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Old Jun 27th, 2007, 12:50 PM   #1
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HANDS ON iPhone reviews

Here they come!

Given that I think that the iPhone is incredible, I'll list the criticisms from these reviews that I believe to be noteworthy... oh what the heck; I'll pitch in some of their noteworthy praise... as well as a comment of mine here and there:

Newsweek:

PRO:
  • "Setup is a snap".
  • EVERYTHING -- music, videos, contacts, events and email all be they from a Mac or a PC was automatically copied into the iPhone, ready to go.
  • Used the device without the need of a manual, including navigating around a new town.
  • Web-browsing is where the iPhone leaves competitors in the dust.
  • Google Maps works wonderfully, taking full advantage of the touch screen, and integrating nicely with the phone function and even your contact list (you can instantly see where your friends live). It will expertly route a trip for you and even clue you in on the traffic density.
  • Photo display is terrific.
  • One day I purposely ran the battery down; the iPhone winked out after 14 hours, including six hours of talking, Web-browsing, music-listening and the viewing of an episode of “Weeds.”

"The 2-megapixel camera works decently." I don't know if "decently" rates as a pro or a con...

CON:
  • Word and Excel documents are read-only.
  • Some email access problems because the ISP is blocking Port 25 (Apple offered a fix but this wrinkle might initially be a problem).
  • 8GB is still only 8GB: "Of the 8 gigs on my iPhone, I now have 669 songs, one three-hour movie, three half-hour television episodes, 361 photos, and a bit of “other,” meaning e-mail and contacts. It’s almost full."
  • Flash, Windows Media or Real Media formats won’t work. (this'll surely be fixed for Safari -- Maca)
  • It’s disappointing that Apple didn’t include an instant messaging application for the iPhone that easily lets you use AIM or other services. There are Web workarounds (I used a beta version of Heysan, a mobile instant messaging service) but they are nowhere near as what Apple would have done if it had used its skills to simply port iChat to the iPhone.
  • the difficulty of using a virtual keyboard that pops up on the screen when it’s time to enter text -- is impressed, though, with the iPhone’s ability to correct misspellings... If you are considering a phone primarily to monitor and reply to mail, you may stick to your Blackberry.
  • One more intractable problem is Apple’s decision to use the slower EDGE data network, as opposed to a faster 3G net. (As partial compensation the iPhone is designed to find the fastest network, especially Wi-Fi hotspots)
  • Another concern is that constant use of fingers on the touch screen will make it mucky. I’ve found that the glass screen cleans easily with a damp cloth or baby wipe. As for wear and tear, I’ve been jamming it in my pocket with keyrings, coins and pens, and so far it’s nearly as good as new.

Walt Mossberg:

He echoes the above comments on EDGE speed, praises the automatic Wi-Fi sniffing, initial typing recognition troubles but got up to speed after five day's use, awesome web browsing, rugged, scratch-proof display (so far), notes read-only Office files, battery life is excellent, no instant messaging.

PRO:
  • The iPhone can connect with most popular consumer email services, including Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, EarthLink and others. It can also handle corporate email using Microsoft's Exchange system, if your IT department cooperates by enabling a setting on the server.
  • Yahoo Mail supplies free BlackBerry-style "push" email to iPhone users. (we knew this already. Good to know that it "works fine" -- Maca)
  • Unlike most phone email software, the iPhone's shows a preview of each message, so you don't have to open it. And, if there is a photo attached, it shows the photo automatically, without requiring you to click on a link to see it.

CON:
  • no quick way to move to the top or bottom of pages (except in the Web browser). The only aid is an alphabetical scale on the right in tiny type.
  • no way to cut, copy, or paste text ([i]including not in the email app?? And I wonder if there's a copy command in the addressbook -- Maca)
  • if you are playing music while doing something else, the lack of hardware playback buttons forces you to return to the iPod program to stop the music or change a song (excepting when receiving a call -- Maca).
  • "you have to switch to a different keyboard view to insert a period or comma, which is annoying" (therein lies the beauty of Apple's virtual interface: I predict that an iPhone OS update will ADD a period to the root keyboard --Maca)
  • The phone interface is clean and simple, but takes more taps to reach than on many other smart phones, because there are no dedicated hardware phone buttons. You also cannot just start typing a name or number, but must scroll through a list of favorites, through your recent call list, or your entire contact list. You can also use a virtual keypad. (I wonder just how bad this will be in comparison to most phones out there? -- Maca)
  • Contacts can be gathered into groups, but the groups can't be used as email distribution lists. (No email groups? That's a drag -- Maca)
  • A downside -- there's no easy way to transfer phone numbers, via AT&T, directly from an existing phone. The iPhone is meant to sync with an address book (and calendar) on a PC. (COME ON! If some poor schmuck has used the dialler interface to tap numbers into a non-Bluetooth phone... did s/he REALLY plug a ton into that "dumb phone" in the first place? And don't most people have at least SOME semblance of a PC-based addressbook to start with?? As Walt said about the lack of a physical keyboard, this also seems like a non-issue to me -- Maca)
  • The famed scroll wheel is gone. (This isn't really stated as a "con" by Walt... but I wonder if the iPhone finger-swiping will be more labour intensive than the simple genius of the scroll wheel? With >6,000 songs on my 30GB iPod, however, the scroll wheel can be a rigamarole to use in some instances. Thankfully, iPhone has the direct-dial alphabet alongside. iPod does not. -- Maca)
  • "The only add-on software Apple is allowing will be Web-based programs that must be accessed through the on-board Web browser. The company says these can be made to look just like built-in programs, but the few we tried weren't impressive." (Apple's effort to keep the iPhone's "sandbox" clean and the system stable is admirable... but 3rd party development will surely be hobbled as a result -- Maca)
  • can't record video

