Wednesday, June 10, 2009

iPhone back to the future

Apple has a new iPhone. The 3GS. For 'Speed'. And it offers a software update for the older model 3G.
One of the new features is that you can connect it to a laptop and use it as a modem, so you don't need to try and read web pages or send e-mails using that tiny screen and your greasy fingers, but a full-size screen and a keyboard.
Somewhere in a drawer I must have an old Ericsson GSM phone lying around, that could do the same thing. It dates from the late 1990s. More than a decade ago, which is a whole other geological era in computing terms.
Sure, it worked slower than the present 3G network (which did not exist at the time), but it used the then available network to let a connected computer communicate with the web. Many present-day phones of the kind you get practically for free with a standard phone subscription can still do that - at 3G speeds if you want them to. In fact since that early Ericsson brick I have had two Sagems and now again an Ericsson that all did exactly that.
So it took Apple over a decade to 'discover' that it might be a Good Idea to let a phone act as a modem, while everybody else was doing it as a matter of fact without bragging about it.
I'm glad I'm a PC.
Now I'm off to a webstore to get me some new free software for my non-Apple phone.

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