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Light On Light Through

You'll hear a little of this and lot of that on Light On Light Through - my reviews of great television series, my interviews with authors and creative media people and their interviews of me, my political commentary, thoughts about my favorite cars and food and space travel, discussions of my music, and a few of my readings from my science fiction stories. These are usually audio and a few are video.  In the first years, starting in 2006, I put up a new episode at least once a month.  More recently, it became more or less often than once a month, usually a lot less often.  But in the Fall of 2018, I began getting more in the mood to podcast, and you can expect new episodes now a little more frequently.  - Paul Levinson

The Cell Phone Will Always Be the iPhone's Brightest Part

Sep 10, 2007

Cellphone by Paul Levinson

Is Steve Jobs Sick Of The Cell Phone Industry Already? Crunchgear's Seth Porges asked and and answered that yesterday: Yes.  The new iPod Touch steals some of the iPhone’s thunder. That's proof enough.  And then there’s Beck’s “Cellphone’s Dead,? the Touch’s demo song.  Observes Sascha Segan of PC Magazine, “The phone is the weakest part of the iPhone anyway.?

I think not.  First, Porges and Segan make the mistake that industry analysts - in contrast to media historians - often do.  They’re equating the industry, or social and economic structures surrounding a medium, with what the medium does or doesn’t do, itself.  Television national networks, for example, were spent by the late 1980s.  But television - the enjoyment of audio-visual stories, news, etc on a screen under one's control - was as powerfully appealing as ever.  The result was the not decline of television, but its migration to cable and BitTorrent.

The phone is not the weakest part of the iPhone - it’s actually the strongest part.  A device that gave us great connections to all of the Internet would be wonderful - but its magic is that it also lets us call someone we love, or a business partner, and receive calls from same.  A conversation with a real person - if she or he is the right person - usually trumps anything else we might be up to online.

AT&T and its antiquated system is the weakest part.  But AT&T was never in the vanguard of cell phone service in the first place.   Indeed, as the near-monopolistic giant in the first hundred years of the telephone, it impeded its dissemination to the point that it was not until the 1950s, some 75 years after the telephone's invention, that more than 50-percent of Americans had telephones in their homes.

The iPhone will continue and thrive with its cell phone service prominent and important - but with other carriers and other plans.