Why the iPhone is indeed revolutionary

With the huge buzz that surrounds Apple's release of its much-anticipated iPhone, there's bound to be some backlash.As a former journalist and editor, I expected the quick appearance of articles about how un-revolutionary the iPhone really is.

With the huge buzz that surrounds Apple's release of its much-anticipated iPhone, there's bound to be some backlash.

As a former journalist and editor, I expected the quick appearance of articles about how un-revolutionary the iPhone really is.

Sure enough, articles just like that, such as Slate's Why Apple's new cell phone isn't really revolutionary, have emerged.

The shortcomings of the iPhone are well-documented. They include:

* No 3G (only EDGE) * Locked down (to AT&T) * Can't use iTunes as ring tone * Can't serve as a wireless modem for laptops * No Java, no Flash * No flash or zoom for built-in camera * No video camera * Can't accept third party software

Actually there's much more and the criticisms are, to a large extent, valid.

But the iPhone's unique interface more than makes up for the lack of all those features listed above.

Firstly, the screen has some built-in menus that make the interface super easy to use. Compare that with the best that Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Motorola have to offer, and you will see that Apple wins hands down.

If there's one phone that will encourage people to use the mobile phone for services other than voice calls and SMS, the iPhone is it.

One of the key reasons people don't like to use the mobile phone for accessing data services online is the complexity of the interface.

What they want--or rather what they need--is a phone where the menu buttons are self-explanatory, big-sized and pretty to look at. The iPhone offers all that.

The adventurous and tech-savvy amongst us might want to download Java clients that allow us to do funky things on our non-iPhones, but how many people do you know actually download applications to their phones?

Even if they figure out how to download an application, do they know where the app resides in?

And even if they can find the app, do they know how to place its icon on the main screen for convenient access?

The answer is no, no, no for 99 percent of the people I know. For such people, the fact that the iPhone can't accept third party software won't matter.

Let's face it, most people really don't use the phone for anything but voice calls and SMS.

Try as they might, phone manufacturers and mobile operators have failed miserably in trying to change that situation.

Voice revenue is on the decline and SMS is not going to make up for the difference. The mobile industry needs to get people to start using other forms of data services.

The iPhone, with its attractive and simple-to-use interface, could very well be the industry's saving grace. And that's why it's revolutionary.