First iPhone Reviews

 iPhone Images - Courtesy of Apple
Courtesy of Apple

Early reviews of the iPhone are starting to trickle in from the handful of mainstream tech reviewers who have been blessed with review units. Reviews are all rather positive as expected. These reviews do give us a better picture of the phones capabilities. My take:

The pluses:

  • Battery life is amazingly good, around 8 hours of talking, browsing or video playback – easily double what other phones of this size and capabilities can muster. How did Apple accomplish that?
  • Reviewers were universally pleased with the devices usability, even the virtual keyboard, although Newsweek’s Steven Levy opined that the Blackberry’s keyboard was better for heavy users of mobile email.
  • The iPhone’s WiFi is said to work well and be easy to configure.
  • The big screen and great browser deliver the best full web browsing experience of any phone when a WiFi connection is available .
  • PDF, Word and Excel email attachments can be viewed and are rendered very faithfully.
  • Video playback is excellent – smooth and, I think, full screen.
  • Google Maps is a native OS X application and works great.
  • Contacts and Calendar items are easily synced from Outlook using iTunes.


  • The big screen and great browser makes the slowness of ATT’s Edge data service painfully obvious when visiting full web sites.
  • PDF, Word and Excel documents can be viewed but they can’t be edited or even saved.
  • There is no copy and paste for text.
  • You can’t use your music files as ringtones.
  • No IM, MMS or voice dialing.
  • The camera can’t shoot video.
  • You have to tell Google your location. I knew there wasn’t any GPS but was hoping that ATT would make the location information that it derives from cell location for E911 available to the Google application.

It’s pretty clear that the iPhone is a breakthrough device that will forever change the way people look at and use mobile phones. This phone will open a lot of eyes to just how practical the internet can be on a phone. You can be sure that Nokia, Motorola and all the other mobile phone companies are working overtime trying to top the iPhone. As for the iPhone itself, provided it works reasonably well, it will be a huge success. All the limitations of this first release, except the lack of 3G, can be fixed by software upgrades which Apple has said will be distributed through iTunes.

The reviews:
Walt Mossberg – The Wall Street Journal
David Pogue – The New York Times
Steven Levy – Newsweek
Edward Baig – USA Today

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