I got back from CES Tuesday night and headed over to MacWorld Wed. to see the iPhone. A few notes and thoughts:
1. The UI and multi-touch screen look absolutely amazing, as does the phone itself. It looks much more like something from Star Trek than any other phone out there. It's longer and wider than most phones, but it's slim and has rounded corners, shiny metal, and a killer all-black front panel.
iPhone doesn't really do anything that a high-end SE/Nokia/Moto/HTC, etc. can't do now, except for Visual Voicemail: It does calls, Web, messaging, photos, and music. The thing is that it does them so much slicker and prettier than any other phone does - just like other Apple products. The photo management software just blows everything else out of the water, and the music software is much more like iTunes on a Mac/PC than like an iPod.
2. Apple is always very tight lipped about specs and details until a product launches. The iPhone *is not finished* - a few journalists at big-time media outlets actually got to play with the iPhone, but the general public could only watch a demo in the Apple theater or gawk at one of two iPhones in closed glass pedestal cases - they were running slideshow-type demos on a continuous loop.
That being said, David Pogue of the NYTimes got to play with one and noted that some functionality isn't working yet at all, and others like the camera refresh were slow enough to prompt Steve Jobs to tell him, "That will be smoother by launch." Apple reps I talked to told me they know nothing about camera specs, what chip is inside of the phone (it's some kind of Intel chip), and so on.
It's a 2mp camera that didn't look to have a flash, but no word on auto-focus. The battery IS NOT removable. There is no removable memory slot.
3. Pogue also said that typing on the virtual keyboard was less than satisfactory. Apple was highlighting their predictive text entry system during demos, and while it looked good, it's not the same as having a good keyboard on which to compose messages - it looks like iPhone may not be the phone of choice for heavy SMS and Email users.
4. Some Apple reps have been quoted as saying that the operating system is a closed version of OS X (the OS that runs Mac computers). That means that the phone won't be open to third-party software applications like a true smartphone or like the full OS X is. Apple surely will ship the iPhone with more applications ("widgets") than what they showed yesterday.
5. iPhone has no 3G data capabilities - only EDGE (and WiFi). Steve Jobs did mention that Apple is working on 3G phones -- I wouldn't be shocked to see the phone ship with Cingular-compatible HSPDA come June. Apple's been known to announce products with one set of specs and then ship them with bumped-up specs, hence creating a sense that they're giving consumers more than they initially paid for. Apple is *the master* of creating hype and positive spin for new products.
6. As of now, Cingular is saying that a two-year contract will be mandatory with an iPhone purchase. So it's not like you can get it for $499 with 2 years of service or $599+ with no service. You MUST buy 2 years of service, either as a new customer or as an extension to your current contract.
7. iPhone has a standard iPod connector port and so should work with current iPod accessories. Bluetooth is listed as 2.0 with EDR, but no mention is made about A2DP stereo. Apple did announce a bluetooth earpiece, but it's mono. iPhone has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack and will ship with a wired stereo headset with inline microphone.
8. As of now the official word is that iPhone *WILL NOT* support over the air music purchases or wireless syncing. Music and video will have to be purchased/downloaded/rippped to a computer and then synced to the phone. I would imagine that you could download music from Web sites directly to iPhone using WiFi or EDGE, but iPhone does not have an iTunes client that can purchase music directly from Apple's iTunes store. At least not now.