iPhone, the guided tour:  Comments?

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    Posted: 23 June 2007 03:40 AM

    Yes, I admit it.  I actually watched a 20-minute instructional video for the proper use of a mobile phone.  Though of course, this isn’t just any mobile phone…

    Nicely done video.  Probably the best demo video of a mobile phone ever done, and it’s sure to stoke tons of interest and rack up tons of views over the weekend.

    Here’s my humble, rusty 2 cents on the video and utterly speculative comments and concerns on the iPhone’s usability and features:

    Font sizes:  I think sometimes letters/numbers are a bit too small (at least by default settings).  Now the iPod/address book vertical strip of letters I understand.  Using software magic to, say, make the letters bigger as you navigate through the index letters might hurt battery life.  But the address book entries themselves?  I mean, there’s a ton of white space where your basic 10-digit phone number is.  If making calls is a killer app, being able to better see the number wouldn’t hurt, especially if your contact only has one phone number.  I don’t see any design inconsistencies with having such important info being easier to read.

    iPod functions:  For some reason I’m a little bugged every time they demo the “pick a song within an album” feature in Cover Flow or album art mode.  I mean, I _know_ you can scroll up and down the list, since no album has only 6-8 songs, but it’s never demonstrated (this video is no different).  Will everyone else get it right away when those “special” menus don’t have that vertical slider bar that the basic iPod list view has?  As for the bottom interface, if you have a “more” button on the bottom right and the ability to switch up buttons, you should also have the ability to just have all 10 categories on the bottom if you really want it.  Sure, maybe Apple does one row, five icons, and won’t tolerate anything else, but it’d be nice to have the freedom to button-clutter if you want.

    Stereo headset:  Nice, though it could’ve benefitted from better explanation.  Can you really control audio and video playback with only one button, or are there actually two?  If only one button (I wasn’t sure), sure it’s simple, but only being able to move forward in your playlist is limiting.  And having two buttons opens up all sorts of forward/back capability, including, say, volume control.

    OS X functionality:  Deleting is easy enough, but how about undeleting?  Is there an “undo” key which is pervasive in the desktop OS X, which is all about non-destructive changes you can usually take back prior to a save or quit?  Or will iPhone’s UI not really allow undoing, since you can’t really remove the ability to redo in the sense that you “quit” the app you’re working in?  Also, when you delete something, is it gone for good, or is it kept in a “trash bin” of some kind?  Could’ve been explained a bit better, IMHO.

    Stock widget:  OK, maybe I’m being too nit-picky, but price and trend info alone is a touch weak.  Having the ability to call up a “summary chart” like on finance.yahoo.com (with trade time, day/52-week range, share volume, bid/ask prices, P/E, market cap, market open, etc.) would be nice, if it’s possible.  I mean if you’ve got the widget, you should be able to get enough info to avoid having to skip over to Safari just to get the rest of the basics.

    Well, that’s enough from me.  What’d everyone else think?

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  • Posted: 24 June 2007 12:47 AM #1

    Well. Mav, that’s some fine-tooth comb you’ve got there. How many times did you watch it to come up with those assessments?

    Anyway, I’ve watched it only once, and was impressed with the slickness of the interface. There is little I’ve seen in other phones that comes close to the ease of use - or at least the impression of ease of use - that this vid imparts.

    I wonder if this isn’t deliberate on Apple’s part to help seal some more sales.

    I’ve used many different phones during the last three years or so and the one that comes close to the iPhone’s ease of use would have been the Blackberry, or perhaps the n-Gage, but there’s still a huge divide between them.

    If I were looking for a new phone, that video would really impress me, and if I’d been vacillating over the purchase because of the iPhone’s less sparkling features (which remain moot for me as next week’s iPhone will surely be different to the one released in Australia next year) then I’d still be impressed.

    Of course, I’m a Mac user, so much of the iPhone’s functionality immediately gels with me. Perhaps others would look at it and be, like, all “what the…?”

    And is it just me, or does the iPhone’s predictiveness and overall slickness reminiscent of what you might call the promise of the Newton?

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    Posted: 24 June 2007 01:30 PM #2

    Hey coaten,

    It was just once or twice, actually skipping over the stuff that didn’t interest me and repeating the stuff that did.  You being the professional journalist and me being, well, an Armchair Apple Watcher/hack “commentator” who needs to get a hobby, please let me know if I’m getting into overkill territory.  My intent is certainly not to annoy or make people fall asleep reading my long-winded posts.  smile  :cry:

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  • Posted: 25 June 2007 03:57 AM #3

    [quote author=“Mav”]Hey coaten,

    It was just once or twice, actually skipping over the stuff that didn’t interest me and repeating the stuff that did.  You being the professional journalist and me being, well, an Armchair Apple Watcher/hack “commentator” who needs to get a hobby, please let me know if I’m getting into overkill territory.  My intent is certainly not to annoy or make people fall asleep reading my long-winded posts.  smile  :cry:

    I think you took exception where there was none to be taken! I’m sorry for appearing critical. I was actually trying to convey how impressed I was that you picked up on all those issues.

