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Full Review of the iPhone 2 On Launch Day 420

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the dock-not-included dept.
With the launch of Apple's brand-spanking-new 3G iPhone today, Engadget has a great review of the product and many of the prominent features. The review has quite a few good pictures and is not shy about technical details, but I guess they would know a fair bit about it, having ripped one apart yesterday. "The wireless industry is a notoriously tough nut to crack, and it's become pretty clear that the first iPhone wasn't about total domination so much as priming the market and making a good first impression with some very dissatisfied cellphone users. With the iPhone 3G, though, Apple's playing for keeps. Not only is this iPhone's Exchange enterprise support aiming straight for the heart of the business market, but the long-awaited 3rd party application support and App Store means it's no longer just a device, but a viable computing platform. And its 3G network compatibility finally makes the iPhone welcome the world over, especially after Cupertino decided to ditch its non-traditional carrier partnerships in favor of dropping the handset price dramatically. $200? We're still a little stunned." Update 17:17 GMT by SM: The guys over at Engadget also pointed out that Apple is having some severe problems with their iTunes servers and many customer are being sent home without their sync complete for new iPhones.
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Full Review of the iPhone 2 On Launch Day

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  • Just Got Mine... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hondo77 (324058) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:36PM (#24154941) Homepage
    ...at an AT&T Store. They told me I need to go home and connect to iTunes to finish the activation. It's not ideal but it's no biggie. I'm thinking Apple will have smoothed out any problems out by the time I get home this afternoon. Well, at least I can charge it here at work.
  • Time to anti-hype (Score:1, Interesting)

    by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:37PM (#24154975)

    For those breathless in anticipation, please accept this as a bit of anti-hype.

    http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=iphone [thebestpag...iverse.net]

    The iPhone is a cool toy but I can't quite justify paying what they want for the data service. From talking to people in the industry, the innovation with the iPhone isn't so much with the device itself, it's with the kind of deal Apple was able to cut. The mobile market is fragmented with too many handsets, too many crappy versions of Java that work inconsistently, and the carriers eat too much of the profits. With the iPhone, developers get 70% of the take, it's a uniform environment to develop for, and Apple has beaten up AT&T to get better terms on a few other parts as well.

    So, here's looking forward to what the future holds for the iPhone. Any significant success should hopefully foster some imitation and innovation from other manufacturers.

  • Re:finally! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by k_187 (61692) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:38PM (#24154985) Journal
    SRSLY, you can have my Crackberry when you pry it from my cold dead hands (so hey, free phone when I kick the bucket).
  • by spoot (104183) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:41PM (#24155027) Homepage

    I am completely sick of hearing about this thing. everyfarkingwhere you turn it's 'iphone-iphone-iphone' arghhhh. of course I might be singing a different tune if 1) I had a job and the economy was doing ok so I could afford one 2) knew someone i could actually make a phone call to. but oh how I do want to hold it's shinyness in my filty little hands and multi-touch it's glassy goodness. Unfortunately I have to buy groceries this month and pine for the days when I had a decent credit score.

  • by QuantumRiff (120817) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:43PM (#24155059)
    3G is $10 more and doesn't include the 200 messages I can already send

    Yeah, so why the hell is that? you can have unlimited data, sent at very fast rates, watch streaming video, check your mail, etc, but those little 140byte packets, sorry, those are $0.20 each...

  • As a pro geek, my arsenal of electronic gadgets used to climb in number. In the past year or so, I've gotten down to 4 items I need and use daily:

    1. iMate Ultimate 6150 (primary phone, T-Mobile, EDGE)
    2. HTC Trinity P3600 (secondary phone, AT&T, 3G)
    3. iPod Touch 16GB
    4. TomTom GO 910 GPS

    My Trinity has a great GPS built in, so the TomTom could go. The iPhone 2 would almost get rid of 3 devices, actually, except for one feature that is missing/disabled: tethering.

    I travel, a lot, for my businesses. Nationally and internationally, I use my cell phone for email, phone calls, and basic billing. A notebook is not in my list of gadgets, even though I usually have 2 on me some of the time. Being able to tether to my Trinity is a huge need. On the Trinity I run a WiFiRouter app that lets me tether any WiFi device to the web at full 3G speeds. If I am with clients, employees or subcontractors, having a great WiFi wireless router is a huge gain. But Apple refuses to allow it.

