TECH TALK

Who gets up before dawn to order a phone?


Published: Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 6:10 p.m.

Yes, I did it, and I used you for inspiration.

When my iAlarm went off at 2:55 a.m. on Friday morning, I stumbled to the computer (grabbing the kid's piggy banks along the way) and ordered an iPhone 5. My only salvation from utter shame was that I did it for my fellow techies. Both of you.

What seemed like a stroke of genius Thursday felt pretty creepy in the moment. "Who" gets up in the middle of the night to order a phone?

That was not my own self-reflection, but rather the owl and its familiar cry outside my window. It didn't help.

So was it worth it?

When I woke up again with the masses, I discovered pre-sales were sold out before the roosters crowed. So I secured first-day delivery with the even greater wisdom that I was not the only fruit loop fiddling around in the middle of the night.

As with most tech blowhards, I felt something was missing with the iPhone 5 announcement. It had everything I could ask for — bigger, faster and stronger. It had LTE, a bigger screen, new "EarPods," a faster processor and a revamped design. That's only the first breath full.

Regardless, this unveiling was not about what was new but what was missing — and we're not talking about NFC chips. I longed for the mock turtleneck.

It's just not the same without the late Steve Jobs at the mound. He was the modern-day P.T. Barnum, only he wasn't peddling peanuts and lobster boy.

You got the feeling that when he took the stage with his PowerPoint clicker, the lines already were starting to form around him.

Jobs, for all his faults, had a unique vision, and he would stop at nothing to achieve it. That's why his stage prowess was so profound.

It was proverbially like Gramps sitting us on his lap to tell stories about courting Grams. He enthralled his following. Sorry Tim Cook; you're a great process guy, but I think my Chow has more charisma.

Wednesday had zilch in the way of surprises. The cat was out of the bag long before. Apple, who has been notoriously as tight as Fort Knox, came to the stage with nothing up its sleeve. That's just not the Jobs way.

You get the sense Cook would banish a busted internal leaker to a basement office with a red stapler, while Jobs would employ waterboarding and bamboo shoots. And that's just the appetizer.

Leadership aside, Apple came to the plate with what it needed to — the best phone on the planet.

The numbers don't lie. The "i's" have it. While Cook and crew did not come with chutzpah or the best specs on the planet, they came with a device that warrants a stage of its own.

New Androids come and go every week, and they actually look better on paper because manufacturers know we like to compare specs.

That said, pick up virtually any Android and then the iPhone. One is a work of art, and the other is a piece of work. I can say this because I started on Android and have flirted with going back.

Android is a nice product, but my experience is that it's a generic product. Only Samsung has gotten close, and it got a billion-dollar patent judgment against it in the process. Apple needs only to continually chisel its masterpiece once a year to create a global economic firecracker.

The fuse is lit.

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