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Walt Mossberg Reviews the iPhone 564

Posted by kdawson
from the hands-on-early dept.
WSJdpatton writes "Walt Mossberg tested the iPhone for two weeks, in multiple usage scenarios, in cities across the US. His verdict is that, despite some flaws and feature omissions, the iPhone is on balance a beautiful and breakthrough hand-held computer. Its software especially sets a new bar for the smart-phone industry, and its clever finger-touch interface, which dispenses with a stylus and most buttons, works well, though the lack of physical buttons can be a hindrance." Digital Daily has a roundup of early iPhone reviews.
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Walt Mossberg Reviews the iPhone

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  • Other reviews (Score:5, Informative)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @09:45PM (#19657923)
    David Pogue, New York Times [nytimes.com]

    - "so sleek and thin, it makes Treos and BlackBerrys look obese."
    - After walking around with the iPhone unprotected for 2 weeks, no marks on it. Glass smudges are easily wiped off.
    - 700 megabytes is occupied by the phone's software
    - Making calls can be a 6 step process if phone is off.
    - Web, Email is superior
    - Battery Life Test: 5 hours video, 23 hours audio. Note: did not turn off Wi-Fi and other features as Apple suggests.
    - Typing was OK. Difficult at first, but learned to "trust" the keyboard. "The BlackBerry won't be going away anytime soon."
    - Cites AT&T network as iPhone's biggest downfall. Cites Consumer Reports survey which ranks AT&T network as last or second to last in 19 out of 20 major US cities.
    - AT&T's EDGE cellular network: "excruciatingly slow"
    - Slideshow of photos [nytimes.com] taken with iPhone
    - Video Review [nytimes.com]

    Steven Levy, Newsweek [msn.com]

    - bottom line is that the iPhone is a significant leap
    - The iPhone is the rare convergence device where things actually converge.
    - e-mail looks more like you're working on a computer than a clunky phone
    - YouTube videos work great on Wi-Fi, but can display in a lower quality when you're not at a hotspot and are using AT&T's EDGE network
    - unless I did a lot of video watching or Web browsing, [the battery] could generally last the day
    - I've been jamming it in my pocket with keyrings, coins and pens, and so far it's nearly as good as new.

    Edward Baig, USA Today [usatoday.com]

    - Apple's iPhone isn't perfect, but it's worthy of the hype
    - The revelation is that it's also comfortable to hold and touch.
    - I expected to miss the tactile feel that a physical keyboard provides. I didn't.
    - You can hold a conference call with up to five people.
    - No voice recognition or voice dialing
    - halfway decent internal speakers for listening if you set the thing down
    - iPod games are not compatible with iPhone
    - our company tech department raised questions about the security settings Apple required with our Microsoft Exchange servers.
    - Battery life didn't prove to be a big problem in my unscientific tests

    Walt Mossberg, Wall Street Journal [wsj.com] (the submitted article's highlights):

    - Our verdict is that, despite some flaws and feature omissions, the iPhone is, on balance, a beautiful and breakthrough handheld computer. Its software, especially, sets a new bar for the smart-phone industry, and its clever finger-touch interface, which dispenses with a stylus and most buttons, works well, though it sometimes adds steps to common functions.
    - largest, highest resolution screen of any smart phone they've seen, most internal memory
    - Impressive battery life and thin
    - Feels solid
    - Regarding the touch keyboard: "After five days of use, Walt -- who did most of the testing for this review -- was able to type on it as quickly and accurately as he could on the Palm Treo he has used for years."
    - Can't use T-Mobile SIM cards
    - Wi-Fi capability doesn't fully make up for the lack of a fast cellular data capability
    - Multitouch: "effective, practical and fun"
    - No way to copy/paste text
    - Microsoft's Exchange system support
    - Voice call quality was good, but not great
    - Can't record video
    - No Adobe Flash support
    - Songs can't be set as ringtones
    - Apple says it plans to add fea
    • by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @09:52PM (#19657973)
      Songs can't be set as ringtones

