John Topley’s Weblog

24 iPhone Impressions

I’m no mobile phone expert. My current phone is a Sony Ericsson Z200 which is a few years old and doesn’t have a camera, FM radio or MP3 player. I bought it because you can make calls with it and because it’s very small and quite robust. I don’t even use it enough to justify having a contract—it’s Pay-As-You-Go all the way with me. So I’m hardly qualified to comment on Apple’s glorious new iPhone, but I’m going to anyway.

  1. The iPhone name seems to have caught everyone by surprise, not least because it’s currently owned by Cisco.
  2. You’re not going to be able to use an iPhone with a Pay-As-You-Go contract like I have. If you’re not using the device’s Internet features then you’re not getting value from it.
  3. The screen lock slider is classic Apple design: eminently practical yet a bit flashy.
  4. The user interface is almost entirely software, which means that it’s really easy for Apple to change and enhance.
  5. I remember reading about Apple’s patent on the pinch gesture used in the touch screen interface a few years ago. It’s great that it’s finally seen the light of day.
  6. The Visual Voicemail feature is really neat. Serial access (i.e. having to scroll through stuff to get to what you want) is so unsatisfying, whether it be voicemail or videotape.
  7. I remember watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and seeing crew members walking around with little black tablets with a software interface in their hands. Now we can have them too!
  8. People say that $599 is a lot of money for a phone. It is a lot of money, but think of it as a new top-end video iPod—albeit currently without the top-end storage capacity—along with a mobile Internet device that you can also make phone calls with.
  9. It’s hard to see how the next iPod can continue with the same form factor now the iPhone has been revealed. People are going to want that flippable screen on their iPod. Software scroll wheel anyone?
  10. Can you run OS X’s Terminal.app on it? If you can’t, then someone will find a way.
  11. Can you have a message engraved on the back like you can with an iPod?
  12. Will the casing be more scratch-resistant than the iPod’s?
  13. Hopefully Apple have invented a new type of plastic for the screen that really will be fingerprint resistant and easy to clean. Yeah right. We haven’t even got suction cups that don’t come off the surface they’re supposed to be attached to yet.
  14. Expect an open-source project/competition to be announced in June with a prize going to the first person to get Linux running on an iPhone.
  15. Expect Amit Singh to write an article about how to make phone calls by typing commands directly into the iPhone’s fireware interface. The commands will be surprisingly intuitive like:
    fs0:\> call 1-800-my-apple
  16. The on-screen keyboard looks quite cramped and might be hard to use without any tactile feedback.
  17. The iPhone looks too big to fit in a trouser pocket, which is a major problem for me as that’s where I like to keep my phone in the summer when I don’t wear a coat.
  18. Expect a galaxy of third-party cases/pouchs/screen protectors, all of which make you look like a dork.
  19. There’s no mention of what CPU the iPhone uses.
  20. I don’t know anything about mobile phone networks, but from reading people’s reactions to the device, lots of Americans really don’t like Cingular.
  21. Expect a plethora of music videos filled with gangsta rappers flashing their iPhones into the camera. Bling!
  22. Is the battery replaceable?
  23. Every phone I’ve ever used is full of undocumented features that are hidden away in dark crevices of the UI. For example, on my current phone, there’s one called Minute Minder and I have no idea what it is. The iPhone won’t be like that. No dark crevices.
  24. How long before the first mugging where the victim was attacked for their iPhone? How long before the first murder?

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The screen lock slider is classic Apple design: eminently practical yet a bit flashy.


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