    You just keep on doing what you do, buddy… it’s you and me and a handful of members keeping this once-thriving board alive and kicking.

    Cool?

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    Posted: 25 June 2007 06:47 AM #4

    One thing I noticed was NO SIMCARD SLOT. If the sim card is swappable, it must be done by removing the back of the phone. If that is the case (and can be done easily by the user) then the battery is most likely user-replaceable also.

    Unless I missed something….

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  • Posted: 25 June 2007 07:33 AM #5

    [quote author=“Intruder”]One thing I noticed was NO SIMCARD SLOT. If the sim card is swappable, it must be done by removing the back of the phone. If that is the case (and can be done easily by the user) then the battery is most likely user-replaceable also.

    Unless I missed something….

    Yes, you missed it. But maybe it wasn’t in the video. There is a SIM card slot. It was pointed out to me in earlier reivews. Its on the top of the phone in the center. Here is a photo: http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=3724352&postcount=2

         
  • Posted: 25 June 2007 07:36 AM #6

    [quote author=“Intruder”]One thing I noticed was NO SIMCARD SLOT. If the sim card is swappable, it must be done by removing the back of the phone. If that is the case (and can be done easily by the user) then the battery is most likely user-replaceable also.

    Unless I missed something….

    It’s at the top of the phone. 00:55 into the video…

         
  • Posted: 25 June 2007 09:04 AM #7

    SIM card, battery

    I believe it has been confirmed numerous times; battery will NOT be user-replaceable. SIM card slot was said to be somewhere on the left side - of course, it is swappable.

    Based on my own experience, and some anecdotal evidence, the non-swappable battery is a non-issue. In my life, I have had eight different cellphones (As soon as I’m one year with T-Mobile, I’d ask for a new free phone). Some of these phones I’ve used for six months, some for three years or more. I was sweet-talked into buying an extra battery for my first phone (an ancient Nokia, some 10 years ago), which I never needed. I never bought a battery for any of my phones. All these batteries consistently (and easily) outlived the phones’ useful lives. In other words, here in the States (and especially elsewhere in the world) majority of people replace their phones every 2 to 3 years. Your battery will definitely always outlive that.

         
  • Posted: 25 June 2007 09:58 AM #8

    Am I missing something or has the camera-related part of the software never been shown? Are we do for another surprise feature this week?

         
  • Posted: 25 June 2007 10:25 AM #9

    Re: SIM card, battery

    [quote author=“vasic”]I believe it has been confirmed numerous times; battery will NOT be user-replaceable. SIM card slot was said to be somewhere on the left side - of course, it is swappable.

    Based on my own experience, and some anecdotal evidence, the non-swappable battery is a non-issue. In my life, I have had eight different cellphones (As soon as I’m one year with T-Mobile, I’d ask for a new free phone). Some of these phones I’ve used for six months, some for three years or more. I was sweet-talked into buying an extra battery for my first phone (an ancient Nokia, some 10 years ago), which I never needed. I never bought a battery for any of my phones. All these batteries consistently (and easily) outlived the phones’ useful lives. In other words, here in the States (and especially elsewhere in the world) majority of people replace their phones every 2 to 3 years. Your battery will definitely always outlive that.

    Normally I’d agree, but in the case of the iPhone, I hopefully disagree.

    I say hopefully because I sure don’t intend to buy an iPhone every 2 to 3 years. That bad boy better function for the long haul; I’m thinking more like 4-6 years.

    The Razr was a high-priced phone, but the original Razrs are still very functional several years after they were introduced.

    I think we have to now look at the iPhone as we might an iPod, or even a laptop. These was what I call ‘medium ticket items’ things that you swap out every 4 to 7 years or so. Sure, there are those who swap them out earlier, but, in the case of PCs, the older models get passed on the relatives and friends, or sold. Trickle-down gadgets.

    I would want my iPhone to last, especially if I invest in peripherals and software.

    If this is not the case then Apple is setting itself up to get smacked.

    Vern Seward

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  • Posted: 25 June 2007 10:57 AM #10

    The longevity of the iPhone

    I am sure there are many who will buy the iPhone for the long haul. I can’t help but believe, though, that its fate might be very similar to that of the iPod. Vast majority of iPod users get tempted to replace their iPods with newer models. In fact, the reason why they don’t replace them until after three to four years is usually their conscious holding back against their own will. Much like with computers, as soon as newer and better models come out, we begin itching badly to get them. What will happen when an iPhone is offered with 30GB or storage, GPS, 3G networking, etc? I sure hope, Vern, that you’ll hold on to your 1st Gen iPhone, but won’t you be sorely tempted?

