Friday, August 07, 2009

What every phone really needs: True Caller ID

I can't live without my Caller ID. It's been around since the late 80s, and I won't bore you with the patents, rollout or history. That's what wikipedia is for. But here's the thing it doesn't tell you: who is actually on the other line. It only tells you where the call is coming from.

No, a killer iPhone app will identify who's actually holding the phone: it's not Steve, it's Steve's mom, who's using Steve's phone because she forgot to charge hers, and Steve is driving and wanted to know what time the show starts. With this app you would know not to say something stupid, like:

"Douche! I told you she was gonna leave you with something after that party. How many times has your mother said, wrap that rascal? What do they treat gonorrhea with these days anyway, ass-wipe? OxiClean?"

"Hellllloooo. Steve?"

How many times have you answered the phone with false confidence, thinking it was who the Caller ID told you it was?

Honestly, after years of old-world-phone-usage conditioning, sometimes I still answer the phone with the anticipatory and upward inflecting "Hello?", where we both pretend I didn't know who was calling. Old habits really do die hard.

But I want this app to do more than use thumbprint analysis, retinal scans and DNA matching. I also want it to tell me if it's calling me with speakerphone on, and who else is in the room.

In fact, it shouldn't just be iPhones. It should be all phones. Especially the extensions at work, which don't tell you your boss, her boss, the VP of Marketing, the EVP of Finance, the CEO, two board members, and three potential clients are sitting next to Chris when she calls you with a question. And she still owes you $10 for the football pool. Then you won't say things like:

"Bitch! Where's my money?! I'm beginning to think you're cheaper than a three-dollar ho, or Jenkins. Man, you'd think a man who makes 400 large would spring for lunch just once. Damn, I even got to pay for his sodas in the cafeteria. Never has 'change'. Probably all tied up in lawyers after we dodged that last SEC investigation. Man, we did more shredding 'round here than Tony Hawk. So whatcha need?"

Come on, geek nation! Before you give us another GPS-potty plotter, hook us up with something we really need on our phones.