Love it or hate it, Apple’s iPhone created more excitement than anything else this year. Or, last year.
Here’s Mac360’s first and last list of answers to every question we could find about Apple’s new iPhone.
Once we’re done with this list, we’ll get back to all things Mac and give the iPhone a little time to rest. Maybe six months.
We’ve talked to a hundred Mac and Windows users about the iPhone. We’ve scoured the web for articles about the iPhone and read hundreds of questions and answers.
For a product that few have touched (add Bambi and Kate to the list of honorary touchees), few have seen, almost everyone has a question. Or a dozen. Here’s what we think is worthwhile.
How much is the iPhone and when will it be available?
The 4 gigabyte model is priced, for now, at $499, and the 8 gigabyte model is $599. We do not expect to see iPhone on shelves for sale in any quanitity for six months. Hey, we’re talking about Apple.
What operating system does iPhone use?
All sources point to a modified, stripped down version of Mac OS X, called simply OS X, which uses less than 500 megabytes in the iPhone.
Will 3rd party developers be able to create applications for the iPhone?
Apple is hinting both yes and no. The best answers we’ve dug up say, “Yes, expect 3rd party applications for the iPhone” but in the more distant future.
Will I be able to record ringtones, add them to iTunes, and play them on iPhone?
The “official” word is that Apple hasn’t decided to do that, but we expect it to be possible sooner, rather than later. Apple’s busy trying to figure out how to make a buck on ringtones, a multi-billion dollar industry.
What are some of the settings in the iPhone menu tree?
We didn’t have time to walk through all the menus. Some were empty icons. Others included a timer for the backlight, feedback for the touchscreen (a dot), and so on. There were plenty.
How was call quality compared to other cell phones?
Our “friend” at Apple wouldn’t let us dial out, but everything we’ve read says it’s excellent, especially the speaker phone. Call quality is often dependent on much more than the phone itself.
How does zoom in and zoom out work on the iPhone’s screen?
Two ways: double-touch, and touch to zoom in and zoom back. And, pinch and stretch to zoom in and zoom back. It even works on email. But the zoom in and zoom out is not infinite. There’s a limit.
Can I set up a speed dial list and make calls without menu walking?
We don’t know, but didn’t see a speed dial list in the menu tree. That’s a natural and logical function, so we expect it to show up in the finished version. Remember, the iPhone’s software is not complete, and we’re six months from launch.
In other words, expect changes, and more information, more details.
Can I synchronize my email? Outlook? Apple Mail?
From what we can see, no. iPhone will send email, read email via IMAP, but not synchronize with email on your Mac or PC.
Does the iPhone have GPS, removable battery, outside antenna, or FM radio?
No, no, no, no. The iPod’s FM radio may work as it is an external unit, but we didn’t see a menu selection on the iPhone.
Why did Apple choose Cingular for US distribution?
We assume Cingular was chosen as they’re the largest US cell phone carrier with nearly 60-million users, and, importantly, Apple wants to do some cool things that require some exclusivity. For now.
There has been a lot of criticism about the choice of Cingular for the iPhone launch. For example, why not 3G HSDPA (faster data bandwidth)? Why EDGE instead? Some of those answers are more obvious with more data points.
EDGE is available in nearly every Cingular market, 3G HSDPA is in some major markets. Cingular is in more total markets than any other US carrier. And so on. You gotta start someplace. We’ve heard that the iPhone is software upgradable to 3G, so expect it later.
I’ve used Cingular for about four years with zero problems, and I travel nationwide. I have a RAZR, which set me back over $400 when it was new. $500 for an iPhone is not a scary price, considering all that’s there.
Is the iPhone’s screen made of “glass” or some spongy, clear material?
The Apple folks said it’s the same polycarbonate material used on the newer iPods, but with a different and improved coating. It doesn’t feel like hard “glass” but it is firm.
Can you use a stylus or fingernails on the touchscreen?
