Apple iPhone: The Verdict

Design
Although we're yet to hold an iPhone, the numerous press photos we've seen suggest a highly desirable, stylish device. Attendees of the Macworld Expo have been waxing lyrical about its curvaceous chassis and looking at its vital stats, the 11.6mm-thick profile gives it a compact and slimline feel.

No 3G
3G technology hasn't taken off in the US like it has over here and much of the country uses EDGE. This is one reason why Apple hasn't made the iPhone 3G-enabled. Apple did hint that 3G models would be launched so don't be surprised to see these fast-tracked for the UK release at the end of the year.

Battery
The battery life on the iPod is poor compared to rival players. When you consider the iPhone is an iPod, internet communicator and phone all rolled into one, it will be interesting to see how the battery life copes with multitasking. And will the battery be built-in like the iPod? If there's a fault, replacing it means sending the whole handset away for repair.

Touch-screen
Apple has completely ignored the mechanical keypad in favour of touch-screen navigation. How will this technique sit with the phone-using public? There's no stylus operation, just reliance on your trusty digits. Scrolling down involves a two-finger pinching method, while the screen is ripe for smears and finger marks. Will this mean only niche appeal for the iPhone? Apple is expecting to sell 10 million worldwide by 2008, but this could be optimistic.

Operating system
We all know Apple does things on its own terms, so it's no surprise to see them ignore the popular Symbian smartphone OS for its own OSX. It has a track record for intuitive user interfaces, so we're expecting a user-friendly experience. However, Apple has closed the OS, so third-party software isn't open for development. Extra software will be left to Apple who claim locking the OS also eradicates the threat of mobile viruses.

Camera
Two megapixels is the standard for mobile phones these days, but we're a tad disappointed that it doesn't reach 3.2-megapixels, especially as Apple is touting the iPhone as a revolutionary device that will make history. By the time the iPhone is launched over here the two-megapixel lens may be even more sub-standard that originally thought.

Pricing
If Apple goes with the pricing it set out with US operator Cingular, it may hit a snag with the UK operators. £300-£400 with a contract for the phone is way too steep, especially as you tie yourself up for two years. Apple is living off its iPod reputation here so that may still attract the punters and if the demand is there, UK operators will no doubt welcome the iPhone with open arms.

UK launch date
It looks like we've got an eight-month wait before we can get our hands on the iPhone but with Apple's reputation for delayed launch dates, we might not see it until 2008. The Federal Communication Commission still hasn't cleared the device, but we can't see that being a major hurdle. Will the lengthy wait dull the impact of the iPhone by the time of its UK/European release?

Advanced Technology
Apple should be congratulated for pioneering new technologies to enhance the user experience. The built-in sensors and Visual Voicemail shows attention to detail and it differs from the army of convergence phones. Apple has always been in tune with the end user and this shows it hasn't lost its touch.

Written by Mobile Choice
Mobile Choice

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