The iPhone: We Had Hoped It Would be Great, and We Weren't Disappointed

The iPhone: We Had Hoped It Would be Great, and We Weren't Disappointed

During Steve Jobs's keynote presentation, he made "the first public iPhone call" to lead Apple Designer Jonathan Ive.

 

The fact that Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in his Macworld Expo keynote this morning was a surprise to few. The capabilities of the device, on the other hand, astonished everyone in attendance.

 

In the most-focused keynote in memory, Jobs first gave a quick overview of recent Apple successes - the Intel transition being completed in seven months rather than the planned year, the fact that over 50 percent of all new Macs sold in all U.S. retail channels are purchased by first-time Mac buyers, the recent sale of the two-billionth song from the iTunes store (which currently sells over five million songs per day), the new partnership with Paramount pictures to distribute their films on the iTunes Store, and more.

 

Jobs then spent a few minutes reintroducing the media-streaming device first code-named iTV and now dubbed Apple TV. Newly revealed features include auto-syncing of all media with one Mac through iTunes, support for the new 802.11n high-speed Wi-Fi technology, and the ability to auto-detect and stream media from up to five Macs - say, for example, from the MacBook that your friend brings over with a copy of her latest edit of her new music video. The Apple TV will cost $299, and will ship in February, with orders being taken starting today.

 

The rest of the entire keynote was devoted to the iPhone. It deserved it.

 

Jobs positioned the iPhone as the third genre-changing product in Apple's history, with the other two being the Mac in 1984 and the iPod in 2001. If it performs as well as it demos, he may very well be correct.

 

Here's a brief overview of its highlights. Tune in for later postings here on MacLife.com for further details.

 

> Wide Screen: The iPhone, which is a bit larger than the current 30/80GB iPod and 11.6 millimeters thick, has a 3.5-inch high-resolution display (160 pixels per inch). A built-in accelerometer senses whether the iPhone is being held in portrait or landscape orientation, and adjusts the display accordingly. Simply put, the display is gorgeous.

 

> Touch Controls: A new technology called Multi-Touch enables all of the phone's controls to be accessed through fingertip control. All of the controls are in software, and appear on the wide-screen display - accessing them, scrolling, zooming, dialing, and the like are all done through the touch screen. The elegance of the interface and the seeming ease of its use cannot be overstated.

 

> Enhanced iPod Capabilities: Full iPod capabilities are, of course, included, with tthe addition of wide-screen Cover Flow, and an Album View that takes good advantage of the iPhones large display.

 

> Multiple Sensors: In addition to the aforementioned accelerometer, a proximity sensor detects when the phone is next to your ear, and turns off the touchscreen, and an ambient light sensor adjusts the illumination of the touchscreen as needed. Both should help lengthen battery life (and keep your earlobe from dialing your bookie).

 

> Mac OS X: The software underlying the iPhone's capabilities is Mac OS X, and thus benefits from such OS X technologies as syncing, networking, multitasking, power management, security, the Cocoa framework, Core Animation, and more. The iPhone is more a pocket computer than a mere phone.

 

> Visual Voicemail: This is Apple's term for something we've all wanted for years: non-linear access to voicemail. It essentially works like email for voicemail. All your voicemail messages are displayed in a list on the iPhone's display, and you can pick and choose which one you want to listen to first, next, and last.

 

> Wi-Fi and Bluetooth: The iPhone automatically detects when it is in range of a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth signal, and upgrades to Wi-Fi when it's available.

 

> Address Book Integration: The iPhone is tightly integrated with contacts in Mac OS X's Address Book, syncing with them, and using their data and images extensively in phone, email, and SMS services.

 

> HTML Email: A full-featured, graphics-rich email service is included - Yahoo Mail has partnered with Apple to provide free push IMAP email service. Inline photos and rich text are fully supported in email messages, both received and sent.

