iPhone review
July 13, 2007

I've been using a Blackberry 8700c through Cingular for a couple of years now, and I really like being able to check all my email accounts on it and using the google apps wherever I happen to be. Typing on it is pretty easy. However there were many reasons I was looking for a replacement.


  1. Email is merely forwarded, so you aren't dealing with the actual imap server you use when at home or work. So junk mail rules aren't followed, any deletions or drafts are not seen by your other mail clients, etc. You used to be able to set up filters on the blackberry web client, but they removed that feature last year.

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    Posted by ellen at July 13, 2007 10:03 AM

  3. Both Cingular and Blackberry browsers are SLOOOOW, and lack support for many standard web features. For example, having multiple pages open at one time, standard style sheets, increasing text size etc. are not supported.

  4. The screen is too small!

  5. The phone is too heavy for what it does.

  6. No camera

  7. No music - I have to carry an iPod also

  8. There are some aspects of the keyboard that are too difficult if you don't use them constantly:
    • When dialing a new number, the qwerty keyboard puts the digits in an unusual configuration, so it is harder to dial until you memorize the layout.

    • I never became great at finding symbols

So the other day I went to the local AT&T store to look at the iPhone. I wasn't impressed by the staff's knowledge of the new gadget and they didn't have one in stock, but they did let me try the sample. That was enough to sell me on it, and I purchased it. I was told it would take 5-6 weeks to arrive, so I was prepared for a long wait. Surprisingly, it showed up not two days later!

So far, I am so floored by it, that even if it were to break tomorrow, I would still say it is a complete technological triumph.

First and foremost there is the multi-touch screen. The screen understands gestures. It knows the difference between a stroke or "flick" of the fingers, a squeeze, a tap and a double tap.

The fact that there are no physical keys to feel while you are typing, has proven to be much less of an issue because of the visual feedback the keyboard gives you when you hit a key. You know right away what key it thinks you are on.

It also offers guesses as to what you are typing, which seem to be improving the more it is used. To accept a guess and move straight on to the next word you merely hit the space key.

Wide Screen
The wide screen is such a relief! When surfing the web or viewing videos or scanning for songs, if you turn the phone to either side, the screen layout changes to horizontal, and you see MORE. Text and images become larger, and there is more real estate for everything. This is important when typing or selecting because even the smallest fingers need some room to hit their mark.

For some reason the email client does not rotate, which is odd, since it would benefit from the wide screen also.

"Real" Web browsing
Web pages look pretty much like the real thing. Not every plugin is supported - for example, you cannot play amazon sound samples in realmedia or windows media formats yet, but I imagine someone will come up with a solution for that. And the browser is fast! Not as fast as a desktop browser, but about 10 times faster than the Blackberry. What makes it even better is that you can have multiple pages open, so while one is loading you can be looking at another.

Support for tired eyes!
Most images and text screens will respond to a double tap by zooming in or out, depending on their current state. So tiny type on those styled web pages is readable. And there is room to see a whole zoomed-in column.

The camera utilizes the wide screen viewport - it seems huge compared to the LCD screen on my little camera. You don't have zoom and focus controls, nor flash, but the images are very good anyway. And you can look at them more quickly than you can on a normal camera. It is very fast to switch back and forth between reviewing images and shooting. Need I mention that it syncs with iPhoto, so while you are updating your contacts and charging, whatever images you have shot are automatically backed up as well.

I have had an iPod for many years - it's an older model which supports photos but not video. I held off getting the video model, because I couldn't figure out what good it was with the small screen. That problem has been completely solved. The new iPhone plays music, lets you riffle through your album covers and podcasts, and it plays video beautifully. The video controls are well behaved, hiding when you flick them out of the way.

In general, the iPhone is an improvement over the Blackberry and every other smartphone I've seen so far, by an order of magnitude.

But I also want...
Almost immediately you start wondering about new features.

Why isn't there a google search immediately available from the home screen? Currently you have to click to Safari then click the bottom of the location bar to get to it.

How do I remove items on the Home screen I don't want to use? How do I add items I do want to use? (I have seen a third party app for this, but haven't had a chance to try it yet).

I want to be able to browse the iTunes store and download new music from my phone!

Why can't I play some of the podcast video formats?

I want infinite zoom on every screen, so that if text is extremely small, I can still read it comfortably. [UPDATE: This was a case of "READ THE MANUAL"! The way to zoom in on any part of any screen is to use the "pinch" technique described in the graphic below.

Every screen should be able to rotate to a horizontal mode.

It would be useful to have wireless keyboard support.

And the biggest issue for me so far is the lack of search in Mail, Contacts, Calendar, etc. Search, plus dynamic filtering would be even better!

Fortunately there seems to be a lot of support for development of new applications, so we can probably expect new features and improvements to come rapidly.

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