      Praise Jesus!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AncientPC (951874)
        That seems quite odd considering that the iPhone doubles as an iPod.
        • Re:Other reviews (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mike260 (224212) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @01:11AM (#19659443)
          Presumably a 'ringtones' section will soon be appearing in the iTunes store.
          • Re:Other reviews (Score:5, Insightful)

            by MikeTheMan (944825) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @08:37AM (#19661629)
            ...and they will be $2.99, 30 seconds long, have terrible sound quality, and most of the money will go to AT&T. Cell phone ringtones are the biggest scam ever.
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by tbone1 (309237)

              Cell phone ringtones are the biggest scam ever.
              Well, outside of politics, of course.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Ilgaz (86384) *

              ...and they will be $2.99, 30 seconds long, have terrible sound quality, and most of the money will go to AT&T. Cell phone ringtones are the biggest scam ever.

              If I have accidentally bought some 30 sec thing as ringtone from cell company, I would cancel my subscription no less.

              But their plans on that device possibly having dedicated AAC decoder chip is not "saving" you from horrible joke as song-as-ringtone , it is basically adding it as "feature" to make $600 customers happy and/or adding to iTunes store.

              My Nokia 9300 and all my devices plainly rings just like a phone but the "ring" is actually "Classic.aac" or "Office Phone.aac" which is sample of actual phone

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Walzmyn (913748)

      You know, this thing is cute and it does lots of wiz-bang stuff. So do all of these "smart phones" out there.

      But what I would pay money for (not this much) is a phone I could sit on, get soaking wet with sweat (it's 95 degrees with >70% humidity here), drop on concrete, etc... and still have the thing work.

      I, and most folks I know, need a phone to do two things: Make phone calls and survive my day.

      my $0.02

    • by Fry-kun (619632) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @10:04PM (#19658073)

      After walking around with the iPhone unprotected for 2 weeks, no marks on it
      They were lucky to stay ALIVE, walking with it unprotected
    • by dwater (72834)
      ..and some comments from some nay-sayers (Apple Mac vs PC ad spoofs):

      http://darlamack.blogs.com/darlamack/2007/06/n95-v [blogs.com] s-iphone--.html [blogs.com]
      http://darlamack.blogs.com/darlamack/2007/06/n95-v [blogs.com] s-iphone-1.html [blogs.com]

      Mildly amusing, I suppose.
    • by Tax Boy (75507) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @10:40PM (#19658353)
      No voice dialing = deal-killer. How am I supposed to use it hands-free, especially in the car? Two-hand "multi-touch" while driving equals instant death.

      I want a "jesus-phone", not a "meet jesus phone"!
      • Re:Other reviews (Score:5, Insightful)

        by duckbillplatypus (596100) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @11:07PM (#19658561)
        I think this is a feature. I HATE dealing with morons on cell phones while driving. Most people have enough trouble navigating a 4000lb piece of equipment without the extra interference of a damn cell phone. If you need to make a call pull over to the side of the road, complete your call, resume driving and pay attention to the road. BTW, I was almost sideswiped by an idiot on a cell phone today.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Overzeetop (214511)
          Item one: outlaw radios and passengers, as well as drive through fast food (since with no pasengers, only the driver would be ordering)

          Item two: on most highways it's illegal to pull to the side of the road unless your vehicle is disabled or you are required to do so by law enforcement

          Item three: how did you know they guy who almost sideswiped you was on a cell phone? Was he holding the phone, or did you just assume he was on the phone because he was talking to nobody in particular. You sould see the kind
      • Re:Other reviews (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kcbrown (7426) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @11:13PM (#19658607)

        How am I supposed to use it hands-free, especially in the car?

        In the car? You're not. You're supposed to keep your concentration on the road and the traffic where it belongs.

        All these idiots yapping on their cellphones while they're driving make driving a lot more hazardous for the few of us left who actually know what we're doing.

        Is that cellphone call so important that someone's gonna die if you don't take it? No? Then shut the fuck up and drive, because if you don't someone may well die because of your idiotic phone call.

        • Re:Other reviews (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dr00g911 (531736) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @01:53AM (#19659645)
          Amen and testify.

          I actually see some omissions like dialing while driving and music as ringtones are Apple enforcing its taste and manners on the user. They think extremely deeply into the process of not only actually using the phone, but what the overall experience means to the user, and others around them. It's Apple's defining trait, actually, and it's shocking that very few in the technology industry really grok the human part of human interface.

