In the box you’ll find the iPhone itself, the best avoided headset, a sync cable and a docking cradle. The latter is great to see, since it has been a while since Apple bundled a docking cradle with a device. Having the docking cradle on your desk makes it really easy to just connect your iPhone to your computer when you get to work in the morning, thus ensuring that your diary, contacts and music are constantly up to date, while also keeping your battery topped up.
If you decide to go down the official O2 route – rather than picking up an iPhone in the US, like I did – then it will set you back £269, along with a minimum 18 month contract. There are three tariffs available – £35 per month gets you 200 minutes and 200 texts, £45 per month gets you 600 minutes and 500 texts, while £55 per month gets you 1200 minutes and 500 texts. Looking at the tariffs it’s clear that the £35 option is somewhat lacking, and most consumers will have to go for the £45 tariff, which is quite a pricey option considering the purchase price of the phone.
Although the iPhone tariffs are pretty good by O2 standards, they still can’t compete with the Flext tariffs that T-Mobile is offering right now. That said, if you want to go down the third party operator route like me, there are a few caveats to take on board. Your iPhone will never be running the latest firmware, since each new firmware update will no doubt re-lock your phone, and you’ll be left hanging around for someone to crack the latest security attempts from Apple. As such, I don’t have the Wi-Fi iTunes options on my phone, whereas all phones bought officially tomorrow will have this feature as standard.
To be fair to O2, the company is making it as easy as possible for existing customers to switch to an iPhone. Anyone who started an O2 contract before the 18th September will be able to switch to a new iPhone contract without any kind of penalty, thus making it simple to switch to Apple’s new baby. Of course this decision isn’t altruistic on O2’s part, it just wants to sell more iPhones, and this tactic is sure to do that.
So, the iPhone isn’t perfect, but what it does do right, it does very, very right. I honestly can’t describe how beautifully implemented the user interface is, you just have to see it and use it for yourself. The bundled applications are both useful and fun, the iPod functionality is seamless, the SMS implementation is inspired and the virtual keyboard is better than any hardware keyboard I’ve ever used on a mobile device. Yes there are some definite issues, especially the random signal drops, but there’s just so much that’s great about the iPhone that I can’t help but find myself forgiving its shortcomings.
The iPhone is one of the most beautifully designed technology products I have ever used. Not only does it look great, but the usability puts even its good looks in the shade. The fact that you need no stylus to use the iPhone, speaks volumes about its user interface. As a music player it excels, as a mobile Internet device it excels, but as a phone it’s strangely disappointing. And when it comes to features, the T-Mobile Vario III is still a far more powerful mobile device than the iPhone.
But even with its faults, I love the iPhone – I still find myself using the iPhone, despite having many options at my disposal. It’s just so different to anything else out there and is truly a joy to use. If Apple’s first attempt at a smartphone is this good, I can’t wait to see the second generation product – 3G, GPS and proper Bluetooth please Apple.
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