updated 12:30 am EDT, Wed July 9, 2008
iPhone praise and concerns
The iPhone 3G's official launch on June 11th is just over two days away, and several industry heavyweights have already offered their opinions on Apple's next generation device, offering mostly praise, peppered with a few criticisms. Among the acclaimed technologists were Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal, David Pogue of the New York Times, and USA Today's Edward Baig. The three writers noted that the different pricing structure and 3G battery life were two small strikes against the new device, but ultimately considered the upgrade to be a boon.
Mossberg felt that the 3G incarnation is "a more capable version of an already excellent device", citing that the 3G browsing speed was between three to five times as fast as the 2.5G iPhone. He also observes that the phone has the same overall appearance, save for its curved, plastic backing, but weighs a tiny bit less. Mossberg notes that, while the phone can be synchronized with either individual computers or Microsoft Exchange networks, but cannot maintain both accounts without wiping out the personal account's information.
In addition, he feels that despite the interface improvements to the OS (multiple email deletion, parental controls, et al), some features are still missing, such as copy-paste, MMS photo support, or instant messaging, among a few others.
Pogue supports many of the same points as Mossberg – both positive and negative – but focuses primarily on the iPhone's upcoming App Store. He claims that hundreds of titles will be available at the store's launch on Friday, "with thousands to follow." Pogue cites the simplicity of the process, with apps sliding directly across the network to the iPhone, rather than only through a computer, with most apps being "free or cheap."
Pogue highlights several apps, such as G-Park, a GPS-reliant car-park navigation tool, and Urbanspoon, allowing users to randomly come up with a restaurant in the city by shaking the iPhone. Also, he indicates that the iPhone will help Apple take off with a solid gaming front, since the device sports a later version of the Sega Dreamcast graphics hardware, which was notorious for its smooth visuals.
Baig raves about the 3G iPhone, saying that it's "not perfect, but really close", adding that, while he believes the device still isn't perfect for every user (quoting his previous review of the 2.5G version), Baig admits his list of reasons is "shrinking fast." Baig also illustrates many of Pogue's and Mossberg's concerns and praises, but took a liking to the Newton/Palm style character input, that works even with Chinese characters.