iPhone 4 > A Cappuccino Warrior Comes of Age

>>  The iPhone 4 has been around since June 2010 but it is the hand-held device I have been waiting 9 years for. 

For years I have been lugging around laptops to coffee shops, service stations, hotel lounges, trade events and onto aeroplane flights. It’s always been very important to be able to work remotely but in 2001 I began to see the possibilities for a less cumbersome way to work; a way to work remotely without a laptop.

Apart from my first Apple Mac computer (A Macintosh Plus) a desktop that I brought in 1996, it’s been laptops all the way; starting with an Apple PowerBook 100. Being a freelancer with no fixed office abode, I preferred the freedom that came with picking up and putting down your machine to suit. In the early days I would usually be the only person sitting in the coffee shop with my laptop doing my work. Soon after, other laptops would appear around me. Laptop, mobile phone and constant cappuccino was all we remote workers required to be productive. For a long time, of those with laptops, I was usually the only person with an Apple Mac. Windows users would frequently sneer and bark out their well worn mantra of Macs being only of any use for those in creative industries. I used to try and educate but you know what it’s like, some people are just set in their ways and don’t want to admit that there might be another way.visor-neoGROUP

In those early days (2001) there came along a company called Palm and with their pocket device, the Palm Handspring Visor Neo.  It made no major technological breakthroughs but it showed me that one day there might be a future beyond laptops. By now the laptop’s weight was actually giving me minor back problems, especially after a days back-to-back meetings around London. It’s so long ago that I can hardly remember why I loved that little Palm device. I had to use a silly little stylus to write and navigate the device (not always a smooth experience). The web browsing experience was slow, clumsy and frustrating (no data packages then, just hoping around looking for WiFi hotspots) but worth the trouble if you needed a telephone number in a hurry.  Composing an email or entering text into a Word document was done via a stylus pen. All very slow and not very accurate but then I discovered that I could use a bluetooth keyboard with my Palm device. This was so cool. With just a small light shoulder bag I could now carry my mobile, Palm Neo and bluetooth keyboard and although the browsing experience was slow, I could now write emails or compile documents quite quickly with the aid of my fold-out bluetooth keyboard. However, beyond writing emails, the experience was still a very limited one and I knew that a leap in technology and a wait of several years would be necessary before I carry my working tools in a small shoulder bag (even in pockets) without having to also budget for occasional physiotherapy for shoulder pains.

Fast forward 9 years and the iPhone 4 with its ability to compose / edit emails and text documents, full webpage viewing experience and countless other beautiful features. The iPhone’s touchscreen keyboard though is not up to the task of facilitating a day’s work in a coffee shop. It’s fine for short tasks but my stumpy short fat fingers tend to wain after time. The iPhone 4 however was the first iPhone device to allow bluetooth connection to external devices. So now I get to use a laptop sized keyboard along with the excellent web experience and full application functionality of the iPhone 4.

IFOf course the iPad affects a quantum leap in the mobile working experience but I can’t put it in my pocket and it’s a tad too big to fit in my mini shoulder bag. One day soon I expect to buy an iPad but for now, even nearly one year since its launch, my iPhone 4 still thrills me. Time for another cappuccino me thinks!

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About Aristos Peters
I work rest and play in the digital space, with particular interest in digital startup companies and their need for seed, angel and VC investment. As a NED, I have worked with several start-ups, taking them through funding rounds and also work on investment acceleration and business growth helping companies to become investment ready. Currently about to launch the startup fundraising app D RISK IT (www.drisk.it).

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