Okay, so I broke. It took twelve days, but in the end I just couldn’t wait any longer to get an iPhone into my life.
I’d rationalised against it for weeks before launch – “the keyboard looks like it needs some work”; “never buy 1st Gen Apple hardware”; “wait for 3G instead of EDGE”. But this thing seemed truly amazing – a whole new experience as far as mobile devices are concerned. Ultimately, I wanted in on the ground floor.
So I’m slightly late to the party, and possibly not adding much at this point (I really haven’t scanned the interblogwebnet to see what others are saying about their phones), but I wanted to write down some first impressions, partly for my own later reference, partly for any of the 5 readers of this site who might not have got their hands on an actual iPhone yet.
Getting the boring stuff out of the way first, yes, it’s amazing. The UI is fluid and responsive – the original MacWorld demo and the existent tutorials aren’t gussied up to make it look any better; it really works like that. It is, in short, a thing of utter beauty, and takes mobile usability to a completely different level.
There are several worries I had which have proved unfounded so far.
Battery life seems good. I’ve been using the phone exhaustively (hey, it’s a new toy) and haven’t run into any “argh, battery low” moments yet. We’ll see how it holds out in the long term.
The EDGE thing is less annoying than I thought it would be – the slight speed problems of the connection are more than made up for by the ease-of-navigation around networked content.
The keyboard is perfectly usable after about an hour of practice. In some ways tactile feedback would be nice, but… I’ve never found the teeny-tiny button keyboards on any smartphones to be any better.
All in all, if I was at Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola or Samsung right now I’d be sick as a dog.
That said, here’s the problem with being Apple. Their products are often so very nearly perfect. You can tell that a lot of very dedicated people have spent a lot of time applying a breathtaking eye for detail. The downside of this is that the smallest details which are forgotten (and there will always be a few) stand out so much more.
So, with the basic assumption that the iPhone is jaw-dropping, here are the niggles I’ve found in the first few days…