When the iPhone first came out, my recommendation was patience. Wait to see what the bugs were, wait to see what the problems were, and wait to see if it would live up to the hype.
I’m happy to report that the wait is over. After its release several months ago, few problems have been discovered or reported, and the device has generally met expectations. There are some drawbacks of course (see below), but it’s remarkable how many things they got right.
If you are on the fence, you probably know all the areas where the iPhone excels so I’ll list only the trouble spots here:
- You will be limited to AT&T.
- Slow Internet service. One of the drawbacks of AT&T is that their Internet service is comparatively slow and, for a unit that is marketed as a great Internet device, this is a big deal. This is supposed to change in the future (but it’s unclear whether these first iPhones will benefit from that anyway) and you can always use a local wireless network to speed things up when you are near one, but when traveling, be prepared to wait a bit while loading pages. (Important note: It is annoyingly slow, but still usable.)
- No cut and paste. I have at least one client for whom this is a deal breaker. There is currently no way to cut or copy text from, for example, one e-mail and paste it into another. I hope this will change in the future, and it can be worked around, but this 1980′s technology is a glaring omission from an otherwise bleeding-edge unit.
- Lack of expandability. Right now, there is no legitimate way to add apps to the iPhone. Developers are limited to “web apps”, which are just web pages that you can view using Safari, but you cannot add icons to the iPhone’s front page. Apple is supposed to be releasing a developer’s kit in January that will change all that, but for now, it is what it is.
If none of these items is a compelling flaw to you, go ahead and get an iPhone. Among those I know who have already taken the plunge, not one has regretted it.