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The iPhone, the pricey gadget that launched a thousand geeks onto sidewalks outside Apple retailers last week, finally fell into their grasping mitts on Friday. And the people said, "Cool!"
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Or ought to have. Whether or not you plan to buy an iPhone - which has some bugs yet to be squashed - you should be cheering its debut. Apple wizard-in-chief Steve Jobs stands to revolutionize the way we use cellphones the same way he did with personal computers (the Macintosh) and personal music players (the iPod). His handheld iPhone is a combination phone, iPod and Web-surfing computer. It is a masterpiece of seamlessly integrated technologies.
It is also beautiful. Its sleek, elegant design takes a more powerful and complex device and makes it not only simpler to use but exceedingly lovely to look at and - let' s be honest - fun to play with.
Where Jobs goes, industry competitors will surely follow, to everyone' s benefit - and pleasure. Apple doesn' t really invent new things; it packages existing technologies with peerless aestheticism and intuitive genius. As Dallas writer and design expert Virginia Postrel would put it, there' s a lot of substance in Apple' s style.