I recently wrote about the iPhone not long before its release on June 29th. Well, what I haven’t said yet is that, not long after its release, my Mom left an Apple Store with an 8GB iPhone. I know, I completely missed the “buzz wave” with this report, but it’s nice to report nonetheless.
The fight to get the phone was not as stressful as I had read it would be. She tried a total of three AT&T stores before eventually purchasing the iPhone from the Rancho Cucamonga Apple Store. The first AT&T store never received their shipment of iPhones (huh?!), the second ran out just as she was getting out of her car, and the third ran out while she was in line. Shortly afterwards (we’re talking seconds, not minutes), she called me for emergency transportation to the local Apple Store because she had already sent Dad to check on the line there. Once we got to the Apple Store, I began to question why some people had been standing in line for hours and why some were willing to buy their place in line for hundreds of dollars. The local Apple Store had plenty of iPhones. My Mom arrived in line at approximately 7PM, a whole hour after the iPhone’s release. The line wrapped around the side of the store, but the employees were letting in what appeared to be about twenty people at a time. In less than thirty minutes, Mom had her very own 8GB iPhone.
Once we got home, signing up for a plan with AT&T and activating the iPhone took only a few minutes, unlike some unfortunate people who had to wait as many as two days for their iPhone to become anything more than a touch-screen paperweight.
In fact, the only bad thing about the whole experience was the incompetence of the staff at the local AT&T store, who attempted to tell my Mom not to buy the iPhone from an Apple Store, but to order it from the AT&T warehouse instead, because even if she bought the phone from an Apple Store, she’d still have to “come back to the AT&T store to activate it.” ::buzz:: Wrong! The iPhone activates during its first sync with iTunes. No in-store hassle required. They also told her that she should at least buy the accessories from their store before leaving for the Apple Store. Why? Because, “only AT&T stores carry iPhone compatible car chargers and other accessories.” ::buzz:: Wrong again! The iPhone features the very same dock connector as the iPod, which means that it’s compatible with all iPod accessories, including all of the various car chargers available at all Apple Stores.
The phone itself is great, especially the browser, which to my knowledge is the only full-featured browser available on a mobile phone, and the integrated Google Maps and traffic reports are a life-saver. Early reports cried foul against the iPhone’s internet features because of AT&T’s apparently “slow and horrible” EDGE network. It is noticeably slower than Verizon’s network, but being a child of the 56k era, I didn’t mind the speed. If you’re near a Wi-Fi access point, you can activate the iPhone’s built-in Wi-Fi card to “surf the web at blazing speeds” and “[the] iPhone will automatically switch between EDGE service and Wi-Fi as you move between wireless networks to provide the fastest data connection possible.”
Sure, the iPod features are great too, but I rarely watch movies on my iPod as it is, and the mobile web features are what I’m most excited about.
Pros: The iPhone is an excellent phone with a full-featured browser and live traffic reports.
Cons: At this time, the iPhone is exclusive to AT&T and requires the activation of a two-year contract.
I wish I could review the iPhone in more detail and post some pictures, but it’s currently on vacation with Mom in Alaska and she’s been sending pictures and emails from it daily, so there must be some decent reception up there, or a few open Wi-Fi networks.