I wish I could have peppered my iPhone review with phrases like "at present," "initially," or "for the time being." But Apple doesn't work that way.

If I could be confident that Apple would address the major shortcomings that I saw in iPhone, like the absence of programmability and the lack of access to even a sandboxed portion of the device's file system, I'd have given the device a thumbs-up for its platform potential alone.

Instead, I had to evaluate iPhone as it is - for the technology, policies and message that Apple and AT&T are selling today. With that in mind, I judged it to be no match for BlackBerry, Treo, Windows Mobile and Symbian devices, all of which do what business needs, are programmable, are expandable, can be purchased from multiple wireless operators (at discounts), are offered with data-only and voice-only plans, have replaceable batteries, and also have very nice media players.

I'm glad that iPhone is waking so many people up to the potential of professional mobile devices. I urge people who are looking at iPhone to spend an equal amount of time ogling alternatives, because once you get above $200, it's easy to find handsets with displays and media players that rival iPhone's and which also deliver the kinds of serious features that benefit professional users. Take your newfound mobile enthusiasm shopping.

If you're jazzed about creating iPhone-friendly web apps, spread the love - there are lots of mobile handset users equipped with full browsers capable of running interactive sites. Make your apps mobile-friendly. It doesn't take much effort. Non-iPhones can support "iPhone apps" with little or no modification. As long as sites avoid using the non-standard Canvas tag, apps written for iPhone usually just work on other devices. I encourage iPhone web app/site developers to test their sites and applications on at least one non-iPhone mobile device. The native iPhone look and feel, with the exception of gestures and the on-screen keyboard, is being reproduced in CSS and vanilla JavaScript by the people who attended the successful iPhoneDevCamp in early July. Check in on the iPhoneWebDev Google Groups site to join in the discussion.

What you'll find at iPhoneWebDev doesn't turn a random smart phone into an iPhone clone; that's not the point of cross-platform mobile DHTML development, or at least it shouldn't be. But the iPhone look and feel promises to bring some good taste and common sense to sites that target mobile browsers, and with luck, it will spur web developers to finally recognize that 1,024 by 768 is not a global standard. That's lazy design and lazy coding. Make your site mobile-friendly, if you haven't already. If it takes iPhone to motivate you to make that happen, then go buy some and pass them out to your development team.

Don't forget that practically everything except iPhone gives developers the ability to store, upload, and download data using its internal file system and to save web pages for offline viewing. Right now, iPhone only allows you to persist files and documents as attachments to email, but I recommend adding a "mail this to me" option for websites and documents that you format for mobile use.

If you're bored with your smart phone, PDA, or "superphone," that's your fault. The iPhone craze should get a lot of mobile professionals exploring their devices, and the massive libraries of downloadable third-party software. Don't forget to include MIDP (mobile information device profile) Java apps when you go looking for software for your phone, because they tend to run just about anywhere.

iPhone's great, but if you paid more than about $200 for a mobile device, chances are high that your handset can do what iPhone does, or can be taught to do it with the help of some third-party apps. And it can do a whole lot more.