In some short hours, at 6.02 pm, thousands of people across the UK will be filing into Apple Stores, O2 stores and Carphone Warehouse stores to buy their iPhones.
The police are giving out an advisory not to display your iPhone openly. The debate of course is whether this is:
- actual advice that could be applied to any expensive consumer electronics device
- a cynical PR ploy from Apple
- a desperate PR ploy from Microsoft to keep iPhones out of sight and make them seem less popular
By this Saturday I’ll have owned an iPod touch for just a week and my impressions remain the same. I absolutely love it. I’ve not filled it – only used about 4 GB of space on it leaving 10 GB free and the only thing I would wish for would be that it had a phone built into it. I’ve been using it as an expensive teaching toy. It’s taught me a lot about the keyboard, about the interface and about the experience.
The keyboard is usable and I’m getting faster. If I’m paying attention then I make no mistakes and if my attention lapses I get either a correction suggested by the iPod or the odd case of egg freckles. I like the interaction and, to be honest, I don’t miss the feedback from pressing keys.
The interface is, of course, legendary by now. It flows, it inspires immediate gadget lust in people who view it and it’s just a lot of fun to play with.
The experience. Well, there are some good points and bad points. I would have to presume that all apps are running all the time because they launch so quickly but I know this not to be the case. The UI is very reminiscent of the Newton and the Palm in that it doesn’t really matter to the end user whether or not the engine under there is multi-tasking or single tasking because the device is really designed to do one thing at a time. There’s no application switching in a sense as it seems you leave one app to enter another, there’s very little sense that you have multiple applications running and, more than that, there’s no indication in the UI that some applications are running and some are not. They just launch when you touch them and disappear when you switch to another application or return to the home screen. The lack of an application switcher does leave you in the situation where you’re in the middle of something and you’re really hesitating switching to another task. I’ve been pleasantly surprised every time that I’ve not “lost my place” or had to start again, but the UI is kinda odd if you’re not used to it and have expectations. The Newton didn’t have pre-emptive multi-tasking but it could do several things at once and the UI for it was good (it also had a good way of doing cut and paste). But Newton is dead, the last Newton was discontinued in February of 1998. I’ve dug out my old Newt as a homage (though the battery pack is buggered) and marvelled at the size of the thing especially considering that I used to carry it around with me everywhere. By itself it was 640g and 210 mm long and 11 mm wide!
So I’m getting an iPhone.
When you see the pile of gear I’m replacing to get one slim device…
|Device||Long side||Short side||Thickness||Mass|
|Sony Ericsson K800i||106mm||47mm||20mm||115g|
|all replaced with|
…you can see one advantage of going for this device. 477g (that’s nearly half a kilo, about a pound in weight) of technology will be replaced with a third of that. Sure it’s not quite the same equation. I’ll only have 8 GB of storage (as opposed to 60 GB in the iPod and 4.25 GB in the Nokia N800) but I’ll also only have one device I need to keep charged rather than 3. The battery life on my K800i is very poor and has been since day one with the phone dying if left without charging for more than 36 hours. It’s without a doubt the worst battery of any device I’ve ever had. I’ve heard a similar plea from Nokia N95 users (Hi Pete) which is shame because the E65 has phenomenal battery life and still delivers a great phone experience. So – changing phones will be welcome at any rate.
That, plus the savings I’ll make switching from Orange’s 30 MB a month data plan to O2’s unlimited without limits data plan will make the whole rigmarole worthwhile.