    I'm sure some third party hackers will eventually get tethering to work. If so, Apple will gain a customer or 15 (I'd give this option to any of my staff who uses wireless tethering regularly or even irregularly). So why did Apple not offer this feature? Battery life? AT&T telling them not to?

    I'm using tethering right now, in fact. On the go. I have two notebooks booted up and online, and they're working great. But I'd love to downsize all my devices to one.

    So I'm calling you out Apple. Add a tethering feature to the next ROM update!

  • by ProfBooty (172603) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:48PM (#24155109)

    I wouldnt mind picking one up if I can maintain my discounts as an AT&T premier customer.

  • by S-100 (1295224) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:52PM (#24155173)
    Well I'm back from the local AT&T store empty-handed. Apparently they only had 30 phones to sell, and with the broken activation servers it took them hours to distribute them. I stopped by at 11:45 because the line was short, but the news came shortly thereafter that the phones were gone. The news came from frustrated customers leaving the store, not the AT&T staff.

    Apple had over a year to correct the supply/activation fiasco of the initial iPhone launch, and so far it's going worse, not better. The new iPhone is also more expensive to own - Job's "half the cost" pitch is an outright lie. 3G (where available) simply provides the "user experience" that people expected from the original iPhone. I already had a bad experience with Edge, so I didn't waste my time with it.

    They intentionally planned both an iTunes software upgrade and the release of 2.0 software for the original iPhone and iPod Touch for today, and they didn't plan for overloaded servers? I was fortunate enough to have gotten the iTunes update before the rush, but all day long, the "Buy Now" button on apple.com for the 2.0 upgrade (for my iTouch) is "temporarily unavailable".

    By the way, It's $10 to "upgrade" the iTouch to accept the 2.0 software upgrade. This upgrade is needed to run 2.0, which is required if you want to install any additional apps from the Apple Apps store. An original iPhone and my iTouch both cost the same ($399), but if I had an iPhone, the software update to 2.0 would be free. Also, I made the mistake of buying the earlier $20 iTouch software upgrade. Turns out the 2.0 upgrade includes that upgrade as well, and already having it doesn't make the 2.0 upgrade any cheaper (or free, as it should be)

    How much longer before the masses will finally see through the bad customer experiences with Apple (they go on and on - unreplaceable iPod batteries, rip-off price of the original iPhone (reduced shortly after release to really tick off the loyal early adopters), and now another botched product release. When will the loyal fans finally say "ENOUGH!"
  • by Lane.exe (672783) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:52PM (#24155177) Homepage
    Yes, that's why they make you sign them. If you could just switch providers with a phone call, there'd be little incentive for the companies to offer you any kind of package deal. They'd charge per use of the network. But contracts are bargained for, so you don't have to enter in to it. I have a hard time feeling sorry for people who don't want to sign contracts with people that are going to provide services to you. If you don't like the terms, attempt to change them. If they don't, don't buy. And if you do get in to one, especially a cell phone contract, you can always find a way to get out of it without paying a termination fee. There are lots of grounds for rescission or reformation of the contract, most of which are understandable by the non-lawyer populace.
  • Re:More Expensive (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Bibz (849958) <seb2004&hotmail,com> on Friday July 11, 2008 @02:02PM (#24155331)

    Actually this could be a good alternative to the iPod Touch since the iPhone is much less expensive (100$ or 200$ ?) then the same size iPod touch.

  • by sexconker (1179573) on Friday July 11, 2008 @02:25PM (#24155659)

    Liquid damage?
    You mean when they take your phone in the back to "check it", bring it back a few seconds later and show you a red dot under your batter cover?

    They routinely put water on the dot (which is white) and bring it back to you saying "liquid damage, no warranty, buy a new one, get a new contract, too".

    Same goes for laptops.
    "Liquid damage" is the go-to scam.

  • Re:finally! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mrdoogee (1179081) on Friday July 11, 2008 @02:43PM (#24155933)
    If I could type on an iPhone without looking at the keys, like I can on my BB, I'd get one. But while the touchscreen is cool, I like to be able to 2 thumb type and know where the keys are without looking. Plus I have dropped my BB repeatedly and except for the case showing some scratches, everything still works a-ok.
  • Is tethering not something that could be implemented with the SDK? I honestly don't know, not having a Mac (which as far as I'm aware is needed to make proper use of the SDK), I haven't investigated.

    That said, tethering HAS been implemented by third parties, for quite some time now. Unfortunately, it's so far required a jailbroken iPhone and some fairly low level hackery that I don't think the average user would feel comfortable doing.

