Should Nokia and Samsung Be Worried?
Costing around £270 from mobile phone provider o2, then with a minimum contract of at least £35 a month, the new Apple iPhone is not an immediate choice for the user looking to upgrade his or her mobile - you can pick up a Nokia N95 for free if you pay a £35 a month contract - so let's look at what makes the iphone so special, and why you should buy one.
First up, Apple claim the iPhone is their best ipod ever, and seeing how they've utilised the gorgeous 3.5" touch wide screen, you can see why. Simply put your iphone into the horizontal position and it automatically allows you to experience coverflow - the act of flicking through you album art to choose the music you want to listen too, very, very smooth and impressive. Being a phone we have an external speaker, so you can listen to your tunes without head-phones, but obviously at a poor level of sound quality.
Ipod's are not just about music, they're about video too, and the Apple iPhone's screen renders movies and content beautifully, at amazing quality in this small a device. There is dedicated access to Youtube Video for fast download when you're near a wireless access point, but it remains to be seen if UK mobile operator o2 roll out a system similar to the Edge network on the States allowing faster download over normal phone networks.
With 8gb of memory on-board you're looking at more than enough storage to see you between charges, but some may look at the capacity of the new iPod Classics and wonder at their 160gb hard-drive... (Update: The iPhone is now available in a 16gb version...)
Onto the iPhones next big selling point, the Safari Web Browser. Safari is revolutionary for hand-held devices. The quality of the iphone's screen, coupled with it's processing power, means that for the first time we have proper full page websites on our phone. Using the touch screen you can zoom in to specific areas to read more easily, open up multiple Windows and browse the web easily. Safari could be the killer application for the iPhone and Ipod Touch it looks like it will be very easy to get addicted to this type of mobile surfing - many will buy one for this feature alone.
The last big difference is visual voice-mail. Again, we're not sure how o2 are going to implement this in the UK, but in the USA this looks very, very good. Simply put instead of having to listen to all your messages in order to get to the one you want, your iphone downloads a list of who phoned you, and you can choose which message you want to listen to. Easy and a great idea.
The iphone also comes with what we expect - 2 megapixel camera, calendar, clock, alarm, games, Bluetooth (for hands free - not stereo), it will sync with your appointments and contacts from your desktop PC - all normal stuff that any smart-phone will do. Nothing special there.
I guess the iPhone really needs to be seen to realise how good the Apple user interface is, how different from anything else out there. It's just so cool and smooth, making other cell phones seem clunky by comparison.
So I guess the question is, would I buy one? Not at that price. You could treat yourself to an Ipod Touch 16gb for less cash, and get a very nice Nokia or Samsung mobile on a cheaper contract with a free phone. The iPhone although good, is not yet a killer device. Apple need to build in more memory, GPS for navigation, 3g, and some real 2Pocket PC" type applications and we'd all be queuing up to mortgage our grannies to buy one.
My advice would be that if you must have the wi-fi and video features, get an Ipod Touch instead, or an Ipod Classic (160gb of storage!!!) and a Symbian or Windows Smartphone like the Nokia N Series or Orange SPV's. The iPhone is just too expensive at the moment.
But, If you've already made up your mind, you could:
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