Well, Jeff Putz Week started last night with a fun date to see a community theater show. Big River was the show. It wasn't terrible at all, though my date used to work professionally as a stage manager in NYC so she had some comments.
The point was that I wasn't going to go out of my way to find an iPhone after the 6pm release. And as it turns out, it would've been silly. The AT&T stores seemed to have limited quantities, because none of the nearby locations I called had any, but the Apple Store had many, many available. I arrived a little before 11am, and was in and out with the phone in ten minutes. I saw three sold while I was there. The buzz around the table where they had them out was pretty intense.
Before I talk about the phone, going to the Apple Store is always such a surreal thing. As I got in the queue to pick up my phone, I watched a college girl leaving with her parents, a MacBook box in her arms, hugging it like a doll. It's so odd that products can cause such a strange emotional response in people. Say what you will about the marketing... I still think that it's the quality of the product that makes people respond this way.
Any way, setting up the phone via iTunes, getting the number transferred and all that, went pretty smoothly and without incident. It took almost an hour for the number to switch from Verizon, not that I was getting any new calls. The only issue I had was that trying to sync my mail account reveals a bug. Because I use Google Apps for Your Domain, I have a popw.com account that goes through Gmail servers. iTunes, or whatever the sync mechanism is, decides to append my mail user name with @gmail.com, which is not correct. It's like it's protecting me to configure it right since it sees the Gmail servers.
Typing on the touch keyboard is weird at first, but after some practice it works quite well. The UI in most everything on the phone works pretty well. The weather and stock widgets are cool.
The most amazing thing to me is the mapping stuff. Pull your address out of the bookmarks or contacts, get directions to another address or contact, bam. There it is. Search for "brunswick oh pizza" and find where you can get it in town. It's just awesome. This is the killer app for the phone, hands down.
The Web browsing works reasonably well. I've been using strictly the EDGE connection instead of my local Wi-Fi so I can get a real feeling about how well it performs. It's cool to see sites that get you to the right place by default. Fandango bumped me to the mobile version, for example.
Phone stuff is like any other phone, but the contact management is nice. I like pinning a photo to someone, and seeing their smiling face full screen when they call. That's pretty cool. The "visual voice mail" is very, very slick.
I don't like that you can't send picture messages in the traditional sense, because I can't send to Facebook or Campusfish in the usual way. Aside from the mail bug, that's the only real issue I've had.
The build quality is very solid. The screen is indestructible it seems. Did you see the video where they put it in a bag with keys and shook it? Not a scratch. Here's the thing... most every phone I've touched since my 1999 Motorola Star-Tac has been a disposable piece of crap. While I believe that the iPhone hype is worthy, and that the device is damn close to perfect, I do believe it's a starting point. It's just that the starting point is so many light years from anything any phone manufacturer has tried thus far. What took so long?
I really like my new toy!