Interpreting an artifact from the future

Has any consumer product felt so much like it came from the future as does the iPhone? How about this quote from Business Week [via Daring Fireball]:

The most expensive component on the phone, [Portelligent CEO David] Carey says, is the touch screen, for which Apple tapped a little-known German concern called Balda. The estimated cost of $60 per unit is mostly an educated guess. “This screen is like nothing IĆ­ve ever seen before,” says Carey.

Sounds like a line from a science fiction movie.
If you’re an online publisher and haven’t already bought an iPhone, I’m about to do you a favor. I’m going to give you an excuse to buy one. Go ahead. You can thank me later.
I’m not an early adopter. I kept buying Startacs off Craigslist long after they were discontinued and hung on to my aging T616 long after pixel rot wrecked the display because the handsets we’re (still!) being offered by the carriers are such irredeemable rubbish. I’m glad I waited.
Once you use the darn thing, you’re reminded why WAP is so hoplessly lame and degrading. Of course, you already knew that. But — admit it — in your hunger to participate in the mobile future, you held your nose and did a little WAP.
Having access to a large, hand-held, responsive, high-resolution, touchable Web, you realize there’s just no point to WAP any longer. WAP’s adoption by consumers is grindingly slow, and now it’s staring doom in the face. When you’re using the Web on your iPhone, you don’t need a carrier’s “deck” to help you navigate. The ad model makes sense because it’s the same one publishers are already using. No one has to create special lite pages for this device, although it might be a good idea for some producers to do so.
Mobile devices that don’t compromise the Web are not the only problem for WAP. Julie Ask is working on a report about some other alternatives to WAP sites that don’t require an iPhone.
I know some publishers are making WAP work. If you’re not already one of them, you’re unlikely to be one. But when you play around with this device, you’ll wonder why you’re dealing with all the middleware, special clients, pixel-poor ads — and the carriers’ hands in your pocket.
Originally published on my blog at JupiterResearch.