Saying only new (-ish) things about the iPhone

We’ve all read about how cool flicking is and how lame EDGE is. Enough on that. Below are some things I haven’t already read a thousand times about the iPhone. Full disclosure: I’ve owned one Newton, two Blackberrys, three Palms, and three Treos (geeeeeeek!), and I’m switching from a Treo 650 to an 8GB iPhone.

  • The iPhone kicks the Treo’s butt in a lot of ways, but between the two devices, the most useful win on the iPhone, believe it or not, is threads. PalmOS is single-threaded, so if you set your mail application to check mail every 15 minutes, at some point every day you’ll take your phone out of your pocket and either have to wait for mail download to complete before you can make a call, or cancel the download (which takes forever). As a result I always left my Treo on “manual” download, which means you have to press a button to initiate getting mail, then wait for it to happen. The iPhone either hides the download process a lot better, or is actually doing two network operations at the same time — I suspect the former, but I don’t care. I don’t have to worry about it. I set the iPhone to automatically download mail every 15 minutes and haven’t caught it in the act once. The mail is just there when I turn on the phone. Such a huge improvement.
  • The iPhone keyboard blows. Let’s not mince words, here: text input was better on a Newton. The keys are way too close together, full stop. The auto-suggestion works okay if you’re typing dictionary words (and not, say, street names, as in the Google Maps app) and if you’re in a context where typing space to accept is useful (in URLs, for instance, there is no space bar). The amazing thing to watch is everyone blogging about how they “need to get better at typing” — that’s the drugs talking. The iPhone needs to get better at typing, not you. Jason Santa Maria nailed this one in January in his post, A Plea for the Fat-Fingered, in which he argued that the keyboard should be available in landscape orientation, not just portrait. Fortunately Apple took his advice — see picture here — but unfortunately, landscape keyboarding only works in Safari. The first iPhone software update really, really, really needs to enable landscape keyboarding for all apps. That one, over-the-wire, software-only update would by itself vastly improve the experience overall.
  • Taking those two notes together, the Treo still wins over the iPhone in placing calls (you know, the “phone” in “iPhone”). The Treo phone application lets you just start typing the first or last name of the person you’re calling, and it shows you a list of matches to what you’ve typed. So fast, so easy. It doesn’t matter if I know you as “Mr. Jones” or “Tom” — either way, I can get your number and make a call very quickly. The iPhone’s flicking interface is great and all, but scrolling through over a hundred contacts in the same letter of the alphabet is tiring.
  • This weekend’s sales numbers — bigger than Razr’s first month, maybe 700,000 units sold, etc. — are very impressive. But, I think it will be getting a lot bigger from here (assuming Apple can make the things fast enough). The reason? What our dorky industry likes to call “viral growth.” In the iPhone’s case, media carpet-bombing of the topic means that everyone knows what the thing is, and then any experience of the phone is such a rich, immediate, visual attraction that five minutes playing with one will sell you on it. I’ve seen stock brokers demoing to barristas, bike messengers showing it off to grandmas. Everyone wants to see, and when they see, everyone wants to buy. I demo it by giving it to people, off, and letting them figure out what to do with no help from me at all. That they can, and that the experience is so good, can only mean a lot more good news coming for Apple.
  • Apple may be letting AT&T be AT&T, but I’ve gotta say, they sure seem on it to me. I transferred a phone number over from Sprint (apparently the biggest loser in this weekend’s deluge), whose web site was down all day Monday, and which had just converted everyone’s account numbers (interesting timing!), so my number transfer failed. I called AT&T, and while the whole process involved more than an hour on the phone, they called Sprint for me, bitched them out for me while I was on the line, basically hung right up on them once the transfer was complete (which is what I would have done, so thanks), and then called me back later to say, “Oh, we found our that your data plan wasn’t set up correctly, so we fixed it for you and you’ll see a refund tomorrow.” (Attention AT&T: Colleen Boyd in Halifax Center deserves a raise.) When I finally got off the phone, I found two messages waiting from someone else at AT&T who had called me as soon as the transfer failed. Um, are you guys really a phone company? You seem, uh, competent.
  • Calling it the best iPod ever is an insult to the experience. I would never want just an iPod again — the video playback and the browsing interface both feel entirely new, not like a revision of the iPod. Likewise, the iPhone’s Safari is unbelievably good. I can’t really imagine wanting to use anyone else’s browser again. I’d go so far as to call it the first real web browser on a phone.
  • I come back again to third-party apps (not a new topic). Apple has released some helpful materials for web developers working on iPhone-specific sites, and all the promised capabilities are there. But, this UI deserves more of a workout than Stocks and Weather. Were it not for the quality of the browser, I’d already feel like I’d hit all four walls of the iPhone experience. The development community around the iPhone is already amazing. Let them have an icon on the home screen for their work and let them at the full capabilities of the device, and I don’t see any limits on the utility they’ll create for you. Let them go to work.

