As my friend Paulo would put it, "I'm more impressed with Google than Apple." But to pacify Mac & iPhone fans, here's a story about the Find My iPhone feature working in real life.
A LiveJournal blog entry by happywaffle describes how he lost his iPhone in a bar in Chicago, uses a 3G USB donggle connected to a Macbook to track down the phone into a Latino neighborhood and gets the thief to hand the phone over.
Here's an exerpt of the blog entry:
So I felt like about zero cents, but then we giddily realized that I had *just* activated the brand-new Find My iPhone service. Even better, Mark had a Sprint (yes, Sprint) USB dongle giving him Internet access over 3G on his MacBook Pro. Excited to try it out, we hopped onto me.com and clicked the Find My iPhone link.
"Your iPhone is not connected to a data network or does not have Find My iPhone enabled."
Well, crap. I guess all bets are off if the thieving person has the bright idea to turn the iPhone off. Oddly the phone still rang when we called it, suggesting it wasn't off; but, one way or the other, it was unable to broadcast itself to Apple so I could track it down. We sent a message to the phone - "CALL 512-796-xxxx" - but no luck. The MobileMe website said it would send me an email when the message had been displayed, but no email arrived.
Dejected, we prowled the bar one more time, but it wasn't that big a place and there weren't any places for the phone to be hiding. Game over. We went back to the hotel and I was disconsolate. This morning we checked again with no additional luck, and when Mark tried dialing the phone around noon, it *did* go straight to voicemail. The odds of ever seeing the phone again were slim to say the least.
After lunch, while at the Lego convention, I checked my email...Holy crap! I jumped back to me.com and clicked Find My iPhone again, and to my absolute shock and amazement, it displayed Google Maps and drew a circle around Medill St.The block was about four or five miles west of the bar. It was too perfect to be a random glitch.
The full blog entry here.
Now I don't find this iPhone feature/service truly unique or superior. Location-based services and 3G broadband access havw been available for quite some time now. It's just amusing that regular folk can do stuff like these without all the technical know-how, just with expensive, cool-looking gadgets selling like hotcakes that glorify yesterday's technological advances like it was a God-given gift to humanity. Apple is for dumb blondes, I would say.
Now, before I start sounding like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, I will end this post.