I'm on record as not being a huge fan of the iPhone as a phone. Ergonomics aside, I'm deeply grateful to all those TUAW readers who pointed me to a bluetooth earpiece solution. Sure I look like a dork with that thing in my ear (not much difference, mind you, from my normal look) but with my 8-dollar unit (thank you Tuesday Morning clearance aisle), I can talk pretty comfortably for long periods of time without holding the iPhone to my cheek.
When chatting, that iPhone normally stays either in my pocket or in the front holder in my stroller while in use. With the iPad, it would be pretty darn hard getting it to fit in either location. If I were to use the iPad as my main cell phone, it would have to be dragged along in a backpack no matter where I went. And, frankly, I like grabbing my keys, my wallet, and my phone and heading out the door without a backpack, a purse, or a man purse satchel.
Let me give you another real life example of where the iPhone outshines the iPad. I love tracking my walks using TrailGuru. There's no way, I'd do the same with either a netbook or an iPad. It's just the wrong solution for that kind of need. They're simply too big. Fact.
There are ways I want to use my iPhone. There are ways I want to use my iPad. And I'm perfectly happy owning both. Because there are things the iPhone does really well (GPS stuff, iPod listening stuff, and so forth) that make it pocket-awesome and there are things the iPad does and will do well (eBook reading, bigger Web pages, better movie size, iWork) that make it backpack-awesome.
Loving one does not mean you have to stop loving the other. Any parent can tell you that.
Sure, the iPad with its 3G-assisted Skype service may be able to allow me to chat comfortably with others. And that's not a bad thing. In fact, I seriously look forward to doing exactly that while traveling cross country with the family. But the iPad's ability to subsume iPhone functionality does not make the iPhone obsolete.
There's a reason why I haven't hooked up my Mac mini to a portable UPS system to carry along with a keyboard and monitor to my local Starbucks. Form does matter. And it matters just as much as function. The iPhone isn't going anywhere any time soon. It complements the iPad rather than replaces it. Long live the iPhone. Long live the iPad.
Photo credit courtesy Iconfactory.