use a windows PC). Its candy coated 1's and 0's are a perfect example of how apple limits its users by putting a pretty wrapper on the same old crap that has nothing available for it.

1 thing in particular really stuck out in my mind that it "speaks my language" well I dont speak retard, I dont need a little flying airplane to tell me that im in flightmode. The lit up airplane on the Communications manager of my HTC Windows Mobile 6 device speaks just nicely. So does the big giant x over the antenna bar that says the radio is disabled.

I mean yah, its sleek looking and sure its got multitouch whcih is about the only feature I wish a windows mobile device would have, but it has an OS with a giant security hole, they bricked how many phones when doing the last firmware "update", it only does edge.. idk, in my humble opinion, I will take a windows mobile device over an apple device any day of the week. The very concept that this is the best invention of the year is insulting. As stated (in comments here, and by time in their "report") half this crap wasnt even inveted by apple.

I am sure that there were advancements in technology that were 10 times better than the iPhone, but who cares about progress, lets go with mainstream

Just because somethings easy to use, doesn't make it limited. If you are so comfortable with things being difficult to use, stop using a clone of the GUI Apple brought to market, go back to the command prompt personal computer...


...that Apple brought to market.

You're insulting the mental capacity of Mac users?

Do you have the slightest idea the sort of things professionals in widely varied fields use their Macs for?

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you don't.

Your mindset is as archaic and closed off as the Windows desktop software I'm sure you used to type your post.

The iPhone has an OS with a 'giant security hole?'

You mean to tell me that not only are you insulting some of the most intelligent and best paid people around but you are also insulting the Unix operating system that OSX is built on? You know, the tried and true rock solid server operating system that has been replicated time and time again over the last few decades?

Ah, I see what you did there.

whistlerxp said,
Just because somethings easy to use, doesn't make it limited. If you are so comfortable with things being difficult to use, stop using a clone of the GUI Apple brought to market, go back to the command prompt personal computer...


...that Apple brought to market.

I can only assume you're talking about the GUI that Apple stole from Xerox PARC?

GreyWolfSC said,

I can only assume you're talking about the GUI that Apple stole from Xerox PARC?

Oh Yes because Xerox PARC is still a competing Operating System it really matters deep down to those users of mac os 6

like it matters anymore dude, read.

The original Mac OS was partially based on the Lisa OS, previously released by Apple for the Lisa computer in 1983, and also used concepts from the Xerox PARC Xerox Alto which Steve Jobs and several other Macintosh team members had previewed.
ripped off and improving styled concepts is different.

whistlerxp said,
Just because somethings easy to use, doesn't make it limited. If you are so comfortable with things being difficult to use, stop using a clone of the GUI Apple brought to market, go back to the command prompt personal computer...


...that Apple brought to market.

so some research and you will find out who really invented both those technologies, and i'll even give you a tip, it wasn't apple.

why when apple brings something out does everyone think they invented it.

Digix said,

Oh Yes because Xerox PARC is still a competing Operating System it really matters deep down to those users of mac os 6

like it matters anymore dude, read.
ripped off and improving styled concepts is different.

maybe to apple fanboys, so cause xerox os doesn't exist anymore then it is all of a sudden apple that brought it to market, it don't matter. apple still copied it!!! thats the point

While you post crap like this on forums, my Mac hums away performing some of the most cutting edge research in the field of bioinformatics. I used PCs exclusively for 15 years, and I now I just like the Mac. I'm not going to complain about PCs, they are capable machines, I just happen to have a preference that is different from yours.

Miran said,
While you post crap like this on forums, my Mac hums away performing some of the most cutting edge research in the field of bioinformatics. I used PCs exclusively for 15 years, and I now I just like the Mac. I'm not going to complain about PCs, they are capable machines, I just happen to have a preference that is different from yours.

so hows your Phone?? were not talkign computers here. and whocares what your mac does, i am sure it could be done on a PC, you can do basically anythign on a PC that you can do on a mac, but not the other way around.

whocares78 said,

so hows your Phone?? were not talkign computers here. and whocares what your mac does, i am sure it could be done on a PC, you can do basically anythign on a PC that you can do on a mac, but not the other way around.