    Apple has been doing this very skilfully. Just as iPods get passed down (or unloaded on eBay), I have a feeling that iPhones will too. These devices may fall into the consumer electronics category, but they evolve at a pace very similar to the PC world. More memory, faster processors, better graphics, better screens. If the pace of their evolution is fast enough, we’ll end up swallowing hard and shelling out our next (hopefully) $400 for the iPhone 2 in two to three years.

    Oh, and by the way, Vern, your icon implies you own one of the Cubes. Is that so? Remarkable little boxes, weren’t they?

         
  • Posted: 25 June 2007 11:17 AM #11

    Re: The longevity of the iPhone

    [quote author=“vasic”]Oh, and by the way, Vern, your icon implies you own one of the Cubes. Is that so? Remarkable little boxes, weren’t they?

    Yes, I still have a Cube. It’s up and running now, as a matter of fact. grin

    As to the longevity of the iPhone, I agree that models get replaced after a few years of use, but, as I said, we get in to ‘trickle-down technology’ where I hand my 2-year old iPhone to my sisterwho doesn’t have one and I buy the latest. This does not negate the need for a phone that works 5 years after it was bought.

    The problem is the technology behind service. Just like my Cube has USB 1.0 and no internal way to support 802.11n, the iPhone will be forever tied to current technologies that are hardwired into the unit. I can’t take advantage of the faster, cheaper USB 2.0 devices. When that becomes a problem then it’s time to move on.

    My 800mhz G4 iMac works, but can’t compare to even the slowest of the new Intel Macs. That’s a huge shift in technology and while my old iMac works I could be more productive with a faster iMac with a bigger screen.

    Again, more reasons to move on.

    But my old iMac and Cube still should be able to run later versions of OS X, albeit with limits. I can pass it on to friends or relatives and get my new iMac.

    The same will happen with the iPhone, I believe.

    Vern

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  • Posted: 25 June 2007 01:47 PM #12

    Re: SIM card, battery

    [quote author=“vasic”]I believe it has been confirmed numerous times; battery will NOT be user-replaceable. SIM card slot was said to be somewhere on the left side - of course, it is swappable.

    Based on my own experience, and some anecdotal evidence, the non-swappable battery is a non-issue. In my life, I have had eight different cellphones (As soon as I’m one year with T-Mobile, I’d ask for a new free phone). Some of these phones I’ve used for six months, some for three years or more. I was sweet-talked into buying an extra battery for my first phone (an ancient Nokia, some 10 years ago), which I never needed. I never bought a battery for any of my phones. All these batteries consistently (and easily) outlived the phones’ useful lives. In other words, here in the States (and especially elsewhere in the world) majority of people replace their phones every 2 to 3 years. Your battery will definitely always outlive that.

    I agree - the only phone I’ve had where I’ve needed multiple batteries is the Moto 550v - which had a standby battery life of 6 hours!  My much hated Treo 680 gets about 35 hours of standby time with bluetooth engaged, and about 48 without.  Not great, but since I tend to keep it on a charger when not in use, it really doesn’t matter.

    As for the iPhone - one of the reasons I am so looking forward to it is to see how it will integrate with the hardwired iPod connection kit I had put into my car. Not only will I no longer need a separate phone charger (it will charge via the installed dock connector) I hope to be able to listen to calls through the car’s speaker system.

    Friday can’t come soon enough!

         
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    Posted: 25 June 2007 10:30 PM #13

    IMHO, Vern, as long as the iPhone battery lasts about as long as the average iPod (plus 6-12 months, maybe), it’ll be just fine.  With 100 million iPods sold, there’s surprisingly little complaint on the Interwebs about long-term battery life (“Unreplaceable Battery Lasts Only 18 Months” people aside…and anyway, that was so late 2003 (per a quick Google check)).

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    Posted: 26 June 2007 06:27 AM #14

    And the iPhone battery may be just as “unreplacable” as the iPod battery is, ie it can be done fairly easily with a credit card. Most of the 3rd party replacement batteries come with the tools to do the job.

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  • Posted: 26 June 2007 07:18 AM #15

    Rechargeable batteries are gonna do what rechargeable batteries always do: deteriorate and die after a couple of years. As long as there’s *some* way to replace the battery, and the iPod aftermarket shows there is, things will be fine.

    Of course, it would be best if the battery were easily accessible as it is on most phones.

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