No, we don’t think so. Bambi’s longer nails didn’t activate the touch sensitive buttons, and she had trouble with the menus. My nails are shorter, and I had no trouble with my fingers. A stylus will not work, unless you can find one with a fingertip stuck on the end.
How does the iPhone sync photos for Windows PC users? Mac users?
Mac users can sync photos via iPhoto. Windows PC users have multiple choices, including Adobe Photoshop Elements, and Adobe Album.
How is screen quality for movies, photos, and menus?
Remarkable. The screen is very bright, and highly detailed. No one will be disappointed. Resolution per inch is about 4 times that of a Mac—160 pixels per inch, and 3.5 inches diagonal.
Is the onscreen keyboard landscape or portrait?
What we saw was purely portrait, and never popped up in landscape mode. That doesn’t mean Apple won’t make it happen, but not now.
Can you buy music, TV shows, or movies via iTunes Store using iPhone?
No. EDGE is a bit slow, WiFi would be better, but storage space could be a major issue with the current max at 8 gigabytes.
Can iPhone sync to your Mac’s iTunes via WiFi?
No, but there’s probably no reason why not. That would make a nice upgrade.
Can memory be added to the iPhone?
So far as we know now, no. 4 gigs RAM and 8 gigs RAM. That memory must also hold OS X, applications, files, etc.
How long will the battery last in the iPhone?
Apple says iPhone will get 5 hours of talk time, and 16 hours of audio, but we haven’t found information about standby time.
There’s been plenty of criticism about the iPhone’s lack of a removable battery.
However, that’s really no longer much of an issue with the iPods and most average cell phone users, though I don’t think 5 and 16 hours is sufficient. Hello? This is a video iPod, a cell phone, and a WiFi handheld email and browser computer. It needs juice.
How good is the iPhone’s camera?
We don’t know. It didn’t function in our 5-minute demo (that we could figure out), and we have not seen any demonstrations of the phone’s capabilities. I would suspect it will be decent and will save movies in QuickTime format. Duh.
Why are so many people complaining already about the iPhone?
Cell phones are a mature and highly competitive market. This is, after all, the internet, so everyone has an opinion and an opportunity to voice it. It’s also easy to criticize something that exists only in show-n-tell form.
What CPU is in the iPhone? Will it run Mac software?
That’s two questions. As to CPU, no official word as of this writing, but we suspect an ARM chip, and OS X compiled to run on the iPhone. No word about running Mac software, but applications would need a toolkit, APIs, and a recompile (Jeffrey Mincey told me that).
Will the iPhone be called “iPhone” or will Apple lose the name to Cisco?
We’ve read everything and opinions vary, even among those in the legal community. We expect Apple to prevail and Cisco to lose. Our record for prognostication for Apple products and issues is about 50-50.
If Apple wins this battle, it’ll stay “iPhone.” If they lose, look for “ApplePhone.”
How much will Cingular/AT&T charge each month for the iPhone?
Today, no one is saying. I would expect a premium. Hey, we’re talking about Apple and a phone company, right?
Will iPhone support Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents?
We don’t know. Probably not initially, but in the future. It’s a logical, reasonable, natural expectation.
How many iPhones does Apple expect to sell each year?
The “each year” number is not public, but is expected to grow. Steve Jobs said that Apple’s iPhone target is about 1-percent market share by the end of the first calendar year of sales; the end of 2008.
That number is believed to be about 10-million iPhones over an 18 month period from launch to the end of 2008. We expect additional models, lower prices, and a rapid evolution that exceeds the original iPod’s development.
Will the iPhone kill sales of the iPod? Will there be cheaper iPhones?
No. The iPod is likely to see the same kind of multi-touch screen, though; perhaps by the end of 2007. Yes, there will be cheaper iPhones. Duh.
There are many more questions out there. What questions do you have regarding the iPhone? We’ll be manning the Comments section for the next day. Add your Question and/or Answer to the Comments below.