 

> Photo Management: In addition to photos taken with the iPhone's built-in two-megapixel camera, all iPhoto images and iTunes videos can be synced with the iPhone, where they can be viewed and shared over email with full multi-tasking capability. For example, while you are in the middle of a phone call, you can search your photo library and email a photo to the person with whom you are speaking.

 

> Multi-Session SMS Messaging: Using an interface reminiscent of iChat and a touch-screen keyboard that has both predictive and auto-error-detection/correction of spelling, you can hold multiple concurrent SMS chats.

 

> Conference Calls: Multiple phone calls can be "merged" with a one-touch control for easy conference calling.

 

> Safari: Web browsing is nothing short of amazing, with full Safari support. Full Web pages can be displayed in both portrait and landscape modes. Zooming into Web page areas for readability is accomplished either through double-touching the desired area, or using a two-finger "pinch" maneuver that's also used for zooming into photos.

 

> Google Maps: Not only is Google Maps fully integrated, but Google Earth is as well; you can now, for example, use Google Maps to find your favorite sushi restaurant in Manhattan, call them up to make a reservation with a one-touch button click, then view them in fully rendered Google Maps images.

 

> Widgets: Two Dashboard style widgets will ship with the iPhone at launch: a stock ticker and a weather indicator. No mention was made about third-party widget development.

 

The iPhone is far more than a phone - it's an OS X-based computing platform. We look forward to talking with Apple reps to find out how open the iPhone will be to third-party developers.

 

The iPhone will ship in June (Jobs said that the delay is due to the need for FCC approval), and will come in two models: a 4GB unit for $499 and an 8GB unit for $599. The exclusive carrier will be Cingular (the two companies announced a "multi-year exclusive partnership"); the iPhone will be sold in both Apple and Cingular stores. Two accessories were also announced: an earbud set that includes an on-cord microphone and phone on/off switch, and an exceptionally tiny Bluetooth headset. Battery life was reported to be five hours for full-featured use, including calls, mail, video, and so on, and 16 hours for audio.

 

And that was the keynote. No iLife '07, no dual quad-core Mac Pros, no revelation of Leopard's still-secret "extra features," and no "And one more thing..." Just the announcement of a device that's has a very good chance of changing the way we communicate by voice and text, share media, and access information on the Web. Change for the better that is. Much better.

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suaili

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Dexter Avery

I found this how-to video incredibly helpful to hack the iPhone and add great apps like iBrate and Tap Tap Revolution. How to pimp out your iphone.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yETCLqtSVCg

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jacobryan003

also sad because apple stores have no shortness of iphones. lets cry for those idiots who spent 1,500 on ebay for one of these.

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Anonymous

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dennis

would be getting iphone when it is available in my country, but hoped it will have 3g capability.

http://www.squidoo.com/how-to-find-someones-email-address/

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Charm

It's not looking good for installing 3rd party apps, command line, etc. Why? Because it wouldn't be long before someone would install a VoIP application, thus allowing the iPhone to make free phone calls (within Wi-Fi networks of course) and cutting Cingular out of the picture. Cingular would slap Apple upside the head if they allowed that to happen.

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bloodelf

It looks very pretty~~I really,really,really want one .
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iPhone Video Converter
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ShawnR

I assume the iPhone already comes with the required 9-1-1 GPS locator, so why not make the iPhone a moving map GPS unit? The cost of a stand-alone GPS unit is the same as an iPhone. This would make a huge jump in the value of the iPhone.

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macguru

I agree with those who do NOT want anything to do with Cingular, but remind you to think about what Steve said: iPhone to be released in Europe in 4th quarter = NOT Cingular = possibility of "unlocked" GSM version? 8 Gig memory is lame, but at least if OS-X resides in "Flash" memory, isn't the remaining 8 Gig still avail. for Music, Photos, Movies, Contacts, etc? Someone will quickly develop an add-on mini Hard Drive and/or quick-charge battery pack, one that would connect to the iPod-style "dock connector" it has. Remember - Treos can use SD cards, but they only go up to 8 Gig so far . . . . and those cards cost $190!

