Funny Business with Jane Wells

Apple's iPhone: The aNti-iPhone Caller

Hard to believe, but not everyone is buying an Apple iPhone. In fact, 290 million Americans are probably going to take a pass. People like, well, you? Certainly people like L.A. commodities trader Ed Frank, who jokes, "What's an iPhone?" Frank's own cell phone gets stares, not because it's new, but because it's OLD. Really old. It's a Motorola  StarTAC, which he bought nine years ago! In the last century.

Motorola StarTAC

Ah, the StarTAC, the iPhone of its time! The "tiny" flip phone won Popular Science's "Best of What's New" in 1996, touted as the "first wearable cellular telephone." The first ones sold for $1,000, with a rebate. Kinda makes the iPhone look affordable. Those of us who owned one remember it well, always "Ready" in black letters on a green screen. It had that little pull-up antennae that always broke off. We proudly wore it on our belts.

Frank says his StarTAC still has better voice quality than any of the new phones, because it's not bogged down with a bunch of extras. "I'm not crazy about the new phones because I don't like the sound," he says, saying when he's tried a new phone, it sounds like "there's an echo or you're in a chamber of some kind."

Frank says he can receive texts from his kids, but he can't send any on the phone. "They keep saying 'Dad, you need a new phone, you need one with a camera, one that can text me back,' and I say 'Why? All you're gonna do is ask me for $20 so there's no reason for me to text you back.'" His big concern is that he can no longer find replacement parts.

Frank vows he will keep using the StarTAC until it just gives out, and he proudly wears it on his belt--next to his pager.

The Onion Web site is parodying the iPhone hype with its own take on the new phone's extras: Here are some of its most highly anticipated features:
Nanotechnology enables it to reassemble itself when thrown against wall
Exclusive link to Google Street View so you can watch yourself using your iPhone at all times
Takes Polaroids
When moved from hand to ear, makes Lightsaber sound effects
Prominent Apple logo
Reproduces through asexual budding
Has way, way more PRAM than the last thingy
Comes with an iPhone hat, so people know you own an iPhone during the brief periods you're not using it.

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