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Is it time to rename the iPhone?

BY DOMINIQUE JAMES

The iPhone 4 Photo Folder 7

The 7th folder with photo apps on iPhone 4.

The iPhone app junkie that I am, today proved to be quite an unusual day.

For the first time ever, the amount of space that is occupied by the apps on my 32 MB iPhone has now exceeded the amount of space that I have for storing songs, videos, photos, audiobooks and other contents. It all started innocently enough. Not too many months ago, I decided that I wanted to make sure most if not all of the apps I’ve downloaded from Apple’s excellent App Store, both free and paid, are conveniently accessible on my iPhone. Of course, with the new iPhone 4 that has 32 MB storage space and the latest iOS, that became very possible.

Lured by the gloss and vigorous promotions of new apps that has been coming out, and the many bright promises of vastly improving the quality of my life, I went on the irreversible path (which turned into a habit) of downloading more and more apps. At first, in order for me to accommodate the new apps on my iPhone, I needed to bump off only a single playlist with a bunch of music that occupied a small file size. It wasn’t really all that painful because the playlist I chucked off contained songs that I really don’t care listening to. But as days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, and as I downloaded more and more apps, I began unchecking and off-synching more and more music playlists.

I already had a very strong suspicion that one day, I might have to allot more space to all the apps than I did with my music collection. Nobody needed to tell me that “that” day was somehow going to come. I knew all along that it will happen. What with more than 350,000 apps in the App Store and counting, it was inevitable. After all, just a couple of weeks ago, Apple counted down with much fanfare its 100th thousand downloaded app. And so I dismissed the prospect as merely a little inconvenience. After all, it was comforting to know that I’m well-covered with the fact that I got quite a few music streaming apps that offer far more musical choices than I wanted to listen to anyway. Still, it’s quite a marvel to think that since the App Store came to being, and many apps turned out to be essential daily things, its use will overtake almost all of the iPhone’s other major functions.

At this point, spending a whole lot of time with Apple’s handset doing a myriad of things other than using its subscription-based cellular service (making phone calls and texting) or listening to music and watching video on the iPod, or even browsing the web via Safari, the name iPhone, while proper in describing this handset, seems to be no longer appropriate. In fact, calling it an Internet phone or smartphone doesn’t really make sense anymore since we’ve all come around to doing something more and more with it that doesn’t involve the actual use of the mechanism with which we know qualifies as making traditional phone calls.

Most of the time, we are fiddling with one of its apps, in multitasking sort of ways, for anything and everything other than. I understand why we have to call it a “phone” still, because there’s nothing else in place to appropriately describe it that will make it easily understandable and differentiable for what it is. But perhaps now, with its ubiquity, more than ever, is the perfect time to give it its new unique identity—and no longer just the kind of name that references a particular previous technology. The first motorized vehicles that rolled on the streets were called horseless carriages until it was eventually and properly called a car.

I don’t presume to know what it should be called, but, for all intents and purposes, it has now become its own class of “touch-based interactive information and communication mobile device.” Such a descriptive name wouldn’t fly off as a replacement for the name “iPhone,” specially considering that it has to be identified against the iPod Touch and the iPad, which performs majority of things in a very similar way (after all, it’s all rooted from the same iOS), but I sense there might be soon a need to call the iPhone by some other name.

In the past, Apple has changed its company name and the name of one of its operating systems to keep up with the times. But Apple is very secretive. We can’t really tell what they are up to unless they make an official announcement of it. Still, I will not be surprised if one of these days, the iPhone will be similarly renamed, perhaps when the next hardware update is introduced.

For now, I am personally marking this day when the apps on my iPhone now occupy more space than my music collection. I’m sure if things continue to be like this, one day soon, I’ll eventually have no more music stored on my iPhone’s iPod app, and all I’ll really have on it are the apps, some information, and my iPhone photos. Will the iPod turn into a cloud service by then? Will my photos even be on a cloud service? Will the next iPhone hardware have bigger internal flash storage capacity?

Well, those days are yet to come, and I’ll definitely cross the bridge when I get to each of those days, just as I did today, when there are now, for the first time, more apps than music in my iPhone.

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Written by dominiquejames

February 4, 2011 at 2:08 PM

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