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Louis

I have waited for years for this. I searched just about every phone carrier in america and europe for apple compatible phone services with the software I needed for use in america. Sadly I settle for the Treo 650. My moment is here, but like so many others I don't want to be tied into a contract with cingular. I want to know can you add additional software? what about SD cards? Increasing internal memory? and syncing with other software compatible programs for apple?

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handprintphoto

If it's as closed as Cingular being the only carrier for this long awaited phone, I will be so disappointed. How long does that fact stay in effect? "multi-year exclusive partnership"?

And does that really mean I cannot use this phone with any other carrier? Ouch!!!

Extremely disappointedly happy,

GT

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J.A. Frank

I can't wait to replace my Treo 650 with the Apple iPhone. Apple will first need to design a device with removable and rechargable batteries to avoid any tether time and raise the 4 to 8 gigabyte interal memory to 40 or 80 gigabytes (well not that much, but a great deal more following the axiom you can never have enough memory). Needing to seek out a charge cable every four to five hours won't cut it in a hard working world where the Treo excels. Remember that Treo allows for their users to have an extra battery or two in the pocket when the juice runs out without need to tether up. Also, I sincerly hope Apple considers the touchscreen as replaceable or provide specs for adhesive protective, replaceable covers. This device will be truly remarkable, but after the first few months of use, it must be able to hold up to real world use and not just be a great looking gizmo.

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Anonymous

Mostly a great device, but it is awful that they have signed a "multi-year contract" for exclusivity with Cingular. What is the point of great company, coming up with a great phone that can only be used with the sub-par service provided by Cingular?

Also, not 3G? ....hope all of you that get it are very patient as you wait for your downloads.......I'm going to be patient as it will be "Multi-years" before I purchase one as I wait for the exclusivity agreement with Cingular to go away.

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cariboudave

OK, OK...I and a lot of my friends are DROLLING over the iPhone....BUT...will it work overseas? I'm in Kyiv, Ukraine. The iPhone is 4 Band so it should work BUT it's the deal with Cingular that worries us. We're thinking that Apple might be in talks with a carrier in Europe that haven't been finalized yet. After all, ya want to sell a product worldwide to get maximum returns don't cha?

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luther

As a huge Newton fan, I cannot help but notice a number of common features to the new iphone. It is as if they continued to develop the Newton 2100 all this time. The navigation and email layout are quite similar to the newon 2100. The landscape v. portrait view is another simularity as well. The fact that all the buttons are on the touch screen, and the central button relocates to home is the kicker.

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Cheffy David

I am stunned, how drop dead functional/beautiful it is. After years of using my "shuffle", I was ready for the Video i-pod, SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO glad I waited. I'm in for the $600 i-phone, and I can't wait.My library on 2 PC's awaits Syncing.
I build PC's as well, and I was waiting for the Quad Core AMD's to replace my aging P-4. I have 2 other AMD Athlon 64's (single core 3700 & Dual core 4800)
That's out, time for a 20 inch i-Mac after Leopard is released. I'm never quiting PC's, but it's time to take a bite out of Apple.
Sorry Bill

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Rafael Perez-Micheli

That's right. Push the envelope.

Sure, it does what other devices do--and seems like it's teaching many a lesson in interface design and device operability. But let's talk about pushing the envelope.

- We already know that the Cingular deal is a dealbreaker for many. It sure is for me. A blogger at iLounge mentioned using Cingular pre-pay credits on it. Seems like a killer idea to me. I've never had a cellphone plan and I'm not going to start now. I chose to get a pre-pay since my first cell phone and have kept it my way ever since. Pay attention Apple and Cingular! Let's add some FLEXIBILITY!

