The launch was truly an intriguing global
The lines were shorter than the original iPhone release at Apple's 5th Avenue
store in New York, according to initial reports, but the crowd exuded a much
stronger sense of desperation. Apple employees were on hand to start wild
rounds of cheering, whipping the crowd of Apple lovers into a frenzy.
In New Zealand, first to get the iPhone due to time zone mechanics, huge crowds
formed. The typically sedate Kiwis went wild, some of them camping out,
forming crowds as the moment approached. Japan was among the next to get
the phone, with even larger crowds of up to 1,000 forming. Reporters
spotted many of the ever-studious Japanese youth reviewing textbooks while they
Across Europe, in Sweden, the Netherlands and elsewhere, similar excitement was
seen. In Europe iPhones were delivered by armored car and handed off to
the store manager.
The exception seemed to be Canada. In the normally busy city of Calgary,
the Canadians seemed somewhat apathetic towards the launch, perhaps due to
recent dissatisfaction with Rogers, Canada's leading service provider who
picked up the cell phone. Or perhaps it was the hailing storm that pelted
the city overnight. Nonetheless, citizens reported small crowds camping
out over the course of the night. Quebec was similarly quiet.
One curious phenomena that arose was the iPhone EDGE model fire sale.
Patrons of the iPhone were offering their obsolete models for as little as $50
to would be buyers. While some might be wary, it seems that it might be a
fair deal for some, living
outside AT&T's more limited 3G coverage, but within the EDGE network
Finally getting their sweaty palms on the new iPhone, Apple fans were perhaps a
bit surprised to discover it looked amazing like... their old
iPhone. Perhaps among the cuts
that dropped the price from $399 to $199 was the removal of
the chic aluminum casing. In its place is a shiny black (or white,
optional on the 16GB model) plastic, a magnet for fingerprints. The move to
plastic may also have been made to deal with Apple's ever growing list of radio
frequencies supported -- GSM, EDGE, HSDPA, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS.
In the end, the phone still looks pretty much like an iPhone, and people report
the plastic to feel solid, and not at all flimsy. The phone is now
curved, fatter at the center and thinner at the edge, a popular design trick to
give the illusion of thinness. Unfortunately, this means that when tapping
out an email on a table, the phone rocks back and forth.
In a move that angered some, Apple replaced the old dock, which is no longer
compatible with the iPhone. After Apple "sells" customers on
the iPhone, they are in its clutches and it slams them with a $30 fee for their
new phone. Another minor gripe is that the phone does not automatically
detect GSM or 3G networks, the user must configure it themselves.
The new phone sports noticeably better quality on 3G and GSM, according
to early adopters. Battery life weighs in close to expectations from
Apple with 10 / 5 hours talk on GSM / 3G (respectively), 5 hours 3G data, 6
hours WiFi, 24 hours music and 7 hours video. The camera is reported to
be slightly sharper, but unimpressive, overall.
Music fans will be happy -- the iPhone now has a flush 3.5mm jack. This
will allow normal headphones to be used. The speaker, which many
complained was too quiet, has also been pumped up.
IPhone tests have showed it to be a speedy performer, with data rates of 300 -
500Kbps in the U.S. and 700-800Kbps on faster foreign networks. The GPS
is also very fast, supplementing satellite acquisition with cell phone tower
triangulation. Also the GPS uses Skyhook's proprietary WiFi-based location
system, the only known phone on the market to do so. Microsoft Exchange,
now supported, works well for email, but can only support personal/corporate
coexisting accounts, not personal/enterprise. PowerPoint presentations
now can open automatically on the phone as well.
In other iPhone related news, the 2.0
Firmware for the iPhone/iPod Touch which enables the new
Apps feature and such goodies as Nike+Apple was leaked
for free. It has now been officially released for $9.99, but it is still
floating around for free. There have been some reports of problems with
the free version. Expect a
rapid crackdown from Apple as well.
All in all it was a busy day for Apple worldwide. No real surprises, no
riots, but still the iPhone launch was an impressive display by Apple of