From the moment Apple announced its iPhone at Macworld 2007, the tech world hasn't stopped asking questions. Because Apple kept many iPhone details under wraps, we've been forced to speculate. Until now. Is the iPhone pretty? Absolutely. Is it easy to use? Certainly. Does it live up to the stratospheric hype? Not so much.
Don't get us wrong, the iPhone is a lovely device with a sleek interface, top-notch music and video features and innovative design touches. The touchscreen is easier to use than we expected and the multimedia performs well. But a host of missing features, a dependency on a sluggish EDGE network and variable call quality -- it is a phone after all -- left us wanting more. For those reasons, the iPhone is noteworthy for not what it does, but how it does it.
The 8GB iPhone has finally been launched in the UK. It will set you back £269 from the Apple Store or Carphone Warehouse. It's only available on the O2 network, on contracts costing £35, £45 or £55 per month.
On with the review: the iPhone boasts a brilliant display, trim profile, and clean lines (no external antenna of course), and its lack of buttons puts it in a design class that even the LG Prada and the HTC Touch can't match. You'll win envious looks on the street toting the iPhone, and we're sure that would be true even if the phone hadn't received as much media attention as it has.
We knew that it measures 115mm tall by 61mm wide by 12mm deep, but it still feels smaller than we expected when we finally held it. In comparison, it's about as tall and as wide as a Palm Treo 755p, but it manages to be thinner than even the hugely influential Motorola Razr. It fits comfortably in the hand and when held to the ear, and its 135g weight gives it a solid, if perhaps heavy, feel. We also like that the display is glass rather than plastic.
The iPhone's display is the handset's design showpiece and is noteworthy for not only what it shows, but also how you use it. We'll start off with its design. At a generous 89mm (3.5 inches), the display takes full advantage of the phone's size, while its 480x320-pixel resolution (160 dots per inch) translates into brilliant colours, sharp graphics and fluid movements.
In true Apple style, the iPhone's menu interface is attractive, intuitive and easy to use. In the main menu, a series of coloured icons call out the main functions. Icons for the phone menu, the mail folder, the Safari Web browser and the iPod player sit at the bottom of the screen, while other features such as the camera, the calendar and the settings are displayed above. It's easy to find all features, and we like that essential features aren't buried under random menus.
Fluid animation takes you between different functions and you can zip between them quickly. Much has been made out of the iPhone's touchscreen, and rightfully so. Though the Apple handset is not the first phone to rely solely on a touchscreen, it is the first to get so much attention and come with so many expectations. Depending on what you're doing, the touchscreen serves as your number keypad, your keyboard, your Safari browser and your music and video player. Like many others, we were sceptical how effectively the touchscreen would handle all those functions.