          I would put down money that both those omissions are 100% intentional, and good for Apple.

          Someone needed to buck the norms of both the hardware and carrier aspects of mobile phones, and Apple's doing it in a big way. Maybe the thing won't take over the planet, but it'll certainly change the landscape for the better.

          Side note: my current pet peeve is police officers surfing the web/emailing/whatever on dash-mounted laptops while driving. If you haven't seen one of these, be thankful. That soccer mom in the Caravan with 6 kids and a mobile to her ear won't look nearly as frightening once you experience THE LAW driving like they've just put away a quart of scotch.

          --d

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by steelfood (895457)
            Unfortunately, life doesn't quite work that way.

            People who want to make calls while driving will do so. Period. Nothing's going to stop that, and to think so borders on the naieve and idealistic. It might take ten steps to make a call, but that won't stop anybody (remember the old car phones in the high-end sports cars?). They'll either switch to another phone while on the road, or they'll make calls with their iPhone. The complexity serves as a deterrent for the people who are sensible, but those people ar
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by *weasel (174362)

            I actually see some omissions like dialing while driving and music as ringtones are Apple enforcing its taste and manners on the user. They think extremely deeply into the process of not only actually using the phone, but what the overall experience means to the user, and others around them.

            I don't see how a random snippet of music is necessarily more annoying than any other ringtone. Further, I don't know many people who actually want a full song as a ringtone (let alone an obnoxious song), but everyone I

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by poot_rootbeer (188613)
          All these idiots yapping on their cellphones while they're driving make driving a lot more hazardous for the few of us left who actually know what we're doing.

          Those idiots would be idiots whether or not they had a cellphone.

          Surely listening to the radio or talking to a passenger must be nearly as deleterious to driver concentration as mobile phone usage is. How come there's no push to outlaw those things?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PeelBoy (34769)
      Make this guy an editor. This is a great example of the perfect forum/slashdot post. Thanks.
  • I'm as big an Apple Fanboy as any, but the daily iPhone woodies from the editors is even making ME puke. Please guys, lay off the Kool-Aide!
    • I'm not a mac fanboy and I'm definitely not getting an iPhone for awhile - if ever - but I'd still like to read about it. The iPhone is coming out in what? A week or 2? Having reviews of one of the most anticipated phones that's coming out very soon from one of the best loved computer companies is very friggin relevant on a tech news site. If you're tired of hearing about it, stop clicking on the damn link, cause it's something that I want to hear about.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is a serious question. I know my face tends to be a bit on the oily side and the littlest bit of grime on my fingers will leave a nice blotch on the screen.. I'm surprised I haven't seen anyone else mention this for the iphone. It's also a major PITA when I let people borrow my phone, then I have to wipe their face sludge off my phone. the Iphone looks like one giant magnet for grime.
  • by mattgreen (701203) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @10:00PM (#19658031)
    But when I get my hands on that sweet, sweet iPhone, I'm going to literally cry with joy. Lately, I have been unable to sleep. All I can think of is holding it and putting it in my pocket. Truly, Wednesday is going to be the best day of my life. The only problem is I have to find some friends to call on it. It is odd that none of the reviews mentioned how well the device performs in basements, as that is my primary dwelling place.
  • Knowledge wins out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Space cowboy (13680) * on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @10:00PM (#19658033) Journal
    So, it seems as though those people who have actually *used* it seem to *like* it. Unlike the majority of stories, posts, blogs, etc. etc. we've seen recently.

    I've lost track of just how many uninformed iPhone-hater pieces I've seen over the last week. Of course, most of that is just blog-spam, and to get more clicks, you just say something controversial... As always, follow the money - then you can make a more-informed decision as to whether the opinion being espoused is worth anything.

    Oh, and always ignore anything Dvorak or Enderle say...

    Simon.
    • by dwater (72834)
      > So, it seems as though those people who have actually *used* it seem to *like* it. Unlike the majority of stories, posts, blogs, etc. etc. we've seen recently.

