Steve Jobs proudly described the iPod as a beautiful piece of hardware with incredible software inside; and with the iPhone, Apple’s hardware designers have once again achieved a spectacular piece of hardware. The pictures of the iPhone don’t do it justice: it’s smaller than it looks, roughly the size of an iPod, and a tiny, really tiny thickness of less than 1.2cm.
However, the iPhone does not seem fragile. It has enough weight (136 g) so that you feel it when you have it in the palm of your hand. As our colleagues at PC World USA have shown, the iPhone appears to have been built to last, with a display that has been resistant to scratches and drops. The back of the iPhone is textured silver rather than burnished metal like iPods, so I would imagine that both the front and the top of the iPhone will be more resistant to shocks in comparison. with iPod or iPod nano.
We probably didn’t need to have ordered pizza at Macworld the day we received the iPhone, but thanks to the grease on that pizza we realized something: the iPhone screen picks up all the fingerprints. The good news is that the screen is so bright that you won’t notice fingerprints in most situations. However, Apple includes a small black chamois cloth with the product that those who are more concerned with the image of their iPhone can use to frequently clean the screen.
The dominant physical feature of the iPhone is its black glass face, highlighted by a single button located at the bottom and a small speaker slit located near the top that allows you to hear the sound during phone calls. But the Home button isn’t the only physical button available on the iPhone. On its side there are a couple of buttons that allow you to adjust the volume of the phone’s ringer, as well as during music or video playback, or during a conference call. Located just above these buttons is a switch that moves up or down; in one position the iPhone will emit the sound through the external speaker, while in the other it will switch to vibrate mode.
Using a switch instead of a toggle is an excellent choice, as this way you can tell which switch is in position even in the darkest of movie theaters. However, the volume buttons are located too close to said switch, and on several occasions I found myself pressing the switch in a vain attempt to increase the volume of the iPhone.
The top of the iPhone also incorporates a physical button. Its usefulness is to switch the sleep / wake mode: press it and the iPhone will go to sleep mode and lock itself instantly. (This feature is aimed at preventing accidentally pressing an on-screen button, while still being able to continue receiving calls in that state.) Press the same button again for a few seconds, and the iPhone will turn off completely.
On the opposite side of the iPhone’s on / off switch is a headphone jack type connection (slightly recessed on the body of the device). This is a standard 3.5 mm jack connection, the same type as the one used in the iPod, except that in this case it prevents third-party headphones from being connected, especially if it is an angled connector. It’s bad news that fans of quality headphones should use an adapter when using the iPhone in iPod mode. (Although if the iPhone is a success, the headphone manufacturers will most likely take this into account in their product design to ensure compatibility with the Apple phone.)
The iPhone ships with stereo headphones that offer pretty good sound quality, exponentially better than the headphones supplied with the original iPod. These headphones include a microphone that also has a push button: press once to stop or play the music, or click twice to advance to the next track. While I’m sure headphone makers will come up with a good number of alternatives, the good news is that the headphones supplied as standard with the iPhone are very good.
On the back of the iPhone is the small lens of the compact two-megapixel camera. It has no zoom and does not perform well in low light conditions either, but with still subjects in well-lit areas it produces good results. It is more suitable for fun photography when no other cameras are on hand than as a replacement for your digital camera, even if your camera is already five years old. (The camera can’t record video either, at least not with the current version of iPhone software.)
The inside of the iPhone isn’t as pretty as the outside, but it’s packed with features. Each iPhone includes a total of 4 or 8 GB of flash storage. It also incorporates three types of wireless technology: a standard GSM connection with support for AT & T’s EDGE network, support for 802.11b / g wireless networks, and Bluetooth.
The various faces of the Apple iPhone.
Crisp, bright display
The iPhone screen is excellent. Yes, it’s big and bright, but it’s also impressive at its high resolution of 160 dpi, more than twice what a typical Mac screen has. Putting all those dots together in such a small space means that everything on the screen appears crisp. , no pixelated. Digital photos and video are of exceptional quality, and even the colorful icons on the iPhone home screen are so sharp and bright that it is sometimes hard to believe that what you are looking at is a computer screen and not something physical. On the screen, the texts have an absolute sharpness, more similar to that of the printed text in a book or magazine than that of those drawn by means of pixels on a screen.
Of course, the iPhone screen is not just for you to stare at it: it is the fundamental part of the device’s interface. Using the iPhone is a tactile experience, everything has to be done by touching the screen with your fingers. Instead of dragging a scroll bar or clicking with a mouse, you scroll through iPhone screens using a combination of taps, transitions, and other gestures.
The original Macintosh changed the world by providing a physical control system to control and move a cursor over a computer interface. But the iPhone does it better; Instead of having to move a mouse to move a disembodied arrow or hand on the computer screen, it is your finger that is responsible for all the movement. When you touch a photo, web page, or email message on your iPhone and slide it with your finger, the item moves in response to the action as if you were scrolling a real, physical object. There is no cursor on the iPhone because the finger is the only pointer, because, apart from what your mother may have told you, it is ultimately what fingers were designed for.
Buds on virtual keys
If pointing is a natural act, typing on a keyboard (especially a small one) is the antithesis, but it is a necessity imposed by the act.