I know I said that I’d wait a week to write a review of my iPhone, but I can’t wait that long! I will attempt to write this review with my “fanboy-ism” aside, but that may prove to be difficult. In any event, here we go.
In pure Apple fashion, the packaging is brilliant. It mimics the iPod packaging style with silver embossed Apple logos, the word “iPhone”, and the size within a square all set on a solid black background. On the top/front of the box, there’s a picture of the iPhone itself. Inside is the iPhone first set in a plastic holder. Underneath is the instruction booklet, polishing cloth, headphones, USB cable, and the dock.
Activation was quick, simple, and painless. I was an existing AT&T customer, so I chose to keep my current voice plan and add on the $20 iPhone data plan. The activation process took at most seven or eight minutes.
The four main features of the iPhone are Phone, Mail, Safari, and iPod.
First and foremost is the Phone. I get great reception with AT&T in Lubbock and Dallas – the two places I use my phone 99% of the time. iPhone’s Phone is quite simple and easy to use. You can designate a favorite numbers list; this is in essence the iPhone’s speed dialing. Other reviews point out that there’s no speed dialing or voice activated dialing. I personally don’t like voice activated dialing. My only complain with the Phone is in the recent calls list. There’s an “All” list and a “Missed” list. It would be nice if that were expanded into “All”, “Missed”, “Dialed”, and “Received”. Most cell phones have that, and it would be easy for Apple to implement via a software update.
I was most skeptical about Mail as that was one of the major aspects for me, and it just so happened that many of the reviews I’d read said that Mail was basically unusable. I’m happy to report that Mail is very usable. I’m an email junkie, and IMAP is a necessity for any email junkie that uses multiple computers. IMAP on iPhone Mail works as it should. All folders are there, and navigation is very fluid. Unlike OS X Mail, iPhone Mail does not use the “one Inbox for all accounts” rule. I’m actually okay with that; in fact, I like it better that way. I don’t use multiple email accounts right now, so this is a non-issue for me. There is a 200 message per folder limitation, but that too doesn’t affect me. My only real complaint with Mail is the lack of junk mail filtering/processng. My guess is that junk mail filtering/processing would increase the application’s footprint too much. So if that’s the trade-off, I’m all for it. Some people seem disgruntled that it takes two finger presses to delete an email. Again, this doesn’t bother me. I’ve deleted far too many emails mistakenly on my laptops.
Like Steve Jobs said during his January keynote, the iPhone has the real Internet. He was right about that! I’ve had an easy time browsing ESPN, Google Reader Mobile, CNN, and other sites. So far, the only website I’ve had difficulty using is my company’s Microsoft Exchange Outlook Web Access. I don’t know if it’s irony or not at work here, but I haven’t found a fix yet. A couple issues with Safari: no saving username/password combination and no form history.
The iPhone’s iPod is perfect: cover flow is beautiful on the screen, sound quality is great. I don’t have one complaint about iPod.
SMS Texting: Simple and easy. I don’t understand why MMS wasn’t built-in, and I can understand why some people complain about it. If I were a betting man, I’d put money on Apple adding this capability in a software update.
Calendar: Again, simple and easy. Great syncing with iCal. You can only select one calendar to add new events to, which I too don’t understand. Hopefully Apple will address this as well.
Photos: Photos look gorgeous on the iPhone’s display. I’m not a regular user of iPhoto, so I’m not really in a position to say much more than that.
Weather: I love this widget! You can specify multiple locations to have easy access to current weather information.
There are other applications, but I really haven’t used them much yet.
Overall Impression and Thoughts
Apple has done so many things right with the iPhone. The virtual keyboard definitely takes some getting used to, but it’s very usable – even for me and my fat fingers. The fact that it “only” supports AT&T’s Edge network is a non-issue as there are few places I’ll use my iPhone where there isn’t WiFi. And since I just mentioned it, WiFi completes this device. I couldn’t imagine using the iPhone without WiFi capability.
Without trying to sound like just another Apple fanboy (which I unashamedly am), I truly believe that the Apple iPhone will change the cell phone industry forever. The iPhone will force other manufacturers to up the ante on the quality of their products. What makes Apple Apple is their attention to quality, but most importantly, the user experience and interface. It’s obvious you’re using something made by Apple. Apple puts so much time and energy into perfecting the user experience. Many companies concentrate on the appearance of their product but forget about the interface. Case in point: Motorola’s RAZR. It’s a great, high-quality phone. But the Motorola software interface leaves something to be desired. It’s very confusing and complicated whereas iPhone’s interface is simplistic and fun.
Hopefully I haven’t been too biased. The iPhone is an impressive smartphone, but there are some shortcomings as I’ve outlined above. I don’t see the business world adopting the iPhone until there’s BlackBerry-style Microsoft Exchange support. Rumors say that’s coming, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Also, the lack of an instant messaging application baffles me. I’m sure it will be added via a software update, and hopefully it will include both AIM and Yahoo IM.
To summarize my overall impression of the iPhone in two words: undeniably amazing.