It’s got some warts and some rough edges, but I think it’s only fair to call this the best 1.0 evar. Congratulations to everyone at Apple, and thanks. (Ratatouille was great, too!)

Update: After a week, suddenly everyone linked to this post. In the time since, Artur has pointed out to me that the standard Treo mail app does some weird CPU scheduling to simulate threading — SnapperMail, the Treo mail client I used, doesn’t. Visual voicemail is now a serious contender for my favorite novel feature on the iPhone (beating out threads); again, another feature that I can’t really imagine leaving behind now that I have it. The 3rd party app scene is cheering up, thanks primarily to the heroic efforts of Joe Hewitt to make a great app framework. The keyboard still blows.

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topic: Programming
  • http://www.kierredesigns.com Kierre Hodges

    The guy who wrote this article is an idiot. I have an iPhone and its the best gadget I have seen in the past 7 years besides the iPod or Nintendo Wii. Go back to using a rotary phone.

  • Andy

    Seems like the keyboard is a ‘Marmite’ – you love it or hate it ! Only today I was listening to someone say they could already type WAY faster on the iPhone than on any other mobile device they’d used…

  • Mike Martinez

    The person who posted the first comment is an idiot. :)

  • http://mndoci.com Deepak

    I believe people used to typing on Blackberries etc will have more difficulties typing on the iPhone. Typing with fingers the person I was checking with was flying, and this is someone not used to typing on a phone. I had more trouble. It is a gorgeous device though, and the browser experience is amazing. Now if only it had 3G.

  • Builder

    It’s a funny thing with phones that are more than phones: you need to get information in as well as out. I’m amazed at how the faults of the iPhone are usually the glossed over, tacked on, oh-by-the-way affairs.

    Yes, I bought an iPhone.

    Reading the excuses is getting a little thick. The iPhone looks gorgeous and for those things that work, they work very well but aren’t we all forgetting something in our rush to heap praise?

    I too have a messagepad (there never was a Newton) and I have to wonder why, after so long and with so many resources including the jumpstart, did the iPhone fail to do it all? This isn’t some giveaway phone we’re talking about, it’s 600 bucks mind you. For that money I want and demand at least some of the simple things that make using a phone, especially a smartphone, worthwhile.

    Not having the ability to voice dial is inexcusable. Apple can make a touchscreen work but not voice dialing? If we say that voice recognition doesn’t work on other systems, are we accepting that Apple can’t make it work either? What happened to being better than everyone else?

    I’d rather not see my phone often unless it’s to present me with some information. Screen savers and album covers don’t do much and really, there is far more going on outside. Instead, let me save that webpage as a pdf, attach a note of more than 6 letters and send it to someone. Let me take a picture and get it to someone else with a mobile phone instead of tellimg them to check their email once they get home because I can’t send MMS.

    The slick marketing was sure to avoid calling the iPhone a smartphone. It’s just a phone so it does what no other simple phone can do. Why don’t we just call a $100 bill a dollar and see how much we can buy with a buck?

    If the new idea of a phone is the iPhone and the cost of entry is now 600 dollars, we’ve just gone back to the mid 90s. If all other service providers get stuck selling phones at full retail, that is a step forward? Now not only will you pay full price for the phone, you’ll also have to sign the contract? How nice.

    Sorry, the iPhone is a smartphone and should be compared to that class. Still, it shines but it’s not a glaring example of perfection.

    If, as they say, it’s been years in development, how could the things that would make it truly great have been left out? Leather seats and gold plated knobs in a Yugo make for flash but it’s still a Yugo. I had expected a completely new experience with my iPhone. Instead, I got a touchscreen phone that sure wows the eyes but is short on substance.

    I don’t want to play with my phone all day, I’m far too busy. I want all those things every other phone is giving these days PLUS what Apple could bring to the table to make those functions better. What happened was that Apple removed all those features and made what was left simple. That isn’t an accomplishment.

