Getting to know the iPhone 3G

iphoneinhand

Regular readers of this blog know that I love gadgets especially mobile devices.

Over the past few years, I’ve had great enjoyment from a wide range of devices – ones I’ve either purchased myself or which have been given or loaned to me by companies via their PR agencies – which I’ve written posts or produced video reviews about, recently over on Next, my tech blog.

The latest device I have for such a purpose is an iPhone 3G which arrived by courier late on Friday evening, thus giving me much of the weekend to get to know it a bit.

I do plan to write some commentary during the coming weeks, and maybe do a video or two. Meanwhile, here are a few initial immediate impressions as my Twitter comments this weekend remind me:

  • Undoubtedly the iPhone is a beautiful-looking and -feeling device. Apple set the form and function bar very high indeed for competitors to follow (although I think the Googlephone comes pretty close).
  • The icons and touch screen combination are so intuitive, I am certain even a very young child could figure out what to do with the device within a very short time, without opening the manual.
  • Choosing and installing an application from Apple’s App Store is so simple and easy to do I just can’t figure out why only Apple seem to understand that what’s important to  users about their devices is simplicity and ease of use.
  • The particular model I have is the 16Gb capacity one. How would I ever fill that up with content? (Do I hear “640k of memory is enough for anyone.”)
  • The results from using the camera are not bad for a 2.0 megapixel device, although no match at all for cameras like the 5.0 megapixel one sported in the Nokia N95 8GB (which, ironically, is the camera I used for the pic you see above). Even 5 megapixels are looking distinctly entry-level now, though, compared to Samsung’s 10.0 megapixel SCH-B600 cameraphone. And wait for 12+ megapixels coming soon from Sony Ericsson.
  • It’s not all peaches and cream about the iPhone, though. For instance, figuring out how to do things like transferring photos to a PC or uninstalling an app should be a whole lot easier than it is, as should be some of the choices for synchronizing content PC<->iPhone.
  • The biggest negative for me so far is the iPhone’s inability to shoot video, with no native app for that, and no versions of Qik or seesmic (that I use on my N95) for iPhone.

In any event, I have an open mind about the iPhone and intend to keep that open focus as I use it over the coming weeks.

How I got this device might be of interest as much as any review of it, as it didn’t come from Apple, their PR agency or any organization, but from an individual.

That individual is Adrian Melrose, an entrepreneur and investor, someone I’ve known in the blogosphere for quite a few years, and who is probably best know in the online PR community as the man behind The Truth About the Land Rover Discovery 3, a blog with which an individual – call him a passionate citizen journalist – could use as his public platform to take on an automaker over product quality and customer service issues.

The bottom line: Adrian became an ex-customer – and Land Rover lost a passionate brand advocate – and went and bought an Audi Q7 SUV. You can read Adrian’s concise summary as well as the posts I wrote as events unfolded during 2005 and 2006.

So why did Adrian decide to provide me with an iPhone on loan (a pay-as-you go deal with O2 with me doing the paying and going for usage after Adrian’s initial set up) to use and think about? As he said in one of our email exchanges:

[…] after reading you for so long, I cannot believe that you are still on a PC and loyal to Vista! So, as I said to you on the phone, I want to slowly "Applefy" you! Secondary to that, I’d genuinely like to know how the iPhone compares to the G1.

I love a challenge and this is a good one!