I mosied on over to the Apple store yesterday to get a glimpse at the much alluded iPhone. Some words to the wise: come the day after to avoid standing in ridiculous lines. The iPhone is surrounded by a lot of hype, which a lot of folks don't think it can live it up to. I for one can see that it doesn't but it does come close. When I first caught a glimpse of it in the store I saw about 6 different people surrounding the table with display models. The iPhone is spectacular to see in person. It's probably the nicest, most intriguing little hand held gadget I've come across. The device is about the same size as a conventional iPod but so minimalist in design that it has a sort of mystique to it.
Don't get me wrong, it is VERY cool. The product is amazing in many ways but at the same time it's equally unimpressive in many ways. For instance, Safari on the iPhone, the best implementation of web browsing online in phone to date, is still not without it's problems. Scrolling around pages was very laggy. The phone does not zoom in as fast as it does in the commercials. Zooming within the web browser is a bit of a test of patience. The animation is fluid but results in a blurry screen until the screen is redrawn. It's a bit like zooming in and out in google maps. It's just not conducive, but I suppose it's better tha nothing. Additionally, developers such as Joe Hewitt are already facing problems experimenting with the iPhone. So software for the iPhone will be coming but it's going to still be a while before we see polished products specifically for the iPhone that will 'revolutionize' how we do things.
Finally, the AT&T wireless plans are not that bad of a deal considering what you get. I think the price is a really good value when you consider you're on AT&T's Edge (premium data network) with unlimited data transfer included in every iPhone plan. Not ot mention rollover minutes. HOWEVER, AT&T's Edge network blows. The US lacks a true 3G network and the closest carrier to providing anything comparable is Verizon. Edge currently maxes out at 80Kbps. Dialup is 56 Kbps. And while AT&T is investing in their infrastructure to increase the capabilities of Edge to hopefully achieve 200Kbps by next year, Verizon already achieves transfer rates higher than that on their own network right now.
So yeah, I'm a bit bummed but grateful at the same time. I would advise any smart consumer to hold off buying the iPhone unless you need it for testing. Let the silly early adopters spend their money on a device that is well polished for the most part but somewhat frivolous in our present day premature environment. I'm just glad Apple has done something which has put the wheels in motion to improve phones everywhere. And I am counting on it being successful, as you know, I would like to buy a second generation iPhone. One that corrects all of the mistakes from the initial product offering and has a healthy amount of web based productivity solutions and features to encourage the necessity of such a device.