Review Part 1 of 2: The iPhone

by Tanner Godarzi Jul 05, 2007

Six months of waiting, uncertainty, and hype but now it’s finally here. The iPhone. Apple’s newest cell phone will make waves in the mobile market by leveraging off the iPod’s success and the massive amount of hype surrounding it. I am very happy to say that the iPhone has lived up to its claims but if you are considering the big purchase please read this review. It’s not an attempt to persuade you one way or the other but instead prepare you.

I am not here to tell that you shouldn’t buy an iPhone or you should, no, that is your decision, but think of this review as something to aid you in your buying decision. It’s hard to be unbiased about the iPhone so I will try to focus on my opinion and link back to the reviews I did for iPhone Matters. That being said, here is the start of the review you all have been waiting for.

The Initial Experience
Using the iPhone has been an interesting ordeal that required that I adapt to a totally new input style and how I interact with a phone. I can find many faults about the device but I will say that the iPhone does what it does good but doesn’t do a lot. The device is geared more towards those who want something extremely portable that can handle multiple types of communication whether it be with other phones or computers. I’d say Apple spent more time developing applications and Widgets that revolve around the concept of communication everywhere, every which way than other touted features such as the iPod and mobile computing experience. This isn’t to say that the iPhone doesn’t do these things well or as good but I believe that in order to attract more buyers they had to brand the iPhone with a name trusted and already widespread which the iPod brand fits in nicely.

In addition to becoming accustomed to a whole new user interface I have also had to adjust to new users. While waiting in line Friday at South Coast Plaza for my iPhone I talked with a few people and you could truly tell these were your average, ordinary buyers wanting the next best thing, those who wanted an awesome communications device and those who were the die-hard Apple fans who considered the iPhone a full laptop replacement by itself. Also I have noticed people using the iPhone in places I’d never see an iPod being used and have been approached by a few people who immediately recognized the iconic phone in my hand and I took the time to show them the awesome features of the device.

I think that’s how Apple is really going to succeed with the iPhone, by marketing it towards every type of individual; I’ve seen people at my local Apple Store who you would never think could ever use a computer stand right in front of me becoming a pro on how to use the iPhone. Making it simple yet appealing is a vital part of Apple’s strategy and if they can market it as a cell phone but then educate customers that it’s a cell phone plus a whole lot more then they’ve got this new market nailed.

The Internet
As I’ve said, the Internet is an integral part of the iPhone whether it be a way to access third-party applications or communicate with others. Two major applications that utilize the Web are evidently Safari and Mail but others such as Google Maps, YouTube, Weather, and heck, even retrieving your voicemail also take advantage of the iPhone’s ability to connect to the Internet.

The Internet in your pocket is also one of the more heavily focused on features when it comes to the iPhone but there are a few things I have problems with. Mainly the lack of Flash. You’ve heard me say this again and again as well as other Bboggers and the responses I’ve received are all valid, yet it’s something that bothers me so let me explain.

Many games and videos are in Flash as well as some web site effects and basic applications. When Apple announced we’d get no Flash support on the iPhone it wasn’t the greatest of news for some while others brushed it off. I was in the former and have Blogged my thoughts on Apple’s decision many times. To appease us Apple has struck a deal with YouTube to convert their entire video catalogue from Flash to H.264 and announce a custom application for the AppleTV and iPhone as the only way to access video content. This is fine and all as we should be getting improved image quality, correct? In my testing I have found that H.264 YouTube videos were horrible on an EDGE connection and no real difference on Wi-Fi. If we are gaining nothing from the massive conversion then what good was it? Didn’t Apple’s testing reveal there would be little to no difference? This has since led me to the conclusion that Apple would rather confine you to a small selection of video formats, the most notable being H.264 and MPEG4. Say what you want about either format, how open it is, but that’s not the point I am trying to make. By limiting consumers to two video formats, that means they will have to convert their content to either of those formats, so it’s not a matter of how great any of these formats are but a matter of being limited to how your video content can be played back. This is a non-issue for some of you but it’s something that bothers me quite a bit that Apple would go so far to set in place this form of limitation. However I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on the matter.

Continuing on, I have much praise for using the Internet on the iPhone for a couple of reasons. Besides bringing two desktop applications to the iPhone (Mail and Safari) the integration of Multi Touch and the Accelerometer allowing you to manipulate Web Pages to how you see fit, but it’s most prominent in Safari as compared to other Apps. There certainly has been some fine tweaking to optimize Web content even farther for the iPhone.

