OK. I got the iPhone. In a word it is - Amazing. It's not the perfect phone (keep reading) but it certainly exceeded my expectations.
I knew it would have the internet on it. The REAL internet, as you'd see it on a computer. And that fact alone was more important than I ever thought. The fact that anywhere I am I can keep an eye on my fantasy football team (without a laptop) is amazing. The fact that I can be playing poker with my friends and we can find an obscure song lyric. Or the fact that you can quickly show people a youtube video on demand. An unintended fun part of the phone, while I have always enjoyed reading a business magazine in the bathroom, now I have the whole internet (CNN, ESPN, it's endless). Also imagine getting google maps driving directions while on the road! It's amazing. Plus the iPhone web browser can keep multiple pages up at the same time, so I can have my fantasy sports team, ESPN scoreboard, CNN home page, and Yahoo Finance all sitting open at the same time waiting for me to check them out. This is ideal for an open office environment at work. Also I will not be travelling with a laptop to Boston or to Costa Rica anymore because of this phone (yes I will have wi-fi in Costa Rica while in the house, but no phone service).
Because it is a phone (and a speaker phone) the speakers let you play audio. From youtube videos to your itunes MP3's, all of them can be played without headphones, just not very loudly. Which brings me to my only complaint about the phone (day 2). The volumes on the iPhone leave something to desired. It is certainly the most common complaint on the internet and something that must be addressed for the next version. The speaker phone volume is ideal for a library, challenging for a noisy drive, and forget about it in Fenway Park. The volume of the phone speaker when used normally (not in speaker phone mode) is also not as loud as you'd want. Ideal for a library, just ok for the car (thank goodness for bluetooth in the car!), and forget about it in Fenway Park or a room full of kids. In fact the ringer itself is not that loud. Just plan to have all of these volumes on MAX and still want some more from your phone.
That being said I am really excited about the phone. Sure it's not the best actual phone, but the total package with the internet plus the slick interface and cool look makes it worth it in my opinion. Plus with integrated email accounts (mine is from yahoo), it's like a blackberry for your personal life!
The 8 GB size (the only version now) is as small a HD as you'd want. It's passable for an ipod (about 2,000 songs) but once you get into video you start getting crammed. I have 400 songs and 20 episodes of the office and I am 1/2 full. I might only have room for a couple full length movies and it's full. In the future I have heard rumors of a 20 GB version and that will be plenty. 8 GB is fine for now. Also the phone is a bit heavy and a bit large, but not as bad as I thought it would be. It's slightly bigger than your video ipod but fits in your pocket quite well! I was surprised. One minor issue is that during normal browsing you do not get all of the plug-ins on pages (like flash). I understand that some people have unlocked their phones so they can download 3rd party plug-ins but I am not there yet. Youtube is the exception since it is built into the phone as a menu option.
If you are into text messaging (I am not) it is really easy because the entire screen is touch sensitive, so a full keyboard pops up for any inputs.
The other cool points about the phone is that it has a button on the phone (where your ipod power button would be) that instantly locks you phone, so you can slip it in your pocket. Also there is a toggle switch that instantly silences the phone, so if you are in a movie or a meeting you don't have to fumble through menus to do so. Also the interface is very smart (on equity with apple and the ipod). The touch screen and the zoom in and out is intuitive and not cumbersome at all. The fact that what you are looking at rotates as you rotate the phone is not only really cool, but very practical. Some web pages are best read portrait while others are landscape.
Overall I am really glad I got the phone. Basically just buy it, then go home, plug it into your computer, and iTunes asks you a few questions and your phone number is transferred and your previous carrier is notified that you have left them for AT&T. Don't think of this as an expensive phone, even though it is at $400, but really it's like a laptop on the go, and for someone like me or Dale it keeps us in touch with the internet while not looking as nerdy by carrying our laptops to a football party. So really it's a reasonably priced internet browser (laptop) / ipod / phone all for $400. Having said all that I think the price cut on the iPhne will make it sell like hot cakes this christmas as soon as more people see them and begin to appreciate the value for your money. It's not for everyone, if you are a business person on the go or in sales, you might be disappointed with the phone's performance from the whole volume issue. If you are a normal person, you'll be fine. And if you are an internet-aholic, it's a must have!
Now go back to the top and look at the picture of my iPhone viewing this blog entry! How awesome is that! How is that possible?