      Yes, they do seem to like it, but they don't seem to deny all the negative points that have been made, as far as I can tell.

      Most things I've read say that the only interesting thing about it is the UI, but raise doubts about that even. The reviewers above seem to somewhat quell those doubts, but it will still be largely up to personal preference
      • by LKM (227954) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @04:14AM (#19660351) Homepage
        I don't think anyone expected the iPhone to be flawless. For example, I think most people would agree that a physical keyboard works better than the on-screen keyboard. But the on-screen keyboard has the advantage that it only takes up space when you actually need it, so the question isn't whether the on-screen keyboard is as good as a real keyboard, but whether it's a good trade-off.

        So it's perfectly possible to like the phone while at the same time noting that the keyboard doesn't work as well as a physical keyboard.

        Which obviously means that the iPhone isn't the perfect phone for everyone.
    • by scuba_steve_1 (849912) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @11:33PM (#19658801)
      I started working on a "Mac" when it was called a Lisa. I subsequently owned many (actual) Macs and wrote software for the OS professionally (6.x, 7.x, 8.x). Okay, I'm now a Windows user (got tired of the fight...and frankly, XP is just fine)...so I am not a basher...nor am I a fan boy.

      Me? I'm not buying it. Sure, the external looks are great...sexy even...as are the visual bells and whistles in the UI...but features? They just are not there for me. Not even close.

      Visual voice mail is neat. I'm sure the iPod also has some other exclusive neat tricks in there...but I have a year-old Treo that does what the iPhone does and more...for $200. Start with the overlap:

        - Email
        - Web browser
        - MP3 player
        - Phone
        - Addresses
        - Videos
        - Camera
        - Google maps with integrated calling
        - SMS
        - MS Office compatibility (iPod?)

      and a range of other similar functions. Don't bother critiquing the individual Treo apps, because unlike the iPod, I can replace them with other apps. For example, the new version of Opera Mini provides the same means to view an entire web page and zoom in. There are dozens of replacement apps for any one of the above functions.

      Now let's look at some core features of the Treo that the iPod lacks:

        - Multiple carriers
        - High-speed 3G network
        - SD card slot...for essentially infinite on-the-go storage for MP3s et al.
        - Numerous hard buttons to immediately get to the phone, MP3 player, or another app...and they are all programmable
        - Can record video
        - Has a GLOBAL find function
        - CUT & PASTE (between apps)
        - IM
        - Tactile sensation on keyboard for typing...or for dialing

      and perhaps the most important feature:

      I CAN ADD APPLICATIONS TO IT :-) ...and I do...all the time. Games, JVMs, new browsers, whatever I want...from thousands of freeware and commercial titles.

      Yes, Walt claims that he finds the onscreen keyboard to be acceptable...but any Treo user can dial on the screen or on the keypad...and almost everyone I know dials on the keypad when they aren't selecting an existing contact. The actual keyboard and 5-way nav key allow you to use the phone when you aren't staring right at the screen. Yes, we shouldn't dial while we are driving, but we do, and you can do it without looking while using a Treo.

      Hey, the iPod raises the bar...by a large amount...and the screen is 50% larger than that of a Palm-based Treo (320x480 instead of 320x320)...but a $600 phone that is not expandable and is only offered by one carrier with a two-year lock-in? One to which you cannot add software (outside of...ahem...AJAX-based apps)? How about one that claims to be a smart phone killer yet lacks basic features like cut & paste and global find? Yes, it has wifi. Great. So do many phones.

      No, this is a beauty competition. I applaud apple for getting into the market and raising the bar, but I just cannot see how someone thinks this unit is worth the expense compared to other competing devices. I suppose techno lust is powerful...and form often wins out over function. Me? I'll wait a year or two and see what the next versions can do...and how the competition responds.

      Your mileage may vary.

      $0.02
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by saunderscc (1014083)
        I totally agree. While I think the iPhone is very cool, there are 4 main reasons I won't be camping out for one. 1) Not 3G. I'll bet YouTube videos will be just as smooth as they are demonstrated in the TV ad. What, I can sync videos via iTunes? Way too much work to use one of the fundamental features of a supposedly "smart" phone. 2) No real keyboard. Pretty straightforward here. Why do I want to have to look at the phone to input information? 3) Face grime and fingerprints. Sorry it's a pet p
      • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @01:25AM (#19659523)
        Start with the overlap:

        Yes and all MP3 players play music. Yet there are differences in operation, that have made the iPod a great success while other models languish.

