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Posted 12 July 2007
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 iPhones

Yes, I broke down and bought one – and I have to say, it is all that and a bag of chips. No, really. It has its quirks (most of which I expected, some of which came as a surprise to me), but when you take it all into account, the iPhone really is a revolutionary piece of hardware.

For an Apple 1st generation product, it’s surprisingly polished. Having been an Apple enthusiast for many years, I have come to expect 1st generation Apple products to be more like beta versions – so I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into when I got the iPhone. But I have been pleasantly surprised at just how well it works – both hardware and software.

I feel like the hardware is solid. The phone feels robust and fits nicely in the hand. It’s got all the wireless gizmos you can want (wi-fi, bluetooth, and cell phone network), plus a couple of added bonuses like the accelerometer, sensors galore, and an integrated mic on the headphones. You quickly get the feeling that this really is Apple’s best stab at it for the time being, and that software updates will just make it better.

Interacting with the iPhone is a pleasure. So much, in fact, that as soon as I slid my finger on the screen the first time, I promptly returned my now completely obsolete and antiquated Blackberry Pearl. Surely, there are things I would change in the interface, but I consider them so minor that I can live without them until Apple’s next software update.

Attention to Detail:

It’s the small things that have attracted me to Apple over the years. I still remember when I first used an Apple Performa back in the day – and the person showing me how to use it told me to drag my disk to the trash to eject it. I reluctantly did so, and out popped my floppy! Some have claimed it’s counter-intuitive – I thought it was genius!

So when I first got the iPhone I was excited to find some of these little “nuggets” and I haven’t been disappointed. For example, when you put the iPhone to your ear, a sensor turns off the screen to save on battery, and when you bring it back down, the screen lights up and allows you to interact with it.

Another favorite is the mute button. A button completely dedicated to this one simple task…which every other phone I have ever used has overlooked! Flip the switch, and the iPhone immediately shuts off all sound and turns to vibrate. In my old RAZR, this simple process took about 3 clicks and a lot of beeps.

Then there’s the keyboard. I have some pretty stubby fingers – sausages some would call them – yet I could type faster on my iPhone in the first 5 minutes than I ever could on the Pearl in 2 straight months. I have typed whole emails on the iPhone – a task which would’ve taken me much too long on any other device. In fact, I made it a point to keep emails on my Blackberry very short – and mostly along the lines of: “will write later – on Blackberry.”

Finally a REAL calculator! No more hunting for random keys to determine what the tip should be! And Google Maps is a joy to use. Works nicely – although I did have a small incident this weekend in which it suggested a 4 hour detour on a route-search (but it was my fault – I forgot to enter the city).

In the end, the iPhone IS incomplete. But if you look around the web, 90% of complaints revolve around software – something that can be updated quickly and inexpensively (according to Apple, free even). The lack of copy/paste truly is irritating – but I’m confident it will be taken care of quickly. And what it really boils down to in my particular case, is the fact that I no longer have to carry my iPod and my phone – and even better – I can actually USE the internet while I’m out fighting crime.

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