    It’s called the iPhone. What it should have been called is the iSlate or iPad, anything but something with the word “phone” in it.

    Let’s not forget that excusing a slow data network is something none of us would tolerate on a MAC, yet, that is such an intergral part of the browsing experience that it makes using Safari more like IE on dial-up. The only reason we excuse it is because there are no other choices for the iPhone.

    When you are hungry enough, bad meat tastes good.

  • Newt

    Man, to hell with the iphone; somehitng with so many glaring design shortcomngs, that breaks no real new ground has NO BUSINESS Costing nearly a thousand dollars.

    The only people buying this thing are marketting victims that think “stuff” will make them cool or popular, and Mac zombies.

  • Pierre from England

    I’m glad Apple have not allowed 3rd party development so far. I’m a software developer myself and, whil I’d love to start writing software for my own use, I never want to see the chaos of insecurity and instability that I have on my microsoft-based pc. I hope that apple will initially focus on fighting back against hackers in the current software image and ironing out glitches in the system like have been mentioned in the article above. Then slowly figure out how to allow safe, controlled development on the platform. I certainly don’t want a world of amteurish developers crashing my phone and emailing my bank account details to the Taliban.

  • http://hpvideoclub.blogspot.com Marcos El Malo

    [Cue Music: Tom Waits' "What's He Building in There?"]

    Let’s review:

  • Steve Jobs mentioning that dot mac needs a revamp at D5. An offhanded comment? Does Steve ever make offhanded comments about Apple’s plans for future products and services?
  • Eric Schmidt (Google CEO) gushing about the iPhone and the partnership with Apple, saying that much more was in the works (at the Google Paris event).
  • Google Gears.
  • WebObjects. Free in Xcode, which is free (but you need a Mac). Can be used for AJAX development.
  • Safari for Windows. Just a Windows based SDK for the iPhone? Or does Apple want control of a cross platform browser/client for web services/web apps? Operative word here is client because . . . . .
  • iPhone is a mobile thin client. The internet is the server side in this equation.
  • Google’s purchase of Grand Central.
  • While were at it, Google’s known and rumored assets and capabilities. Google marketplace. Google Apps. Those shipping containers.
  • Apple’s capabilities and assets. The iTunes Store, which is the most successful micropayment site, if we define micropayments as anything under a dollar.
  • I could go on with more clues, but I’m only on my first cup of coffee this morning, so I’ll cut to the chase.

    Apple and Google are building something huge. They will control it, or attempt to control it, thru APIs. But they will make it open to anyone, both through open APIs, development tools, and hosting. You’ll be able to build a site from snap together pieces, a la Ning Networks. (In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Google buy Ning.) Google and Apple will handle a lot of the back end stuff, like secure IDs across sites, secure transactions, etc. There will be a free advertiser supported tier and a advertisement-free paid tier.

    We’re basically talking about a structured sub-internet. A structured cloud, to use the 2.0-speak. Apple’s and Google’s playground, and everyone is invited to come play. It’s an audacious plan and it’s going to be huge.

    Or not. I’m just thinking out loud here, reading the tea leaves. I’m looking at the clues and this is the most interesting explanation to me, but I could be wrong and there might be a much more reasonable explanation for Apple and Google’s recent moves.

    Apple makes most of its money from hardware. Google from advertising. This actually makes the two a good fit, because (hopefully) they won’t be stepping on each other’s toes. (This is also why I don’t see an outright merger between the two, although that’s the subject for another comment.)

  • Ken

    As I type this from my iPhone there is one user group I see benefitting from the iPhone (or similar devices), seniors. I am excited to have my grandma try making calls from it. On her current phone she has to use the eraser end of a pencil because arthritis makes dialing on those small buttons painful. I think the ability to see names in the address book and then lightly touch them will make foe an easier experience.

  • Anonymous

    “The iPhone’s flicking interface is great and all, but scrolling through over a hundred contacts in the same letter of the alphabet is tiring.”

    Do you not use the quick-jump feature on the right of the contact list? I seldom ever flick through my contacts.

  • https://www.wesabe.com Marc Hedlund

    Anonymous (11:48 AM) — I do use the quick-jump, but I have over a hundred contacts under the letter “M,” so I still have to flick through a lot to get to the right M-named person. On the Treo this wasn’t an issue because I could type a few more letters to get to the right name.

