Today, Apple Inc. unleashed the iPhone on the world. Here’s my gut reaction to the announcement.
In a word?
Apple today unveiled the Apple iPhone that combines three three three apps in one. The first ingredient is the iPod, only not the iPod you have come to know and love. The iPod capabilities of the iPhone include a wide screen display we have all been expecting for quite some time. The increase in the ppi is an improvement from the 100ppi Apple has been using on their monitors.
As we expected, everything in the new iPhone can be manipulated with the touch of a finger or two, all on the 3.5 inch screen. I have to tell you this looks amazing. The screen is 320×480 with a resolution of 160 pixels per inch. Not high-def, but certainly good enough for media viewing.
The multi-touch navigation is also quite interesting. Using a single finger to select items, or a two finger ?pinching ? combo, you can zoom in or out of images and applications. The navigation is similar to the touchpad on the new Mac laptops.
The second ingredient of the new iPhone is of course the phone itself. Instead of punching numbers, you dial by pointing to a name in the address book. It also syncs all of the contact information from your contact list on your Mac or PC.
There is a neat looking function called visual voice mail that lets you see the list of all your messages and choose which ones you want to listen to ? in any order you want to listen to them.
For text messaging, or SMS, there is a touch sensitive QWERTY keyboard that uses predictive technology to anticipate the word you are tying as well as correct mistakes. It isn ?t something completely new, but ditching the actual keyboard in favor of a virtual one is a great idea.
The iPhone also has a built in 2-megapixel camera for taking photos and sending them family or friends. And because the iPhone has a level, the instant your turn the device on its side, the photo is displayed in landscape view. That ?s really neat.
The third ingredient of the iPhone is the tight integration with the web. There is a rich HTML and email client built right in. In fact, the iPhone is running Mac OS X. Apple announced both Google and Yahoo are part of the iPhone too. Google Maps allows you to find out where you are and how to get somewhere, and since it is also a phone, you can call the place you are looking for without changing devices.
You can also use widgets to get weather information or access other applications quickly.
All of this, in one device, that is amazingly thin; only 11.6mm thick.
Okay, so you are sold and want to know if you should buy one right away. Are there any downsides?
While it was a wise decision for Apple Inc. (note new name) to ditch the traditional internal hard drive, with all its moving parts and susceptibility to shock, in favor of a flash based drive, you are left with only two choices; 4GB or 8GB. For someone that has filled his 60GB iPod to the brim, the iPhone seems lacking in storage capacity. Better hope before you go on that long trip that you have exactly the music and movies you want to access. For Nano users, and those who sync their iPod to their computer often, this is not a big deal, but has me wanting something larger.
You can ?t buy the iPhone yet. It still has to go through FCC approval before being offered for sale in June. Even then, be prepared for a little sticker shock. The 4GB iPhone will sell for $499, while the 8GB will go for $599. Both include a two year contract with Cingular.
Yes Cingular. The company that claims to have the fewest dropped calls. I ?m a little disappointed by this portion of the announcement, mainly because Cingular is not a provider in my area. I was really hoping Apple would have made the iPhone ?carrier independent ? meaning you could buy the iPhone anywhere and have it work with any provider simply by swapping out a chip. Oh well ?
The final thing I am curious about is the screen itself. With all the touching going on, how quickly will the screen get marked up with greasy finger prints and Cheeto stains? Also, how sensitive is the screen? Will it work through a protective device? We ?ve seen time and time again how quickly the iPod screens get nicked and scratched to the point where the experience isn ?t shiny unless you have a protective device made by companies like DLO and Griffin Technologies. If a protective screen disrupts the multi-touch feature, how worthwhile will the iPhone experience be?
While it looks super sweet, one should keep in mind this is a version 1.0 device, and first time buyers may have some remorse should problems or difficulties arise. While I may not be a Day One adopter of the iPhone, you can bet I will be keeping a close eye on the iPhone so I can buy it when the time is right.