- Additional apps: I can't believe that's not an option. Yet. I won't be surprised when they add it later. It will be just a matter of time given the path of electronics and the prospects-- but come on! Why not ASAP and blow the socks off every other gaddget. So far it merely outdoes every other gadget instead of blowing socks off and leaving others in the dust.

- No one's mentioned video conferencing. iSight camera anyone? Helloooo! It's so obvious! Add an iSight, and iChat AV and bam! I also can't believe that this feature is not there yet and won't be surprised when they add it. They should have added it Yesterday.

- Hard Drive size. Yeah..... That's not much at all! Give us at least 40 GB so we can rock our music libraries AND our photos, movies, and TV shows instead of having to choose one or the other, or worse yet--have too little of everything!

- BonJour networking. Can I print one of the cool photos that I took with the camera (that really should be much better than 2 MP--BTW) or a contact sheet from it if I walk into a network with a networked printer? How about iTunes playlists with cover art--can I print those? Can I print important emails? Can I send faxes? receive faxes(to a PDF)?

- Can I use video Mirroring with a monitor at home and use a wireless keyboard and USB mouse?

- Can I view my movies and TV shows on my TV (like with the Apple TV)?

- Can I listen to my music on my home stereo?

- Will I be able to back up the entire device (maybe using Time Machine) in case it crashes?

Listen up Apple and Cingular, it you're going to have a partnership, at least let us pre-pay and don't force us into plans that we DO NOT want!

Apple, I hope that in the future you begin partnerships with other companies (they'll all want you to anyway) and PLEASE offer unlocked iPhones and PRE-PAY phone service. Act like the proverbial pirates that you are and make the proverbial Navy companies march to the beat of YOUR drum!

I think that covers just a small amount of the possibilities. Someone posted that their Newton can already do much of what the iPhone does. So Apple, please kick it up TEN notches and give us what we want!

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siennalli

Seriously, this thing is WAY over-hyped like all apple products. I already have a cell phone that can take
pictures/movies, play mp3's, has 4 gigabytes of storage, and has a built in FM receiver to listen to any radio
station. w810i Sony Ericsson. Everybody I've shown it to in person loves it, and it cost me only $80 through
cingular. Looks and runs badass too.

http://www.iphone-converter.org/convert-iphone/

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Hearing Impaired (Deaf)

First, I love a new iphone.

Secondly, Lots of hearing impaired who couldn't use phone and ipod. I am not interesting to have ipod. I wonder if you have other option for hearing impaired that iphone couldn't include ipod? I hope, Apple company don't forget hearing impaired.

Third, Does the movie (on iphone) have closed caption? I don't see information about iphone - movie.

Final, I would love to have iphone for using SMS (Text message), mail, website and others. I hope you have re-consider for hearing impaired and disability.

Thank you.

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Anonymous

I love it, I want it (though I concur with others, I don't want to be forced into Cingular) but I'm confused. 4G? 8G? What are they talking about? My iPod is 30G. How can you put music, movies, apps, whatever on a 4 or 8G device? I'm tech-head, so I'm sure it's that I'm not understanding something, but what is it?

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Frideswidel

You can use the iPod as an external hard drive, perhaps instead of loading it up with music, you make it a portable back-up drive, document storage, or recovery device. More options for the 4/8 gig than just music I'm guessing.

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Josh

I agree...can I install apps? Is it really all of OS X? Can I get a command line? Can I...

http://joshnpowell.blogspot.com/2007/01/iphone.html

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proaudioguy

Can someone say TABLET Mac?
With Multi-Touch, this should be a 'No-Brainer'.

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seedavenkc

Take a look at what Other World Computing did. Link I followed was on macaddict's page (er, MacLife).

http://www.maclife.com/article/if_apple_wont_build_it_someone_else_will

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PhoneHater

Meh. Cell phones. I have lost faith in Apple. If you view this as anything other than a sign of the apocalypse, I will bring to your attention that the iPhone looks like a Zune.