  • Papa G

    Hmmmm, sounds like crap! Not suprised…

  • An interested Canadian

    @Builder

    I found your comment to be better overall than the story itself

    @Marcos El Malo

    I agree :) but not about the merger..not within the next 5 years in my opinion, if ever

  • MH

    @Newt:
    > has NO BUSINESS Costing nearly a thousand dollars.

    Right. 700,000 sales on opening weekend and you say “no business?” Apparently, the market will bear that price, whether you think all those buyers are idiots or not.

  • tl

    I used to gush over every Apple product, buy top of the line Power Books, debate their merits etc.

    Now I sit back and watch fools rushing in with $600 in their hands. Apple has always been like this, they over promise, the products look great and impressive conceptually, but blow in real world usage. Have it for a few weeks, play with it, reflect on the real ease of use beyond the cool effects. Then write a review.

    Admit it, whatever the iPhone potential is, you thoughtlessly spent $600 for the privilege of beta testing it for Apple. Apple has beta tested OS X the same way from 2000 to 2005 and shamelessly charged for it despite everyone knowing it was a painful work in progress.

    You think people will buy this in droves, I think people don’t really understand what a good phone is supposed to do and are believing the commercials. But, fidgeting and struggling with all the minor annoyances is sure to alienate many.

    One thing can be said with certainty, this is not a functional device that you can actually get stuff done with, and as such has no business selling for $600. But again, Apple has always done it with impunity.

  • foo

    @tl

    you live in a fantasy world if you think complex software can be developed and evolve without users. Mac OS X hit the market as soon as it had something to show and from then on it has been improved incrementally. That’s the way to do it. With customer feedback and looking how technology develops you get after a few years a polished product. Developing in-house without real end-user feedback is a recipe for burning money and failing (think Vista).

    If you look at the launch of Apple’s Aperture recently. They brought a product to market which was less than perfect. Soon rumors spread that Apple does not like the software it created and that the developers had to go and so on. But the opposite happened: Apple fixed the bugs and published new versions and bug fixes. They even lowered the price for those earlier adopters.

    The good thing of the the iPhone is that it is a capable software platform. The hardware has enough power to be useful (unlike the first Mac) for a few years (128MB RAM, 8GB disk, 600Mhz CPU).

    Once you understand how Apple develops products, you learn to relax.

    So, sit back and watch Apple improving the iPhone’s software in the next years.

  • tl

    Eventually, the iPhone will be a fine device, just like OS X has finally matured. I was playing around with its precursor back in ’99, and feel that OS X really came out as a finished product only in 2005. That’s a long time of testing and charging for the privilege.

    I am sitting back and watching a whole new generation of Apple believers :)

  • http://asbjornu.myopenid.com/ Asbj√∏rn Ulsberg

    I wonder when other phone manufacturers will learn from Qtek/HTC on how to find people in the address book. I think Qtek/HTC phones blow and suck beyond any gadget I’ve ever used in every way, but the address book was a joy to use, especially with a usual cell phone keyboard.

    The search interface is iterative, just like the iTunes search is, but when pressing the “5″ key, you get every person with either underlying letter or number matched in the address book. So pressing “5″ would give you matches for “5″, “J”, “K” and “L”. And it didn’t care where in the name (or the phone number) it found the letter or number, but it highlighted the match so you could see for yourself. Pressing “2″ would then reduce the list to everyone matching any combination of “5″, “J”, “K”, “L” and “2″, “A”, “B”, “C”. Hitting “9″ would reduce the list again to anyone matching the two aforementioned lists and “9″, “W”, “X”, “Y”, “Z”. In this example, you’d usually just have one contact listed; “Jay”.

    This was a wonderful way to search the contact list and I’m surprised that no other manufacturers have picked up on it. I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft has patended it, though, since Qtek/HTC uses the horrible Windows Mobile operating system in their phones.

    Oh, and about the iPhone keyboard: I’ve read somewhere that the best way to write on it (if you have fat fingers) is to let your index finger hover each letter before pressing, because the hovering will make each letter stand out and increase its size. Have you tried that, instead of just trying to hit the right key instantly?

  • Builder

    @foo, Vista failed? By what measure? We might not like it but its hardly a failure and much to soon to even qualify that comment.

    @Pierre from England, the hackers are going to take care of the crashes, regardless of 3rd party development efforts. Don’t forget that the iPhone is stuck with AT&T for 5 years. Edge is slow, period. The network is an integral part of the iPhone, they can’t be separated unless you think looking at off-line content is a step forward.

