The iPhone Recap

From a software standpoint, the iPhone 3G is actually no different from last year’s iPhone - they run virtually identical OSes and both ship with the same applications. Once updated to the 2.0 firmware, you can’t tell the difference between using the OS on the iPhone 3G vs. on the original iPhone.

There are some physical changes between the devices, which I’ll get to shortly but I thought I’d go down a quick list of the things that made the original iPhone the phone I stuck with for the past year. If you already know this stuff, feel free to skip ahead:

The Interface

The iPhone interface remains the best combination of simplicity, functionality and speed I have seen in any smartphone. Animations are smooth and fast, and the interface is just plain responsive. Since the physical interface is done mostly via the touchscreen, Apple needed something that responded very naturally, and honestly it’s nearly perfect.

Much like Microsoft did with the advent of its Media Center interface, Apple took a step back and created a new UI that was suited for the task at hand with the iPhone, rather than attempting to adopt a foreign UI to a smartphone. As we’ve seen numerous times in the tech industry, there are limits to how far down you can scale something before it’s better to start from scratch.

The Buttons

The iPhone has four physical buttons on it: home, power, volume and a ringer switch. And that’s all you honestly need. The home button takes you home, the power button will turn your phone on/off, put it to sleep or silence an incoming call depending on how you use it, the volume rocker does what you think it would and the ringer switch lets you turn the ringer on/off.

Of all of the complaints I’ve had about the iPhone over the past year, I’ve never felt the need for more buttons. Apple got it perfect from the start.

The Screen

The iPhone’s screen is a high dpi 480 x 320 screen with a large surface area, measuring 3.5” on the diagonal. It’s a multi-touch display that allows you to use gestures to navigate around. Zooming is done by placing your two fingers together on the screen and pulling them apart or the opposite by pinching them together. Flipping through photos is done by swiping your finger across the screen. You type and dial by tapping virtual keys, and the entire device responds as you would expect it to. This isn’t the sluggish touchscreen you may be used to, it’s the touchscreen from the starship Enterprise, it just works.

An Incredible Web Browser

Minus support for Flash (which the iPhone still lacks), Safari for the iPhone is honestly the best web browsing experience you can get on a smartphone. If you’ve seen the videos of it in action, it works just like that. You can actually browse real, non-mobile websites just fine using Safari on the iPhone. Although the arrival of iPhone-optimized websites doesn’t hurt either.

Visual Voicemail

This just plain makes sense. You don’t dial in to hear your voicemail, it gets listed like emails in your Visual Voicemail tab. Listen to them out of order, delete them out of order, it’s one of the simplest but most useful features of the iPhone. It’s voicemail done right.

An Awesome SMS Interface

I was never a big texter until the iPhone. While typing on QWERTY smartphones wasn’t bad, the SMS interface was generally terrible. SMSes should have worked like conversations and in most phone OSes they were sent as individual messages, with no common log of history.

The iPhone changed that for me, the SMS interface was, and you may be noticing a trend here, just done right. Have a look:

It does Email and Plays Music Too

Like the rest of the features, the iPhone’s mail client is very fast and makes checking/responding to emails ridiculously easy - even easier than on my old Blackberry. The interface’s simplicity and quickness are key here. There were limitations for corporate email users with Exchange servers, but many of those issues have since been addressed as you’ll soon see.

Oh and it’s an iPod. Two devices in your pocket just became one.

There’s more to the iPhone but those were the key features from the first round with what many called the JesusPhone. So how is it even remotely possible that there hasn’t been a real iPhone competitor in the year since the original’s release? It would appear that Apple truly caught the incumbent mobile phone manufacturers by surprise with the iPhone.

Index Look and Feel
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  • imaheadcase - Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - link

    Yes 3 articles on Iphone. Sad, pretty sad change of course for the site.

    When can we expect to see a preview, review, and feature set of the Ford Escort, or Bud Light with Lime? I await with anticipation!
    Reply
  • michael2k - Thursday, July 17, 2008 - link

    Like it or not, the iPhone is hardware.

    AnandTech is run by Anand, and whatever strikes his fancy (be they MacBook Airs or iPhones) gets reviewed.
    Reply
  • imaheadcase - Monday, July 21, 2008 - link

    "Like it or not, the iPhone is hardware.

    AnandTech is run by Anand, and whatever strikes his fancy (be they MacBook Airs or iPhones) gets reviewed. "

    Yes its hardware, so is a toaster..I away his review on the latest model toasters that come out, as well as the top of the line flashlights... i rest my case.
    Reply
  • robinthakur - Thursday, July 17, 2008 - link

    Its sad that you aren't realistic enough to know that currently lots of people are looking for a decent and unbiased iPhone 3G review, and Anandtech (A technology site I recall) offers a very good and highly technical review, the best I've seen. Where's the issue there? Are you annoyed that the iPhone is again in great demand and in the news? Its hardly the iPhone's fault that the HTC *fill in this weeks model* garners about as much press attention as a comeback by Kelly Clarkson, its fundamentally outdated and playing catchup to the new kid on the block. Reply
  • Griswold - Thursday, July 17, 2008 - link

    You really need to roll over and die. Reply
  • at80eighty - Thursday, July 17, 2008 - link

    you ungrateful morons don't seem to get a simple fact. this site is FREE

    Anand & Co. owe you nothing & yet they keep putting up good/great articles

    Lately all i see is whine & cheese about how anandtech has lost its hardware focus , while commenting in 'the third' article of hardware

    more often than not this is a one stop place for getting your info. don't like it , don't click.

    and im not a mindless fanboy - someone here was recently criticizing the AT staff over something , but he made clear , precise & constructive points why he felt so - and thats a good way to go about it. your stale WAAWAAWAA is just a stupid annoyance
    Reply
  • Dennis Travis - Thursday, July 17, 2008 - link

    VERY well said. Almost the exact words I was thinking.

    Keep up the EXCELLENT work Anand and Staff!
    Reply
  • imaheadcase - Thursday, July 17, 2008 - link

    What he said, roll over and die. Reply
  • Brianoes - Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - link

    What are you talking about? I think that Anand's article provides one of the, no, the clearest and most consise iPhone article, and I'm done hunting for them to learn some more random details that I may have been interested in. His conclusion was not the standard three paragraph garbage you see on most other review sites - thanks for the really in depth final conclusion and summary.

    The first and last good iPhone review I've read, coming from an iPod Touch user for the past three months.

    Brian
    Reply
  • imaheadcase - Thursday, July 17, 2008 - link

    What am i talking about? I guess you are oblivious to the fact that the iphone is a niche market. Like every smart phone out there. Yet they review a iphone and no other phone? You know why they don't review others phones..because there are millions of sites that do that all the time.

    Stick with actually HARDWARE analysis like next to Anandtech on top of page. Leave the phones/cars/apple related stuff/ game reviews, etc to other sites who do it 24/7.

    Reply

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