Apple sets an iPhone date

One measure of the hype surrounding the iPhone: It qualifies as news that we now know its official release date.

By Farhad Manjoo
June 4, 2007 8:57AM (UTC)
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It's day three of this blog, and time for another post, already, about the iPhone. The one bit of real news today is this: The phone will come out on June 29. Apple ran some gorgeous TV ads Sunday night announcing the date.

But the very fact that news of the iPhone's release date merits a blog post -- not to mention all these articles -- suggests another line of inquiry just beginning to form, the meta-story concerning hype. Just like folks were once asking about "Spider-man 3" and "King Kong," you're going to hear people start wondering, now, whether expectations for the iPhone are just too great. The NYT's John Markoff angles that way today, reporting that there is even "some quiet, behind-the-scenes anxiety at Apple. Some Apple executives worry privately that expectations for the one-button phones may be too high and that first-generation buyers will end up disappointed."


Markoff doesn't offer any names, but there's no reason to doubt what he says. The prophets tell us the iPhone is the "God machine," it's the tricorder of our time, it's the best iPod Apple's ever built, it's going to change everything. Apple execs would be crazy not to be a tad worried about fulfilling such prophecies. Because here's the thing: some people are going to be unhappy with their iPhones. There will be kinks; there always are. Some people will complain about its text input system, or its battery life, or its network speed, or the cost of the monthly data plan you'll need to use its fancy features, or the fact that it'll be closed off -- at least initially -- from third-party software.

So let's remember: The iPhone isn't going to be as great as they say it is, because so little in life is ever as great as they say it is. On the other hand, take a look at those ads. The product you see here is unlike anything else on the planet. If it works even just a little bit as well as what's on display, it'll still be nicer than any phone on the market, and probably, then, worth the hype.

Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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