Friday, 21 August 2009

Apple iPhone

(Review) - June 29th was a pivotal day in the world. I’m sure some other things happened, but in my mind, one of the only things that I can remember is the iPhone launch. After all, the news about it was everywhere. The wheels on the hype machine were rolling better than they ever have before, and no matter how hard you tried, you just couldn’t get away from it. However, the million dollar question is, was it worth it?

To be completely honest with you, even though I’m an Apple fan, I was still kind of skeptical about the iPhone. Not only is it pricey, but the concept of a touchscreen phone had me concerned. The day after the launch of the iPhone, I went to the local AT&T store in an unbiased mindset to give it a test run. Let’s just say that I ended up buying one that night, have it sitting next to me right now, and am extremely happy with the purchase. This is what I’ve wanted my phone to be like.

The fact that I already had service with AT&T just sealed the deal. Due to a unique account/number transfer situation, I initially experienced some unbelievably frustrating encounters with some of the most incompetent people that work for AT&T, but I’m glad to say that everything is working as it should now, and I’ve had two full days to collect my first batch of thoughts about the device.

First of all, the form factor of the iPhone is incredibly slick. As soon as I held it in my hand, it just felt right. Aside from that, one of the first things that impressed me was the screen. It’s nice and big, and the quality is truly crystal clear. I’m still getting used to the touchscreen keyboard, though, but surprisingly enough, it’s actually enjoyable to use, and my accuracy is improving quickly.

Safari: The iPhone's Real OS

Yes, it may also be an iPod, but I’ve been so interested in the online components of the device that I haven’t even taken the time to fully explore the audio and video options, although I did place one video on my iPhone (which looked great, by the way). One of the main complaints that is continually revisited is the fact that the iPhone utilizes AT&T’s EDGE network instead of 3G. While the speed of EDGE isn’t going to knock your socks off, I found it be quicker than I expected and more than bearable. If I’m in range of a WiFi hotspot, then I can connect to it, and the phone does a great job of switching between networks in order to give you the quickest speeds that you can get wherever you are.

The Internet actually looks like the Internet on the iPhone, and the device does away with the need for a mobile version of the Web. Not only that, but I setup my e-mail in just a minute or two, and now I have an extremely productive way to stay connected wherever I go. Seriously, Web browsing and e-mail rock on the iPhone.

The iPhone may be made by Apple, but there’s a lot of Google in this phone as well. Both YouTube and Google Maps applications are incredible, and Google Maps integration is almost worth the purchase price alone. Beyond that, you’ll also find other references to Google in the phone, and it’s easy to see that Google and Apple are definitely becoming more than casual acquaintances.

Despite all of the good, the iPhone isn’t perfect, although it is a huge step forward in terms of redefining what a mobile device should be. Some of the concerns that I can understand are the way that fingerprints quickly accumulate on the screen, the lack of a way to expand the storage space, the fact that Apple has to replace the battery, and the way in which they have locked down the device and taken control of it in order to prevent any real third-party applications or customizations to find a home on the phone.

Even with those issues, the iPhone is still worth trying, and its benefits outweigh its drawbacks, at least in my mind. The look and feel of OS X is alive and well on the iPhone, and I couldn’t be happier about that.

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