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zeniden

what about an fm stereo radio?! so obvious and essential in emergencies or just to get my npr fix but since free i guess apple isn't interested.

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gulmatan

No Stylus? NO SALE!!!! There's NO WAY I'm gonna smudge up my screen just for the sake of a new Apple gizmo. MAYBE, I'll put a screen protector and resign to finger fodder. Until then, if I get one of these, I'm using my T|X stylus.

Furthermore, the more you create a Swiss Army gadget, the LESS the features are operational. You'll get fifteen gadgets but at half their functionality potential--I'm sticking to carrying my iPod, my T|X and my Cingular ROKR--I may have three pounds of equipment but, they'll be the complete devices they were meant to be!!!

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VAb

I don't know why, but the iPhone is not what I dreamt of. Call it over inflated expectations, but I was thinking of the "ultimate" phone (for me). The things Apple has done with the iPod and the Mac computers.
Then I realise! Apple did not launch all 3 variants of the iPod when they first launched the product, and the first iPod I brought was the Shuffle (3rd variant). Neither did they launch the 5 variants of the Mac, back in '84. The first Mac computer I brought was the iBook.
I don't think the iPhone sucks. It's just more business orientated then I would have liked.
Therefore, eagerly awaiting for the launch of the other variants.

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C Lo

Great article, still want to know: They said it was based off of OS X, but can I install OS X apps on the device? I've looked everywhere for a comment on this function and can't find it anywhere. It's a great product, but if you can't install apps on it, then it's missed the mark for me. There are some apps I have to have on my device and if I don't have the option to even hope for them being on this device, I'll stick with my 200 dollar palm (though I'd rather give it up) and free phone. Make it so I can install apps on this phone and then it is definitely a Genius phone. Maybe a palm software emulator or even better (though not very likely), cocoa app functionality. The information says it runs cocoa and core imaging, but does it contain all the other packets necessary to native install other apps?

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Tim in Florida

It is a neat gadget for sure. But my Newton message pad has those features and more. Yes My old Newton is bulky but i gotta keyboard, microphone, speaker (still use my cell modem, but i also have 802.11g and call out on it thanks!) It wouldve been perfect with color but use my desktop for that or my macbook for color purposes. Apple is smart by using slick icons and full screen for video but until they come out with a tablet Mac, its just smoke and mirrors. They were smart using cingular as their intro company, i fthey start droping the price they will make a killing and sell every one of them!!!!

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TheMaxx

Weren't disappointed???

Fair enough it has some great features, but the fact that you can't put in memory cards and no 3G, well that's a bummer for me :(

And since it's only available in the US, I guess I can ignore it for now.

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Groovesmoothly

Even what may become the greatest Apple product ever will never get me back in bed with those date rapers at Cingular. My sphincter is still turned out from how they did me after Katrina. At least they'll make Apple support look good, God knows they could use that.

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Computer Dude

It looks so awesome! I was expecting about $100 cheaper, but at least now I have time to save up since it's not coming out until June! Thanks Apple for another great product.

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Revelator

Will the iPhone be able to sync with non-Mac address books like Outlook? Seems like this would be a must have for many people - especially business users.

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Anonymous

FCC approval doesn't take 5-6 months.

30-90 days max.

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JHawk

I gotta agree that the iPhone without a forced carrier would be greatly preferred, but maybe in time. There are many unanswered questions, like what version of OS X is it running, and how to develop (if you can) for it. What about other uses for it, talk about a sweet Skype phone for when you're at home!
I was mildly un-impressed with the apple tv. I've been using an elGato eyeHome for a year now, and thought "hey, that's my eyeHome on steroids". In my opinion they would have nailed it if it had an tv tuner or 3 (ATSC, NTSC, Clear QAM) and DVR functionality, because there are a plenty of shows that are not on iTunes, and probably never will be.
One final sweet tie-in would be if you could control the apple tv with the iPhone (wi-fi? bluetooth?).

