Just got back home tonight after my week in San Francisco, and found ANOTHER several dozen questions about the iPhone waiting on this blog’s comments area!
I promise that this blog isn’t going to become “all iPhone, all the time”–but I’ve read through your comments and compiled this second list of Q’s and A’s.
First, though, a clarification on my earlier post…
“Will the browser offer Flash and Java?” –In my previous blog post, I said “No” (you’ll see why in a moment). But several of you have pointed out an interview published in the German magazine MacWelt, in which the browser IS said to offer Flash and Java.
So I’ve asked John Markoff, who audio-recorded our interview with Steve Jobs, to play back the relevant exchange for me. Here it is:
Markoff: “And what are you thinking about Flash and Java?”
Jobs: “Java’s not worth building in. Nobody uses Java anymore. It’s this big heavyweight ball and chain.”
Jobs: “Well, you might see that.”
Markoff: “What about YouTube–”
Jobs: “Yeah, YouTube—of course. But you don’t need to have Flash to show YouTube. All you need to do is deal with YouTube. And plus, we could get ‘em to up their video resolution at the same time, by using h.264 instead of the old codec.”
So the DEFINITIVE answer now is: NO Java, MAYBE Flash.
“Will we be able to assign ipod-playable songs to ringtones?” –John Markoff asked this during our interview, and Mr. Jobs said it’s not been decided yet.
“How does the iPhone charge?” –It comes with a white charging/syncing dock, just like an iPod.
“Also, are you SURE about the games? All the iPods run those special iPod games; wouldn’t you expect them to run those at least?” –Ooh,
that’s a fantastic point. I explored the iPhone rather thoroughly during my time with it, and never saw any games. But it sure sounds
logical that you’d at least get everything you get with a regular iPod!
“Another thing: what is the of OS X version? Is it close to Leopard, a mobile-Leopard?” –No. It’s not the entire Mac OS X, either, and of course the interface has been redesigned for phone use.
“The CALENDAR program, does it accept input on the phone, or is it just a dumb viewer of synced data from your mac, like the ipod is?” –Calendar program isn’t finished yet, but I did see an “add new event” icon on the placeholder graphic.
“Is there any wireless (Bluetooth or Wifi) syncing at all, for contacts and calendar?” –No.
“Is the SETTINGS menu working as of now, and what are some of the settings that you saw in there?” –Yes, it’s working! Some of the options I remember were: backlight timer; “show touch feedback” (a little dot appears on the screen every time you tap); airplane mode; ringtone. There were many pages of settings, though.
“How was call quality? Was this not available for testing?” –Yes, it was working fine. I called home with it. Sounded loud and clear, although this means nothing at this point. Apple doesn’t even have FCC approval yet, and have many months of fine-tuning and fiddling left to do. Also, of course, your call quality will depend on how far you are from the cell tower.
“How about going to Google spreadsheets and docs to open Word documents and spreadsheets?” –Should work, in theory!
“Can the pinch gesture be used on Web pages?” –Yes! Also on email! So weird, but cool–I could zoom in and out on an entire email message: embedded photo, text, and all.
“Are both text and images both (almost) infinitely resizable with the pinch gesture?” –No. The smallest size is “fit the whole thing on the screen.” The largest seems to be, I don’t know, 4X or 8X actual size.
“So there are no speed dial keys??” –That one’s been bothering me, too. Even according to the demo at apple.com/iphone, it seems as though to dial, starting from the Home screen, you have to tap the Phone icon, then the keypad icon OR the phonebook icon, THEN tap someone’s name. I can’t believe Apple would design something that requires so many steps. Surely they’ve got a quicker method up their sleeve…
“Or is it that the email will not sync?” –The email doesn’t sync with anything. It sends and receives email from the Internet.
“Will the built-in sensors replace the need of the Nike sports kit for tracking running data?” –You’re kidding me, right?
