After months of speculation, Apple Computer has finally pulled the wraps off its iPhone.
The thin combo device has a multitouch-screen, scrolling navigation and a 2-megapixel camera, as well as the iPod music and video player and phone. It runs Mac OS X and will let people send e-mail and check the Web at the same time as they're on a call. The quad-band GSM/EDGE device, which can also switch to Wi-Fi networks, will be offered in partnership with carrier Cingular in the U.S. starting in June at a price of $499 for a 4GB model, with a two-year contract, and $599 for an 8GB model. It is expected to ship in Europe in the fourth quarter and in Asia in 2008.
Given all the buzz that's been building around a possible iPhone, the device could have failed to meet expectations. To find out what people on the street make of it, we asked our Mac Views panel, made up of ordinary readers, this question: "Is the iPhone what you had hoped for?"
The iPhone exceeds my features expectation: it is packed with innovation.
In my experience a phone gets a lot more abuse than my iPods, so I'm not sure I want to buy a unified product that is expensive and that I will surely destroy by dropping.
One of the preannouncement rumors was that Apple would sell the phone unlocked, so it could be used with different carriers. I'm disappointed to find that Cingular is the exclusive service provider. That will severely limit sales.Nicolas Martin is executive director of the Consumer Health Education Council in Indianapolis. He's owned more than 30 Macs since 1984.
I had not hoped for an iPhone. I don't want my phone to play music. PDA-like functions might be OK, and down the road (when connectivity is a bit better and easier), e-mail. But music? Movies? On my phone? No market from my end.Ed Lamoureux is co-director of the New Media Center at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill.
My view is that the phone was only going to break new ground if it did a good job of being an Internet device. The iPod/music integration with the phone is great too, as I always carry my phone, but don't always carry my iPod. The bluetooth/Wi-Fi connectivity is huge. Today, I carry my MacBook Pro with me everywhere. With one of these phones, I would not carry it at all and just sync when I return.
Jobs is right that the phones today simply suck when it comes to the interface. I have demoed a couple of "smart" phones in stores, but am never compelled to pull the trigger to buy one.Bob Monsour is associate director for external affairs at the Center for Innovation in Engineering Education, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Princeton University.
Aside from the somewhat excessive cost (though Jobs does have a point in that we seem to gladly pay as much for two to three separate devices), it does seem like the iPhone is everything hoped for, featurewise. I had been telling my students for years now why a phone with Wi-Fi would be potentially great for consumers, and if this automatic and seemingly effortless switching between cell minutes and Wi-Fi nodes works as Jobs claims, it seems like he could have a winner on his hands. Time will tell.Paul Cesarini is an assistant professor in the Department of Visual Communication and Technology Education in the Advanced Technological Education program at Bowling Green State University.
Once again, Steve exceeded my expectations!! I want one. Only problem: there is no Cingular coverage here in Burlington, Vt.William C. Hogan is a retired marketing executive and Mac user since 1984 who lives in Vermont.
The "multitouch" display had better be pretty tough. Given the scratch problems seen in past iPod models and the fact that people tend to treat cell phones a lot more roughly than iPods or PDAs, Apple could find itself having to replace a lot of displays in the first year. For their customers' sake, I hope they've field tested these with soccer moms, plumbers, and people who really abuse their phones. If it's delicate AND expensive it will be a disaster for Apple.Michael Salsbury works for a large nonprofit organization as a Macintosh and PC administrator. He has been working with Macs since they were introduced and with Windows since about 1995.
Apple should introduce something that will reinvigorate the iPod...either the wide-screen/touch-screen true-video iPod or the iPhone.
The phone is incredible. It's a quantum jump above any other device in the world today.
The only thing I can see limiting it is the storage--only 8GB on the top end, but Apple will no doubt increase that by launch in June. And I suspect battery life may be an issue with such a godlike device. But really, could it be any cooler?Jason Pratt of Austin, Texas, is a recent Mac switcher (2004) and a software industry veteran.
Yes. The announced iPhone is not only everything I hoped for, it is actually more! A phone, iPod and portable Web browser/e-mail machine is precisely what I had hoped Apple would offer.
My only disappointment? I'm currently (read: only as long as I have to be) a Verizon customer...Damon Osborne is an assistant professor of education and coordinator for online curriculum development at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.