Dave Pogue (with "YACBSK" -- Yet Another Cameo By Shawn King -- in Dave's goofy video )

He too says: "The glass gets smudgy — a sleeve wipes it clean — but it doesn’t scratch easily. I’ve walked around with an iPhone in my pocket for two weeks, naked and unprotected (the iPhone, that is, not me), and there’s not a mark on it", "dazzling" web browser, no chat program, no capture video,

PRO:
  • But the bigger achievement is the software. It’s fast, beautiful, menu-free, and dead simple to operate. You can’t get lost, because the solitary physical button below the screen always opens the Home page, arrayed with icons for the iPhone’s 16 functions.
  • On the iPhone, you don’t check your voice mail; it checks you. One button press reveals your waiting messages, listed like e-mail. There’s no dialling in, no password — and no sleepy robot intoning, “You...have...twenty...one...messages.”
  • Free live traffic reporting, indicated by color-coded roads on the map.
  • free software updates (as we all know, MUCH more elegant than what other HARDWARE-CENTRIC phones can provide -- Maca)

CON:
  • Making a call, though, can take as many as six steps: wake the phone, unlock its buttons, summon the Home screen, open the Phone program, view the Recent Calls or speed-dial list, and select a name. (DANG! -- Maca)
  • There’s no memory-card slot
  • no voice dialling (Apple? WTH??! -- Maca)
  • Apple says that the battery starts to lose capacity after 300 or 400 charges. Eventually, you’ll have to send the phone to Apple for battery replacement, much as you do now with an iPod, for a fee. (MAN! -- Maca)
  • text entry is not the iPhone’s strong suit. The BlackBerry won’t be going away anytime soon.
  • AT&T network. In a Consumer Reports study, AT&T’s signal ranked either last or second to last in 19 out of 20 major cities.
  • AT&T’s ancient EDGE cellular network is excruciatingly slow. The New York Times’s home page takes 55 seconds to appear; Amazon.com, 100 seconds; Yahoo. two minutes! (My God! -- Maca)

USA Today:
Thanks to USA Today for the lovely picture of America's first committed iPhone fanatic, who started the line at the 5th Avenue Apple Store -- ON MONDAY!



Also said setup was a breeze, it's fun to use, Wi-Fi is it's saving grace over EDGE, no voice-recognition or voice-dialling capability, killer web browsing, no user replaceable battery.

PRO:
  • The scratch-resistant glass-top surface protects iPhone's gorgeous 3.5-inch touch-screen display, which I found visible even in direct sun (I keep reiterating their comments on the durable screen, as it could have been a crucial downfall -- Maca)
  • Making calls was surprisingly simple (**sigh** contradicts Pogue's opinion... the jury's still out on this one -- Maca)
  • When I finished watching A Bug's Life, iPhone offered to remove it from the device to free up RAM. (I consider this a helpful "pro" -- Maca)

CON:
  • Here's what you can't do: buy songs wirelessly "over-the-air" as with some music phones. And while you can choose from 25 ring tones on the device, you won't be able to purchase other ring tones for iPhone at launch or use songs from your own library as ring tones, presumably a rights issue that will be solved eventually. (buying songs over the air seems minor to me, no SONG ringtones is A BLESSING in my eye! -- Maca)
  • does not support wireless Bluetooth stereo (Apple??! -- Maca)
  • Games sold in the iTunes store for the iPod are not compatible (yet?? --Maca)
  • Alas, I was unable to test my USA TODAY e-mail with iPhone because our company tech department raised questions about the security settings Apple required with our Microsoft Exchange servers (It's early. They'll come around -- Maca)


BOTH POGUE AND USA TODAY HAD THE IPHONE HANG ON THEM, REQUIRING A REBOOT. LOVELY!

And then -- like I did -- there are reviews OF THE REVIEWS OF THE REVIEWS.

On balance, I'd say it's a winner for a fairly large segment of the general populace outside of the corporate enterprise. Taking the hype and technolust out of the equation, and like I say about the Macintosh computer platform, the iPhone's overall superior ease of use will be "more right" for more people than they realize.
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Old Jun 27th, 2007, 01:44 PM   #2
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An interesting Apple video detailing text input:

http://www.apple.com/iphone/usingiph...ard_large.html
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Old Jun 28th, 2007, 04:24 AM   #3
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