Last Friday, June 29th, Apple released the iPhone. I waited in line on Friday to see the phone and I have to say I was quite impressed with the overall quality of the phone. It was almost exactly as I had expected. To follow is a short review of the iPhone and my thoughts of the initial release. Let it be said that I successfully made it out of the store without buying one (believe me that was hard). I would also like to point out that this work is not all my own. Some of the discoveries below were made by a very nice gentleman named Chris who I ran into at one of the stores.
User Interface/User Experience
As with all Apple Products, the big concern is ease of use. This phone is no exception. From a users perspective this phone really is simple. No stylus, no hard keyboard to type on. Each screen in each app is designed in specifically for the user experience of that particular app. Apple has managed to do this while still maintaining a consistent look and feel of all apps, so users don’t get confused between apps.
There are, however, a couple of things that I saw that were missing from a complete UI.
- Customized repeatable calendar events – That is a mouthful. Basically, if I want to enter an event to recur on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, on a weekly basis, I would have to enter three separate events, one for each day. When I asked the Apple employee, his solution was to use the computer to set up such an event. While this true, I could simply configure such an event on the computer and then sync it across, I thought the whole point of this phone was that I wouldn’t need to do that. If you look at it now, you can use your iPod in a similar fashion to sync with your computer and hold your calendar, so the only benefit the iPhone has over that is being able to add events on the fly.
- Downloading images from the web – If you go to a website that contains an image, you can view it on Safari on the mobile device, but as far as we could see there was no way to take the image from the web and store it on the phone. In order to do this, you need to download it on the computer and then sync it across. It would be great if there was a <em>download</em> button which I could drag images to have them loaded to the phone. Again, they are forcing to me use a computer to do what the phone should do.
- Erasing Call History – When looking at the call history you cannot erase a single number. Throughout the phone, with a list of items (like contacts), you can select a single item to delete, by swiping across it and selecting delete. When it comes to call history, that is not the case. We were unable to find any way to remove a single number from the call history. You can, however, remove the entire call history pretty easily. When would you want to do this? What if you made a call from the iPhone in the store to your local cell and you don’t want the next person who uses the phone trying to call you. Not the worlds most necessary feature, but it would still be good to delete one record from your call history.
- Copy and Paste – You are unable to copy and paste from any application
Despite these complaints, the overall function of the device is amazing. They have done a great job at utilizing the effects from core animation to make the phone more exciting. Windows don’t just load, the fade in or out. The screen doesn’t just turn, it animates the flip.
Everyone has been talking about concerns with the Edge network. Instead of going with the latest 3G technology, the iPhone was built with an older technology known as edge. When I went to the AT&T store they were using WIFI, but when I went to the Apple store, they were using the EDGE network. My perspective on the edge network was rather posative. The connection was faster than my old connection with T-mobile MDA, as well as with my current Nokia N73(also on the T-Mobile network). From a speed perspective I’m actually really excited about the iPhone.
Cost and Pricing
I have heard a lot of complaints about the pricing for the iPhone. I, on the other hand, am excited about the pricing on the iPhone. Minus the initial cost of the phone, I can have what I have now in terms of service on the iPhone for about $10/month cheaper than what I pay at T-Mobile. I get 150 less minutes, but the rollover will help out with that, as I go entire months without calling people (when traveling).
This device is compelling and exciting. Its software needs a little work, but that can be updated anytime through a firmware update. I’m excited about it, and I almost bought it, but I will wait a little longer until one with a little more disk space comes out.