Archive for the ‘music players’ Category

Yesterday, on August 10th 2007, I saw my first iPhone. Well, I saw one a few weeks ago from a distance across a conference room. It just looked like a black piece of plastic. But someone at work just got one and so this time I could hold it in my hands and try it out.

It still needs some work, but it is leagues beyond anything that is out there. I would get one in an instant if I had the money.

It is smaller than I imagined it. Lighter and thinner too. It looks like it does in the pictures (but without the cool backlighting, of course). When you turn it off the front turns all black.

The iPhone is slower and harder to use than I expected.

The keyboard works. Because it has one key for each letter, it is easier to use than what you get on other mobile phones. But because so many keys are in such a small space, it takes practice to hit them right. I have heard that with practice with two thumbs you can go pretty fast.

Because it uses a touch screen instead of physical keys, sometimes you have to hit a key more than once for it to work. With a physical key, once you press it down you know it is going to work: you feel it in your fingers. But with a touch screen you do not get that. You have to look on the screen to see if it worked. I have the very same trouble with bank machines.

The biggest pain in the neck I found, in the few minutes I was using it, is the spell checker. It was not clear how to stop it from changing what I wrote. Good spell checkers are not that controlling. They are friendly, not motherly. This one needs work.

I noticed that with all that touching it is easy for the glass front to get dirty looking.

It does the Web. I saw Google Maps. The way you zoom in and out with two fingers is cool and it works. But because it is coming over a mobile phone network it is slow, like it was 1995. Still, it is way better than the Web I have seen on other mobile phones: the Web looks the way it should so it is readable and usable.

The iPhone does not have GPS – it does not know where you are. I find that a bit strange: you are on a mobile phone network which knows about where you are. You would think the iPhone could use that to its advantage.

Later I was standing in line at the store. The woman in front of me had a Treo. I saw its rows of little buttons and already it was starting to look old-fashioned to me.


Palm Treo 650, circa 2006. Click to enlarge.

– Abagond, 2007.

Update (2018): Added picture of a Treo, like the one I saw.

See also:

Read Full Post »

Apple’s iPhone (2007- ) is like an iPod with a telephone built in. Like an iPod, it can store and play music. Like a telephone, it can make and receive calls. But there is more. It can also take pictures like a camera and show films like a small television. It can go on the Internet to get email, go to web pages and get maps and directions.

In fact, it is a Macintosh computer made small enough to fit in your hand and light enough to take anywhere. It even runs Mac OS X like a Macintosh.

There are already telephones that can play music, but they are hard to use. And there are telephones that can go on the Web, but the Web is almost unreadable and painful to use. The iPhone works the way these things should have. Even as just a telephone it is better than anything we are use to.

Apple will start selling the iPhone in America on June 29th 2007. Cingular, which was just bought by AT&T, will provide the telephone service. It will appear in Europe later in 2007 and Asia in 2008.

The iPhone is the future now: Bit by bit the computer has been taking over television, telephone, music and film. Within ten years few will still have a separate telephone or television or music player. Instead there will be three kinds of computers:

  • wall computer
  • table computer
  • hand computer

The iPhone is the first real hand computer.

Apple understands design and understands computers. Few companies have a deep understanding of both. That is why Apple is first.

Instead of little keys and a little screen, the iPhone has no built-in keys and one large screen. When it needs keys for you to enter names or numbers, it draws the keys as needed.

Things like Treos, Blackberries and Zunes will have to change or die. They will seem old-fashioned almost overnight.

As wonderful as it seems now, it already has some known drawbacks:

  • At 40 to 50 crowns ($500 to $600), it is a lot for “a telephone that plays music”. But, from the Gutenberg Bible to the VCR, this is a common starting price for something as new and different as the iPhone. If it does well, the price will come down, just as it did for printed books and VCRs.
  • Cingular’s telephone service is not as cheap or as good as, say, Sprint’s. It seems like a strange choice. You will not be able to get an iPhone unless you sign up for two years with Cingular.
  • The battery is built in. If it turns out to be anything like the iPod, then when the battery runs out of power after a few years you will have to send your iPhone back to Apple. They will send back someone else’s used iPhone with a new battery.
  • It has no games.
  • Even though it has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, you will still need to hook it physically into a computer to download songs and so on.

By year’s end we will have a much better idea of how good it is, of its strengths and weaknesses.

See also:

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: