I waited in line, I bought two, I didn't even get a chance to play with mine because I was already taking the other one apart by the time I got home.  In the middle of taking one apart, I activated mine and used it enough to get frustrated with the keyboard.  I then spent the next three days using it, running down its battery and writing about it. 

For the past two weeks I haven't had a normal cell phone experience; I've been testing the Samsung Blackjack or the Blackberry Curve, both great phones but reviewing is very different than using.  Half the time when I'd go out I'd have a stopwatch around my neck, waiting for my phone's battery to die.  For the really long tests, I wouldn't even have a phone on me, it'd be back at my desk looping through webpages trying to simulate real world usage. 

You're sick of hearing about the iPhone?  I'm sick of working on the iPhone, I just want to use it already. 


My frustrations aren't out of hatred for the product, that couldn't be further from the truth.  For the first time in over 10 years of writing for AnandTech, I didn't want to be in this industry.  I wanted to be writing about cars or flowers or kittens and cheezburgers; I wanted to be in some completely unrelated industry so that the iPhone could launch and I could spend the weekend enjoying it, not trying to break it, test it and find its flaws as quickly as possible. 

But it seems all I needed was perspective; during my review process my cousin called me, I didn't answer because my phone was in the middle of a battery life test.  I called him back and explained the situation, after getting hassled for not answering my cell phone for the past few days.  He then told me that I must have it rough, having to sit at my desk and play with cell phones all day. 

I don't know why reviewing the iPhone was any different for me, I've been just as excited about other products in the past.  Part of it may be that Apple kept all of us in suspense, the majority of press included.  Review samples were rarer than Barcelona and the product itself had the potential to really shake an industry. 

Then there was the issue of having to wait in line for what was ultimately a telephone, there are few things that I've voluntarily done that have made me feel like that. 

But the end result is quite good.  The iPhone isn't perfect, I can tell you that now (for more reasons than only supporting Edge), but it's a huge step in the right direction.  At the same time it's a great product today and while not for everyone, its impact on the industry will be tremendous. 

In the coming pages we'll walk through the iPhone, looking at what it does right and what it does wrong.  We'll figure out what it needs, and maybe what we could expect in the near term from Apple.  We'll look at its competitors; the argument that the iPhone does nothing new is valid, but is that ultimately what matters?  And we'll look ahead to the long term significance of the iPhone and where Apple wants to take it. 

An Ode to the Screen


View All Comments

  • ninjit - Monday, July 2, 2007 - link

    Argh, looks like everyone bogged down the image server.

    I just happened to hit refresh right when the article went live, and was happily reading it for the first 10 pages, but now none of the images are load for page 10 onwards.

  • goinginstyle - Monday, July 2, 2007 - link

    I just finished it, took a minute for the last two images to show up. Great article by the way and now I know what to get the wife for her birthday next week. Reply
  • ButterFlyEffect78 - Monday, July 2, 2007 - link

    I love my iPhone. I love texting all my friends and showing them my poop. Its great. Thank you Apple. Reply
  • rADo2 - Thursday, July 5, 2007 - link

    This phone is horrible.

    My needs e.g. are much higher than those offered by $500-600 dumbphone with Apple logo on it.. There are dumbphones on the market for $0 - 29.95, that can do more than iPhone. Take any Nokia phone (and they have MMS, voice dial, and record video)... And there are also many $199 smarpthones with Windows Mobile and/or Symbian UIQ that can install 10,000+ apps, many of them being freeware.

    No need to lock yourself in Apple overpriced monopoly with little functionality.

    If your needs are simple, and you value Apple logo above all, iPhone may still appeal to you. Why not. But "dumbphones" with many lacking features sold for $500-600 with 2 year contract most certainly do NOT appeal to smart and advanced users.

    In fact, biggest disadvantage of iPhone is not even missing features like voice dial, MMS, HW keyboard and/or GPS, but completely missing SDK. Developing SDK and giving it for free to developers is a major expense, and even companies like Nokia or SonyEricsson, which are on the market for "centuries", had problems with it. Microsoft has excellent SDK for Windows Mobile.

