ZDNet: Hands on with Apple’s iPhone: ‘elegant, ravishing, simple, sleek; impeccable & intuitive UI’

“During a meeting with Apple’s vice president of iPod products Greg Joswiak, I finally got to play briefly with one of the highly anticipated iPhones,” Jeremy Roche reports for ZDNet Australia.

Roche reports, “The iPhone is one of the most elegant and ravishing phones I’ve seen so far, due largely to its simple, sleek design and impeccable, intuitive user interface. While fashion phone fans used to teensy handsets might disagree, the iPhone doesn’t feel too unwieldy and at just under 12mm thick, it is certainly pocketable.”

Roche reports, “Although the iPhone runs a version of Mac OS X “optimised for the handheld experience”, Joswiak explains it’s not an open platform and any updates to applications or software will come through Apple. This closed model, although secure, means you can’t install additional custom or third-party apps — does this mean it isn’t defined as a smartphone? It’s a model that Joswiak says will continue in the foreseeable future.”

Roche reports, “While the room we were in was dimly lit and conducive to making displays look vibrant, the screen didn’t fail to impress. It is bright, colourful and seems like a very high resolution for its size. To get an idea of how to type messages on a buttonless phone, I ducked into SMS… Using two thumbs to type a quick couple of words, the touch-sensitive QWERTY worked well — my accuracy might have been better if I had longer than 3 minutes with the phone. However, I think the virtual keys and the lack of a tactile click feeling won’t be everyone’s preferred way of text entry.”

“Orientation changes as expected when the iPhone is tipped on its side, allowing you to see Web sites, videos, maps and photos in landscape mode. Multi-touch is a fantastic feature for zooming in and out and panning. Apple isn’t mentioning how much system memory is onboard, but we didn’t notice much of a lag between menus or applications — mind you we didn’t push the iPhone’s multi-tasking abilities to the extreme,” Roche reports.

Roche reports, “We were unable to demo the synching process with iTunes, and are disappointed that Wi-Fi can’t be used for synching or for direct communication with other iPhones… Joswiak claimed an advantage of the wired connection is that it’s faster and that it charges the device at the same time… Addressing the iPhone’s lack of 3G connectivity at a time when HSDPA services are flourishing internationally and the impact of future WiMAX technology, Joswiak said that Apple ‘made some choices that make sense today.'”

Full article here.
3G is coming to future iPhones. Steve Jobs said so himself during his keynote presentation. iPhone is a US-only release at first: June for the US, Q4 for Europe, and 2008 for Asia. Expect to see different iPhones just like you see different iPods and different Macs for various needs at a range of price points. As for Wi-Fi, that’s a software decision for Apple to make. The Wi-Fi can be used to do whatever Apple wants in the future; the main thing is that it’s in there. Remember how early this is: there are parts of the iPhone that are not being shown, that are still being worked on for iPhone’s June release.

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25 Comments

  1. Hrm. I must say it is disappointing that they’ve decided to lock the system. I was already thinking how many cool apps 3rd party developers could crank out by the time the iPhone actually got released.

    I hope at the very least Apple will create an SDK and provide some sort of “official approval” pipeline for folks who are serious about creating apps for the phone.

  2. This is exactly what I was concerned about. I want to protect the system. But I also want some freedom to decide which applications I need to have with me. RIght now that’s FileMaker, some exportable and importable word processing. Maybe a spreadsheet. Useful stuff. not just “fun” stuff. They have time to get this right. It’s a lot of money to lack basic applications that any other PDA has.

  3. From the iPhone website. “OS X — is now available on a small, handheld device that gives you access to true desktop-class applications and software, including rich HTML email, full-featured web browsing, and applications such as widgets, Safari, calendar, text messaging, Notes, and Address Book.” That’s what’s been release so far. Just wait. If they don’t have it you don’t have to buy it!

  4. what disappoints me is the lack of wireless connectivity between individual iPhones. I certainly hope sending files between the iPhones through wifi won’t be an issue and that Apple doesn’t want to force us to use the GSM-EDGE for such.

    Othe thing i would like to see rather soon is the same device minus the phone.

  5. The iPhone is AMAZING… There is only 2 things that suck:

    1. Cingular – their network is horrible! The only reason why they can claim ‘More bars in more places’ is because they have the manufacturers put 5 bars on the screens of their phones while the other carriers ahve only 4… I always hate talking to someone on Cingular… In spite of what their ads say, the calls always drop or become unintelligible…

    2. EDGE – Whaa?? When you are outsiide of a WiFi hotspot you are supposed to use EDGE? Argh! Not likely w/o major frustrations…. Even David Pogue described Cingular’s EDGE network as notoriously slow….

    Meanwhile Sprint & Verizon have both launch EV/DO Rev A allowing up to 3.1 Mbps in the downlink and up to 1.2 Mbps in the uplink…

    Too bad there’s no iPhone on Verizon Wireless…. Maybe Apple will make one for Sprint’s new WiMAX network that blows 3G away….

  6. the appeal for me of any new ‘smart’ phone is the ability to write sms / email easily and quickly. i have little patience with tiny keys … i hope the text entry won’t be a big problem with the iphone. just an idea – what if text can be entered while the phone is in landscape mode? that would make the keys ‘larger’ … ?

  7. “The Wi-Fi can be used to do whatever Apple wants in the future; the main thing is that it’s in there.”

    To be fair, you clowned on Zune for having crippled Wi-Fi. The same argument applies to them. Zunes should be able to get viruses wirelessly in the near future.

  8. Concern about the ease of typing on the iPhone keyboard may be valid. Are the keys totally silent or is there an audible click when you press them? If not, perhaps Apple could add a click which would help to give the impression of a tactile keyboard with real buttons.

  9. I have to say, while I too would like to see the iPhone platform opened up so that we can see a stripped down version of excel, word, powerpoint and some other business standards on there, I understand why Apple would initial go closed. The last you want on a handheld who’s self admitted killer app is making calls is to have some poorly written piece of software uploaded to the handheld that is going to cripple it. It’s alot easier for me to revert back to an older backup if I install a new ‘update’ that is buggy on my Mac than on an iPhone.

    Using dashboard as a testing ground for these mini-apps and their functionality was a great toe in the water to add functions with operating slightly outside the main OS functions. i.e. if for some reason dashboard crashes, it’s an isolated problem.

    I doubt Apple is going to make the mistake of closing the system to outside development. But remember, they only allowed EA to publish games for the iPod after 5 years…

    As the iPhone grows in userbase and adoption picks up Apple will allow mobile versions of 3rd party software, the marketplace will demand it.

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