Newsweek's Steven Levy Loves the iPhone

Illustration for article titled Newsweek's Steven Levy Loves the iPhone

Heavy weather and an unexpected overnight stay in Pittsburgh gave Newsweek tech whiz Steven Levy ample time to play around with the iPhone. How'd he spend his time? Doing what anyone would do, really: e-mail, get help negotiating downtown, check the weather, keep tabs on some sports, listen to music, and, of course, check out YouTube. And all on a single battery charge. He did find some faults, but not much that the other guys hadn't also caught.


Levy found the controls to be pretty intuitive. Without consulting the manual, he managed to find his way around the phone well enough. The only obstacle he came up against was typing, which "requires some concentration," though Levy admits he's not much of a two-thumb typist.

Another concern, the battery life, passed Levy's test, as he said it only wound down noticeably when he watched videos or browsed the web heavily. When he didn't, the iPhone was good for the day, with a recharge overnight.

As for that glass screen–and the inevitable smudging–Levy found that the screen cleans up easily. Still, that does mean you're probably going to clean it more than you will the phone you have now. This isn't a huge issue; that's what sleeves are for!

Some stronger complaints: When using EDGE, Levy did find that there were some slow moments, comparing it to dial-up on the slowest EDGE mode setting. He also encountered trouble with e-mail from one of his accounts (presumably a POP or IMAP account), and found the absence of an IM client a disappointment–especially since Apple has its own excellent iChat. The inability to use songs as ringtones was curious as well, as you'd think something as stylish and personalized as the iPhone would have more options when it comes to customization.

Levy's verdict: the iPhone is certainly worthwhile and fun to use, though those who forgo an early purchase and see what Apple has up their sleeve for the iPhone's future iterations wouldn't have the wrong idea.

It's a superbly engineered, cleverly designed and imaginatively implemented approach to a problem that no one has cracked to date: merging a phone handset, an Internet navigator and a media player in a package where every component shines, and the features are welcoming rather than foreboding. The iPhone is the rare convergence device where things actually converge.


And while he was reviewing the phone:

"Everyone we talk to hates their phones—it's universal," Steve Jobs told me on a call to my iPhone a couple of days ago. (The control-freaky Apple CEO was just checking up to see how I was doing.)


At Last, the iPhone. [Newsweek]



@rg: It is fake IM, in the sense that the UI is like iChat but it uses the SMS protocol rather than the IM protocol. If you have a cell phone already and you've done SMS before, it's exactly the same but you can see the entire SMS thread on one scrolling screen is all. That's very nice compared to other phones. Thus, people won't use it like IM (unless they take the unlimited SMS plan) because (1) you don't want to waste one SMS just for saying things you would normally say in IM, like "yeah", "ok", or small replies like that; and (2) I assume it will be as fast as SMS, whereas IM is instantaneous and you can type and send, type and send, etc. to your heart's content. As others have said before, you can do true IM by going on a Web page that does so, and I expect these people will offer alternate page displays to fit the iPhone screen better. I may be completely wrong but someone will correct me then.