Ihnatko Gets 45 Minutes With the iPhone

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Date: Friday, January 19th, 2007, 08:00
Category: News

iphonehand.jpgChicago Sun Times Technology columnist and Apple guru Andy Ihnatko has penned a column about a private briefing with Apple representatives during the Macworld Expo and, more importantly, his 45 minute hands-on experience with Apple’s upcoming iPhone.
Click the jump for the full story…


iphonehand.jpgChicago Sun Times Technology columnist and Apple guru Andy Ihnatko has penned a column about a private briefing with Apple representatives during the Macworld Expo and, more importantly, his 45 minute hands-on experience with Apple’s upcoming iPhone.
His impressions are as follows:
-The multi-touch interface “works flawlessly”, both in terms of functionality and user interface design. Actions that feel intuitive to the user are carried out and “your first impulse is almost always the correct one.”
Ihnatko cited that there were no lags or pauses and even when scrolling through a long stack of album art, the response was extremely smooth. On the downside, the iPhone interface works only when it’s in direct contact with skin, making gloves impossible. Despite the screen being touted as more scratch-resistant than the iPod, it’s unknown if a screen protector can be installed (an Apple employee told Ihnatko that the screen would be ok “so long as you don’t have a pocket full of broken glass,”)
-The iPhone’s virtual keyboard felt like a huge improvement over the built-in mechanical thumbpads found on smartphones like the Treo. Even with the larger button size, there’s no need for a dead-center hit and light taps also work. Installed software is clever enough to make on-the-fly corrections to commonly misspelled words (“After 30 seconds, I was already typing faster with the iPhone than I ever have with any other phone. I suspect that true e-mail demons will need to adapt to the lack of tactile feedback, though.”)
-The iPhone possesses “the most beautiful freakin’ display I’ve ever seen on a phone or PDA, both in range of color and level of detail.” Even small browser text proved legible.
-Functional applications proved satisfying and the mail client and web browser felt like their full-fledged desktop equivalents, not boiled-down cell phone equivalents.
-True to previous reports, Apple will hold tight control over the software available for the iPhone. Ihnatko was told point-blank that no third parties would be allowed to write applications for the device – or at least there would be no “unsigned” applications would be allowed to be installed. Applications that pass Apple’s criteria will be available through the iTunes Store. Current holes in Apple’s software were said to be being written in-house.
-The iPhone runs the same version of Mac OS X as the Macintosh and runs a full, legitimate version of Apple’s upcoming Mac OS X 10.5 operating system due this spring. Software is being kept to what Apple feels the phone needs.
iPhone Widgets, written in DashCode, may be more open to third-party developers than standard applications, but this remains to be seen.
-Finally, the iPhone is still being developed and isn’t feature-complete (“Any complaints about what the iPhone can’t do are premature. Remember, it won’t ship for six months.”) This aside, Ihnatko liked what he saw, albeit final judgement will have to wait until June.

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