Early review of iPhone

I got an iPhone today. I waited in line for 5 hours at the AT&T store on Route 7 in Sterling, VA. I was Person #19 and I got my phone about 7:00pm. Pretty smooth, really. A bunch of things work exactly as they claim, and a few features are surprisingly not as cool as I thought they’d be.

Nick in the BathThe camera blows me away. That image is an unmodified image I took of my baby boy in the bath tub. Wow. It’s a 640×480 camera with no settings available in terms of quality setting, or anything else. But it’s good at its default setting.

The typing on the touch keyboard takes some getting used to, but I’m getting faster rapidly. It has a good guessing mechanism that takes logical guesses at what you probably meant to type. I find it darn useful. It’s right most of the time.

Email on the iPhone is great. It’s way better than my Treo 650. I’m sure it’s better than a Blackberry, though I haven’t used a Blackberry.

I am disappointed in the whole rotation thing. It’s supposed to rotate the screen intelligently. That appears to be an application-specific function, not an operating system or phone-wide feature. The main menu, for example, does not rotate. I was looking at web pages and photos sideways, then I hit the home button, and I have to rotate the phone. Only 3 applications are rotation aware that I can see: Safari, iPod, and Photos. Three apps need rotation awareness: SMS, eMail, and Calendar. The wider keyboard is easier to type on, and things like SMS and eMail are often viewed well wide, just like web pages.

Safari on the iPhone gets 5 stars. The only problem, from my perspective, is that I don’t use Safari on MacOS. So my bookmarks in Safari aren’t that useful. I need my iPhone to get my Firefox bookmarks. I’m sure someone will figure out how to do that soon.

Watching movies on it was mind-blowing. Bear in mind I never had a video iPod, so I am a bit late coming to this party. I had some DVD movies that I had converted using HandBrake (for my AppleTV), and I copied them over to the iPhone. The clarity of the picture and smoothness of the animation and such was just outstanding.

I find the whole drag-your-finger-across-the-screen (gesture) interface amazingly intuitive. I open up my contacts (I have about 300) and drag my finger to start it zipping through them. When I get to about the right place, I just put my finger down and it stops. It’s totally like sliding paper or something. You flick it to get it started moving, then put your finger down to stop it.

I love the fact that I told it about my wi-fi network at home and it just joined in the party. When I’m at home, that’s how it gets good bandwidth for email and web browsing and such. Awesome.

I know this sounds crazy, but I want a USB jack so I can plug a USB keyboard into it. Then I want someone to gimme ssh for it.

I wonder how soon until you can do video phone calls with it. I bet the 1st gen phone that I have never gets to video-phone status, but I bet the next gen phones can.