iPhone: Return on the Zen?

The Original iPhone

Many of my friends asked me, why do I stick with my ugly-antenna-sported of Treo?

Well, among other things (e.g. full QWERTY keyboards which allow me to write this entry on my car), my Treo is very simple and intuitive to use.

This way is known by many gadget enthusiast as “The zen of Palm”. This refers to Palm OS, the operating system of Treo which if we traced back the history, was introduced by Jeff Hawkins, some 10 years ago. When Palm OS was launched, it drew a lot of users because its intuitive interface. Designed to replace the agenda book and filofax, Palm OS successfully transformed user experience in those historic tools to a digital one. Take for example, the on-screen Grafitti strokes which made users feel like they are writing on their notepad. Or quickly accessing appointment with just one tap on the screen.

Even though now the giant Windows Mobile OS has been gaining bigger market share than Palm OS worldwide, many Palm OS users, I for one, still do not move anywhere else, because of that “Zen” is maintained until the latest installment of Treo. Try to use Treo for a day, and you will feel the difference it brings compared to the other mobile phone.

This may change, however, with the introduction of Apple’s iPhone. Launched early this year by Steve Jobs, the iPhone promises the “Zen” back to the PDA/mobile device world. With its elegant design, the iPhone interface looks very intuitive and innovative. As an iPod user, I strongly feel Apple won’t go wrong in this department. They will learn from iPod’s interface, that simple interface means superb performance.

The only thing left out from iPhone which I will certainly miss from my Treo is the physical keyboard. Steve Jobs tried to convince the world that iPhone’s on screen keyboard will be different. I personally, don’t buy this. I think you can’t never beat the tactile feel of real keyboard.

But we’ll see in June 11, when Apple schedules for the launch of this highly-anticipated device. I will line up for one, for sure!


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