        But of the things you mention, very few are problems with the iPhone many people cannot realistically get 3G, but in many places they get get WiFi. I don't need to be able to record video with it (heck, I didn't even really want a camera!). And saying an SD card slot offers "essentially infinite storage" means you have to buy 8GB worth of SD storage to get the inifinte amount of storage to come close to the iPhone, much less the issue of managing cards. I'll bet your "global find" doesn't tell you which of the swapped out cards something is on...

        As for the keyboard, all the doubters say they would miss it. Yet all of the reviewers say they do not, even those that started with doubts. So what are we to think might be more correct?

        To go along with your admission of being a happy Apple fan, let me say that I was a rabid Palm fan. I convinced many people to buy Palm pilots. I even recently bought a Palm Zier for someone, because it was perfect for what they wanted to do - and indeed they are delighted with it.

        But years ago, ater my Palm V gave up the good fight and stopped listening to the stylus, I waited for a phone/PDA from Palm and got... the treo. I don't know what forces drive men to crave tiny keyboards, but they do not find a hold of me. It is not that I have large hands, I can thread needles with great dexterity and have excellent finger accuracy. I hated the space the keyboards took, and across many devices (not just the Treo) I hated typing on said small keyboards... and so i waited for Palm, who I still consider to once have been a company of innovators as great as Apple has ever been, to deliver to me a "real" phone PDA that was worthy of the legacy.

        Apple has delivered the phone I have waited for so long for Palm to build.

        Over time, we will see expandability (in applications anyway), growth of features, and a browser that makes actually using AJAX based applications thinkable instead of madness. One thing common to the Apple experience is that feature sets and usability improve with time - it was true of the iPod and there's no reason to think it will be any less so for the iPhone.

        How do I think it's worth the expense? Because I have used he other devices, even the Treo, and the iPhone appears to suck about $1000 less than those, never mind $600.
  • In other words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ocelotbob (173602) <ocelot.ocelotbob@org> on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @10:05PM (#19658089) Homepage
    More of the same. The more I hear about the iPhone, the more I realize it's completely useless for my purposes. No real expandability, no real messaging applications, no real improvement from even phones such as the sidekick. Add a lack of ability to serve as a data modem and being tied to a crappy provider, and I would have to say no thanks.
    • by dwater (72834)
      I agree, mostly. I am somewhat eagerly anticipating a second version though, with more competitive features. A flash UI doesn't cut it for me...
    • Excellent (Score:4, Funny)

      by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @01:27AM (#19659531)
      More of the same. The more I hear about the iPhone, the more I realize it's completely useless for my purposes

      Yes everyone, listen to him! It is useless.

      I hate standing in long lines.

      You may awaken Saturday with your urges resumed.
  • The Apple iPhone will likely work far better in Europe, where 3G cellular coverage with higher-speed data transfer dramatically improves the usefulness of the device. Here in the USA, the iPhone's functionality will work if you're near a WiFi hotspot, which makes accessing the Internet reasonably tolerable.

    I'm hoping future version of the iPhone will include support for the Verizon and Sprint networks with its vastly faster EVDO wireless data network.
  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @10:11PM (#19658123)
    Sorry, I'm as mac fan boy as mac fan boys come, but I NEVER buy a first generation Apple product. This comes from experience with the first gen iPod (my best friend got one and had the battery issues) and personal experience with the first gen snow white iBooks. (I wanted to wait, but an upcoming trip abroad forced my hand at the time).

    While Apple may have gotten things mostly right, they'll refine things and any problems will be well documented by the time the second gen rolls around.

    While my old flip phone may not be super sexy, it will work until Apple gets all the bugs hammered out. Maybe by Christmas or this time next year I'll have one, but until then.

  • I've gotta say, it looks nice. I'd love one. I don't care enough to switch yet, but it looks REALLY nice. I'm glad to hear that Apple did pretty well with it (as I'd hope).

