It has been four weeks
since Apple released the iPhone on June 29th. During the
past four weeks I've been personally using an iPhone
as my main cell phone, moving up from years of using a Blackberry.
Having my line-sitter wait in line
for a day to assure me an iPhone on the 29th, turned out
a good omen for the ease in which moving from my Blackberry
service on T-Mobile to the iPhone on AT&T. As it turns
out, once I got the iPhone home I promptly checked for updated
iTunes Software. After a quick update I was ready to go.
The Initial Process: Sign Up
You hook up an iPhone just like an iPod (it
has the same connector). Once connected iTunes launched and
immediately recognized that an iPhone was connected for the
first time. A special AT&T signup and activation page
loaded inside the iTunes interface—which, interestingly,
felt odd and natural all at the same time. Could this be
sign of a larger future for iTunes? What else might we signup
for using iTunes, I wondered?
What I was not left wondering about was how
astonishingly easy the whole phone activation and sign-up
process was. Why didn't someone think of this sooner?
Just after activation the device wants to be
go to a full charge. This took about 1 1/2 hours but I could
use the device while plugged in.
Despite the product name this review needs
to start with what Jobs called the "best iPod we have
ever made." So the question is: is it?
The answer is a definitive yes.
For starters navigating with Cover Flow using
your fingers is one the best things I've ever experienced
in computing. It has such a wonderful quality about it and
makes you wonder what the future of computer interfaces may
look like.(see image 01-02).
- 01: : Cover Flow on the iPhone makes it the best iPod
ever. Images flow remarkably smoothly and quickly.
(any blur due to my digital camera, not iPhone)
- 02: : Choose an album cover, tap it to flip it
around to reveal your songs. Tap a song to play.
So while Cover Flow may be the best big new
feature in the iPhone's iPod interface, there are many
other delightful qualities. Interface windows that flip around
in 3D hail from Apple's OS X Widgets and here in the
iPhone they serve up lots of information in a tiny space.
In vertical mode (non-Cover Flow) you end up with near full-screen
album art while a simple tap on the list view icon flips
the window to a table of songs, numbers, and song times.
You can rate your music directly on the iPhone—something
you can't do on any other iPod. And the "On the Go"
playlist feature is also useful and cool.
But while Cover Flow may be awesome, it's not
the only cat's meow on the iPhone. Watching movies
or television shows is actually very doable thanks to the
superb screen quality and high resolution. In fact watching
films in bed this way, with the lights off, strangely reminds
you of the old drive-in days (for all you older folk, like
after a while it feels like that tiny screen is actually
a large screen hundreds of feet away from your pupils. All
videos can also be put into wide-screen format so this means
you buy from Apple's iTunes store can be watched in
Perhaps most interestingly of all, is that
unlike your iPod, the iPhone has a set of built-in speakers
that actually sound quite decent and get pretty loud. No,
you aren't able to hear your music playing if you are
on a loud city bus, but laying in bed, or in a park, you
can listen and listen well.
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