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We've got iPhones, what do you want to know?

Chris Ziegler
June 29, 2007

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In case our coverage hasn't made it crystal clear just yet, we've got iPhones (yes, plural). So what do you wanna know about 'em? Hit us up in comments!

Can the home screen icons be reordered or customized?
As far as we can tell, no. We'll keep you updated if we find a way.

How long does it take to boot?
Our cold reset took 32.5 seconds from power on to the appearance of the home screen.

Is the UI smooth and fast (like in the commercials)?
By and large, yes. We see an occasional stutter, but nothing that has a noticeably negative impact on the use of the device.

Does it only work with the SIM it came with, or can you insert your existing SIM?
You can insert your existing SIM, but you will still have to go through the iTunes activation process. Furthermore, you need to reactivate in iTunes every time you change SIMs -- if you put in a different SIM, you get an "Incorrect SIM" message.

How's speed over EDGE?
The jury's still out, but it totally depends on what you're doing. YouTube seems to be virtually unusable over EDGE at the moment, but Safari and Maps are pretty bearable. Mail's decent, too. Our speeds on are all over the map -- lowest is 64kbps so far.

What do you think of the on-screen keyboard?
In the vertical mode, it's a little tricky, but as several reviewers have reported we think we'll probably get used to it. In the horizontal mode -- which appears to be available only in Safari -- it's way easier to use. We'd say it's actually a pleasure.

Can you download and save images in Safari?
No, it doesn't appear so.

Can you play music through the built-in speaker?
Yes, and it'll go pretty loud, too.

How prone to fingerprints is it?
With the exception of the Apple logo, the back and sides have a matte finish that make them impervious to fingerprints. The front is literally a pane of polished glass and it exhibits the same properties -- oils and fingerprints are basically invisible when the screen's on, but they show up when off (and in the black zones above and below the screen). The included polishing cloth is definitely going to see some use.

Does Meebo work?
Yes, it seems to!

What does the touchscreen feel like?
For lack of a better description, it simply feels like a pane of glass (as we commented above). Perfectly smooth with no give whatsoever. For anyone used to Palm or Windows Mobile touchscreen devices, this is a completely different experience. Notice that you cannot use a stylus with the iPhone, so the resolution of interactivity is lower to accommodate the fact that fingers are fatter than styli.

Does Safari remember passwords?
No. If you log into a website and leave Safari, it stays open in the background (unless you explicitly close it or restart the iPhone) and maintains your sessions, but that's the extent of it.

Does it scratch?
Yeah, probably, but nothing so far -- and we definitely haven't been babying them. Our biggest concern would be the back, not the front.

Is there a reset button?
No. The phone is reset by holding down the home and sleep / wake buttons for several seconds.

Can Chinese characters be viewed in Safari? What about Chinese character input?
Chinese works like a champ when viewing websites, but we haven't found any way to input it.

Is battery life really as good as Apple was claiming?
Stay tuned for some comprehensive battery tests, but our initial impression is that the only way to meet Apple's talk time numbers is by keeping use of the display to a bare minimum. We've had our screen on more often than not this evening and we're at about 60% battery life after perhaps two hours of cumulative use.

How are the camera and camera app?
We'll have more on this subject, but so far it seems the cam may be one of the least impressive aspects of the device. Picture quality is less than stellar, the viewfinder operates at no better than 8 or 10fps, and there are literally no options for scene, white balance, and so on.

Is it easy to use with one hand?
Sort of, yeah. Folks with smaller hands may have trouble reaching the back / cancel buttons found in the upper left hand corner of some screens, but otherwise, it's doable.

Does it do anything useful before you activate it via iTunes?
Nope. It'll let you make an emergency call (like most GSM phones) but that's all.

Does it support modem tethering via Bluetooth?
Nope! Nor by any other means, for that matter.

Can you text and email in landscape mode?
No, and we hope this is something Apple revisits in a future firmware version; the landscape keyboard is a good deal easier to use.

Does it vibrate when ringing?
It can be set to do that, yes.

What happens when someone sends you an MMS (which the iPhone doesn't support)?
Disturbingly, it seems that the answer is "nothing." The sender has no notification that the MMS wasn't received, and you have no notification that someone tried to send one to you. This can't possibly be the intended functionality.

What happens if you're downloading stuff and you receive a call?
We ran a 1MB speed test while simultaneously calling the phone. The call went straight to voicemail.

Can the proximity sensor be fooled?
It can be fooled into thinking it's against your ear (and therefore fooled into turning off the display) simply by holding your hand near the top of the phone, but no real surprise there. We haven't noticed any instances of the display turning on while it actually is against our ear, though.

Can you use music with the alarm clock?
It doesn't look like you can, no. Possibly downloadable ringtones, though -- we'll have to wait see.

Can you stream shared iTunes libraries to the iPhone over WiFi?

What exactly can the Bluetooth support be used for?
Not much -- mono headset and that's about it. No A2DP, no tethering, no contact exchange.

In this article: apple, iphone
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