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Mossberg on iPhone: 'breakthrough handheld' computer

updated 07:45 pm EDT, Tue June 26, 2007

Mossberg reviews iPhone

In his early review of the iPhone, technology guru Walt Mossberg said the device was "a beautiful and breakthrough handheld computer," despite some flaws and feature omissions. The review says that the much-anticipated device, which goes on sale on Friday, "sets a new bar for the smart-phone industry," citing its clever finger-touch interface in place of commonly used stylus and button; however, interface sometimes adds steps to common functions, the review said. Mossberg also noted that AT&T's EDGE wireless network is somewhat unreliable and slow, but compliments Apple on the internet browsing experience, "robust" email software, the slim form factor, 'impressive" battery life ("better than its key competitors claim"), hi-res screen ("gorgeous screen makes other smart phones look primitive"), large memory capacity, and the ability to easily sync with both Macs and PCs via Apple's iTunes software. Interestingly, the reviewer achieved a battery life of 7 hrs 18 min, coming close to Apple's 8-hour battery life claim.

The review also said that the omission of a physical keyboard -- in favor of a virtual on-screen keyboard was not a downside; in fact, the review claims that that after five days of use, the reviewer was able to type quickly and accurately as his Palm Treo -- mostly due to Apple's smart software that corrects typing errors on-the-fly; however, other smartphones offer better prediction software, Mossberg noted.

On the downside, the iPhone cannot be upgraded to work on AT&T's faster 3G mobile network, although it does automatically switch to use Wi-Fi wireless networks when in range. The iPhone may not be compatible with some iPod accessories, including headphones (which may require an adapter) and and some car adapters for playing music (though it will work for charging), although the review said that Apple is considering a software update to fix this.

by MacNN Staff




  1. cmoney

    Joined: Dec 1969


    nytimes too

    david pogue's review is up on too. the pics from the camera look much better than i expected.

  1. dennisobell

    Joined: Dec 1969


    big win

    Mossberg tipped his hand about keyboard frustrations a couple of weeks ago, and I expected him to blast the virtual kyboard. (Keyboards in general are a big usability issue/theme for him; he often grades laptops half on the quality of their keyboards.)

    For him to give a near-rave review of the keyboard after five days of use is a massive win for Apple on this. Mossberg's following (esp. older folks) trust him on ergonomic issues like that, and his thumbs-up means that's one less demerit for the iPod.

    All of his other complaints are things people weren't excited about already (EDGE, etc.), so they neither help nor hurt. Apple loyalists should be thrilled with this review.

  1. dpicardi

    Joined: Dec 1969


    As an Apple shareholder..

    this review scares me. Walt is a HUGE mac fan to say the least. He is at times criticized for being a mac fanboy.

    Given this it is clear that he has same major reservations about this phone. Never does he come right out and say it is a winner. About the best he says is it raises the bar for smart phones. Not the ringing endorsement that Apple or I want to hear.

    Also the EDGE network appears to be playing out as poorly as everyone feared. I can figure out why Apple chose to allow this and didn't demand 3G. They are going to get continually slammed for this.

    Lastly, Walt, work on the umms and ahhs will you? For an articulate man such as yourself, I found your video almost un-watchable.

  1. ccrider

    Joined: Dec 1969



    he states in his review that there are no hardware controls for switching songs, pausing, etc. but as the dork in the iPhone guided tour babbles, you can pause music by clicking earphones once, and advance tracks by clicking twice.

    So there, mossy.

  1. OtisWild

    Joined: Dec 1969



    But does it have a keyboard in landscape mode?

    If not, that is retarded.

  1. pysan

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I think Walt seemed genuinely excited, but seems to be tempering that excitement about the iPhone because he is seen as such a valued opinion. I mean, for one man to be able to say something, and it have such a great impact on a stock is pretty powerful. If he said this is the greatest, the stock would shoot up (which I must sa y I would like to see being a shareholder) but the reverse is true as well.

    For such a major launch I believe he just doesn't want to abuse his powerful position and says the good about the iPhone, but not a rave review either.

  1. Athens

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple picked edge because its the most common of the high speed data networks in he world. It was either take that or use a much more limited 3G. I think Apple made the right call, I rather have the slower highspeed cell network vs fast but limited access highspeed network. Chances are if you are in the city you will make more use of the wifi over the edge anyways, and when your out of the city chances are you will only have edge as a option vs 3G and wifi.

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I still...

    I still believe that the iPhone experience escapes most people. You need to own and use one for a month or two to realize what it can really do, you can't sit in a store and figure out if you want an iPhone or not, which is why apple is allowing people to register their iPhone's at home. If you don't like it they have a 10 day return policy, in which you receive a full refund.

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