“Is there going to be a security logon, so that if it is stolen that it is essentially useless for non-hacker thieves?” –I didn’t see it, but since that’s standard on iPods, I would imagine that it’ll be there.
“Will any songs downloaded to the phone itself be able to be used as ringtones?” –Apple says it hasn’t decided.
“Will the iPhone work without a SIM card installed? i.e., will it be able to surf the web/email?” –Very doubtful.
“Is the speakerphone any good?” –Yes, very good (for a cellphone).
“Didn’t steve demo a feature where Google maps knew where the phone was? Wouldn’t that require GPS?” –No, he didn’t. (Yes, it would.)
“Will the iPod FM radio work ?” –I’d guess yes, but don’t know for sure.
“Do I HAVE to use Cingular?” –ARRRRRGGGHHH!
“Can the iPhone be used as a modem for a MacBook?” –If the answer were yes, Apple surely would have touted that feature.
“Will it support disk mode like ipods?” –I’m guessing yes. (I do have a call in to Apple for all these “I’m guessing” answers, but it seems they’ve been a little busy recently…)
“Can you use it with an existing Cingular account, or will Cingular have a special iPhone group of plans with special features like the priority voice mail, etc?” –Cingular hasn’t yet determined service pricing.
“You referred to the screen as being a ‘glass surface.’ Was it a figure of speech or is it really made out of glass?” –Figure of speech. It’s the same polycarbonate that’s used for iPod screens, although apparently the coating has been substantially improved.
“Does the screen scratch easily?” –See above.
“Do you really think Apple’s just going to sit on it and not work on improving it for the next half-year? Give it time.” –Could not agree more!
“Will the iPhone touch surface work if you’re wearing gloves? Be unpleasant to use the phone in the dead of winter otherwise.” –No, it responds ONLY to skin touch. I couldn’t use my fingernail, for example. And you certainly can’t use a stylus. (On the other hand, I doubt there’s ANY smartphone you can operate with gloves on.)
“If it doesn’t sync with Outlook, does that mean it will not be compatible with Windows OS?” –No, it’s definitely Windows-compatible, in that it syncs with iTunes. (Music, photos, videos, etc.)
“Was there discussion of the CPU type?” –Mr. Jobs would not say what the processor is.
“Can you use it with iPod headphones – that is a bud in each ear? Or is it a single bud like other phones?” — It comes with stereo earbuds with a microphone/switch on the cord, and any iPod-compatible earphones work.
“How did they get OS X on a 4mb phone?” –It’s four GIGABYTES, not megabytes. And it’s not the whole Mac OS X.
“No 3G is almost a deal breaker. EDGE is horrible for a device this advanced…how did that get overlooked?” –It wasn’t overlooked. 3G (HSDPA) is available only in a few cities. Apple says that when it’s more prevalent, the company will upgrade the iPhone.
“Any word on whether the keypad will be available in the horizontal screen mode allowing larger keys, albeit a smaller text window?” –That orientation wasn’t available in the prototype; Apple hasn’t decided whether or not to add the landscape keyboard layout. (Also, interestingly: rotating the iPhone to change the screen orientation only works counterclockwise–and only, as Mr. Jobs said, “When it makes sense.” That is, not all programs rotate.)
“I think it’s a bit backwards and disappointing for Apple to introduce a product that requires MORE visual attention than most phones, and which has no tactile means of operation.” –I agree. At this early date, I think the phone may be the weakest part of the iPhone.
“How bright was the screen?” –Very.
“Is the virtual keyboard at least as quick and easy to use as entering text with a regular cellphone’s number keys?” –I’d say it’s a wash. The “virtual” keys make it slower than a BlackBerry, but at least you have the whole alphabet; you don’t have to press the 1 key three times to get the letter C, or whatever.
“Why is everyone missing the fact that this phone/device will seamlessly switch between Edge and Wi-Fi saving big $$$ on data rates?” –Because nobody bothers to post about what they LIKE. If Internetters can’t say something disparaging, they say nothing at all.