Savvy or Silly?

Customer's wait while trying to activate t he new 3G iPhone.  In the Apple Store at Valley Fair Mall in San Jose on July 11.
Customer's wait while trying to activate t he new 3G iPhone. In the Apple Store at Valley Fair Mall in San Jose on July 11. MCT

Editor's note: You probably know that Apple recently released a new iPhone with fancy features. People lined up for hours to get their hands on one, and Apple sold 1 million in the first three days.

Vicki Lee Parker can't understand those people. She lives in the land of common sense. She grew up with a wall-mounted phone and sees no reason to pay $200, plus $70 a month, at least, for a phone you can't put a new battery in yourself.

Jonathan B. Cox is one of those gadget lovers: He would be at home on the starship Enterprise. He bought one of the original iPhones at $400 and upgraded the software with the new release.

They sit beside each other.

He has been yapping about the iPhone. He calls it a hand-held computer, says it lets him surf the Web, check e-mail and talk with friends.

Vicki says it's a phone -- a really expensive phone.

Vicki is our Savvy Consumer columnist. She calls colleague Jonathan our Not-So-Savvy Consumer. Is she right? You decide:

Jonathan: This isn't my strongest argument, but, hey, it's cool. I just downloaded an application that turns the iPhone into a flashlight. It makes the screen completely white and bright so I can get around in the dark. How handy is that?

Vicki: You could just buy a flashlight for $2.

Jonathan: Try this. On my iPhone, I have a program that lets me instantly check the calorie content of foods at restaurants, like McDonald's. I'm trying to drop a few pounds before an August wedding. That should help.

Vicki: Get a little exercise by walking over to the counter and picking up the nutritional sheet. Better yet, walk out the door. It's McDONALD'S. Are you really going to order a salad?

Jonathan: I've got a few hundred songs in my pocket, thanks to the iPhone.

Vicki: At 99 cents a song, I prefer the radio.

Jonathan: I can record a note to myself, and the iPhone will turn it into text.

Vicki: You can get a notepad from the office supplies. Pen, too.

Jonathan: I'm always connected to e-mail. I've even filed stories from my iPhone.

Vicki: I thought you bought a laptop a few years ago.

Jonathan: It has issues right now.

Vicki: Another good investment, huh?

Jonathan: On my iPhone, I can keep up with friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Vicki: Ever heard of face-to-face conversations?

Jonathan: Well, I can find the closest Starbucks, no matter where I am. IPhone has a map.

Vicki: I keep a map in my car. Coffee? I make my own.

Jonathan: Come Sunday, I can read this column by the pool.

Vicki: (Laughing) By the pool? Staring at your gadget? You need more help than I thought.