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TIME has picked its winner for the most revolutionary invention of the year and its not a cancer drug, its the iPhone.

Every year, TIME magazine picks a person of the year and an invention of the year.  This year it went for a democratic process for the invention of the year via web-based voting.

The results will likely be controversial.  The invention of the year is the...iPhone.  While 2007, may be known to many DailyTech readers as the year of iBrick, TIME writer Lev Grossman glosses over the negatives and lavishes praise upon the iPhone.

"Yes, there's been a lot of hype written about the iPhone, and a lot of guff too.  So much so that it seems weird to add more, after Danny Fanboy and Bobby McBlogger have had their day. But when that day is over, Apple's iPhone is still the best thing invented this year," states Grossman.

Grossman is eager to overlook Apple's less favorable press, which is not even explicitly mentioned in his article -- iBricking, iFires, environmental concerns, and class action lawsuits.  Instead he focuses on why he thinks the iPhone is the most revolutionary thing invented in 2007.

His first reason is that "It is pretty".  That is literally his first reason, no you did not read wrong.  Grossman argues that beauty is something that is frequently lost in the field of electronics.  He describes the iPhones functions saying, "An example: look at what happens when you put the iPhone into ‘airplane’ mode (i.e., no cell service, WiFi, etc.). A tiny little orange airplane zooms into the menu bar!  Cute, you might say. But cute little touches like that are part of what makes the iPhone usable in a world of useless gadgets."

The second reason Grossman gives is because it is "touchy-feely."  Grossman states that Apple did not invent or even reinvent the touch screen, but rather knew what to do with it.  To some extent few can argue this point with him -- even Apple's harshest critics would mostly agree the fully touch driven interface is at least somewhat original.

Grossman goes on to state that the iPhone will make other phones better.  It will do so by encouraging phones to adopt AT&T/Apple-esque contracts.  Grossman skips over any negatives to the consumer and enthusiastically hails these contracts as providing the hardware developer (in this case Apple) with unprecedented freedom, which he feels leads to great products (like the iPhone).

Grossman also argues that it is a platform that will be built upon.  He points to the applications already running on it, such as Google Maps.  He also points out that third party applications will be coming in 2008, as reported by DailyTech.  He fails to mention, though, that if you currently try to fill your iPhone with third party applications and you update your firmware update, you will be the owner of a new iBrick.

Finally Grossman points out that the iPhone is only the first of many phones to come.  The iPhone, having sold 1.4 million units during Apple's recent quarter, has had sufficient success to warrant hardware refreshes akin to the iPod.  Grossman points out, accurately, how far the iPod has evolved from its early clunky ancestors.

So there you have it -- your TIME invention of the year is neither a new medical treatment nor a new space engine or plane -- the invention of the year is Apple's controversial iPhone.  Will the public agree with TIME's pick?  Will Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs be TIME's man of the year?  Will they even care?  The answers are still up in the air.  However the real debate lies among the technophiles and the consumers, who ultimately decide whether the iPhone is the most revolutionary invention of 2008, or just a closed-system replete with draconian restraints.  The future success of the iPhone rests on their decision.

(For those interested, one of the cooler runners-up was WowWee's remote control FlyTech Dragonfly, weighing it at about 1 oz. and as the world's first commercially available ornithopter.  It is available for only a scant $50 USD and features a flight time of 6 minutes on a 20 min charge)



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RE: Perspective
By TomZ on 11/6/2007 12:27:18 PM , Rating: 3
My nomination for invention of the year: iPhone Marketing. Forget the product - it's the marketing that is innovative.


RE: Perspective
By PWNettle on 11/6/2007 5:03:08 PM , Rating: 3
I'd agree.

Selling an easier to use gadget that nobody needs is hardly that amazing. But convincing the sheep that they need it is something else.


RE: Perspective
By T4RTER S4UCE on 11/6/07, Rating: 0
RE: Perspective
By cheetah2k on 11/7/2007 12:03:56 AM , Rating: 2
With all the anger and battles being fought between users (such as myself) and the iPhone Dev Teams vs Locked Apple firmware, if Jobs made the iPhone unlocked, he could also win the Nobel Peace Prize....


RE: Perspective
By scrapsma54 on 11/7/2007 5:38:48 PM , Rating: 2
Its that kind of talk that got Al gore the nobel peice prize when he didn't even peaceably solve anything.

Every bit of the iPhone is just a gimick, everything that came standard on it has been out for 10 years in a small innovative package called the Palm pilot. It did not have the fancy colors, the jazzed up animations, or wifi for that matter. But what evolved from it had the stuff that was necessary and included. So look at it this way every time a compatible technology was developed palm jumped on that bandwagon. Palm is more open ended than apple. Innovative, definitely not. Cool factor? 9 out of 10.

Open moko should get the Innovation because its perhaps the first phone with open source.


RE: Perspective
By scrapsma54 on 11/7/2007 5:50:49 PM , Rating: 2
scratch that,
The tesla roadster should get it.


RE: Perspective
By chick0n on 11/12/07, Rating: 0
RE: Perspective
By jtesoro on 11/13/2007 12:41:51 AM , Rating: 2
To quote yourself whenever someone says anything even remotely negative about Vista, have you actually used it?

While I find the choice of Time curious myself, it's also very curious that actual users seem to be very happy with the device. Everyone keeps saying that it's just a phone, the touch screen is nothing new, it's only fancy graphics, and that a ton of other devices can do the same thing, etc. etc.

Valid points all, but at the same time it's able to sell well, get it's users happy and strongly influence the industry. I'm not sure if that's enough to merit the award (and I'm sure there are other products that had similar effects), but dismissing it as purely marketing doesn't sound right to me.


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