My turn to weigh in on the iPhone

Since just about every blogger with a pulse has voiced their opinion of the iPhone within the week, I feel like I'm in a blogosphere all my own to not have voiced mine, especially considering I'm on my way to the Cingular store to return it today.  A week ago Friday, I received a frantic call from my dad who was camped out at the Cingular store in Easton, MD.  He had just relieved a guy who he paid to wait in line since the store opened that morning.  The line grew from 2 to 20 people before it opened and the store never sold out, though you can't fault him since this seemed to be the prevailing pattern all around the country.  Later that weekend, I unpacked and registered the sucker, not experiencing any of the problems that plagued many other purchasers.  The device is very cool.  The user interface is revolutionary.  The keystrokes and multimedia functions are creative, original and unseen yet on a mobile device.  So why am I returning it?  I find the form factor and the typing process/keyboard problematic.  Problem #1 - It's taller than my blackberry so doesn't fit in my pocket as well.  Yes, it's also thinner, but height seems to make a bigger difference when it's in my back pocket.  Problem #2 - I found it difficult to type and certainly far more time-consuming than the blackberry.  Sending a quick sms message takes roughly twice as long.  No good.  It's possible that my stubby fingers have something to do with it, but when I conducted an unscientific test made up of a random sample of friends, more than half also had trouble typing accurately.  There's been chatter on the wire about the next gen version having a feature that rotates the keyboard to landscape mode when the phone is held horizontally, similar to the photo functionality.  This would be a huge improvement, but still not make is as easy as typing on a blackberry.  Ultimately, the keyboard plays a prominent role in every function that requires typing - email, sms, calendar, web and notepad - so a sub-par keyboard is a big deal.  I'll wait and see what Apple has in store for the future, but for now, I'm content sticking with my old trusty RIM device.

By Josh Guttman

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