    The simple fact is that without a reliable and fast network, development efforts will stall, regardless of how it’s being done. AJAX/Web 2.0 isn’t worth much if the network those apps must communicate on is slow and unreliable.

    Contrast the open source development efforts to anything else. The amount of exploration and fruitful development going on there makes anything that will happen on the iPhone pale; it even humbles Microsoft doesn’t it?

    The iPhone is new and as a new product from Apple, talked about for nearly six months, it had to sell. We have yet to pass the one week period after which buyers really start to ask the question, “Does this do what I need a smartphone to do?”

    When the average iPhone buyer looks at their MAC and asks why they can’t run the same program on the iPhone, or a subset of it, things will get interesting. After all, it’s supposed to be OSX and Safari on the iPhone so why not something else?

    That question has already been answered to some extent. Of the people buying mobile phones, most just want to make some calls, send a message and stick it back into their pocket. The iPhone can do that but it costs $600 to do it. You should pay less or get much more.

    AT&T shareholders are in for a shock. They’ve now heard about Apple’s profit margins and when the numbers hit the sheets, some serious questions are going to be asked. How and why is AT&T subsidizing other phones when customers are willing to pay for the iPhone? Popularity isn’t going to be the right answer. The bread and butter of AT&T is over 60 million buyers, not 500 or even 700 thousand iPhone users. If I were a shareholder of AT&T, I’d be asking that question and demanding the end to all subsidies, let the customer pay full price.

    Greed has set in.

    The iPhone is by no means guaranteed to be a success past initial one month sales. Let’s see if the buyers like it as much 3 or 6 months from now as they do now. There is nothing like day to day use to make small and insignificant things seem huge.

    Lets also hope that the iPhone does not become so ubiquitous that a repeat of the what happened with the iPod happens here. For all practical purposes, innovation and new ideas ceased to flow in the media player market. You either bought an iPod or were left to scrape up something else. You may look at the iPhone and marvel at it’s appearance but if everyone has what you have, how unique is that? Imagine if your next haircut consisted of someone running a pair of clippers around a bowl placed on top of your head.

  • http://www.iphonematters.com Hadley Stern

    Marc,

    I felt the same way about the keyboard for the first 24 hours until I realized a couple of things. 1. Don’t tap and then let go, tap and hold down, if you miss a key, just slide your thumb over to the correct key. 2. Trust the auto-correct, it is right 9 out of 10 times. I know type much faster on my iPhone than I ever did on my Blackberry. More details here: http://www.iphonematters.com/article/getting_good_at_typing/

  • debating the iPhone

    I’m really not sure about the iPhone. I handled it at the apple store and I thought it was great, especially because of the YouTube feature and the great picture quality (like hidefinition!). The typing was difficult at first, but if that were the only problem I would dish out the $600. It was a lot of fun to play with for 5 minutes, but later I talked to a friend of mine who is a techgenius and he pointed out a few flaws that I never would have noticed. The camera on the iPhone has no flash. The phone has no bluetooth. You have to switch to cingular (AT&T). The monthly plans didn’t seem practical. And now I hear you can’t pix message to another phone (I’m not sure if this is true). Despite all of this, I still can’t help but want this gadget. Instead of debating apple and its alterior motives, or just generally saying that the phone has no substance, could anyone (preferably someone who owns the phone or works for apple) just make a simple list of pros, cons, problems, etc.?

  • http://mistersnitch.blogspot.com/ Mister Snitch!

    “Text input was better on a Newton”

    Amen, and bravely spoken. iPhone needs:

    1) Voice-to-text option,
    2) Stylus input option.

    I realize (re option 2) the device is configured to recognize only fingers, but you set a bluetooth standard for stylus devices, set up the software options for input, and let third parties make such devices. Problem solved, and anyone who prefers options 1 or 2 can use them.

    Unfortunately, Steve has this ‘thing’ about the Newton (:cough:Scully:cough:), so a stylus option, however logical (and potentially widely welcomed) seems unlikely.

  • Leigh

    You have a hundred contacts that start with the same letter of the alphabet?! Yikes! Which letter? S?

    Maybe you should edit out some of the stale ones. Or only put the 1,000 most used ones on the phone, and put the rest on a Web site somewhere.

