"The more I find out, the less I know."

Saturday - June 30, 2007 at 01:22 PM in

iPhone First Impressions

I stopped by one of the local Apple Stores this morning to get a glimpse of the almost-mystical iPhone.
I came away impressed. I'm fairly confident that when my old Treo dies (and it will soon--only three of the seven screws holding my Treo together remain) it will be replaced by an iPhone.

It's not that the iPhone has any features my Treo lacks. In many ways, the Treo is more feature-complete. But Apple has once again figured out that what a lot of people want is not features but useful features.

For example, I almost never used the Web browser or e-mail on my Treo because they suck. E-mail I gave up on almost immediately because it consistently crashed my Treo, and was useless for navigating my inboxes in multiple accounts. The web browser is more stable, but made navigating real web pages a painful experience which was almost never worth it.

iPhone seems to have solved both problems.

I also came away with the impression that this is clearly a 1.0 product (though a really awesome one). Some basic features are inexplicably lacking--for example, while I could program it to dial a series of digits after calling a phone number (useful for automatically logging in to a corporate voicemail box), I could not get it to wait for user input before dialing the extra digits. Others have commented on the missing copy/paste functionality, and the fact that you can't do instant messaging. The lack of IM is possibly AT&T trying to protect its lucrative text messaging business, but I suspect the noise to add it will quickly become loud enough to force Apple to add IM in fairly short order.

(I also suspect it won't be long before people get IM to work on the iPhone through a browser-based client.)

There's no doubt in my mind that the iPhone is a game-changer. Despite its flaws, all other smartphones are awkward and clunky in comparison, bloated with too many tiny buttons and features made useless through interface obscurity. And just as the original iPod eventually yielded the Nano and Shuffle, it's exciting to contemplate where this product will be in five years.

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