Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal and David Pogue of the New York Times were both given iPhones to trial for the last two weeks. Today they (and others) published extremely positive reviews of the phone in their respective publications
The phone does indeed appear to live up to the hype with a game changing interface. There are, of course, a few issues with the phone (more of which later) but it has to be remembered that this is version 1.0 of the phone and many of those issues will be ironed out in the coming months. Can anyone remember the first version of Windows Mobile and just how terrible that was? With that in mind, what Apple have done with their first phone is indeed creditable.
Nokia and Microsoft must be very concerned now with the appearance of this new player on their territory. Especially since the phone’s interface beats anything they have ever produced!
Apple have announced that the phone will be updated over the ‘net – similar to how the iPod’s firmware is updated one assumes. This will allow Apple to quickly address faults or bugs found in the phone’s software as well as adding extra functionality.
David Pogue, after outlining all the phone’s strong points in detail goes on to point out some of its flaws –
So yes, the iPhone is amazing. But no, itâ€™s not perfect. Thereâ€™s no memory-card slot, no chat program, no voice dialing. You canâ€™t install new programs from anyone but Apple; other companies can create only iPhone-tailored mini-programs on the Web. The browser canâ€™t handle Java or Flash, which deprives you of millions of Web videos… it canâ€™t capture video. And you canâ€™t send picture messages (called MMS) to other cellphones.
Apple says that the battery starts to lose capacity after 300 or 400 charges. Eventually, youâ€™ll have to send the phone to Apple for battery replacement, much as you do now with an iPod, for a fee.
Then thereâ€™s the small matter of typing. Tapping the skinny little virtual keys on the screen is frustrating, especially at first.
Two things make the job tolerable. First, some very smart software offers to complete words for you, and, when you tap the wrong letter, figures out what word you intended. In both cases, tapping the Space bar accepts its suggestion.
Second, the instructional leaflet encourages you to â€œtrustâ€ the keyboard (or, as a product manager jokingly put it, to â€œuse the Forceâ€). It sounds like new-age baloney, but it works; once you stop stressing about each individual letter and just plow ahead, speed and accuracy pick up considerably.
Even so, text entry is not the iPhoneâ€™s strong suit. The BlackBerry wonâ€™t be going away anytime soon.
The bigger problem is the AT&T network. In a Consumer Reports study, AT&Tâ€™s signal ranked either last or second to last in 19 out of 20 major cities…
Then thereâ€™s the Internet problem. When youâ€™re in a Wi-Fi hot spot, going online is fast and satisfying.
But otherwise, you have to use AT&Tâ€™s ancient EDGE cellular network, which is excruciatingly slow. The New York Timesâ€™s home page takes 55 seconds to appear; Amazon.com, 100 seconds; Yahoo. two minutes. You almost ache for a dial-up modem.
These drawbacks may be deal-killers for some people. On the other hand, both the iPhone and its network will improve. Apple points out that unlike other cellphones, this one can and will be enhanced with free software updates. Thatâ€™s good, because I encountered a couple of tiny bugs and one freeze. (Thereâ€™s also a tantalizing empty space for a row of new icons on the Home screen.) A future iPhone model will be able to exploit AT&Tâ€™s newer, much faster data network, which is now available in 160 cities.
But even in version 1.0, the iPhone is still the most sophisticated, outlook-changing piece of electronics to come along in years. It does so many things so well, and so pleasurably, that you tend to forgive its foibles.
In other words, maybe all the iPhone hype isnâ€™t hype at all. As the ball player Dizzy Dean once said, â€œIt ainâ€™t bragging if you done it.â€