Appointment at half past seven on a cold and cloudy morning in San Francisco in front of one of the big hotels in the center with the head of European communication from Apple for the first ever iPhone test for an Italian. A quick walk up to a side entrance of the Moscone Center, via a maze of corridors and private rooms where meetings and briefings are held together with very few other European journalists – no more than one per country – and finally ten minutes to ask Greg Joswiak and David Moody, two of the "great leaders ?From Apple, all on the iPhone. And, above all, being able to touch it with your hand to understand if the device is worth the enthusiasm that Steve Jobs put us in his presentation yesterday (and that today's newspapers are putting in telling how the keynote destined to make history went, according to the founder of Apple).
Before some information that perhaps these days are not filtered or were not known about the device: it can only work with an operator (Cingular in the USA, in Europe it is still unknown what it will be even if the voices denied by the two executives would be those of a close negotiation with Vodafone or T-Mobile by Deustche Telekom); the 320 × 480 screen resolution with 160 ppi, while the phone battery – like the iPod – integrated and exchangeable only by Apple.
The operating system, an optimized version of MacOS X that runs on the device, occupies about 200 Mb of the 4 or 8 Gigabytes of the first models that will be marketed. The glass has received a particular anti-scratch treatment and moreover, it is not necessary to press but simply "rub" to activate the functions (thus reducing the risk of scratches). The sensors only receive the contact of bare fingers: no gloves or other types of help to use the iPhone as a stylus or other objects.
Synchronization can only take place via cable and only using iTunes, which takes charge of transferring all the necessary information (music, video, contact, mail etc). The same thing will also happen for PC, where in fact iTunes already synchronizes images. The push mail will be only Yahoo! and not even that of .Mac.
It will not be possible to use VoIP applications, let alone install third-party applications freely, but it will be necessary to go through iTunes and – probably – a special "shop" to purchase them. The reason the announcement preceded the release of the device for so long that the FCC's approval procedures are not "armored" and the risk for Apple was to see tons of rumors circulating on the Internet for months. The darker lower rear part of the phone is the antenna. It is not possible to know the type of processor used and even the supplier: Apple's desire to offer a new and complete experience, not to get lost in almost useless details for most of who wants to buy the iPhone.
We then come to the short test: a "hands-on" that allowed in about ten minutes to try a little functionality and above all socialize the use of the interface. And overall, the very positive evaluation: although there is no tactile or audible feedback when you move your fingers on the screen, the device is very fast and "friendly", the movements are natural and light, the feeling is actually that of activating and deactivating a series of real and non-virtual commands.
There were no particular slowdowns even opening iPhoto or going to touch the mail (where in fact the processor took a few seconds to open the view on the mail already present because it probably downloaded others), while the use of photos (zoom with the "pinch" of the two fingers) or the use of natural and very fast music and video (film and TV series). It is also very instinctive to turn the screen to reorient vertical images, even if the films and TV series are played only in one direction.
Among the things that had not been shown, note the Clock application, similar to the Dashboard widget, which allows you to have multiple clocks, the alarm and the stopwatch. Still, the airplane mode that turns off all the radio functions of the device transforming it into an iPod-handheld for use in flight.
The feeling, as we said, in the end very positive. The effectively resistant screen, the solid and light object, the intuitive and very fast interface, the very pleasant scrolling and "bouncing" effect of the iTunes lists or covers. The "fingerprints" on the screen do not seem to be very serious, after having been manipulated for a while, and the only perplexity remains on the possibility of keeping the phone in contact with other objects in the pocket, given the large surface that can still be scratched.
It was not possible to take photographs but, placing them next to each other, the iPhone appears as tall as the Blackberry Pearl, with the same shade of black and with a slightly larger surface: one centimeter longer and wider. Very last note: the "home" button at the base of the slightly hollowed appliance. When turned on, a white apple appears with metal reflections for about a minute.
In the end, on the reporter's privilege of being one of the very first in the world to have used the iPhone in person, the whipping prevails: after ten minutes you go out and the phone – unfortunately – does not come away with us …
Note: For photo galleries, videos and special services on iPhone visit this Macitynet page.