Letterman Puts iPhone 4G Ordeal in Perspective

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Perhaps the most refreshing commentary on the iPhone 4G came last week on "The Late Show With David Letterman," when the longtime talk show host weighed in

on Gizmodo's acquisition of the supposed next iPhone.

Of course, Letterman riffed on the Apple engineer who lost the phone in a bar, without mentioning him by name. The Top Ten list, which seemed rushed and not that funny, was "Top Ten Excuses of the Guy Who Lost the iPhone Prototype."

Letterman's thoughts on the ordeal were more enjoyable to watch than the list itself, namely, this part: "This comes under the category for me of 'who cares?'"

Now, obviously, the iPhone 4G is a big deal for a lot of people. It's a big deal for Apple, and the people who invest in Apple, and the bloggers and journalists who write about Apple (ahem), and the people who are considering buying an iPhone or replacing their existing one.

But really, it's not that big of a deal. Letterman's jokes are a reminder that what seems like colossal news to an enthusiast community is actually just a blip to everyone else. The next iPhone is not an exception. You might argue that a Top Ten list from Letterman validates the iPhone 4G as major news, but it's the kind of news that most of the world soaks up and moves on from.

The proof is in the traffic counts listed in Gizmodo's coverage: 8 million for the original story, 2 million for the back story, 1.4 million for Apple's response, and roughly 1.4 million between the remaining three follow-up stories. Most people didn't follow the iPhone leak past the news itself.

And what did we learn about the iPhone after all this? It looks different (not in a good way, in my opinion), and it has specs that either are standard or should become standard for high-end smartphones, such as a front-facing camera, flash for the rear camera, a noise-canceling microphone and a higher-resolution display. Oh, and the battery isn't user-replaceable.

The one thing that most of my real-world friends ask me about the most, whether the iPhone is coming to Verizon Wireless any time soon, remains a mystery. The answer to that question would be worth more than a Top Ten list from Letterman.

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