  • I mean seriously, you buy a phone and then you need to go home and activate it through some software?

    What if I don't run Windows nor Mac?

    I mean, Apple, cmmon ..
    That means that obligates me to have a computer running the OS you choose. Or installing another OS just for activating it.

    What's next?
    Will I be obliged to have 4 gigs RAM to move my pics to the PC's hard disk?

    P.S. I know I could just go to a friend and activate the phone, but will you just go to his house to use his computer and you have your own at home?

  • by S-100 (1295224) on Friday July 11, 2008 @02:54PM (#24156101)
    I also received unsolicited emails from both Apple and AT&T to come by today and pick up an iPhone. Both companies were incredibly ill-prepared for me and many others to do exactly that. Apple was free to set any day they like to release the product, and with the experience from the first iPhone, they don't have many good excuses for botching it so badly. But that won't stop the Apple apologists for somehow blaming someone else, even their (potential) customers.
  • Re:More Expensive (Score:2, Interesting)

    by EvanED (569694) <evaned&gmail,com> on Friday July 11, 2008 @03:00PM (#24156221)

    I've always assumed it's how the telecom companies help pay for selling you a blackberry or, in this case, an iPhone at a reasonable price.

    But it's more than that... according to both the online rep I talked to and the guy in the store, you can't even sign up for a non-data plan if you get the iPhone from someone else and AT&T isn't subsidizing it.

  • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Friday July 11, 2008 @03:01PM (#24156235)
    I do a lot of international traveling as well. Although I don't use data nearly as much as some do, it is unbelievably nice to be able to pop in a SIM card for whatever country I'm in and make phone calls. Recently I bought a global SIM which gives me one telephone number allowing me to be reached anywhere. If Apple would allow their customers to have this kind of functionality they would have at least one more customer.
  • iPhone in Britain (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Andy_R (114137) on Friday July 11, 2008 @03:03PM (#24156291) Homepage Journal

    You think your lot are shockingly incompetent, try our lot. Their authentication software is just a basic form filling thing, barely more than a web page, but it requires IE. Applestore staff are really enjoying having to cobble together an emulation solution today as nobody realised that IE for Mac was killed off years ago, especially when they found out that the back end software is as stable as a dizzy stiltwalker in a ball bearing factory.

    Meanwhile I'm not even in an Apple store as O2 randomly decreed that existing customers can only upgrade at O2 stores. I should have been able to upgrade online and have the phone delivered, but despite sending me 3 mails saying I'd successfully ordered online, and debiting my credit card, O2 randomly decided I wasn't getting one, and the estimated delivery date was 'hopefully by the end of Summer'. The idea of reserving the a phone for me at the shop, or couriering one from the shop to me was for no readily apparent reason unthinkable, so I decided to queue at the shop. I was 11th in line. After making a grand total of 3 sales in the first hour after opening, the staff decided to switch to filling in the paperwork offline, which slowed them down to just 2 completed sales in the 2nd hour.

    At about this point, they finally realised that some people in the 100 strong queue would not get one of the 30 phones they had in stock. They counted the 16Gb phones, and gave the first 12 people in the queue a yellow post it note that designated us as the lucky ones to get the big memory version. Then they took the 12th post it away, having discovered that their counting abilities matched their organisational abilities. Purple post its for the 8Gbs followed, and the back two thirds of the queue were told they were out of luck, and had waited over 2 hours for no reason.

    Five minutes later, they noticed the *other* box of iPhones, and handed out more post-its to people who had only just arrived and joined the back of the queue (of course it didn't occur to staff to stop people joining the queue after the first batch of phones were all accounted for). After much arguing they finally stopped trying to allocate the newly found 16s to the newcomers and swapped purple post its for yellows. Several staff genuinely couldn't understand why people who had queued for hours and been told they could only have an 8 were angry that people who arrived 5 mins ago were getting first dibs on the second lot of 16s. One just kept repeating 'but you've been allocated an 8' over and over.

    After nearly 3 hours, I was the 11th person to leave the store with a phone. I expect the store won't sell out today, because they had about 40 left, and only 9 hours before closing time.

    My activation worked just fine though :-)

  • Re:More Expensive (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bonehead (6382) on Friday July 11, 2008 @03:14PM (#24156471)

    Nope, not where I live. The nearest 3G to me is a 2 hour drive away, yet if I decide to upgrade my iPhone (which I may do anyway to get the GPS functionality), I still get to pay the higher rates.