    That said, everyone keeps saying it lacks GPS (which is unfortunate). But I thought that part of the e911 rules that went into effect a few years ago was that all phones had to have a GPS receiver to tell the operator where the caller was. Is the location only from automatic signal strength triangulation? If they have GPS for e911, why d

    • Sure, many handsets do use GPS to provide E911 positioning. However there are many other ways to achieve E911 positioning, such as cellular triangulation.

      There are a lot of phones that even have GPS at the hardware level, but it is disabled.

    • Verizon... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Junta (36770)
      My Verizon phone does aGPS for E911, and Verizon actually does let you access it... if you bend over for them just more, which I don't, though I did do the free trial and let it expire, so I know it can work.
    • Re:GPS and e911 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by raindog21 (1120641) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @10:58PM (#19658499)
      E911 has dependencies on the technology used. For GSM operators (like ATT) there are two scenarios. 1. 2G Handsets do not need GPS (or in actuality A-GPS or assisted GPS) since a network based solution can use triangulation using cell signal strength to get an accurate enough position to meet FCC rules for E911. 2. Cell-based triangulation does not work on the 3G (UMTS/WCDMA) network, so the requirement to handset makers is that you need to include a GPS chip for A-GPS (GPS position data is assisted with some network signaling from the cell tower). Unfortunately due to cost / economies of scale you do not see A-GPS in all 3G/UMTS phones yet. The network operators work around this with a temporary 'hack' where you do a handover from 3G to 2G for emergency calls. Within the next year or so you should see just about all 3G phones in US with A-GPS. GPS for location-based services (and not just E911) is another matter and is a function of the device feature set & price point.
  • by Tomy (34647) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @10:45PM (#19658393)
    I'm waiting for the brick-sized, brown MS Phune.

  • by TinBromide (921574) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @10:50PM (#19658435)
    The lack of g3 compatability seems to be a big hindrance to a phone that prides itself as not giving you "not the mobile internet, but the real internet". gprs is what, 56k speeds minus the 300ms pings?

    I've unlocked my treo 750 phone to take full advantage of cingular's 386kbit/s g3 and occasionally get a speed of around 800kbps download.

    While i suppose that the iphone was designed to color co-ordinate with a starbucks cup as you sit and browse the interweb in the coffee shop hotspot, i'll be using my treo with a clunky interface to access the mobile internet (i.e. the list of simple websites designed for gprs and below and the one that i would set the 60.0kbit/s iphone to download if i was away from a hotspot.)

    Once again, apple resorts to its age old design technique: stunningly beautifuly, brilliantly intuitive, but about as useful as a 6 year old pc for what 90% of people do 90% of the time.
    • by mr_matticus (928346) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @11:29PM (#19658755)
      90% of the US doesn't even have a real 3G network in place yet. My connectivity on 3G with my Windows Mobile device (both on T-Mobile and Cingular) has been no better than GPRS, and I live in the SF Bay Area and travel to other "big name" cities all the time.

      While traveling around the world, I definitely love my 3G-capable device. In the US, I hardly see the point. Just something for the spec-sheet geeks to bitch about. Why support something that most people don't have access to, and even those that do can't get up to speed?

      90% of the people 90% of the time can't get 3G access speeds, even assuming 100% of cell phone users had data plans, which of course they don't. I think you need to re-assess what "people do 90% of the time."

      I'm not going to buy an iPhone, and for all the reasons not to, this is pretty much the most lame.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647)

        90% of the US doesn't even have a real 3G network in place yet

        EVDO covers over 250 million people. You may not like CDMA2000, but the majority of mobile users in the US use it. Saying that the US doesn't have 3G widely deployed is simply wrong.

        my connectivity on 3G with my Windows Mobile device (both on T-Mobile and Cingular) has been no better than GPRS

        That's probably because you don't have a device with the right UMTS bands. AT&T's UMTS/HSDPA is broadly available in the Bay Area, from SF to Oakland to

  • by catdevnull (531283) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @10:51PM (#19658441)
    From all I've gleaned from being at WWDC, reading the reviews, and sorting through the punditry, the most common negative themes seem to be these:

    -The AT&T EDGE network sucks
    -The iPhone ignores some key smartphone features (vid capture, SMS/MMS, etc.)
    -The price
    -No Flash support for browser
    -No SDK for third-party developers (boo/hiss!)

