iPhone Quick Review: Nothing Short of Fabulous

Posted by at 11:56PM

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People who know me know I’m a Mac addict. I have been since my parents brought home our first Performa 6200 when I was in 5th grade. Tonight, I bought an iPhone.
Like everyone has said, it’s fabulous. I haven’t unboxed mine yet (it’s almost bed time), but my fifteen minutes in the Chicago Apple Store with the device was enough to give me a solid first impression. There are a lot of things I didn’t like about it: the camera doesn’t let you take video, the web browser doesn’t do Flash or even let you log into some sites (like this one… so I couldn’t bring you a “live from the Apple Store” entry like I had hoped to). Also, the interface still has a few minor, but somewhat annoying glitches to work out, like the magnifying glass being off the screen occasionally, making it unhelpful in those situations.
However, it is, like everyone has said, a technical marvel. I loved browsing the Internet on it (via WiFi), despite the lack of support for some sites. Photos and iPod features were a blast to use–although, because the iPhone is a touchscreen, taking self-portraits was difficult (I couldn’t see the button I was supposed to press while the back of the phone was facing me). I even placed a call to my mother. Holy Moses.
One thing I was unexpectedly impressed by was the keyboard. I never used the “one-finger” method to do the typing. It seemed too cumbersome from the beginning. I started right off the bat with my two thumbs, and was blown away by how easy it was to adapt. Rather than the five days the old fogies first to review the device claimed it took to get used to the keyboard, I was typing with no errors and both thumbs after only about five minutes of practice. During that five-minute learning curve when I was making a lot of errors, however, iPhone was able to predict what I had wanted to type anyway and so there were, in fact, no bumps along that road. Awesome.
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I waltzed in the North Michigan Avenue Apple Store (Chicago) at 10PM this evening, avoiding the terribly long line that had formed when the iPhone was released nationwide at 6PM. The store was pretty empty except for, well, everywhere there was an iPhone on display. I found one hiding in the corner, tried it out, and then bought one of my very own. Even though everyone and their mother was in line to buy the iPhone, the Apple Store was still very well-stocked.
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Apple’s videos of the device in action are very impressive — if you haven’t watched them already. But to really experience it, you’ve got to try it out for yourself. Until you get to the Apple Store, the gazillion iPhone stories should tide you over. AppleInsider has high-quality unboxing photos and details from the iPhone user guide. They’ve also already taken an iPhone apart, revealing “better than expected” construction. Macworld has an article about an editor’s activation disaster. Engadget looks at how far we’ve come, Gizmodo claims scientific evidence that iPhone phone quality is the “best ever,” and PC Magazine, which was not lucky enough to receive a unit before they went on sale, says the iPhone is “even more impressive” than expected.
Finally, have a peak at Google Hot Trends. At the time of this blogging, 17 of the top 50 Google Hot Trends for today have the word “iphone” in them. That’s more than a third.
Update: I have now commenced the iWait. I tried to activate my new iPhone late last night, went to bed, and now it’s almost noon Saturday and AT&T is still telling me it “may be up to 24 hours; before I can make calls or use any of the features of my iPhone. Apparently, the company is completely incompetent and didn’t predict so many iPhone users would be activating at once. However, upon calling Sprint to inquire about how much my early cancellation fee would be, I was reminded of just how incompetent that company is. I waited on hold for over 20 minutes and then tried for over five minutes to get the rep to understand that I wanted to *leave* Sprint, not *upgrade to more minutes*. I swear, it’s enforced stupidity with these folks. It didn’t help that my phone kept cutting out. Anyway, I’ll let you know when I’m able to make my first call. Oy vey. Until then, I’ll just pet my pretty iBrick.
Second Update: Okay, now the title of this entry is a misnomer. The iPhone itself is nothing short of fabulous… but activating it is… something quite different. I was on the phone between Apple and AT&T all day today trying to figure out why my iPhone would not activate, including a total of three hours of “You are very important to us. Please continue to hold. Your call will be answered in the order it was received.” The conclusion after everything is said and done: I have to get a new sim card for my iPhone tomorrow because AT&T failed to activate my phone correctly. Or something. So 48 hours after buying my iPhone, I have yet to place a call. Sigh.
Of course, I’m not alone. Engadget, a popular tech blog, ran a poll of its users today and found that a total of 50% of iPhone buyers have had activation problems, with 38% of respondents saying they had yet to be resolved. The other 50% said they had no problems activating their phones. My conclusion: AT&T is functionally retarded, although their press people are claiming that iPhone activations are down to 8 minutes now. Let’s hope so.
Third Update: My iPhone works, and I’m enamored again. Thank God. All it took was another sim card, and the headaches are over. A word to the wise: if you’re transferring a number from another carrier, read this first.

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3 Responses to “iPhone Quick Review: Nothing Short of Fabulous”

  1. Min says:

    omg. the ultimate experience and linky guide. thanks, galen. also, your reference to w.m.. hehe :)
    lovin’ mine here, too…

  2. Troy says:

    First of all, Galen, you’re post writing ability is otherworldly. Pictures, links, interesting, and new.
    Also, my friend was number 3 at the Palo Alto store. Steve Jobs was there for the kickoff (Jobs lives basically right down the road). He is a current AT&T customer and was able to upgrade/activate his iPhone in less than 5 minutes. Was up and running with music, contacts, and calls in less than 15 minutes. Quite amazing. Hope your switch is a little easier over time,

  3. FormerLoyalAppleCustomer says:

    I have always been a loyal Apple customer, but will never purchase another Apple product again….it’s a decision based on principle. I just got back from the last apple store in my state to have iphones. The website indicated that the store had phones left last night, so I went at open and they only allowed about five people to purchase phones, because they only had a few left. In sum, I had to make three tripes to Apple stores over the past five days and, because I didn’t have time to wait four hours at a time, was never able to get an iphone.
    I believe this is all because Apple has decided to ONLY sell the phone at Apple stores and not stock enough of them in order to increase hype and publicity around the product. They are using their customers as pawns in a chess game, in which they win a few extra billion dollars.
    I’ve decided, based on principle, to refrain from buying an iphone or any other Apple products in the future. They should think about their customers first and worry about marketing tactics second.

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