I think the iPhone is a fantastic product. I can't wait to actually try one of these out!
Apple has really hit a home run with the iPhone. With so much hype surrounding it for the past two years, I'm actually surprised that they could come anywhere close to living up to the expectations. Now everyone just has to wait until June to get one.David Oei works on a Mac at an Internet market research company where he designs micro Web sites and packaging.
The iPhone goes way beyond what I was expecting. (But, I probably should have expected that from Apple!) I was anticipating something along the lines of a more refined Walkman Phone or Chocolate. We got was really something pretty revolutionary--a combined smart phone, iPod, UMPC, etc--with a very compelling level of integration and a stellar interface. My only wish is that we wouldn't have to wait until June to get one!Justin Powell is a New Jersey-based freelance Web designer who uses Macs as his main computers.
I want one. iPhone will replace my Treo 650... just glad I'm already a Cingular customer (and I've never said that before).
I will wait a tiny bit to hear whether the UI comes close to the "demo" visual sparkle. Physical buttons are actually handy for some things, despite Jobs' crack about their limits.John Brinton Roberts, who is vice president of the product group at OpenDNS, says he has been using Macs personally, and often professionally, since the Macintosh Plus.
I think Steve went above and beyond what most of us hoped for. The multitouch interface, use of OS X as the operating system, and tight integration with iLife and Google Maps, makes this a winner. It's unfortunate that the device is Cingular-only, but I suppose the voicemail features required a tie to one carrier or another. The inclusion of Wi-Fi makes up for most of that shortcoming (i.e., Cingular's high data plan pricing). I just wish we didn't have to wait until June...I think this is a game changer.Nick Frollini is a freelance business consultant focusing on technology commercialization and is an adjunct professor in the business school at Case Western Reserve University.
I have to say, I'm kind of disappointed with the iPhone. While it does seem crammed with features and is certainly visually attractive, I don't think that the smart phone aspect of it will take off. I think people have gotten too used to the BlackBerrys with the built-in keyboard...I have to say I would still buy the phone, but the data charges are going to be through the roof, and it would probably end up getting me to switch to Cingular from Verizon.Ian Markowitz is a student who describes himself as a "devout Mac addict."
I started giggling like a little girl and have yet to stop. I suppose critical reflection will happen later, but my first reaction is wow. Looking at what they have done it is easy to say, of course. But it is certainly not what I expected. I no longer have to fly with my PSP for videos, my Treo for emails and directions, and my Razr for calls from mother. Now, if it was configured for Burning Crusade, my head would just explode. I am going to miss my camera phone and its ability to moblog.Lloyd Y. Asato.
The device is outstanding! I'd love to have one. Apple has again come up with something innovative and fun to use.
I'm just a bit curious about how this device would work in another country like Brazil, for example, where I live. I was expecting a GSM operator-free phone. Guess I'll have to wait to see if it is worth buying or not. But if I lived in the U.S., I'd preorder one today.Francisco Silva is a freelance consultant who works on video editing and DVD authoring in Brazil.
The Mac Views panel is being brought together by CNET News.com to get feedback from people on the street on the latest happenings at Apple Computer, whether it's a battery recall or plans for the next iPod.
We're looking for a range of perspectives--from Mac fans to business users to mobile music lovers.
Interested in joining the panel pool? Here's how it works:
Whenever key Apple news breaks, we'll send an e-mail to contributors for their response. Sometimes, we'll ask a yes/no question and use the results as a simple poll. Other times, we'll look for more in-depth feedback on Mac or iPod current events. It doesn't matter whether you send us two pages or two sentences--we value all your comments. And if you don't have an opinion on a particular story, or you don't have time to respond, that's good too.
The feedback will often reach our readers. Our writers may quote panel remarks in stories. Or we may pull together comments--your 2 cents--in an article of their own. Occasionally, we'll ask contributors to take part in a weekly podcast, to discuss their views with CNET News.com editors and industry experts.
Take a look at our panel on Microsoft's Windows Vista to get an idea of how our readers participate.
We want to know what our readers think, as Apple switches over to Intel chips and as Microsoft and others gear up to challenge iPod and iTunes. If you haven't signed up yet, send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Design: Gautama Swamy
Production: Kristina Wood