The first iPhone – Weekend must-read articles #21
Today it is five years since Apple’s very first iPhone went on sale. It was first unveiled in January 2007, but it took Apple six months to bring it to customers. We’ve collected a number of reviews and other articles about the iPhone, written just after it was released.
Every Friday we bring you a collection of links to places on the web that we find particularly newsworthy, interesting, entertaining, and topical. We try to focus on some particular area or topic each week, but in general we will cover Internet, web development, networking, performance, security, and other geeky topics.
This week’s suggested reading
Apple’s iPhone is a product that’s been years in the making. Apple’s designers have been working on it for years, and the Web has been buzzing about Apple’s entry into the phone market for just as long—or maybe even longer. But now, after six months of intense speculation since its introduction at Macworld Expo, the iPhone has arrived. Although the iPhone is not without a few quirks, it makes good on the hype that surrounded it.
As hundreds lined up in front of the Apple Inc. store in midtown Manhattan cheered, the first buyers of the long-awaited, much-coveted iPhone emerged, holding small black bags over their heads. In less than an hour, the line had nearly evaporated, with some successful shoppers claiming the store had “thousands” of iPhones waiting inside.
One of the most important trends in personal technology over the past few years has been the evolution of the humble cellphone into a true handheld computer, a device able to replicate many of the key functions of a laptop. But most of these “smart phones” have had lousy software, confusing user interfaces and clumsy music, video and photo playback. And their designers have struggled to balance screen size, keyboard usability and battery life.
With its new iPhone, Apple pulled off two masterful feats: creating the machine and creating the buzz around it. That machine, and that buzz, have inspired a lot of questions. Just how much of a phone, an iPod and an Internet machine is this thing?
Talk about hype. In the last six months, Apple’s iPhone has been the subject of 11,000 print articles, and it turns up about 69 million hits on Google. Cultists are camping out in front of Apple stores; bloggers call it the “Jesus phone.” All of this before a single consumer has even touched the thing. So how is it?
Overall day one impression: the iPhone is 95 percent amazing, 5 percent maddening. I’m just blown away by how nice it is — very thoughtful UI design and outstanding engineering. It is very fun.
Either way, the iPhone’s arrival and the attendant frenzy mark the beginning of a new phase in the mobile phone world – a phase based on the radical notion that it’s possible to make a pocket-sized device that is a pretty good phone and a pretty good networked computer at the same time. From a purely technical standpoint, this isn’t surprising at all. Phones are basically computers, and we know how to cram a decent computer into a small, low-power package. The engineering isn’t trivial but we know it can be done. Apple might have modestly better engineering, and significantly better human-factors design, but what they’re doing has been technically possible all along.
This is not a very long article but you should read the comments.
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.
Happy iPhone day everyone (iPhonemas?, iPhonukkah?). Steve Jobs is casting the release of the iPhone as a revolutionary event. On days like this it’s hard not to think back to previous revolutionary technologies, especially the ones that could have changed everything. One revolutionary technology in particular, also from Apple, and also on a handheld device, keeps popping into my head these days. It is the Apple Newton’s concept of “data soup.”
And if you still have some time left, watch Steve Jobs introduce the iPhone in January 2007.
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