Strange New World: Picks of Week

In the world of tech there is exactly one story this week: the introduction of the Apple iPhone.

With all the hype surrounding Apple's new media player/cellular telephone -- are those ads amazing, or what? -- there's really nothing else to talk about. Because we can't help but love the thing even while we hate the thing, we offer you the top five reasons the iPhone will rock and the top five reasons it will stink.

Top Five Reasons the iPhone Rocks

5) The cool factor.
If you are looking to expand your street cred and geek points, this is your only choice.

4) Awesome sound.
Because the iPhone is, at its heart, a phone, it has to meet cell phone audio quality specs. The whisper is that sound quality will be a step above other versions of the iPod. Still, we advise you ditch the included ear-buds.

3) Cool interface.
The iPhone promises a full-fledged version of Mac OS X in the palm of your hand. Be amazed.

2) Gorgeous screen.
Sit back and marvel at what will almost certainly be the clearest screen ever on a portable device.

1) Great design.
This thing is a marvel of industrial design. Expect it to offer the first seamless integration of an actual computer OS with an MP3 player and a cell phone.

Top 5 Reasons the iPhone Stinks

5) $600???!!!
This thing is sooooo expensive. We have trouble paying that much for a TV, much less a cell phone.

4) The gooey touch screen.
We expect there to be no stylus shipping with the iPhone, so all of the crap on your grubby summer fingers is gonna get all over your $600 phone! Eecch!

3) Questionable durability.
No offense to Apple, but its durability track record is less than stellar. We all know that cell phones take a beating. How is that pretty screen gonna survive at the bottom of your purse with three Lifesavers and a dirty tissue stuck to it?

2) Insufficient storage.
The $500 iPhone ships with 4GB of storage, barely enough for two movies, maybe six films under max compression. Honestly, it should be called the iPod Nanophone.

1) Dubious battery life.
This device allows you to watch movies, surf the Internet, make phone calls, and IM your buddies all at the same time. That's fabulous and all, but unless Steve Jobs can change the laws of chemistry, how long do you think the battery in this thing is going to last? And that's not even considering all the juice it will take to power that bright and beautiful screen.

Your Own Private Summer Blockbuster

Finally, some projector news: It has never been easier to create your own private drive-in movie theater. Toshiba has announced its TDP-FF1AU mobile projector ($700 msrp). This 1.7-pound projector combines a 400 lumen LED lamp -- that's pretty darn bright for a portable -- with a digital-light-processor chip to pump out a reasonably decent picture. Brightness really matters if you are going to show a movie outdoors because often times the wall you are using won't be pristine white. The Toshiba will run for two hours on a fully charged battery. That's a serious step forward for a small projector you can set up anywhere.

If you have a bit more cash to spend -- say, enough to build your own home theater -- check out Sanyo's new PLC-XF47 LCD ($30,000). Sanyo claims this is the brightest projector ever at 15,000 lumens. (That is a bit of an overstatement. Commercial projectors are far brighter.) But for the home projector, this is a seriously bright unit and rivals what you would see in a movie theater.

What we like about the Sanyo -- and why it is one of our weekly picks -- is all its cool connectivity features. The unit will be able to connect wirelessly with 720p and 1080i HD data signals, so you can conceivably have a 100-inch HDTV on your wall. The unit is big news in projectors.

Jonathan Blum and Dan Evans co-host "Strange New World", a weekly syndicated radio show. Blum hosts the blog Blumsday.com, and Evans is a features editor at PC Magazine.

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