Apple's newest handheld, iPhone 3G S, is for sale this month. I thought it would be interesting to compare iPhone 3G S with one of Apple's desktop computers from 20 years ago, Apple IIGS. The "GS" in IIGS stood for graphics and sound. However, it's clear that today's iPhone is much better with graphics and sound. The "S" in 3G S stands for speed. Compared to IIGS, 3G S certainly is the speedier computer. The similarities of these two computing devices pretty much stop at their names.
I think the most telling fact above is the number of software applications. The Apple IIGS could run software written for Apple II machines, which were produced for 17 years. iPhone was just opened up to programmers in 2008 and there are there are already 5 times as many apps as compared to what was available for Apple II computers. The number of iPhone/iPod touch apps is set to double by year's end.
The bottom line: you can do a lot more with an iPhone/iPod touch than you could ever do with a IIGS. Sure, it's wonderful that iPhone can access the Internet 50 times faster, has 250 times more RAM and runs at 214 times the megahertz. But really, it's about the usefulness of the computer, and with 50,000+ apps, iPhone is certainly useful.
Apple IIgs photo from flickr.com/photos/quagmirez31/3547583644