The first batch of iPhone reviews hit the web late last night, revealing Apple's press strategy for this one: They seeded review units to a handful of high-profile tech journalists two weeks ago with instructions to wait until yesterday to post reviews. Oh, and to make them seem balanced but actually be glowing.
Okay, I made that last part up, but reading them all at once, one does notice a consistent refrain. I'll quote Uncle Walt's version: "Our verdict is that, despite some flaws and feature omissions, the iPhone is, on balance, a beautiful and breakthrough handheld computer."
I'm not going to go through and argue their points, since not being among Jobs's anointed few (and yes, that annoys me; hello! 7 million readers here!), I have not used the thing yet. But I will say I'm a little disappointed in this round of reviews. Not because I want Apple to fail—I'm as big a fanboy as anyone and love the idea of reinventing the phone—but because I'm sick of the free pass Apple gets because they're the cool kid on the block. The flaws these reviews list are not insignificant—most notably, that it's tied exclusively for five years to the crappiest network and missing basic features like a memory card slot—but the collective attitude is "No matter, Apple will fix these things soon enough." Really? Then why are we still cracking open iPods with screwdrivers to replace the batteries four years after the battery issue was first raised? Maybe even Pogue or Mossberg taking Apple to town about the shortcomings wouldn't convince Jobs to do anything about them, but it's frustrating to see the one company that probably could make the perfect phone fall short because we—and our journalists—will settle for less.—Mike Haney
Amen! It's shiny, but what's going to happen in the winter, when you're out in the snow, and your phone rings? You'll have to take off your gloves to operate the phone. How practical is your touch-screen then?
And what about the great smart-phone feature of using the phone as a modem? Nowhere to be seen.
Posted by: Some Guy | June 27, 2007 at 04:33 PM
well the ipod uses a humans heat signature to utilize the device...i'm sure the apple has incorporated that into the iphone as well so that ppl can use the iphone with or without gloves
Posted by: Badal Rana | June 27, 2007 at 05:26 PM
Some Guy: Good point - I haven't heard squat about Bluetooth tethering. Even at EDGE speeds, that's a really nice feature. I use it on my crappy old (hacked) Moto E815 all the time.
Posted by: Mike Haney | June 27, 2007 at 07:54 PM
It's new! it's fantastic! it's iwaste, seriously I'm going to see millions of these things at the dump six months after release.
Posted by: coldpudding | June 28, 2007 at 06:16 AM
And no corporate discounts on the iPhones through AT&T when we normally get them on other manufactors equipment and service? They already make it hard enough for exisiting customers, come on!
Posted by: Raskell | June 28, 2007 at 03:34 PM
Blue-haired, corporate-types (myself included) beware!!! Stop the jealous ranting and subterfuge! This is a "consumer" targeted device...DOH! Nobody ever said it will increase productivity (unlike hundreds of other handhelds) or put shine on those spiffy pivot tables! And EDGE is AT&T's crappy network issue, not a "flaw" of the device! Apple should have chosen T-Mobile's GSM network and mobile phone culture. Get real...it is aimed at our kids (14-20 somethings) who could give a rats _ss about "boring" stuff. It "looks" cool....enough said. These days, in the Anna Nicole, Paris Hilton, Brittany Spears infotainment world, that is all it takes. Look to your right, at your coworker now..."we" (corporate America) created this "hype world", whether its Wall Street's "buy" rating, Ebay, the iPhone, or...oh yeah, Vista! Apple is playing the game that every other tech company has been playing for years, and I personally say "its about time!"
Posted by: Mark Kowalski | June 28, 2007 at 03:36 PM
Good point Raskell! I can speak for myself as a young 16-year-old technology loving teenager, most of my friends would go for the stylish iPod over the great functionality and versatility of a Palm Pilot, or a bloated Vista laptop over a fast Linux machine. I have one question though, if Apples plan is to target teens and young adults, why did they release iPhones to publications more geared towards an older audience?
Posted by: Zoasterboy | June 28, 2007 at 04:02 PM
Whoops I ment, good point *Mark*, not Raskell. The posted by: is on the bottom? That's kind of broken.
Posted by: Zoasterboy | June 28, 2007 at 04:03 PM
OK. No device has everything that everyone wants simply because some want everything and some want minimal simplicity. It may not have a card slot, but it doesn't have a nuclear powered death ray either and that's what I wanted. But from all acounts it appears to be a small tight package with the elements that most people would want in a multi-device type unit. And seems to integrate them all pretty well. Will it get better in the future? Yes. Everything does. It all depends on the wants and needs of the masses and the limits of technology. And only a fool would expect any kind of price dreak or incentive on a hot product at the launch. Eventually all products like this will come down in price and/or have incentives, but that should be a year away or more.
