Steve Jobs waited three years for the iPhone to launch. Alexis waited only six months. Thanks to AT&T’s delayed activation, that’s six months and 12 hours.
Was the wait worth it? Is the iPhone perfect? Here’s my first look at iPhone version 1.0. Is it all that and more? Well, the wait, and wait, and wait has been worth it.
Perfect? Not quite. The iPhone is a delightfully easy to use, multi-function device that brings fun to what was once a pain—feature bloated cell phones.
Is it all that and more? Yes, but the “more” part is yet to come. The iPhone’s screen is magic and that’s where the fun begins (after the 12 hour wait for AT&T’s activation to kick in).
The nearest Apple Store to the Kayhill household is San Diego’s Fashion Valley Mall. That’s where I hang out. And shop. And deplete our kid’s inheritance.
Waiting in line for hours with a one year old baby is not my idea of leisure time, so my husband, baby, and I showed up at the Apple Store around 9:00 PM. Yes, there was still a line but it was moving fast.
I took baby and hubby stood in line. It’s the American Way. By 10:00 PM we had a new iPhone and ran out of diapers. Timing is everything.
Once we got our tired bodies home and baby put away for the night, we set up the iPhone and began the activation process. At least we got to sleep through it. Activation is a simple process but for some iPhone buyers it took many hours to get the phone to live. We were in that group.
Around 1:00 AM Saturday morning we decided to call it quits. Busy signals to AT&T’s support center kept ringing in my ears through dreams of pinching, stretching, and bouncing around on the iPhone’s screen.
By the time we woke up the next morning we’d received email from AT&T that all was OK, and the iPhone worked. I made a call to my husband on the home phone and woke him up.
I’ve read every first impression I could find, and poured through all the online reviews, and taped the CNBC hatchet job of the iPhone on TV. See what happens when you don’t give out pre-release versions to the media? They get nasty.
Many iPhone buyers had zero problems with the iTunes activation process. Ditto for the Kayhill iPhone—except for the 12 hour wait. We already had an AT&T account on one cell phone, so that one had to be de-activated before the iPhone could be activated.
Apple may have sold as many as 400,000 iPhones, so I assume AT&T’s activation process got a little behind. Duh.
The Screen, Boss. The Screen
It’s freakin’ awesome. Clarity beyond expectation. It makes you want to touch the buttons. What is surprising is how quickly and fluidly everything moves on screen. It’s not slow or sluggish. It’s quick and responsive. Like me after I wake up. And have coffee.
Scrolling, Dragging and Rotating, Oh My
Nothing could be easier, especially in photos and in Safari. Flick the screen, it moves. Drag an image, it moves. It’s all pretty much instant, though sometimes I could drag and get the checkerboard background similar to what you see in Google Maps on a slow Mac, slow connection.
Rotating the screen sends everything appropriate to widescreen, landscape mode, which is perfect for some videos. The QWERTY typing screen doesn’t work in landscape mode. That would be handy, especially if the keys were just a bit bigger. Pregnant mommies have chubby fingers.
Typing Is My Life
I type as fast as I talk—but not on the iPhone, and not both at the same time. The pop-up keyboard works as advertised, whether with a single digit, or two thumbs.
Seriously, I swear there’s audio click click as you hit each key, though faint. Or, maybe I’m still hung over from the euphoria of becoming a first generation iPhone owner, or semi-conscious from lack of sleep, and there’s just noise in my head. So long as it’s not labor pains or baby screaming, I’m OK with it.
Thumb typing will not be a problem with the iPhone’s screen. It won’t. It’s easy. Use The Force and just type as fast as your fat little thumbs will go, and the iPhone kinda sorta figures out what you want to type and corrects misspellings. Grammar? No.
Safari Works For Me
Don’t look for bells and whistles, tabs, RSS, and so on. But Safari is simply a miniature version of Safari on the Mac (and now on Windows). Double tap to zoom in, or pinch. Drag to scroll up or down, left or right. It just works.
Browsing is faster using WiFi than using AT&T’s newly updated EDGE network. However, I noticed that backing up a page causes it to load all over again.
To WiFi or not to WiFi?
Yes, WiFi works, works very well, and puts to shame EDGE surfing and email speeds. You can set up passwords for protected WiFi networks. It just works, so the iPhone drops EDGE when entering a WiFi connection.
Calendar, Notes, To-Do
The former is great, notes is an odd duck, and there’s no To-Do list.
I expected better so look for updates to all three in the not-too-distant future, as Apple improves what should be a central iPhone application.
List View in Calendar is wonderful. When you scroll through a list, the headers ‘stick’ at the top of the screen. Sweet. Notes? It’s funky and doesn’t look like much more than a feature that’s not done. Or, if it’s done, it’s not buried yet.
In the biggest oversight yet, there’s no To-Do list, and no way to sync between iPhone and Mac and iCal. Again, expect that to be a location for additional updates in the future.
Does It Do Phone Calls?
Yes, and voice quality has been excellent, except for my husband’s voice when he answered the phone. A hibernating bear disturbed from months of sleep would sound more friendly. That’s not the iPhone’s fault.
What I’ve read online also indicates that the voice quality, going and coming, is very good on the iPhone, though the cell phone connection plays an obvious part.
Please, whether you buy an iPhone or not, head to an Apple Store and just try this. There’s no longer a need for men to deny they’re lost, and no need to embarrass themselves by asking directions.
Let Google do it. Thank God for favorites. Google Maps is the way God intended for us to find places.
Email Is My Life
OK, kids first, husband second, career third, parents fourth, then the car payments, and mortgage payments, and shopping at Fashion Valley Mall, but email is in the top 10.
iPhone email seems like a mini-version of Mac OS X’s Mail. You won’t use it to compose a huge nasty gram to a close relative or soon-to-be-former friend, but it’s fine for keeping in touch.
One More Thing
We have yet to check out the iPhone User Guide because it isn’t even included with the iPhone. There’s a quick start guide. That’s it.
What Are People Saying?
I won’t bore you with the details. You have enough to read about already and the iPhone is barely one day old.
Generally speaking, those in the media who managed to get their hands on an iPhone seem to love it, and over look the few flaws. It’s tough, scratch resistant, solid, just the right size.
The iPhone makes easy that which was once cumbersome and required you to carry around a manual to figure out what all the keys on ‘smart phones’ actually do. Just like the iPod, and the Mac before it, the iPhone invites you to use it. But don’t ask my husband. He won’t get a chance to use it until I take a nap.
Quibbles and Bits
Overall, the only real issues have been AT&T’s delayed activation problems, and the slower-than-Wi-Fi EDGE network. Mail, Safari, Notes, have a few rough edges here and there. The camera works fine, but the images are nothing to write home about. You can’t send photos except through email, so some kind of future iPhoto sync would be nice.
OK, Steve Jobs. What’s next?