Out tomorrow: But the iPhone is facing stiff competition
Anyone listening to the tsunami of hype surrounding the launch of the iPhone would think that Apple had brought about the Second Coming.
It has been so lauded that it seems Apple boss Steve Jobs has convinced everyone he actually invented the mobile phone.
The iPhone is the phone for the stars; Paris Hilton has apparently got one.
And now it is coming here. The God Machine, as it has become known because "it can do everything", goes on sale in Britain tomorrow from two minutes past six in the evening, precisely.
That's all very well - but do I want one? Well, there's the rub.
From what I have learned from the various technical reviews that have accompanied the launch of this device, the chances are that my wallet will be staying firmly closed.
I don't think I want one, but then I was convinced by digital cameras only last year and held out against mobile phones altogether for years, so what do I know?
The question is, should you want one? Well, the iPhone is certainly a thing of beauty.
Like its cousins, the Mac computers and the ubiquitous iPod, it is a triumph of chunky sleekness. It's glassy, jewel-like and tactile all at the same time.
It has no buttons, no fiddly switches to clog with fluff or confuse clumsy fingers - just a smooth screen with touch-sensitive icons by which the machine is operated. This is the iPhone's big attraction - that it's like something from one of the better and more imaginative science fiction films. Scroll down for more...
Buy one of these and you are buying into the future itself.
It makes everything else look old hat, and my ancient Nokia positively Stone Aged. So, in design terms, it is a justified hit. Scroll down for more...
But looks aren't everything. For the iPhone to sell, it has to offer what ordinary phones do not. And again, at first sight, things look good.
The iPhone is a phone, texting machine, camera, web browser, an email device and an MP3 player all rolled into one.
Vitally, all its various functions are seamlessly merged together. If you are listening to a song and someone calls your phone, the music will gently fade away to be replaced by a ringtone.
It is all very grown-up and well-thought-out. If other Apple products are anything to go by, the iPhone will appeal as much (probably more so) to non-geeks as to those who have silicon hardwired into their brains. The user's manual may even be comprehensible.
So far, so good. I almost want one. But according to some specialist reviews, the iPhone isn't quite all it is cracked up to be. For a start, it is an American mobile phone and that alone may be enough to raise suspicions.
Until quite recently, features like text-messaging - taken for granted here since the 1990s - were almost unheard of in the US.
More seriously, it costs a fortune. You will have to pay £269 for the handset, plus up to £55 month for a locked-in O2 contract (it is normal for a handset to be free, provided you sign up to a contract).
That's nearly £1,000 for your first year of iPhonery!
Already, the race is on among the geeks to find a way to unlock the iPhone from O2, meaning it can be used with cheaper networks. Apple says it will zap any iPhone which is tampered with - but where there's a geek, there's a way.
Worse, American users have complained of painfully slow internet access speeds, with web pages taking minutes to download.
Also, the iPhone cannot use the latest, fastest 3G mobile data network. Some experts say this means it will be four times slower than existing top-end phones.
There is more. As with other Apple products such as the iPod, you cannot change the battery yourself. You have to send it back to the manufacturer.
This is annoying and stupid, as the lithium batteries used in mobile phones deteriorate quite rapidly, as millions of iPod users have found out to their costs. This smells suspiciously like built-in obsolescence.
The camera, being only two megapixel, is "disappointing" according to the reviews. Nokia makes a phone with a five megapixel camera - but then again, the iPod is far and away from being the best MP3 player out there either.
Ultimately, I have two real problems. First, it is in danger of falling into that common technology trap - trying to be jack of all trades and master of none.
Do I really want a machine that is a hi-fi, computer and camera all in one?
By being capable of executing all these tasks, it risks doing them less well than a device dedicated to a single job.
My old Nokia model, which is only available on eBay as it is not made anymore, is hugely popular among people whose mobile phones are tools rather than fashion statements-because it is tough, reliable and simple to use. I can't see Paris Hilton using one, but that's the whole point.
In the end, I confess to a measure of Appleism here.
Unlike everyone else in the media, I have always considered Apples to be the work of the devil, with their "cutesy" styling and their bossy error messages.
True, Apples are "cool" and, above all, fashionable. And fashion, of course, represents the ultimate squandering of human talent. Nope, don't think I will be getting an iPhone.
God machine mania: What is the real deal with Apple's iPhone? | the Daily Mail