    Some of the surprises were:

    -The battery life is close to the advertised numbers (well, more than expected anyways)
    -The virtual keypad is actually useable but it takes a little getting used to "using the Force"
    -The multi-touch thing works as advertised
    -the Safari web browser lives up to the hype
    -The WiFi is actually pretty good
    -The iPod part kicks ass (except if you want to use it with 3rd party headphones or in your car's iPod dock)

    My own opinion as a "Mac Professional" and Smartphone addict:

    -If you want one, wait for rev 2--as you should with all Apple products
    -If you don't want an iPhone but like some of the technology, your preferred phone will be getting updates, too
    -It will be nice to merge two more devices that go with me everywhere--my smartphone and my iPod.
    -The price is a bit high, but I think the market will bear it for now and the price will go down by Q4
    -The missing features people are bitching about will come--some of them anyways
    -An SDK will appear after Leopard is launched
    -The entire market will benefit by the iPhone--and the tech will get cheaper
    • by mr_matticus (928346) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @12:21AM (#19659135)
      What is the whole "except if you want to use it with 3rd party headphones or in your car's iPod dock" all about?

      It's got a standard 3.5mm minijack headphone port and a standard (for iPod) 30-pin dock connector.
      • by prockcore (543967) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @01:25AM (#19659521)

        It's got a standard 3.5mm minijack headphone port and a standard (for iPod) 30-pin dock connector.


        The minijack headphone port is extremely recessed. So you'll need an adapter for most headphones. The software running on the iPhone isn't the same as the software for the iPod and DOESN'T support stuff like the Alpine in-dash iPod controller.
  • by ZeldorBlat (107799) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @11:05PM (#19658551)
    The iPhone compensates by being one of the few smart phones that can also use Wi-Fi wireless networks. When you have access to Wi-Fi, the iPhone flies on the Web. Not only that, but the iPhone automatically switches from EDGE to known Wi-Fi networks when it finds them, and pops up a list of new Wi-Fi networks it encounters as you move.

    So you can just set it to "linksys" and you won't even need EDGE.
  • by Statecraftsman (718862) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @11:22PM (#19658695) Homepage
    Having watched Mr. Mossberg's video and read his article, I can't help but think of the recent speedy development of Moonlight and how this speed of development doesn't seem to happen on phones. In the US, I fear the phone companies have held too much power over the phones and features we use.

    Despite it's Visual Voicemail, media, and enhanced web browsing capabilities, I won't have an iPhone for the foreseeable future as I don't do AT&T. I do hope, however, that the iPhone's new hotness casts a dark shadow on other phone makers who have neither the manpower or focus to develop such features themselves. So, listen you laggard phone makers, you. Build a linux-based CDMA*/GSM phone with a palm-style keyboard and let the community develop some free software for you.

    A CDMA-capable Linux phone is something for which I might pay $500. Especially if I could dock it to my monitor, mouse, and keyboard. Oh yeah, Beryl and Synaptic might be nice too.

    * I mention CDMA because Trolltech's Greenphone got me a little excited until I learned that it only does GSM so it won't work with my provider.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dodobh (65811)
      There is Openmoko [openmoko.org]. I really don't care about CDMA though, I have better choices amongst GSM providers with no lock-in. Welcome to the rest of the world.
  • thank you, Apple! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nanosquid (1074949) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @01:04AM (#19659401)
    No, I don't want an iPhone: I think it's underpowered and overpriced. But the release of the iPhone will hopefully cause other manufacturers to make thinner phones with nicer screens and better user interfaces.
  • by mattnyc99 (1008511) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @01:10AM (#19659437)
    It's the defining characteristic of the iPod, and Apple says the iPhone is "our best iPod yet." So where did that clickwheel go? Good column on this here [popularmechanics.com]
  • by blind biker (1066130) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @01:39AM (#19659593) Journal
    This product is just one in a long series, in a trend to completely overlook the needs of blind users. I have been in the market for MP3 players which could be used by blind people, and the general trend is, the newer the device, the less the chances it can be used. The iPhone continues this trend, and I fear the day when other manufacturers pick up on the novelty.