    I really find it hard to believe that anyone has that many contacts that he actually makes cell phone calls to in any given year. And if such a person exists, I’m not sure Apple should optimize the interface with him in mind.

    Perhaps Apple should have an iTunes style number-of-times-played count of outgoing/incoming phone numbers (hidden on the iPhone, but visible in Address Book), to help you figure out who you really call, and who might well have died five years ago without your noticing.

  • Jeff

    “Man, to hell with the iphone; somehitng with so many glaring design shortcomngs, that breaks no real new ground has NO BUSINESS Costing nearly a thousand dollars.”

    $500 (or even $600) is nearly $1000? My truck ($30,000) cost nearly $60,000 by that logic. My house ($200,000) cost nearly $400,000.

    Yeah, it’s expensive, but don’t try to make it sound worse than it is. Be honest.

  • Jason

    @Debating the iPhone: The iPhone does have Bluetooth. And the monthly plan is cheaper than my Treo plan was on Cingular.

  • http://toastradio.com Rob

    @Asbj√∏rn Ulsberg: “Oh, and about the iPhone keyboard: I’ve read somewhere that the best way to write on it (if you have fat fingers) is to let your index finger hover each letter before pressing, because the hovering will make each letter stand out and increase its size. Have you tried that, instead of just trying to hit the right key instantly?”

    Don’t believe Gizmodo. That “hover” method will only slow you down. I have large hands and type much faster by just barrelling through and letting the system pick up the slack. I think the messages I send just tend to contain more dictionary words.

    For the record: “full stop” has been officially added to my list of phrases I hope to never see again.

  • Brian

    “The auto-suggestion works okay if you’re typing dictionary words (and not, say, street names, as in the Google Maps app) and if you’re in a context where typing space to accept is useful (in URLs, for instance, there is no space bar).”

    But…but…it doesn’t even TRY to autocorrect URLs or street names! How can you criticize it for being third-place if it’s not even in the race?

    Also, autocorrect works fine if you type a punctuation mark. It’s not restricted to the space bar.

    @Rob: Amen on the “full stop,” brother.

  • Ted

    Hey TL – the iPhone is a functional device that I am able to get lots of stuff done with. I’m not sure what caused your high level of cynicism (did Steve Jobs not show you enough love at some point in your life?), but you are way off the mark on all your comments.

    I’ve owned a Treo in the past (but my last phone was a Razr), and the iPhone is far and away the more complete device.

    As for the beta testing comment… Are you serious? In today’s day and age, just about every product released is really the next versions beta. There is no end to it.

    The iPhone, simply put, is the best 1.0 device I have ever used.

    I sense a bit of iJealousy.

  • Mitch

    I don’t have an iPhone yet, and probably won’t have one until it hits at least a second generation. I’m stuck with Verizon and perfectly happy with their network.

    Folks just need to stop bashing Apple. Most of what Apple is doing right now is leaps and bounds ahead of Microsoft. Apple might not sell more copies of OS 10.5 than Microsoft sold of Vista, but guaranteed that 10.5 will categorically be better.

    And for the record, the word “Mac” is not capitalized like “PC” because “Mac” is not an abbreviation. I just can’t take comments seriously from anyone who capitalizes that full word.

  • Anonymous

    What happens in about a year when everyone has to start sending in their iPhones to replace the battery for $85, a week without a phone, and having to resync all of their data? $85 can buy a new phone (with contract). And if the batteries don’t improve, is the process repeated every year?

  • Zeth

    Mitch –

    “Mac” is an abbreviation. It is short for “Macintosh,” the name of a series of computers made by Apple, Inc.

    I think that what you mean to point out is that “Mac” is not an acronym, like PC (Personal Computer), unless you’re referring to the MAC (Media Access Control) networking address of a computer.

    In fact, every Mac has a MAC or two, but that MAC is not the Mac itself. Obviously.

  • JC

    If it takes 400 full discharge-recharge cycles to get the battery down to 80% max capacity, it will be substantially longer than a year before people send in their iPhones for battery replacement. A full discharge-recharge cycle is when you fully drain the batter then fully recharge it. If it takes, say, a week per full discharge-recharge cycle, it would take over 7 years before the battery is reduced to 80% max capacity.

    So that’s 7 years, assuming that you replace batteries when it has degraded down to 80% of its max capacity. Realistically, the battery life is still quite good at this point. So I don’t think most people would send their iPhones in for battery replacement at this point.

