June 30, 2007

A HANDS-ON REVIEW OF THE IPHONE, from Brendan Loy. Turns out that the virtual keyboard is something of an issue after all: “If you’re accustomed to sending short text messages and writing brief e-mails from your phone while not doing anything else that you need to look at, this is not a big problem. If you’re accustomed to composing and publishing a dozen 256-character blog posts on your phone during the course of a football game you’re attending, it’s a somewhat more serious concern.” But the big deal-killer for Brendan is that you can’t use it as a modem, the way you can use many phones, Treos, etc.

UPDATE: Tim Wu says the iPhone isn’t revolutionary:

Most obviously, the iPhone is locked, as is de rigueur in the wireless world. It will work only with one carrier, AT&T. Judged by the standards of a personal computer or electronics, that’s odd: Imagine buying a Dell that worked only with Comcast Internet access or a VCR that worked only with NBC. Despite the fact that the iPhone costs $500 or so, it cannot yet be brought over to T-Mobile or Verizon or Sprint. AT&T sees this as a feature, not a bug, as every new iPhone customer must commit to a two-year, $1,400 to $2,400 contract.

If Apple wanted to be “revolutionary,” it would sell an unlocked version of the iPhone that, like a computer, you could bring to the carrier of your choice. An even more radical device would be the “X Phone”—a phone on permanent roam that chose whatever network was providing the best service. Imagine, for example, using your iPhone to talk on Sprint because it had the best voice coverage in Alaska, while at the same time using Verizon’s 3G network for Internet access. Of course, getting that phone to market would be difficult, and Apple hasn’t tried.

Read the whole thing.