    Just a little addition to my rant: I noticed that even simple changes to the firmware, that would make the interface more suited for blind people, like returning to the initial state of the menus, if no interaction for a minute (or such), is being dropped in newer models, even thought it costs nothing to implement. It's almost as if manufacturers have a requirement to make their electronic gadgets less usable by the blind.
    • by Gary W. Longsine (124661) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @03:26AM (#19660123) Homepage Journal
      My father is visually impaired and I'm sympathetic to the perspective you raise. However, the only physical button on the front of the iPhone does exactly what you suggest -- returns you to the main screen, and without waiting some random number of seconds. The iPhone interface isn't optimized for the visually impaired, but the interface reference point is established in a method superior to what you suggest.

      The higher pixel density of the screen should make the screen somewhat more accessible to those with certain low-vision issues, as compared with other screen based phones. However, phones with physical keypads are probably superior in general for that group. There are interesting technologies in Mac OS X for accessibility. As with other features, those that make sense in a phone-like device will probably migrate to the iPhone as the device matures. Some will take the form of software updates to existing models, others may require new hardware revisions, a voice recognition chip for example.
  • Two major issues: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @01:40AM (#19659599) Homepage
    The screen only works with skin contact. How am I supposed to use this thing in the winter?

    From the article:

    The iPhone's most controversial feature, the omission of a physical keyboard in favor of a virtual keyboard on the screen, turned out in our tests to be a nonissue, despite our deep initial skepticism. After five days of use, Walt -- who did most of the testing for this review -- was able to type on it as quickly and accurately as he could on the Palm Treo he has used for years. This was partly because of smart software that corrects typing errors on the fly.
    So basically it's at least as annoying as using T9 for me, where I constantly have to keep changing between the Finnish, Swedish, and English dictionaries?

    I still want one, though... ;)
  • by GauteL (29207) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @07:35AM (#19661217)
    Not the most features, but the ones that are there are well done. Apple is not going after the people that love smart phones, so for most of the Slashdot crowd it is probably a dud, they are going after the people that could do with many of the features of smart phones but hate the ones that already exist.

    So, this is all about bringing the features of smart phones to the people that previously would never buy a smart phone due to their clunky nature. By all accounts it is going to be a storming success.

    Personally I like the feature set of the iPhone, except the lack of 3G, and I could never justify the cost of it. Do I want it? Hell yes, but I'm going to have to wait for a while. This is obviously part of the Apple plan:
    1. Release a sexy phone that lots of people want
    2. Make it initially very expensive, so that it becomes a luxury status item.
    3. Wait until it is firmly established as THE status item, then start slowly release new versions at cheaper prices making loads of people buy it because they still view it as a status symbol even though everyone can now afford to buy one.

    Exactly the same plan as with the iPod.
  • Overrated? (Score:3, Informative)

    by MaWeiTao (908546) on Wednesday June 27, 2007 @11:21AM (#19663521)
    Most electronics companies seem to develop the same old products until Apple comes along and produces a competing product with an elegant design and a streamlined interface. It's not so much that they innovate but that they take the most important features and make easy to use.

    That said, if the US market had access to the kinds of phones available in Asia and Europe the impact the iPhone has made would be significantly smaller. There are some great-looking phones in the rest of the world with all kinds of functionality.

    And design-wise, I bought a lower-end NEC phone a year and a half ago that has all the same design cues as this iPhone. Black face, metallic bevel, etc. My phone isn't touch screen and it has individual buttons, but the basic styling is similar. My point is that while the iPhone certainly looks very nice, it isn't the pinnacle of design. Again, I've seen phones overseas that are visually more impressive.

    I think one of the biggest hindrances to progress in the US mobile phone market has been the service carriers. Verizon, AT&T/Cingular, Sprint and all the others have done nothing but screw the American public in numerous ways.

    The good thing about the iPhone is that it should stimulate the mobile phone market and it reminds people of the limitations of the American mobile phone network.

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