We biked down to the Apple store in the University Village here in Seattle today and picked up an iPhone. I know there were lines waiting for them to go on sale yesterday, and I heard from someone who was down in the Village a couple of hours after us that there were lines then too, but I just walked into the store and purchased mine with no fuss.
When I got it home I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was already charged and ready to go. When I connected it to my G4 iMac, the iMac fired up iPhoto, which showed the iPhone as a device, but the activation process wants iTunes to see the phone – which it didn’t.
I then moved it to the Intel Mac Mini that has all my music on it, and that machine’s iTunes saw it right away and from that point on the process worked very well, walking me through registering for a plan and getting the phone activated.
Once the phone was activated it found my Apple Airport Extreme WiFi hotspot with no problem. Browsing the web with Safari worked fine right out of the box, as did Google maps and playing YouTube videos from the most popular list. The screen on the iPhone is bright and sharp, far better than any mobile phone device I’ve had previously. The menu structure is clear and intuitive, also a far cry better than my previous mobile experiences.
Setting up the phone for email Google Mail was very easy, and configuring the UW IMAP and SMTP servers was straightforward, though getting used to the touchscreen keyboard will take some time – so far I keep hitting P when I’m trying for O. The IMAP client is far superior to the experience I’ve had with IMAP on my Nokia E62 – the defaults are sensible, and the response (at least on WiFi) is snappy.
One confusing point I’ve found so far is in transferring music onto the phone from iTunes on my Mac. I was not able to just drag tunes from the iTunes library onto the phone’s Music directory like I can with my iPods. Instead I had to set up a playlist of songs I wanted on the phone and then set the phone to sync with that playlist in iTunes.
I also encountered what seems to be a problem with YouTube search – I was at dinner tonight talking with my friend Ed about Jorma Kaukonen and Hot Tuna (those under fifty might not remember these icons of San Francisco psychedelic folk-rock) – Ed noted that there were some good videos on YouTube featuring Jorma, so I whipped out the iPhone and did a search. The phone was unable to connect to Ed’s home Linksys hotspot, so I assumed it was searching on the cellular network, but at any rate it did not fine any results, and the phone kept wanting to search the term Norma instead of Jorma. Searching on my laptop at home right now shows about 123 results for the term “jorma kaukonen”. I don’t know what’s up with that, but I’ll prod at it some more over the next few days.
So far my impression of the iPhone is that it is indeed a revolutionary step forward in really useful handheld Internet devices, and I think it should have a great influence on the marketplace going forward.
I’ll report more on my use of the iPhone as it happens.