    EDGE isn't actually that bad, for the most part, I notice bad javascript bogging down the cpu far more often than I notice the limited bandwidth. But it still kinda chaps my ass that I'll have to pay 3G prices for it.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday July 11, 2008 @03:30PM (#24156733) Homepage

    Of course, the problem with that is that it might steal some of the hype from iPhone 3G. After all, an original iPhone with 2.0 firmware has all the features of a new one, minus 3G and GPS. If you have all the original iPhones updated a week before, then the release of the new version is just going to seem like a minor hardware update.

  • by SethJohnson (112166) on Friday July 11, 2008 @03:45PM (#24156951) Homepage Journal


    I downloaded an earlier version of the iPhone 2.0 software [appleinsider.com] and installed it on my iPhone yesterday. Works great and I've spent a lot of time in the app store. Here are my observations:

    1. AolRadio is an amazing offering. Within wifi zones, it offers a ton of digital radio stations that blow my Sirius satellite subscription out of the water- better music offerings and for free. It supposedly works to some extent over 3g, while not offering ALL stations. So it makes the iPhone a cool portable internet radio player.

    2. eReader is an ebook reader that's free, but it only allows you to install books purchased from their website. For $9.99 you can purchase an app called 'bookshelf' that lets you install your own ebooks, and supports multiple formats. It doesn't currently support PDF, but I assume it will.

    3. Most of the good games are not free or cheap. Super Monkey Ball is $9.99.

    4. Weatherbug is an app similar to the original weather APP, but it offers radar views and current condition photos. The radar would be excellent, but it doesn't automatically zoom in to the city you are interested in. At least one other feature on it seems incomplete.

    Seth
  • by DdJ (10790) on Friday July 11, 2008 @04:41PM (#24157725) Homepage Journal

    Actually... the iPod Touch also won't work without activating it by connecting it to iTunes. It's got a notepad application, a YouTube viewer, a mail client, a web browser, none of these things are set up by iTunes, but none of them works until the iPod Touch is activated by connecting it to iTunes.

  • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Friday July 11, 2008 @05:36PM (#24158509)

    True, but the "activation" just pairs the device with the computer; it doesn't verify anything with Apple's servers. You can set up an iPod Touch with no Internet access whatsoever.

    The techno-survivalist geek in me wants gadgets that are fully functional right out of the box, but the experienced IT geek in me has learned that without a degree of control, inexperienced users get themselves into deep trouble.

    In other words, I'd rather spend a minute pairing the handheld device with the PC at the very start than spend hours trying to get the two to sync properly after the fact... It's always fun making two semi-overlapping contact lists/mail folders/calendars on two separate devices perfectly merge with no loss or duplication of data. While the CFO breathes down your neck.

  • Re:More Expensive (Score:2, Interesting)

    by avk77 (588504) on Friday July 11, 2008 @05:45PM (#24158627)
    Most carriers cheat that way. My carrier is Sprint. Recently I walked into a Sprint store and the sales rep told me that there was NO way I can buy a Palm Centro phone without a data plan. I walked out of the store, walked into Worst Buy and the sales man sold me a Palm Centro with out a data plan 15 minutes later on the Sprint network. Either Sprint changed its policy in that 15 min window or the sales man at the Sprint store lied outright. You pick the most plausible reason.
  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday July 11, 2008 @06:06PM (#24158869) Homepage

    Yes, that was my point. It is a minor hardware update, but by releasing a huge software update at the same time, they tie the two together and it *seems* like the hardware update is a really big deal. If they didn't do that, the minor hardware update just seems like a minor hardware update.

    But let's all be happy that they didn't hold any features back. That's to their credit. They could have released the new software to only run on the 3G, just to spur people to upgrade. Most other phones work that way-- you don't get all the latest features without buying the latest model. So that's one place I'm happy with Apple.

  • Re:More Expensive (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11, 2008 @06:53PM (#24159345)

    If I remember correctly, the corporate/student discount do _not_ apply to the iPhone packages. At least they certainly did not apply to the 1st generation iPhones.

  • by malv (882285) on Friday July 11, 2008 @07:49PM (#24159815)
    That many of the highly modded pro-Apple posts all in the 2415* UID range? Looks like Slashdot may be succumbing to sneaky advertising tactics.

The number of arguments is unimportant unless some of them are correct. -- Ralph Hartley

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