Review Part 2 of 2: The iPhone

by Tanner Godarzi Jul 10, 2007

Thursday initiated the start of my review of Apple’s iPhone which surely has been anticipated by some of you. This post will wrap up my review for the time being; yes, I do intend to do a follow-up about a month from now as there is only so much that can be done in the time frame of one week and there are things I’d like to cover that cannot be fully noted until I have become accustomed to the iPhone, mainly the keyboard. Part 1 can be found here.

The iPod
Apple’s aim to include iPod functionality within the iPhone seems like a rather odd implementation. To me it seems Apple really wanted the iPhone as a communications device to take hold in an uncharted market and needed to leverage off an existing brand to do so. The iPod was that brand and Apple threw it on there, making it extremely elegant, which has significantly increased its wow factor. But one thing bothers me: iTunes support for the iPhone when it comes to multimedia varies more greatly than the iPod, most notably the lack of syncing and filtering options and the small amount of storage. I know flash chips can only reach a certain capacity before increasing drastically in price but I find it hard to believe that Apple couldn’t have at least doubled the storage while increasing the price slightly in order to recoup costs.

Like I said, the iPhone’s iPod interface is extremely elegant and a massive step up over the white and plain interface we’ve become accustomed to. Apple has also integrated Cover Flow nicely but it can only be accessed when under anything that concerns music, although oddly enough Podcasts, whether they are video or audio, show up as well.

Apple has taken a liking to music on the iPhone by making it with more full controls and more full-featured searching, but with good reason. 8GB is nowhere near enough space to store 2,000 videos but enough to store 2,000 songs, so Apple would want to make finding the former easier as the latter is going to be under a dozen.

Music blasts through the speaker at very high volumes even when on low and is amplified slightly when docked. The included earphones are essentially the same that come with every iPod but include a mic that integrates a play/pause button. Overall the music experience on the iPhone has been stunning and is a real winner.

Video is one of the simplest features on the iPhone but Apple really botched some things up, such as the whole YouTube ordeal and the lack of storage. If you can get past that then you’ll have to face the primitive syncing options. You’d think Apple just tacked on Video syncing because it’d be another selling point and cost 5 dollars per phone to implement. Your option of syncing a movie is to select manually which one hops over. A TV episode, however, is a bit better, allowing some breathing room to filter out content.

Video playback is overall a very good experience but I do have a small gripe about it. In Safari and other applications the screen can be rotated to your liking, but while watching a video it’s one way only and the headphone jack just happens to be where you place your hand on the left side, making it rather uncomfortable to use on that side. I have no other complaints besides minimal syncing options, quiet speaker for videos, the headphone jack location, and the lack of storage. Image quality is better than the iPod video in some cases and the screen is more of a widescreen and fullscreen hybrid, meaning there will be black space no matter what you do.

I do like the option to delete videos and podcasts after they have been finished to conserve space for other content.

The Widgets
The included Widgets are decent but not all of them are great. My personal favorite is Maps which truly displays the phone’s true capabilities, allowing you to zoom in by pinching and integrating nicely with the Internet. However, some are basic while others pack a serious punch but sadly most are the former.

Full Featured
The term Widget implies to me that it’s a very basic and simple app meant to do one or very few tasks. Some of the Widgets live up to their name while others should be called applications outright. The full featured are Maps and YouTube simply by offering you tons of options and providing you with a unique interface that’s easily usable. Both integrate the Internet in nicely but I still have a bone to pick with Apple over the YouTube decision.

All 9 other Widgets are just simple, dumbed-down applications and you can very much tell that Apple rushed them. Take for instance the Camera Widget and its accompanying hardware. It’s basically what you see is what you get, no flash, no zoom, and no video recording. The camera doesn’t do much and cannot do fast moving or even moving pictures for that matter; it’s only useful if you want a nice still, but then again how long can you keep someone down nowadays to take a simple picture? Even iCal is nothing more than a dumbed-down viewer that can’t even handle To Do’s. Notes offers no amount of synchronization whatsoever.

The Phone
The iPhone’s calling capabilities are very good for a high-end phone but the not best I’ve heard so far. The speaker phone is absolutely atrocious, making it difficult for anyone to be heard on either end, so I recommend the included earbuds or just using the phone up to your face. I could hear my callers great but not crystal clear.

Visual voicemail isn’t the most amazing thing in the world but it gets the job done. Like I said, the quality was good and I could differentiate the different voices in the background and vice versa, but I was sad that Apple didn’t include voice dialing. How cool would it be to be watching a movie and say “call Diana” and have it actually go through, then afterwards return to your movie. Apple probably didn’t do it because the mic can pick up a lot of noise and voices, then we’d see posts detailing how to hack an iPhone, and strangers could just walk up and overtake your iPhones!

The Final, Final Word

The iPhone overall is a very good device. I think the “i” in iPhone stands for Internet as it’s mainly a communications device which does its job well. But Apple kinda irked me on a few things, such as the relatively low storage which makes enjoying a massive video library hard. 8 and 16 GB should have been the minimum sizes to appeal to those with bigger video libraries as they are accustomed to bigger storage capacities. Some things really need polish while others just will blow you away. If you are not a heavy communications person then this phone is not for you.


  • Apple had to protect their iPod franchise. Pure and simple.

    Protect iPods from cell phone music phones. The iPhone is it. People wanted to carry one device, me included. And if they had to choose, it would be a cell phone with 50 songs over a cell phone AND iPod. Apple is protecting themselves.

    I bought three. The iPhone is not perfect. And I’ve had cell phones since 1985 (car). 1986 first handheld. With that said, compared to EVERY other cell phone that plays music, the iPhone is now the standard. No matter what the criticisms are of it. That’s what is so fascinating about Apple and the future.

    mozart11 had this to say on Jul 10, 2007 Posts: 35
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