TELL ME SOMETHING IT HAS, that i cannot already get with the much more flexible windows mobile touch screen 3G pdas - -- that have been out for years already!
You said it. The Windows PDA is "more flexible". But "more flexible" is deadly for applications. What you need is a huge market of identical devices. The iPhone offers that. Windows Mobile doesn't.
What the iPhone offers that Windows Mobile doesn't have:
- a UNIX operating system: you can run UNIX applications on the phone and you get the stability and multitasking abilities of the BSD kernel
- real multitasking
- memory protection: the phone doesn't crash when one big application crashes
- Cocoa Touch API: Windows Mobile never took off as an system to develop for, the iPhone has been out for a year and there are hundreds of applications out there
- Syncing works: I have a Windows Mobile device and it has trouble syncing with Mac OS X, Vista, and XP
- Safari: traditional mobile browsers tried to solve the problem of the smaller screen by formatting things differently, Apple tried for a zoom solution; Apple's solution is better
- Mail: Mac OS X has an excellent mail program and the iPhone version is excellent too, I never trusted mobile Outlook
- exactly ONE way to sync the phone: it's done via USB and an iPod connector, that's it
- Calendar, Address Book applications: all iPhones have the same calendar and address book application and Mac OS X has the desktop counterparts, MobileMe (and before it .Mac) have the Web counterparts; ALL iPhones access addresses in exactly the same way
- a decent data plan: Apple realised that a key to the mobile market is making sure that people use the phone on the Internet; to do so flat rate Internet access was required, Apple pressured phone companies to offer specific iPhone plans, so that everyone would know that they can use the Web and what it costs (in many countries the iPhone plans are cheaper for data than other plans)
- touch keyboard: Apple gave up on the traditional phone number pad AND the physical mini-keyboard; while some Windows Mobile devices have a touch keyboard (I have seen them, they are smaller and a lot more difficult to use) NOT ALL Windows Mobile devices do; but consistency is important for application development
- developer tools: I never could get Microsoft's device emulator to work, the iPhone emulator worked immediately and it took me two hours from not knowing Cocoa Touch (but only the desktop Cocoa API) to setting up the dev tools, the emulator, and writing a Hello World program for a phone and have it run on the emulator
- One vendor for hardware and software: a mistake in the personal computer market, but apparently the right way to handle phones
Remember: Flexibility is what it is for one user, for more users it simply becomes lots of different devices to support.