Saturday, June 30, 2007

iPhone: What the Critics Say

Boston Globe
Hiawatha Bray writes that he couldn't trash the iPhone if he wanted to. The Globe sees the iPhone as unprecedented and says it leads the way for the newest cell phone technology: "For it's not just cool; this phone is important, in the same way that Apple's first Macintosh computer was important. The Mac showed us a better way to interact with computers, and forced the entire industry to follow its lead." In the end he called it: "an elegant marvel that even a hype-weary journalist has to love."


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CBS News
Larry Magid writes "My overall thought is that the iPhone's software represents a truly remarkable accomplishment... Regardless of how well this device ultimately does, it will always be remembered as the phone that broke the mold from which all others were fabricated." He says the biggest difference in this cell phone compared to others is the lack of a physical keyboard which he said, "While my very first experiences with the touch screen were frustrating and — five hours later — I still find myself making some mistakes, I can certainly understand the advantage to being able to dynamically re-define the keyboard depending on the task at hand." He also gave the phone a mixed review when it came to the Web. "The good news is that the phone's version of Apple's Safari browser is by far the best browser I've ever used on a hand held device," but he said it's hard to read the text since the screen is so small.

CNET
Kent German and Donald Bell give the iPhone an 8 out of 10 rating, which is equivalent to excellent and say the bottom line is: "Despite some important missing features, a slow data network, and call quality that doesn't always deliver, the Apple iPhone sets a new benchmark for an integrated cell phone and MP3 player." The positives are that "its Safari browser makes for a superb Web surfing experience, and it offers easy to use apps. As an iPod, it shines." But it also has variable call quality and lacks stereo Bluetooth support and 3G compatibility. It also has "stingy" integrated memory for an iPod.

Engadget
The website's review of the iPhone highlights a comparison chart between the phone and Helio's Ocean handset. They say, "Quite frankly, the chart does make a few good points, most notably around the iPhone's lack of GPS, strangely omitted MMS ability, and the obligatory removable battery; of course, we personally aren't offended nor joyous about "MySpace integration," but we suppose it could sway some folks tweens one way or another." Other posts point out more iPhone deficiencies — it isn't supported by 64-bit Windows XP or Vista and doesn't work with most third-party headphones. However, another post points out a positive — the iPhone is "pottymouth friendly" and allows users to write curse words.

New York Post
Glenn Fleishman tells readers not to buy the iPhone at all. While he calls it "a technological marvel," he says Internet and email are sub-par and the small screen makes it hard to read Web pages. He also criticizes the network saying "Modern cell networks use third-generation (3G) standards that are five to 20 times faster than the iPhone" and says the phone scrimps on storage. He urges consumers to wait until the 2.0 version saying "You can bet that iPhone 2.0, probably available withing the next year, will be faster and have more storage — probably for the same price.

New York Times:
David Pogue writes that much of the hype and some of the criticisms are justified — "it does things no phone has ever done before; it lacks features found even on the most basic phone." He says the biggest achievements are the software, because the phone is "fast, beautiful, menu-free, and dead simple to operate," and the Web browser because "you get full Web layouts, fonts and all, shrunk to fit the screen." The downfalls are the AT&T network — call quality is average and they use an ancient EDGE network to connect to Web — and missing features like a memory-card slot, chat program and voice dialing. You also can't install new programs from anyone but Apple and the browser doesn't support Java or Flash.

San Francisco Chronicle
Ryan Kim writes that the iPhone deserves all the attention it's getting and says, despite the flaws, "this is a device that will be defined by what it brings to the table, not what it leaves behind." He says the simple design is inviting — "the lure of the iPhone is that it makes you want to use it. It's actually fun." He also says when he uses it "I keep coming back to the word 'fluid' because each action seems to flow into the next. Nothing is abrupt."

TG Daily
Wolfgang Gruener writes "After spending a day or so with the phone, it is clear to us that Apple has created a special product that extends far beyond the definition of a cellphone." They says it's not just a phone, "it is a mobile communications device that will also entertain you." However, they say, expect this phone to be a beta product and expect breakage to occur and that it shouldn't be used as a communications device for your business.

USA Today
Ed Baig says "Yet with a few exceptions, this expensive, glitzy wunderkind is indeed worth lusting after... Apple has delivered a prodigy — a slender fashion phone, a slick iPod and an Internet experience unlike any before it on a mobile handset." But he says that it may not be "the most ideal smartphone for every user. It's pricey. It lacks certain features found on some rival devices. AT&T's coverage was spotty in some areas I tested over the past two weeks. Your employer may prevent you from receiving corporate e-mail on the device." The most remarkable thing missing is the physical dialing keyboard and instead, "finger-tapping takes getting used to." But one of the best features is visual voicemail, which lets you prioritize the messages you hear first, instead of listening to them in the order they arrived.

Wall Street Journal
Walter Mossberg and Katherine Boehret write that "despite some flaws and feature omissions, the iPhone is, on balance, a beautiful and breakthrough handheld computer." The iPhone's best qualities include the software, which "sets a new bar for the smart-phone industry," and its clever finger-touch interface, along with its ability to roll intelligent voice calling, a full-blown iPod, the best Web browser seen on a smart phone and robust email software that synchronizes easily with Windows and Macintosh computers using iTunes into one phone. They say it "makes other smart phones look primitive." The major drawback is the cellphone network — it isn't able to use AT&T's fastest cellular data network to sign online. Instead, it uses a "pokey network" called EDGE, which is "far slower than the fastest networks from Verizon or Spring that power many other smart phones."

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