In both hardware and software, the iPhone is a truly new creation. In the technology industry, we tend to call these "1.0 products," and many savvy consumers choose to wait until a second version arrives, presumably with the original version's bugs worked out.
The iPhone certainly has room to grow, and there's no doubt that future versions will build on the impressive list of features in this initial product. But let there be no doubt: this first iPhone is an impressively polished product, with none of the haphazardness that we've come to associate with anything 1.0.
Among its liabilities are some features that ideally would be addressed via software updates, including adding instant-messaging support, some method of selecting text and moving it between programs, a faster quick-dial feature, Flash support in Safari, and improvements to the Notes program including the ability to sync it with the Mac. Other weaknesses, like its lack of support for faster cellular networks and absence of GPS capabilities, will have to wait for a new version of the iPhone's hardware.
But the iPhone's positives vastly outweigh its negatives. It's a beautiful piece of hardware with a gorgeous high-resolution screen and a carefully designed, beautiful interface inside. The iPhone's touchscreen keyboard will end up pleasing all but the most resistant Blackberry thumb-typers, making it an excellent device for e-mail. Its Safari browser cleverly condenses full-blown Web pages into a format that's readable on a small screen. Its iPod features make it a versatile audio player and a drop-dead gorgeous video player. And, yes, it does pretty well at making phone calls, too.
To put it more simply: The iPhone is the real deal. It's a product that has already changed the way people look at the devices they carry in their pockets and purses. After only a few days with mine, the prospect of carrying a cellphone with me wherever I go no longer fills me with begrudging acceptance, but actual excitement.--Jason Snell