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Iphone impressions

This weekend I was at the South Coast Plaza and stopped off at the Apple store to check out the much hyped Iphone.  This was Sunday afternoon mind you and they had the phone in stock, so there was no need to wait hours for this thing Friday afternoon.  They had a half dozen demo units and I had to wait and 20 seconds to get my turn at one.

The interface I must say is amazing.  It is the best I have ever seen for a smart phone.  Everything flows fluidly and there is hardly any noticeable lag when switching between applications.  The web browser is great, you can zoom in by double clicking and use your finger to drag around the page.  The orientation changes from portrait to landscape automatically as you flip the phone down or up.  I did notice that it got a little confused when I switched between the modes quickly 5 or 6 times, but it did recover in a few seconds without crashing.

The picture mode was equally as good, with much the same interface.  You had albums and you use your finger to flip between the pictures.  The next picture flows onto the screen as the old picture flows off of the screen as if you were looking through a negative roll.  The built in camera was alright; it was more responsive than most camera phones and the image quality was about on par as others.  There is however no video mode.

I checked out the Ipod mode and it continued the trend, but I must admit I didn’t try it out all that much.  I watched a short section of Lost and it looked fantastic and filled the entire wide screen.

Now onto the negatives of this phone.  Number one is the price $600 for the 8 gig model and $500 for the 4 gig model. You also have to sign up for a 2 year AT&T contract.  Considering that the phone is unsubsidized, as far as I can tell, this is ridiculous price.   Also the storage size is way too small for me.  I have a 30 gig 5G Ipod and it is too small for all of my music.  Considering this is the first Ipod I would consider watching videos on that 8 gigs would go real fast.  Also there is no memory card slot so you can’t add any memory.  The sim card is also hidden in the guts of the phone, so if one wanted to sell their Iphone it would be a royal pain to switch the SIM out.

The on screen key board was also a royle pain.  I have large fingers and I had lots of trouble typing.  The data is also EDGE or 802.11 WI-FI.  That is a real oversight as far as I am concerned.  I know the 3G HSDPA network isn’t as large as the existing edge network but the speed difference is huge. Instead of focusing efforts on improving their EDGE network they should have rolled out for HSDPA coverage and included it instead of EDGE.  The lack of A2DP is also a major oversight.  I want a wireless stereo head set with my $600 Iphone, but no dice for the first generation Iphone.  Also they should have throw in a car charger considering the battery life on these things and the insane price.  The biggest downside though is that it is a closed environment with no way to install 3rd party applications.  There are certain applications I need like a SSH client. It would also be nice to use Skype or some other SIP client to save some plan minutes.

So I will not be picking one of these up as I am a poor poor network admin, but even if I were rich I would wait until the phone is revised to have HSDPA support and support for third party applications even if those applications had to be apple approved.  I hold high hopes for Openmoko the Linux based open smart phone, but we will see how it fairs when it is released in October. I can’t seeing it being completive given the equally ridiculous price of $600.00.  It does have the advantage of being unencumbered and not locked to 1 carrier.

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Categories: Geeky stuff, Reviews
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