So I read this New York Times article over breakfast and assumed it was going to be about how all the smart phone makers are copying the iPhone's touch screen UI, a notion I find pretty obvious. But it's actually about something a lot more interesting, and is admittedly something that hadn't occurred to me:

This holiday, cellphone makers and carriers are pushing some shiny new toys: phones with touch-sensitive screens like the one on the Apple iPhone.

The companies are hoping to duplicate the blockbuster success of the iPhone with models that, in their glassy minimalism, end up looking a lot like it.

Touch-screen phones do have their critics. Mr. Snyder says the bigger screens are a drain on battery life, and the phones require users to look at the screen instead of getting to know the phone’s buttons by feel.

“You’re getting all these extras so you can look at the phone and stand still, when you bought the phone so you could move,” he said. “Only a niche of users are going to be willing to spend money to have the extra capability.”

“The hype surrounding the touch-screen technology far exceeds its impact,” Mr. Snyder said.

Touch-screen phones remain a fraction of the overall mobile phone market, but sales have been soaring. In the 12 months through September, sales of the phones in North America grew 130 percent, in contrast to 4 percent growth in the overall phone market.

As of September, M:Metrics data shows, more than 2.6 million people in North America had some model of the iPhone. The second-most-popular touch-screen model was the LG Voyager, which was available through Verizon Wireless and had 851,000 users.

There had been similar frenzies for flip phones and candy-bar-style phones when they were introduced. “And yet today, there are still plenty of people who prefer a flip phone.”

Ev Gonzalez, director of device marketing for Verizon Wireless, said the company recognized that touch-screen technology was not for everyone. In fact, he said, touch screens are likely to show up on a limited number of the company’s devices.

“There are consumers who are looking for straight phone services,” Mr. Gonzalez said. “Where the touch screen is not needed, we won’t provide it.”

So. Is the touch screen a fad? Could be. I have to admit, the things I like most about the iPhone have nothing to do with touch. Hm...