As they say, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” So who you know can open otherwise closed doors.
I’ve known a couple of folks at Apple for more than a few years. That gets me in to Macworld, gets me a few t-shirts, and 5 minutes with Apple’s iPhone.
Kate and I were separated during Steve Jobs’ keynote presentation, but managed to get out a steadily updated Macworld Report for the Mac360 faithful.
My Apple friend managed to get me a little VIP treatment, which was very appreciated and beneficial. My flight from Las Vegas got me into SFO later than expected (I don’t have a watch and rely on my cell phone to tell time), so I did not meet up with Kate.
Macworld’s are a special event and I suspect this will be the last Macworld ever. More on that later. If you haven’t checked out the keynote presentation from Apple, please do so. It accurately captures a big part of what we witnessed.
For those of us cranking out reports for web sites, it was a mixed blessing and mixed effort—watch keynote, punch keys, whisper into cell phone. Kate and I both have bruised thumbs and ignored Apple’s request to turn off cell phones in the hall. We were not the only ones.
I boldly asked my friend from Apple to get me a few minutes with the iPhone and he promptly said it may not be possible because there were only a handful of iPhones available for Macworld.
The Macworld exhibit floor was packed. This may have been the largest Macworld ever, but certainly the most exciting and I’ve been to half a dozen dating back to the early 1990s.
The lines to see Apple’s iPhone were long, longer, and long again. I don’t like to wait in lines, so Kate and I grabbed lunch and worked on our Macworld reports for Ron.
Kate regurgitated what didn’t show up at Macworld, and there was plenty of conversation about that.
I got to view AppleTV up close, and decided that was sufficiently worthy of an article. Standing in line for hours to view iPhone didn’t sound promising—not in high heels.
During lunch we got a call from my friend at Apple. “Bambi, do you still want to take a look at the iPhone?” Duh. I said yes, when, where? I asked for 15 minutes exclusive and an unlimited touchy feely.
He said, “3 minutes, touch only, no calls, no pictures, no complaining.” I said, “Kate and me, 5 minutes, no calls, take your chances—if iPhone is good, I’ll say so, if not, not.”
A few minutes later he arrived with another Apple employee and we walked to a secluded spot slightly away from the throngs. With their backs to the crowd we had 5 minutes. You get 5 minutes of our impressions:
First, iPhone’s screen is stunning. Absolutely crystal clear, bright, with resolution that will max out many credit card limits. Second, the size feels both small and not small at the same time.
iPhone feels wider than Apple’s iPod with video, and feels a little thicker, though it’s not. It’s an optical illusion brought about by the full screen.
Considering that there’s no hard drive inside, iPhone appears to weigh about the same as the low end iPod with video.
Kate’s right. The screen jumps at you when iPhone is turned on. If you thought original Aqua looked good enough to lick, iPhone is better. icon colors are sharp and vibrant, and large.
The iCal calendar button didn’t work, though Steve mentioned it in the keynote but didn’t show it on stage. Some other buttons didn’t work either.
I’ve never had a cell phone that was intuitive in any way. iPhone is instantly intuitive, in some respects just as the original iPod was to both Mac and Windows users.
Ultra cool and very slick are the immediate words Bambi and I used to describe the touch screen. It’s very sensitive, but precise, accurate, and we quickly adapted to scrolling and clicking in just a couple of minutes each.
This iPhone had plenty of fingerprints but no scratches that we could see or feel. The screen doesn’t seem to be a hard glass, but not soft, either.
I’m sure it weighs less than my iPod, but you’re correct about the “feel.” The screen makes it a deceptive feel. The iPhone must be very close to the same size as the high end iPods.
Steve’s demonstration of the iPhone showed most screen actions moving quickly and fluidly. Our experience was the same. The only slow down was using WiFi to load a couple of web pages.
Otherwise, album cover art flipped quickly, songs played instantly, and widgets popped to the screen with no notable delay.
All the applications we tried loaded well. Mail, Safari, widgets. Google Earth was slower, and so was search, but that’s expected.
I cannot imagine that it will take much time to get used to either scrolling, double-tapping, or selecting using fingers on the iPhone screen. It’s just, well, easy.
Our Apple “handler” told us the screen resolution of the iPhone is 320 x480 at 160 dpi, vs. the iPod with video at half that, and not as clear.
I remember checking out the iPod with video when it first came out.
The video was good, but I thought, “Too small for movies or TV shows.” That’s not the case with iPhone.
This screen begs to be watched. This iPhone had an assortment of songs, album art for each, some names and addresses, and some email messages. Up close, it all looks like Apple’s Mail in Mac OS X, though a bit different, and, well, smaller.
The bottom of the case is black, back sides, and front. The rest has that iPod aluminum feel.
Sound from the speaker is about the same as any decent cell phone. I guess there’s only so much you can do in that size.
However, iPhone sounds like an iPod with the ear buds on. Music volume was strong and got plenty loud with a flick of the finger. The onscreen controls are similar to those in the movies in iTunes.
Touch, they pop up on screen. Don’t touch, they disappear. Can you imagine how much fun it would be when music artists start recording ringtones and Apple sells them on iTunes Store?
Take a new iPod with video, give it a nearly full length screen, jam in an iPod nano, a cell phone, and Mac OS X, and you’ve got the iPhone.
5 minutes is just not enough, no matter what the activity, so we had to say goodbye and good buy to Apple’s iPhone. With an embedded version of Mac OS X I see all kinds of capabilities, especially with WiFi built in.
I asked my friend if Mac developers could create applications to run on the iPhone. Without a smile and without missing a beat, he said, “It has OS X inside… but no, not now.”
Notice that he did not say “Mac” OS X. Just OS X. That indicates a world of difference. No Aqua GUI. A different chip, so apps compiled for Mac OS X won’t work. Let’s look forward to the WWDC later this summer. Anyone willing to make odds that Apple will open iPhone to developers?
That was it. It was over. 5 minutes, a few scrolls, some taps, some double tapping, and no phone call. I’ll buy one.
What about you? What’s your first impression? Did you view the keynote presentation in QuickTime? Is the iPhone as revolutionary as the original Mac and iPod? Carry your perspectives and views to the Comments section below.