One Mac Daddy Mobile
Mac Daddy MobileiPhone Ranks as Apple of Reviewer’s Eye
By Cheryl Withrow
There are cell phones and then there are more cell phones. Now Apple brings us the much-awaited iPhone.
In January, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco. The device has an entirely new user interface based on a large multi-touch display and pioneering software, allowing users to control the iPhone with a finger, which Jobs deemed “the ultimate pointing device” during the expo.
Public relations hype for this cutting-edge technological marvel intrigued Emerald Coast Magazine product testers, so we decided to try it for ourselves.
Anticipation was high as we entered the local AT&T retail store where Apple exclusively markets its high-end, do-everything device. We fired off questions about television, movies, music, Internet, e-mail, cameras and visual voice-mail. Our friendly salesperson laughed and asked, “What about the phone feature?”
Much like the advertisements that tout all the iPhone is capable of, we had fallen under the do-everything-on-one-device spell. It seems we weren’t the only ones.
“It happens almost every time we demo it,” the salesperson explained.
During our in-depth trial of the phone, we discovered that, just as our salesperson said, you can make a call just by pointing at the name or number. We thought, “Why didn’t somebody think of this sooner?”
The visual voice-mail was incredibly efficient. Instead of requiring you to listen to every message, you can simply select a message from the screen, again by the touch of a finger.
As well, all contacts can be seamlessly transferred from your PC or Mac. The iPhone also syncs with Internet services such as Yahoo!, and it’s effortless to make a favorites list for frequently made calls. Merging calls together to create conference calls reportedly is easy to do too, although we did not explore that feature.
We liked the “QWERTY” soft keyboard, which makes it easy to send and receive SMS messages in multiple sessions. During the type function, the iPhone presents you with a touch keyboard, which is predictive to prevent and correct mistakes.
The iPhone also offers a calendar application that allows your appointments to be automatically synced with your PC or Mac.
And the iPhone’s camera is a thing of beauty, we all agreed. The photo management system is comparable to most any computer application. The camera is a 2-megapixel gem, which you can use to shoot a photograph for your wallpaper or send via e-mail. Again, just a flick of a finger syncs it with your Mac or PC.
The stunning 3.5-inch widescreen display is awesome. Watch movies, television shows and marvel at the touch controls for play-pause, chapter forward and backward, and volume.
If music is your passion, the iPhone has Cover Flow, Apple’s amazing option to browse your iTunes music library by cover art. Just rotate iPhone into the landscape position and you can see the album covers and make a selection.
Need to use the Internet? The iPhone will take you there in style. Since it is fully multitasking, you can read a Web page while downloading e-mail in the background.
Google maps are included as well. With the iPhone’s maps application, we were able to view maps, satellite images, traffic information and get directions, all from the device’s touch interface.
AT&T offers service plans ranging in price from $59.99 for 450 minutes to $219.99 for 6,000 minutes. All plans include unlimited e-mail/Web, visual voice-mail, unlimited mobile-to-mobile service and rollover minutes, as well as 200 SMS text messages. Only the low-end plan limits weekend service to 5,000 free minutes – all others have unlimited weekend calling.
iPhone is available at AT&T retail stores and online at Apple.com. This 8-gigabyte marvel can be yours for $399. During the current Apple promotion, there is no charge for shipping when purchasing iPhone online. A two-year commitment to AT&T mobile service is required, however, to activate iPhone.
This whole iPhone thing is just too simple for words. To learn the iPhone, you just have to use it. It’s that easy. You may find it simpler to use than your home phone – and a lot more fun.