    We can quibble with the numbers, but it’s pretty likely that when the majority of iPhone owners send their iPhones in for battery replacement is not “in about a year.”

  • Kendall Gelner

    For a previous poster – the phone does have bluetooth, but you can currently ony use it with phone headsets (not for music) and also for car volume control. There may be a few other things it supports, those are the ones I have heard of (I tried a headset myself as well).

    As for the keyboard, I like it far more than any shrunken PDA/pager keyboard I have ever used – I used to have a pager for quite some time, and off and on I’ve tried Treos and Blackberries as I have been considering buying one for a while. I just really prefer the iPhone keyboard and after a while of practice you can get fairly error-free with it even at a good clip. I feel no hesitation in composing multi-paragraph emails with it, for example…

    What I really love about the keyboard though is the adaptabiltiy to context – when typing in URL’s you don’t have to worry about taking time to type in “.com” since there is a button for that that replaces the space bar (no spaces in URL’s). And also a “/” key which is normally in the symbol keyboard.

    My own personal favorite app to use with the phone is Google Maps, which works well both on WiFi and Edge. I prefer it to a garmin I would sometimes trot around, since google maps is as up to date as any electronic map will be, and it’s so much easier to browse to see what is around where I am.

  • http://mistersnitch.blogspot.com/ Mister Snitch!

    “$500 (or even $600) is nearly $1000? My truck ($30,000) cost nearly $60,000 by that logic. My house ($200,000) cost nearly $400,000.”

    Well, see, what he means is that $400 (the diff between $600 and $1000) is a trifling amount, not worth mentioning. Therefore, a $600 iPhone actually costs only TWO hundred dollars that ARE worth mentioning. But since $200 is half of $400, and since $400 is a trifling amount, then $200 is less than nothing. And as everyone knows, anything less than nothing is a negative number, which means Apple is losing money on each iPhone. So for all practical purposes, Apple is payng us to take iPhones off their hands.

    THAT’S what he meant.

  • http://loglog.peghole.com mare

    I’m one of the relatively few people who bought a version 1.0 iPod and it sucked as well. It scratched like hell (both front and back), the edge was way too sharp and battery life was short and and the hard drive capacity was small.
    But it allowed Apple to see there was demand for such a device and improve it, open it up to PC users and change the bought application SoundJam into iTunes (even though I liked better myself).

    Version 3 of the iPhone will probably be excellent, and maybe it will even be available in Canada (one of the last western countries to get a iTunes music store)…

  • http://diskgrinder.blogspot.com Artie MacStrawman

    Overall, a balanced and good-value article, and a fairly reasonable comment stream (bar one or two commentards fairly vibrating in their itchy suits with indignation that a phone they haven’t used is better than the one they have).

    Some facts:
    @daft$1kguy: the iphone with 2 year plan is cheaper than a treo with a 2 year plan

    @Builder: no-one who uses a Mac expects mac apps to be “ported” to the iPhone (photoshop? Excel? what? why would you want to do a spreadsheet on a phone? ). They expect apps to be built for the platform, not bowdlerised mini-mes squeezed until they winCE. However, roll on the cocoa SDK, can’t wait to see what Panic and Delicious Monster would put together.

    And “ideas and innovation ceased to flow” something, something “iPod”, what? The competitors were falling over themselves trying to create an iPod killer – do you think they weren’t innovating? (not very well, granted). There’s not a month goes by when a new crapPod comes out with some new (pointless) innovation/idea, meant to topple the ubiquitous iPhone. Remember the Zune (does anyone?) and it’s WiFi squirt? That’s an innovation, half-assed and deliberately hobbled maybe, but still an innovation.

    And, your 3G faster than WiFi? Have you seen Telekinesis? (let’s you play WoW on your iPhone, go see, a proof-of-concept that shows the real potential of AJAX/iPhone and WiFi at home).

    @tl: no substance to your post

    First one to mention Kool-aid gets a free Zune (which is the current value on eBay)

  • Anonymous

    @Builder

    Wann sell your iPhone?