When browsing the Internet on EDGE it doesn’t seem as slow and is really bearable once you have gotten used to it. I average 110 to 205 kbps on EDGE and web pages load up at decent speeds, nothing insanely fast but not excruciatingly slow either. It’s more of a cross between slow and medium. Even though we have cited 3G as a huge disadvantage for the iPhone it’s not entirely bad. 3G isn’t available everywhere for everyone while EDGE is. After all the trouble and marketing Apple has gone through to promote the Internet as being the best you can get on a mobile device, then to find out your coverage is limited would’ve been a disaster. True there is Wi-Fi but that’s not widespread and Apple needed a way for you to just get on the Internet anywhere, and EDGE fit the bill nicely.

Otherwise I have been thrilled with the Internet experience provided by the iPhone and must say Apple has done an impressive job implementing it throughout OS X.

The Interface
The most important part of any computing device is how easy and efficiently you can interact with it and how it can feedback to you. Luckily Apple has decided to make the most of the limited amount of space it had by going touch screen. I have not experienced any glitches or problems using Multi Touch or just single touch but our editor-in-cheif, Hadley Stern, has had an issue in the first few days already, his iPhone would not unlock.

Anyway, back to using the interface. If you have been frustrated that your fingers are too big or touching with your hand is too much of a hassle you will have to deal with it. Any sort of stylus or even using fingernails will not be detected, forcing you to train yourself in the ways of the iPhone. If typing a lot is what you’re having difficulty with then start with one finger but go slowly and eventually move onto two fingers within 3 days, but switch back and forth until you’re comfortable. It’s been about 5 days since I have bought my iPhone and already I am getting used to it which allows me to do more and more blog posts on the go. It’s a matter of trust and worry that will prevent you from excelling at typing on the iPhone. You’ll eventually need to start typing faster and faster the more you use the iPhone but just trust it. Open up a new Note and speed type a few sentences not by hunting and pecking but by where you think the keys are so it’s almost like you are just hitting whichever key. Your body will recognize where each key resides, and there are two things I really need to stress. Get used to the keyboard in portrait mode and not landscape mode, the only way it’ll be in landscape is if you’re in Safari, everything else will use portrait mode. Another thing is to do your formatting all at the end, you’ll be much faster and not waste time formatting as you go.

However, the interface does have a few shortcomings. First off, there is no included dictionary so if you are typing something up, Safari will not show any misspelled words besides the keyboard recommendations, and yes, not every word known to man is recognized by the keyboard so you will have to manually check for grammatical errors. Another is the lack of copying and pasting which can prove to be a headache.

In all, the interface is extremely slick but typing takes some getting used to. Having a touch interface didn’t improve my times a lot when seeking apps to launch or options to select but it sure is better overall and can be manipulated any way you want. I’d like to see more applications take advantage of multi touch or add in more support for it. Apple has a winner when it comes to the iPhone’s interface and it is what really draws people in, it’s like a siren calling you in closer and closer until you succumb to its commands. Do not be wooed by its touch commands alone.

This concludes part 1 of 2 of my iPhone review; tomorrow will be part 2 of 2.


  • iphone nano is coming check this new patent that Apple has filed today…

    shows a simplified input pad with numbers on it, and it could conceivably be a simple follow-on to the iPhone. The touchpad “displays graphical elements to indicate input areas of the touchpad,” and as you can see, it displays those symbols in a circular arrangement….

    Here is the link :;=“20070152983”.PGNR.&OS=DN/20070152983&RS=DN/20070152983

    hodari had this to say on Jul 05, 2007 Posts: 4
  • Despite the buzz, I have a hard time seeing how this product strengthens Apple, which enjoys a reputation of . . .  well, how to put this? Of not selling broken products. Apple prod is supposed to work out of the box, and work intuitively. Apple’s rep is that they work the bugs out of a product before they sell something. And while you learn to use Windows, Apple is intuitive.
    With iPhone, that all changes, doesn’t it? AT&T had activation problems, there’s already reports about bugs . . . and there even seems to be some security gaps, a new problem for Apple. It’s a neat phone, don’t get me wrong, but one that may provide little incentive for consumers to rush out and buy the next Apple intro.
    I’ve written more about Apple’s iPhone and brand at

    Thomas Prais had this to say on Jul 06, 2007 Posts: 1
  • @Thomas
    This product strengthens Apple in at least the following ways:

    - $500million extra revenue in a weekend
    - An impressive debut in a new, and very large, market
    - 6 months of free publicity has made Apple “THE” brand to desire
    - Steve Jobs is now the man to watch: business leaders everywhere are looking at Apple to see how they achieve such success

    The activation issues were minor, and if there have been reports about bugs or security gaps, they have been buried in the rave reviews of this product.

    iPhone has been a masterful stroke.  One can only wonder what Apple can possibly do next.  Whatever it is, you can be sure that Steve Jobs has still more tricks up his sleeve…

    sydneystephen had this to say on Jul 07, 2007 Posts: 124
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