I'm replying to the parent, which was off topic. Of course it could be done on a PC, I never said it couldn't. I was replying to his assertion that all Mac users are bumbling idiots. I am not an idiot, and I use a Mac because I like it, and that was my only point.

Miran said,

I'm replying to the parent, which was off topic. Of course it could be done on a PC, I never said it couldn't. I was replying to his assertion that all Mac users are bumbling idiots. I am not an idiot, and I use a Mac because I like it, and that was my only point.

The point of my original article was not to say that mac/iphone users are idiots, its to say that the developers of the OS think they are. Those pretty candy coated 1's and 0's are to the iPhone as vista aero theme is to a PC. Sure it all looks pretty and its nice to watch the stupid airplane fly across the screen just as much as it is to watch dreamscenes, but the point is that it is completely useless. That phone would be 10x better if it had windows mobile 6 on it with the same hardware and capabilities.... its unfortunate that Apple made it first because a windows mobile device like that would have sold twice as many devices. Even more if it had GPS. Simply because of the flexability and "open-ness" of the OS

The point of my original article was not to say that mac/iphone users are idiots, its to say that the developers of the OS think they are. Those pretty candy coated 1's and 0's are to the iPhone as vista aero theme is to a PC. Sure it all looks pretty and its nice to watch the stupid airplane fly across the screen just as much as it is to watch dreamscenes, but the point is that it is completely useless. That phone would be 10x better if it had windows mobile 6 on it with the same hardware and capabilities.... its unfortunate that Apple made it first because a windows mobile device like that would have sold twice as many devices. Even more if it had GPS. Simply because of the flexability and "open-ness" of the OS[/quote]

Flexability and open-ness of the OS?

You seem to be ignoring the fact that Darwin is open source and Windows NT is not.

I don't think that phone would be '10x better' if it did have Windows Mobile on it because it wouldn't be nearly as fluid or enjoyable. I think the point of the interface on the phone has quite obviously gone over your head. You can't appreciate it for what it is and must instead declare it candy coated and lacking in function.

Bah.

whistlerxp said,
If you go make a great innovative new cell phone, you'd want to be called an inventor too.

well let us know when apple do make an innovative new phone, simply adding touchscreen and removing all other features does not make it inovative

whocares78 said,

well let us know when apple do make an innovative new phone, simply adding touchscreen and removing all other features does not make it inovative


It's the UI that doesn't look like we're still in the 90's that sets it apart.

QuarterSwede said,

It's the UI that doesn't look like we're still in the 90's that sets it apart.

oh so thats what made it so inovative. To be inovative you need to create a new UI real inovating, can't wait for all those new invetions to come out, with new UI's to old inventions.

There's nothing really innovated about the iPhone, nor inventive... 'tis tshatshke... But this is from Time, the magazine that names dictators and objects as man of the year... :P

i dont care if time wants to feature the iphone

except its not really an 'invention'. apple didnt invent anything. its neither new technology, or a new type of mobile device. the thing which stands out about the iphone is as it is as a consumer product.

but instead of doing consumer product of the year, they do invention of the year.

go figure

Iphone did feature new "invention", double touch screen (portable) and unscratch-able screen. While the first invention wasn't really new, the other is really important, since now every touchscreen device did suffer from scratches.

majortom1981 said,
Can somebody explain to me what the iphone can do that a windows mobile phone cant do ?

It can have an "i" attached in front of the product name.

You just have to use it to understand. It's not that it does anything that you couldn't possibly hack together on a windows mobile device - it's the user experience involved. It's designed incredibly well from the inside out, and a lot of thought is put into every step of its use. Where the windows mobile platform is cumbersome and awkward, the iphone is generally quite elegant and intuitive.

Some people won't get it, or won't understand the need for it because they're so familiar with the other platforms - and that's fine. but for the rest of us, an iphone just makes infinitely more sense.

Turbonium said,

It can have an "i" attached in front of the product name.

What about the iPaq? It runs Windows Mobile.

it's easier to browse use and function and has more appealing use and features then using a stylus or otherwise controlling device. on top of that it probably has a better battery life them PDAs.