Here's our first, hands-on look at Apple's upcoming iPhone. Click the link below for an in-depth review of the Apple iPhone.
Let me tell you from personal experience, the iPhone is much more impressive in your hand – when your finger's running across its multi-touch screen – than anything Steve Jobs' performance could express.
It feels small and thin. The screen is remarkably responsive. I typed on its onscreen keyboard with my index finger and, after about a minute, I felt I was already well on my way to being a proficient iPhone typist.
The iPhone's software works hard to figure out what you're trying to type in case your finger was just a bit off target. And as you type, the keys 'pop up', getting larger as if they're rising up to meet your touch.
The screen's impressively bright and remarkably crisp, thanks to a high pixel density of 160 pixels per inch. The iPhone's screen is 320 x 480 pixels, meaning that it has twice as many pixels as the video iPod, but fits them in an area 88 percent larger. The 'widescreen display' isn't a traditional 16:9 home-video aspect ratio – it's 3:2. Widescreen movies will either be cropped or display slight letterboxing effects.
I found it difficult to form complete sentences while I was holding the iPhone. In terms of sheer magnetism, its power cannot be overstated. But based on the work-in-progress unit I encountered (Notes and Calculator were just placeholder images) we can make some basic assumptions about how the interface will work.
A strip of icons at the bottom display the phone's most popular options – at Home, they're Phone, Mail, Web and iPod. When you click on one of those, you'll see a set of icons representing the main options in whatever mode you've entered.
One of the joys of using the iPhone is understanding that it's not just a press-and-hold interface, but one that can be controlled by numerous gestures, most of them intuitive. When you're in a long list flicking your finger on the screen makes it scroll rapidly.
To unlock the iPhone and start using it, you have to slide your finger across its face, a movement that made me feel as if I was almost unzipping the phone. Zooming in on an image or a web page by poking at the area you'd like to enlarge with two fingers and then spreading them apart feels quite natural, too.
With five months until the iPhone's US arrival, there's a lot more work for Apple's developers to do. We haven't seen all the software that will ship on the phone, nor do we really know details about how it'll let you browse important data – if someone emails me a PDF, Word document, or Excel spreadsheet, will I be able to display those?
Apple officials assured me that the iPhone will support PDF, but I didn't get any info about other formats. If the iPhone's not just a phone, but a revolutionary internet communications device, it'll need to be versatile, and that means displaying (or editing) common document types.
Extra software for the iPhone will probably be available via iTunes, and I expect third-party widgets may quickly become available. It will be intriguing to hear more details from Apple in the coming months.