  • hawkintherocks

    jesus, can we stop with the pissing contest? if there were any more prima donnas in here, we’d have a f***ing ballet. all these criticisms and FUD – the bottom line is that in a world of crap phones, the iphone is a breath of fresh air. Who cares about EVDO? I had EVDO on a Treo 700p and the OS was so slow it was 10x slower than iphone on EDGE. PLEASE give apple a LITTLE credit for doing something NEW AND DIFFERENT! They made a phone that is FUN TO USE! It’s amazing that in this entire thread I haven’t seen one example of a phone that can even come CLOSE to the iphone. regardless of whether you like or HATE apple, this will force the competition to finally innovate. with that, how can anyone be unhappy about the iphone? oh yeah, the FUDders are unhappy because they are UNABLE to innovate. We’ve been here before, haven’t we? mp3 players? the only reason Apple dominates with the iPod is because NO ONE COULD KEEP UP. I hope that doesn’t happen with the phone business, but who can keep up? Palm, Nokia, Microsoft, LG? Please.

  • mouse

    Over the last ciuple of months, I have had the blackberry, blackjack, treo, and the cingular 8525. Then I got the iPhone. The iphone cost more than all of the others, and has less overall features than the others. The features that the iPhone does have work better than like features on the other phones. I got my iphone on day one and am still happily using it. The windows based phones crashed and needed a reboot on a daily basis for me, while i was only able to crash the iPhone once since owning it.

    This product has a very bright future as long as Apple doesn’t drop the ball. They need to add more features such as, quicktime plugin within the browser, flash support, the anility to download images or whatever off pf the internet, and better MMS support.

  • Anona

    @tl

    “I am sitting back…”

    The operative words there: “sitting” and “back”.

    Ya think this “information superhighway” thing will fly?

  • James

    The reason there is no SDK for the iPhone is nothing to do with stability, that was just some PR flannel. OSX is rock stable. Withholding an iPhone SDK is just business politics. It’s there to please AT&T. What do AT&T (and every other cellphone carrier) fear the most? VOIP. What would be the first app we would want from 3rd party developers if an iPhone SDK was released? Skype.

    I know you shouldn’t feed the trolls, but tl, if OSX was a beta until ’05, Vista must be a cut down alpha release. Creating a new OS is hard (ask MS), even when it’s on top of a unix core, and in fact OSX was useable by 10.1 (a free upgrade), and ready for prime time by 10.2. Everything since then has been icing on the cake.

    I don’t understand the hatred Apple products engender in some people. I don’t like Windows PCs, Treos or Blackberries. They leave me cold, but I could never be arsed to write some bitter little post about them posing as a former owner or an iPhone buyer.

  • Andy Lee

    I was surprised by AT&T too. I went to their web site to check my account status, and the site was actually clear and usable, and I easily found exactly what I wanted to know. (Although they incorrectly had me down as having a 4GB phone rather than 8GB.)

  • http://gregbiggers.com Greg Biggers

    I found a (poor man’s?) trick for searching in the contacts. You start in the maps module. type your contact name in the maps search field, and you will see a list of matches. Selecting the match moves the map to it. Next, select the list “button.” Select the right arrow next to the contact you want to use. Which brings you to that contact’s entry in contacts.

    A few steps, but at least let’s me search in my contacts.

  • John Heaney

    I had the last version of the Newton MP2K, which was the first version that really did what it was supposed to do. I used it for 7 years and only stopped when the rechargeable battery wouldn’t hold a charge anymore. By that time, it was really obsolete; no connectivity, no wireless, no backup.

    Ever since, I have been waiting for Apple to come up with something to satisfy me. The iPhone has everything I need, except the software. I don’t need Excel, but why not a simple spreadsheet? I used that alot on the MP. I don’t need to compose Word docs, but why not TextEdit? Can’t be that hard. Why not a search capability? It’s MacOS, for cryin’ out loud. How about cut/paste? The MP had that.

    I would love to have handwriting recognition again. The MP was like an electronic notepad. At the end, the HR was fantastic. Surely, that technology didn’t just disappear.

    Oh well. Maybe 2nd or 3rd generation iPhone. Oh yeah, 8Gig is not enough.

    One more thing…I paid $1100 for my MP. Then I paid for the upgrade. $600 is not a show stopper for me, at all.

  • http://www.micronews-fr.com Micro

    Apple and Google are building something huge. They will control it, or attempt to control it, thru APIs. But they will make it open to anyone, both through open APIs, development tools, and hosting. You’ll be able to build a site from snap together pieces, a la Ning Networks. (In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Google buy Ning.) Google and Apple will handle a lot of the back end stuff, like secure IDs across sites, secure transactions, etc. There will be a free advertiser supported tier and a advertisement-free paid tier.