Posted by: Martin | June 28, 2007 at 04:06 PM
Hey I've tried a LOT of cell phone networks, calling Cingular/ATT crappy seems to be a cheap shot. No one likes the big wireless companies, but for my money Cingular DOES have the fewest dropped calls (I ride around with someone who has TMobile and my cell phone works just fine throughout L.A. and his is always losing the connection with the cell tower)... A better complaint is "why doesn't the iPhone make use of the 3G network?"
Posted by: GaltsGulch | June 28, 2007 at 04:07 PM
Zoasterboy...OS X is UNIX...since about year 2000. Most open source BSD binaries run fine. And for the publications issue, Apple has a loyal fan base (now much bigger) that is famous for conveying that their stuff (for the most part) "just works". Apple is forced to continue to beat its head against the wall of the same nay-sayers that said the iPod and iTunes would never amount to anything...as well as toubting the demise of Apple since the late 80's year after year after year after year....and as we see on this page...the beat goes on....[zzzzzz...snore]. I get the distinct feeling over these last 20 years that the only people bashing Apple's products have never actually used them, or even bothered to read about the features.
Posted by: Mark Kowalski | June 28, 2007 at 04:46 PM
I am in telecom (18 years now) and there is "perception" and there is truth. AT&T has advertised services (land and wireless) for years that they either cluged together or simply did not provide (e.g. MPLS voice). Their EDGE layer is another example. I agree that not all carriers are perfect, but the reason is physical (as in real estate) coverage for towers. AT&T is the long-distance portion of the US "Bell" network. They were here on the ground first and have the greatest space (for towers and in Central Offices) bar none....they SHOULD be the best. Its a little ironic that some of the Johnny-come-latelys are pretty competitive and provide decent service for less. T-Mobile (a.k.a VoiceStream) is Deutsche Telekom's global GSM network. It is 3G, GSM and one company in the US and Europe (largest physical mobile net in the world). No need to get 2 phones when travelling (like Verizon's CDMA net, or AT&T roaming). HP saw the value in this with the iPaq (lets not go there). However, T-Mobile is "new" here and came to the party way after AT&T threw towers up ad nauseum. Hence, Their coverage lacks the footprint of "all" users and expansion is subscriber financed. So, given that AT&T is king, and they do not have great 2.5G functionality, warrants the term "crappy". Sorry, but the standards in the U.S. keep slipping away in all areas due to a lack of accountability and monopoly status. They can definitely do better for less.
Posted by: Mark Kowalski | June 28, 2007 at 05:06 PM
Oops, I meant to post to "GaltsGulch" not Martin. Sorry Martin.
Posted by: Mark Kowalski | June 28, 2007 at 05:08 PM
People have the choice to buy or not to buy the iPhone. Apple is not forcing anyone to buy their products. It is a personal choice. That being said, the iPhone has at least proven that the cell phone industry needed a good kick in the ... At the end the iPhone will be good for the millions of cell phone users around the world because it will, over time, improve all other cell phones. It will also teach many companies how to lauch a product...
Posted by: Paul Bourbeau | June 28, 2007 at 10:21 PM
I think that the iPhone is a great product that will will do well and have wide appeal.
This a phone that anyone from students to professionals can find a real use for every day. Face it…we live in an information driven era and this product delivers.
Sure it has some shortcomings and those will be addressed as time passes and the iPhone is sure to evolve as will the iPod.
Keep an eye on the Macs too. Something big is in the hardware pipeline.
Leopard is on the way, beats Vista 14 ways to Sunday.
I've been using Apple's products since 1979 and I wouldn't have anything else.
Posted by: Mark Shipley | June 28, 2007 at 10:54 PM
wait... It doesn't have a memory card slot?! how could Apple skip over something like that?!
were they too busy turning it upright and sideways and watching the screen to notice there are features for the phone that need utilization?
I don't have a cell phone myself, but this looks more like a PDA than anything. PDA's need memory cards. here's hoping teh people that ACTUALLY review it give Apple hell!
Posted by: Del Cambo | June 29, 2007 at 08:16 AM
I've never used a device made by Apple. I never had an iPod or an Apple computer. I talked to people who had and they seem to be happy with what they've got. Myself I don't see what all the hype is all about. Yes iPhone is new and shiny and I'm sure it's a great toy. Just like any "new" device has some drawbacks. I just find Apple products to be too restrictive and not very useful for me. I wouldn't buy it just because "it's the newest coolest thing". I simply expect more from a device like that, than integration of a phone, music player, and web browser. Heck I can do that now from my PDA. Apple just took the same concepts dressed them up in a shiny new box and gave it a catchy name that's all
Posted by: Peter | July 03, 2007 at 12:28 PM
check htc.com - better phone les mony
Posted by: david | July 23, 2007 at 01:23 AM
he law cannot make all men equal, but they are all equal before the law. (Frederick Pollck, British jurist)
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