June 29, 2007

My iPhone experience

After a long wait, humanity was blessed with iPhone today! I am not much of a gadget lover but I decided to visit the nearby Apple store to get a feel of this thingy. My first gadget was a Palm Visor that I bought several years back. It didn't have a color display but still i was crazy enough to carry it wherever I go, solve crossword puzzles (struggling with graffiti which would always misunderstand the letters) and so on. After a while, the craze went down and I don't even know where it is now :). As I sit in front of computer for the most part of a day, I didn't find much use for a PDA. Later, when everybody started talking about the ipod's quality and storage, I thought I should try an iPod shuffle. It was really nice to pack 100-200 songs in it when we go for a long drive and play them in the car stereo. For a while, I thought I won't be impressed by any new gadget (I chose to skip Zune too). But, once I saw iPhone ads and the way they flipped through photos, I felt my long lost itch for a gadget again.

So, with that flashback, let me tell you what happened today. I rushed my wife and son so that we can be there at the shop by 6 p.m. before they open up. But friday evening traffic delayed us. By the time we reached the shop, people had already started buying iphones. There was a queue but it was not as long as I was expecting (only 30-40 people). Many who had come to the mall were looking at the store wondering what on earth is happening inside. The store staff cheered and clapped for every single buyer and those who accompanied were taking photographs as the buyers walked out of the shop. It was as if they achieved something great! I took a video of the crowd and you can watch it here.

As I didn't want to join a long line, I decided to shop in the mall for some time and come back. When I came back at about 7:30, the line was short. Somebody announced that 8Gig models were sold out and only 4 Gig was available. My wife was repeatedly asking me if I am going to buy it today as she was concerned that it's too costly for a phone. I kept saying I just want to check it out and I might buy it. It was quite funny that they had employed a person to tell jokes and entertain those waiting in the line (he told something with monkeys and cigars which I wasn't really interested in). Finally, we were allowed in and I told them I want to check it out before buying.

My first impression once I held the iPhone in my hand was that it was very light-weight for something that has so many cool features. The screen showed a list of videos from youtube and i pressed one with my finger. It feels less clumsy (and maybe better ergonomically too) to use a finger than a stylus pen. The video started playing.. For a moment, I couldn't believe that I am watching the video in a handheld device and not a TV screen. It was crystal clear! Then i wanted to check out photos and so i clicked the start button at the bottom and it brought up all the nice little icons that mesmerized everyone in TV ad. I clicked on photos icon and experienced how painless it is to browse through photos just like turning pages in a book.

Then, I wanted to check out web browsing with Safari. Once i touched the address bar, the software keyboard popped up with thick and clear letters. I was able to type "hackosphere.blogspot.com" without many retries even though I was using my finger that is as wide as three of those letters put together. I think it is intelligent enough to pick the letter where the most pressure is applied. Ofcourse, my blog showed up with tiny unreadable fonts in that screen :) Before I could experiment the zoom in feature, somebody from the store asked me if I am going to buy it soon. The decision that I was postponing had to be made quickly :) I looked at my wife and she looked at me. Knowing that I would say 'yes' any moment, she pulled me away from the gadget and said "Let's go!". So, that's the end of the story. But, you never know, the shop is not that far from my home!

[Interestingly, I never bothered to try the phone feature. I wonder if anybody buys this thing mainly for being a mobile phone.]


Anonymous said...

I had a very similar experience yesterday as I, too, am a gadget guy.

My wife had noticed how my eyes would glaze over everytime the TV ad for the iPhone would come on, and surprised me yesterday by meeting me after work for dinner and then off to the Apple store. Once there, we never even approached the front of the store due to the crowds. It was something like two hours before we could even see the inside of the store. So, we just got some ice cream and chatted about the day while waiting.

Once I did get inside, I was completely mezmerized by the litle thing. I have to admit, the interface of the iPhone is seven different kinds of awesome. But, I already have a phone, one that I really like. I have an 80 gig iPod that I've finally populated with playlists, photos, etc. I do very little web browsing on my current phone, maybe just grabbing driving directions or movie times, stuff like that.

And after learning that I would have to get a two year contract - seperate from the family plan I already have with AT&T, and that over the two years it would be something in the order of $3,600 including the purchase price of the phone - I just could not justify the purchase...

Still, the iPhone is extremely cool, and a wonder of engineering.

janet copenhaver said...

I'm a gadget gal but no way would I pay that kind of money for it.

Soumyadip said...

Though it'll arrive here in India by 2008, the grey market gurus have already claimed that they can hack the models purchased from abroad to suit the Indian networks (though it just might be big talk).

The features of the iPhone makes me want to possess one, but then the price will be a big deterrent.

Apple has always made the best of the first mover advantage and this will go on to make the iPhone a success like the iPod - a product which I believe is overrated.

There are comparable players (if not better) with more features available in the market for a much lesser price. But everyone wants to own an iPod. That's a result of the media frenzy over the product.

Maybe competition will brighten up this time and not let Apple run away only due to the fact that they were the first ones to do it.

Abhisek said...

thanks for the review, and the full feed too.