Then along comes Facetime. It isn't revolutionary. It isn't new. It isn't even something that people want. But somehow, with a veneer of Apple polish, it becomes desirable. Now, I'm a hard hearted old cynic, but even I found myself oddly compelled by the launch video for Facetime, apparently directed by Sam Mendes. The way they present it, the way they SELL it, it suddenly seems like something that might actually be worth having - road warrior dads can see their babies crawl for the first time; battle hardened Afghan squadies can watch as Mary-Sue back home gets her first ultrasound; teen sweethearts can finally give up "sexting" and flash their bits to each other in glorious VGA technicolor. It's manipulative, it's cynical, it is, I suppose, nauseating; but it is also compelling in a way that no other company has managed to achieve - it sells the feature as a human advance, rather than a technological advance. Suddenly it's a future that I want to be a part of.
Finally, battery life. Okay, this is the elephant in the room with modern smart phones, especially Android phones. There is no doubt in my mind that smart phone technology is a game changer - whether it's Apple, or Android, or Palm, or whoever, the possession of always-on, ubiquitous data is life changing. It's hard to describe to someone who hasn't experienced it yet, but being able to tap into the internet 95% of the time you're out and about is a quiet revolution that makes you wonder what on earth we did for 200,000 years without it. But there's a downside - while functionally our phones are almost complete, our battery technology simply cannot cope.