    Apple has no development platform / SDK. They try to hide this huge shortcomming by saying "Safari is your SDK". Hehe. They can fool "sheeps" that JavaScripts widgets running under Safari are real apps, but not tech people and business people. You cannot code (e.g.) GPS navigation handling 1GB maps, or advanced IM client under JavaScript/HTML/CSS.

    Thus their phone is basically a "dumbphone", not a smartphone, as installing native apps is a primary thing that distinguishes dumbphones for smart ones.

    Why devote 50+ pages review to something dumb? "Sponzored" by Apple?
  • michael2k - Thursday, July 5, 2007 - link

    You have to use it to understand, I think.

    You talk about features, but as the review mentions explicitly, it's the interface, a feature in it's own right, that sells the iPhone. Does any 0-$29.95 have a touchscreen as nice as the iPhones? You kind of have to compare it to other touch screen phones to "get it".
  • Cygni - Thursday, July 5, 2007 - link

    Exactly. The strength of the iPhone is that it DOESNT have hundreds of features tacked onto it, all done, but none done well. The iPhone does what 95% of the phone buying public wants to do with a phone, and does those functions better than any other phone produced today. That is it strength. That is why its bound to change the way cellphones are made and sold.

    The reason smartphones havent taken off for a vast majority of the public was that they were simply too dificult to use, big, ugly, and counterintuitive. They were systems of endless ugly windows, with terrible fonts, on grainy screens. They were huge fields of buttons with multiple functions for each key. They tried to do everything. Thats NOT what the majority of phone buyers want in a phone. They want something functional, useable, and enjoyable.

    To put it simply, the iPhone does what nearly everyone wants to do on a phone better than anyone else. Anyone who touches it and slides that unlock bar over for the first time has fallen in love. I personally wont be purchasing one for another year, while i wait for my contract with Sprint to expire, and i hope that the second gen has arrived by that time.

    How can you justify spending $600 on a phone that doesnt do everything? The average american spends an ABSURD amount of time with their phone, doing standard phone things. Calls, Alarms, Texts. If i can make those hours of my day far more enjoyable for barely the cost of 2 car payments? I would say thats worth it.
  • rADo2 - Thursday, July 5, 2007 - link

    Well, iPhone SW is poorly done IMHO, e.g. not being able to search through contacts by typing is major drawback. I cannot imagine having to scroll through my 1000 contacts...

    There are e.g. great Samsung and/or Nokia phones sold for $0-50 (with contract) that are better "dumbphones" than iPhone, have 3G, MMS, can record video, play music on stereo BT headset, etc.

    iPhone does lack some very basic features, and I consider it to be hype only. Apple has brilliant advertising and "wow" factor, but this will wear-off within next few weeks.
  • dborod - Thursday, July 5, 2007 - link

    There is an onscreen alphabet that lets you easily jump to contacts starting with that letter so you don't have to scroll all the way. Reply
  • rADo2 - Thursday, July 5, 2007 - link

    Yes, but that is only single letter. WM5/6 devices can do initial search (multiple letters) or even sequantial search, see e.g. http://www.sbsh.net/products/contactbreeze/">http://www.sbsh.net/products/contactbreeze/

    If you have like 100 contacts beginning with "K", it will be very hard to use iPhone to find and dial the right contact. And voice dial will not hell either.
  • michael2k - Sunday, July 8, 2007 - link

    You make it sound like Apple won't be adding search.

    To my knowledge Apple has updated/upgraded via firmware every single one of it's iPods.

    Why do you think the software on an iPhone is "stuck" the way it is now? I imagine within a month of use, with feedback and real world experience, Apple will release an updated browser, mail client, media client, and text interface.

    Then what about your complaints?

    The iPhone is, for Apple, a miniature computer, and as such can be updated with fixes and software.

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