Apple iPhone: 1 year review

One year ago today, I stood in a line (albeit, short compared to others) to pick up the most anticipated super-gadget of all time.  I was unbelievably stoked.  I had waited nearly 7 months from the official Jobsnote announcement, and my wait was about to end.  Finally, at 6pm my local AT&T store was letting people in. I was 4th in line, and there were only 4 8GB iPhones they told us. Hot damn, I got lucky.  After about 45 minutes, I walked out of the store, my iPhone in the bag waiting to be unboxed (ah, that fresh Apple product smell).  But I would have to painstakingly wait longer.  A gadget freaks worst nightmare: My wife's birthday is today, and oh yes, we had to go out for dinner.  Dinner was at 7, and with the drive, I was already deemed late.  I made it to the restaurant, and of course had to explain what I had been doing.  I left my new toy in the car.  Like a siren, it beckoned me.  Sure enough the topic at a nearby table was the wonder gadget I had just purchased.  I hadn't even looked at it yet. It was still safely in the box.  Finally, our lovely dinner came to an end.  Next stop- my in-law's house for some cake with my parents.  Luckily, my wonderful wife knew she had to share her occasion with me that year, and as requested, she brought along our Macbook so I could start the activation process.  After some cake, and more chit chat, I made a break for it.  I headed to my father-in-law's office (closest to the wireless router, to ensure perfect signal), and began my unboxing.  I was finally holding it in my hands: the Apple iPhone. It was finally a reality. I proceeded to dock the phone, connect the USB cord to my computer and fire up iTunes for activation.... except there was something wrong.  The wireless router wasn't working.  The frickin thing wouldn't let me connect to the network.  So damn it all, I unplugged the D-Link POS, and plugged directly in to the cable modem.  Finally, after a few quick point-and-clicks, my iPhone was activated and Synced.   I had spent the previous week getting Address Book up to snuff, and sectioning off iPhoto for my iPhone.  I then re-emerged from my perceived anti-social activity to show off my new toy.  I already knew the thing inside and out, so it was easy to impress my family.

Today, a whole year later, the iPhone is still impressive.  Its improved sibling is on the way, and there have been a few modest attempts at stealing the iPhone's thunder.  Despite others meager attempts, the iPhone is pound-for-pound the best phone, DAP, and internet device out there.  Here are a few things that still impress me today:

  • The Display.  This thing is gorgeous. Excellent vibrant colors, very bright (reads perfect in daylight), and practically HD quality, thanks to its 120 PPI.  I was worried about smudges- cant even see them when you're using the phone, and they wipe right off.
  • The iPod.  Thanks to the display, browsing album art in coverflow, watching movies or TV shows is awesome.  I also love being able to browse my collection in coverflow, like i would with my CD collection.  Great sound, intuitive to navigate, it simply is the best DAP/Video device.
  • Mobile Safari.  While I prefer reading the RSS feeds, displaying full sites, with the exception of flash, is nearly flawless.  I've purchased items from amazon, checked ebay auctions, posted comments on TUAW, Engadget and other Weblogs Inc., sites,  looked up cars on Edmunds, there is very little I cant access/do/read. Simply the best solution on the go.
  • Google Maps.  I can't tell you how many times I've used this thing to get me from point A to point B. Be it in Seattle, or more recently Niagara Falls/Buffalo (I found The Anchor Bar faster on my iPhone than I could on the Navigation system in my grandparent's 2008 Cadillac CTS).  Not to mention it doubles as better than yellow pages.  Simply a Godsend.
  • iTunes Store.  Wow, this was such an awesome addition (not to mention a brilliant revenue source).  Its so nice to be able to purchase new music from iTunes, and be able to instantly listen to it (not to mention preview it), wherever I can pick up a WiFi connection (though Apparently iPhone 3G users might be able to purchase over the cellular network in the future).  I've been at work several times, and heard something on Pandora or KEXP, and was able to buy it before i could forget.
  • Touch screen.  The beautiful part of having a phone with limited physical buttons, is having a dynamic input system. With the App Store on its way, and finally some 3rd party development,  this gives developers the world.  No guessing if the phone has these buttons, or where they might be located.  As for typing, I've said it before, and I'll say it again, it works wonderfully.  I type full emails, 2-thumbed every day.  I'm a big dude too.  People just need to resist that urge to correct their mistakes...about 85% of the time, the phone will assume the proper word.... just keep going!
  • Reception.  I live in Wenatchee podunk-middle-of-the-state WA. We don't even have a Best Buy or an Olive Garden (though, if you can help Wenatchee out in those areas, I'm ready for both of them).  In a few months, we're finally get a a freakin' Jack-in-the-Box.  Seriously.  I rarely have any reception issues. Occasionally Target or Costco give me grief, but seriously, those places are built like bomb shelters, and don't you have some shopping to do? 
  • Visual Voicemail.  I can finally pick which message to hear first, and see who its from, without having to listen to that archaic automated robot voice, and can delete just as easy.
  • The other stuff. Notes, calendar, calculator, the camera; all that stuff has come in very handy at some point or another.

So as you can tell, I freakin love my iPhone.  Gone are the days of toting my iPod, and my cell phone, and still not having some of these features.  The sucker is slim, sexy, and intuitive.  There isn't any other cell phone on the market that comes close to doing all of the things as good as the iPhone does.  Its gadget convergence at its best. 1 year later, the iPhone is still the ultimate gadget.

Now i should probably get back to my wife-- it IS her birthday.