I waited in line, I bought two, I didn't even get a chance to play with mine because I was already taking the other one apart by the time I got home.  In the middle of taking one apart, I activated mine and used it enough to get frustrated with the keyboard.  I then spent the next three days using it, running down its battery and writing about it. 

For the past two weeks I haven't had a normal cell phone experience; I've been testing the Samsung Blackjack or the Blackberry Curve, both great phones but reviewing is very different than using.  Half the time when I'd go out I'd have a stopwatch around my neck, waiting for my phone's battery to die.  For the really long tests, I wouldn't even have a phone on me, it'd be back at my desk looping through webpages trying to simulate real world usage. 

You're sick of hearing about the iPhone?  I'm sick of working on the iPhone, I just want to use it already. 

 

My frustrations aren't out of hatred for the product, that couldn't be further from the truth.  For the first time in over 10 years of writing for AnandTech, I didn't want to be in this industry.  I wanted to be writing about cars or flowers or kittens and cheezburgers; I wanted to be in some completely unrelated industry so that the iPhone could launch and I could spend the weekend enjoying it, not trying to break it, test it and find its flaws as quickly as possible. 

But it seems all I needed was perspective; during my review process my cousin called me, I didn't answer because my phone was in the middle of a battery life test.  I called him back and explained the situation, after getting hassled for not answering my cell phone for the past few days.  He then told me that I must have it rough, having to sit at my desk and play with cell phones all day. 

I don't know why reviewing the iPhone was any different for me, I've been just as excited about other products in the past.  Part of it may be that Apple kept all of us in suspense, the majority of press included.  Review samples were rarer than Barcelona and the product itself had the potential to really shake an industry. 

Then there was the issue of having to wait in line for what was ultimately a telephone, there are few things that I've voluntarily done that have made me feel like that. 

But the end result is quite good.  The iPhone isn't perfect, I can tell you that now (for more reasons than only supporting Edge), but it's a huge step in the right direction.  At the same time it's a great product today and while not for everyone, its impact on the industry will be tremendous. 

In the coming pages we'll walk through the iPhone, looking at what it does right and what it does wrong.  We'll figure out what it needs, and maybe what we could expect in the near term from Apple.  We'll look at its competitors; the argument that the iPhone does nothing new is valid, but is that ultimately what matters?  And we'll look ahead to the long term significance of the iPhone and where Apple wants to take it. 

An Ode to the Screen
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  • Shimmishim - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    Yes. It was a good read. One of the best reviews of any piece of hardware (computer or consumer related) I've read in a long time. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    Thanks guys :)

    And no, zero poop-pictures from AT staff.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    While not perfect as a product either, Anandtech completely skipped any Palm Treo devices for this comparison. The Treo has done SMS by contact for some time now, just as you have mentioned the iPhone does (I've had it on both the 650p and 750p; I'm sure the new 755p does as well). While I have some issues with Palm support as far as their product goes, I still haven't seen a smartphone that can do better --I blame this at least in part due to carrier wars and desire for control (i.e., crippled Bluetooth, not adding WiFi, so carriers can make you pay for everything through them), rather than blaming cell phone manufacturers. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    There were a number of products I would've liked to have included, but I was very limited by time so I tried to shoot for two of the most popular: the Curve and the Blackjack. I've already dropped Nokia an email but I'll do the same for Palm and see what comes of it :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • retrospooty - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    Ya, quite alot of things like that the Treo has done, and done well for a long time now, all that and an open platform. The issue is the latest Treo is, 4 years later, still the same repackaged Treo, with a few minor upgrades. The iPhone is by far the best UI, and that alone will be its saving grace, and its legacy on the industry. A few years from now, REAL smartphone manufacturers will copy the UI and improve everything, and do it cheaply, and on all carriers. That is the best thing about the iPhone. Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    Actually, in 4 years, the Treo added Bluetooth (the first 600p didn't have it), EVDO (the iPhone has only EDGE, which has been rated far slower, and slowest when provided by AT&T/Cingular, the single carrier of the iPhone), an SD card slot (600p didn't have one), and several other features.

    As I said, the Treo isn't perfect. And I think the UI of the iPhone is pretty spiffy, plus I'll bet it has the best web browser of any phone on the market. But I don't think I could do without a real (by real I mean tactile) QWERTY keyboard (I rely on text messages for work, since cell reception can be spotty in a reinforced concrete building), I like having EVDO support, and I like the fact that I can choose from Sprint, T-Mobile, Alltel, Verizon, or AT&T Cingular for a Treo (AT&T/Cingular has little or no reception in my work area, so it nixes any thought of an iPhone, and by my understanding, they have a five-year exclusive agreement with Apple). And I can get a Treo for a few hundred less as well.

    I want to like the iPhone. Unfortunately, Apple set conditions of pricing and carrier that mean I'll never find out how good a phone it might really be.
    Reply
  • sviola - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    Not only the Palm Treo, but the Nokia N95, which is just awesome:

    In-built GPS and Navigation Program (over 100+ countries maps)
    5 MP Camera with Zeiss Lens and Optical Zoom, and Video Recording
    Symbian OS
    Plays MP3, video, etc
    Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB, TV out
    Quadriband GSM/WCDMA (3G)
    MicroSD Card Reader

    Among many other features.
    Reply
  • rowcroft - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    The iPhone looks great, but the big gotcha for me is that I routinely use my 8525 to access the internet on my laptop. Can't do that with the iPhone from what I understand.

    As for all the comparisons to Verizon & such, if you look at the total cost of ownership (Verizon's data plan is significantly more expensive), the iPhone is just a few dollars cheaper than the Blackjack w/Verizon.
    Reply
  • Locutus465 - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    I've got a Samsung i720 with verizon... For a "last gen" PDA phone priced at just $100 brand new from verizon when I got it, it's pretty sweet. Admitingly the display isn't quite as good as apples, but as far as functionality it does everything the iPhone does and more. I also appriciate the sliding screen with which reveals a keyboard. There's also the other advanatages I mentioned earlier, i.e. Windows Mobile being open to 3rd party development etc. Reply
  • jay401 - Tuesday, July 03, 2007 - link

    quote:

    About the only thing that's missing is the ability to assign your MP3 files as ringtones.


    Now that's practically an unpardonable sin, given that it's such a basic request and something absent from most phones because most providers think people are dumb enough to pay money to download a ringtone (like hell would I ever do that nonsense).

    So why not just let people use their mp3s? I already do that on my cellphone but since I can't do it directly I do it in a round-about way by sending myself the mp3 clips as attachments to messages sent to my phone, which I can then download and assign as a ringtone.

    Why not just make it straightforward and easy? You'd think this is one thing Apple could do right. :(
    Reply

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