Ihnatko: Hands-on with Apple’s iPhone (which runs Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard)

“I have used the Apple iPhone. I had a private briefing the day after Steve Jobs’ keynote and spent about 45 minutes noodling around with the device,” Andy Ihnatko reports for The Chicago Sun-Times. “You may touch the hem of my robe if you wish.”

Ihnatko reports, “Here’s what I can tell you so far, based on my hands-on impressions, my talks with Apple and general first-hand sniffing around:”

1. The touch-interface works flawlessly.
2. I think the iPhone’s virtual keyboard is a huge improvement over the mechanical thumbpads found on the Treo and any other smart phones of its size.
3. It’s the most beautiful freakin’ display I’ve ever seen on a phone or PDA, both in range of color and level of detail.
4. The apps that were functional at the time of the demo give the satisfying, protein-rich experience of “real” software.
5. Apple will keep a very tight rein on software development.
6. The iPhone runs the same OS as the Macintosh… everything I’ve learned (both in official briefings and “you and I never spoke, all right?” sort of discussions) says that it truly does run Leopard, the upcoming 10.5 OS that will be released for the Macintosh late in the spring.
7. The iPhone is still under development and isn’t feature-complete… Any complaints about what the iPhone can’t do are premature. Remember, it won’t ship for six months.

Details in the full article here.

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  1. “After 30 seconds, I was already typing faster with the iPhone than I ever have with any other phone. I suspect that true e-mail demons will need to adapt to the lack of tactile feedback, though.”

    Wasn’t there some Finn sayin’ sumpin about assured lousy typing on virtual keyboards?

  2. Andy is a great columnist, and if he liked it, I am sold. But I definitely do NOT wish to touch his robe.
    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    MDN Magic Word: Respect
    As is “Much respect.” Ali G

  3. I don’t understand why they are including a full version of OS X 10.5 Leopard, taking up “less than 500MB” (but presumably more than 400), if there isn’t going to be rampant third party software development. Why include the whole OS if it’s not to let everyone develop for it? If they are going to keep such a tight rein on software why not strip out everything that the apps aren’t going to need. If a future app requires some code that isn’t included by default, Apple uses their tight leash to include the needed OS code in that individual app’s installer. Personally I’d like to keep a lot of space for music, so I doubt I would ever get more than 100MB of apps. If that requires 400-500MB of OS support, there is something wrong. I think there is something here I am missing, possibly because Apple isn’t telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

  4. It sounds like Apple waited until it was 95% confident about the June release, before making the announcement and showing the product. The UI would be the hardest part to get right, and it sounds like it already works perfectly. If all Apple needs to do is finish development and testing of a few apps, that’s good news.

    Hopefully, all the “analysts” will stop saying that the iPhone does not have a keyboard. According to someone who actually got to try it, it’s “huge improvement over the mechanical thumbpads.”

  5. My only debate about the iPhone is whether I should pony up and spend $599 at the initial release OR hold off a bit for revision 2.0 at a lower price.

    There is no doubt, this thing is overpriced and will come down sharply after the early adopters and Apple fans get milked. I mean sheesh, even if todays report about Apple making a 50% profit on these things is off by 10% or so, they are still making a HUGE profit.

    I really want one, but $599 is not an easy purchase for my financial situation. I could do it, but I would hate to have the more advanced 3G version at $349 come out six months later.

    Anyone know what Apple’s typical revision 2.0 timespan is?

  6. No James.

    I know, as do most who have read and heard about the matter, Apple, Inc. wanted to be the first to introduce this product rather than suffer the woes of premature exposure resulting from leaks at the FCC. The FCC process will require at least two months of lab scrutiny before it is approved by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.

    Apple was right to introduce the phone as they did. That iPhone will improve with each iteration is bankable.

    I also think Apple has developed OS X Mobile that will find it’s way into future iPod models.

  7. There are a few reasons Apple launched now, but it was basically for the same reason they launched AppleTV in advance:

    Marketing 101

    The quick and dirty is this – you launch a new product into a new market you do not yet currently play in, that contains little risk in reducing any current product sales.

    This does several things:
    1. Slows competitive product sales. “Oh, I was going to purchase a Blackberry, but I can wait.”

    2. Due to #1, this starts to build pent-up demand when the product does launch.

    3. More free press and specualtion during the time from pre-announcing to launching. Then another boost of free press once the product starts shipping. Money can’t buy this much press… well it can, but this is simply a smarter way to get it for free.

    4. FCC and Cingular: This point is Apple-specific, but Apple requires total secrecy in developing products. With this device, the FCC would have blown the products cover, so a pre-launch was necessary. Then their is Cingular, and Apple knows there is no way to control their pie-holes, so you pre-announce before some tech at Cingular does it for you.

    There you go.

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