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cannedbrain

Leopard will have been released when iPhone is released, so I guess it's on Leopard.

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Dean Waterman

Don't get me wrong, I think this is an astonishing device, and I like it. Everything about it, in fact, is more and better than I anticipated. But should we be surprised? Not with Apple.

But there is one thing that I desire. I want the whole thing, without having to buy a contract with Cingular. I could use this thing for everything that it is, and not ever dial out. That is what I wanted Apple to say with the "one more thing..." The one more thing being that this is all in a package for $499, without the commitment to Cingular.

Simply put, this would be a great ipod, communication tool, pda, etc, without ever dialing out on it. I don't want Cingular, I am in a contract with another carrier, but I do want the unit. And if they had done one without the phone, they could have released it today.

Wouldn't you stand in line for one of these at $499 with all of these capabilities?

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Anonymous

I completely agree that the Cingular exclusivity is the only fly in the ointment with the iPhone. I have used this service in the past, and I have NOT been impressed. I wish Apple hadn't signed the multiyear partnership with Cingular, but I guess this is Cingular's way of trying to stay competitive when their service has much to be desired.
I do have a few concerns about no hardware buttons, but I understand that the Mac hardcore fans like this feature and that I can sometimes be a little old-school. Otherwise, kudos to Apple for what looks like to be another great product. My gut reaction is that the boys over at the Palm Treo and Blackberry shops are in a tizzy right now!

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RJ

You are so right! I'd totally be on board with one of these without Cingular. The additional cost involved with a contract and monthly fees is alot to ask from someone already paying $600 on top of that. Since Apple has shown us their cards we know they can do this. I also am still shocked this is a Cingular only deal. I was pretty sure this was going to be unlocked especially considering Apple is attmepting to break into a new market.

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No Contract

Great and very thorough recap, thank you !

You'll note that http://apple.com/iphone/ doesn't exist on the Canadian site. With Rogers' terrible reputation for quality of service (see http://iHateRogers.ca), let's suggest to Apple to only offer the iPhone in Apple stores and online in Canada - no strings attached!

I encourage readers to contribute to this and other Mac forums, to petition Apple to leave cell companies out, and market the iPhone direct to consumers in Canada. People can simply insert the SIM card from any Rogers or Fido phone into their iPhone. NB that the iPhone is not compatible with the older CDMA cell standards used by other Canadian operators.

I have no problem paying one or a few hundred $ more for a phone, to be free of a contract with a firm with the user experience that Rogers provides.

Too, companies really listen when you phone or handwrite a _real_ letter:
Apple
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 95014
408.996.1010

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Benoit Lemyre

I want to put my iphone on my Fido account

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Bill Gates

Jeepers! Thanks Apple for the advance preview of what we at Microsoft will release in 2009!

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Hedgie

This thing is awsome, it has tilt sense, proximity, It's everything the fanboys could think of and more. This is what we want apple to do, listen the the fans, and give us what we want.

Congratulations on the breakthrough Apple

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Dunkin'

Excellent article, Rik!

Available in June, you say. So I have time to save up for one.

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macguy

Well of course one disappointment to all is that there was no mention of Leopard! We've been waiting very eagerly that it seems like and age...

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Tony Di Giacomo

At first the price scared the hell out of me. But after reading your synopsis of the iPhone you hit the nail square on the head– its not just a phone or an iPod. Its truly a mini Mac! I wonder if you can run actual programs (like Word) and use it as a portable computer. It will be interesting to see what Apple will do with this Touch Screen Technology with the iPhone and the Macs.

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Jeff Michaels

I thought that it could be used as a portable computer. My concern is that it has an 8 gig capacity and that may hold back some of the capabilities. Then I was thinking that what if you were able to dock it into a larger hard drive. You can also carry the infrared keyboard with you although the touchpad is pretty cool.

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Filthy McNasty

This story is better than CNET's. Bravo.

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