iPhone report

Got the iPhone — and, after this post, I’ll return to writing about writing.

The wait was 12 hours at an AT&T store at a mall north of Seattle, and mildly amusing. The folks in line were geeky, but gadget freaks rather than Mac aficionados. Everyone had friends and relatives coming and going during the day for entertainment and to hold their places in line, which made for a congenial atmosphere. There were two security guys (one in a black suit, with sunglasses and a crewcut!) assigned to keep an eye on us and pretty soon a sort of “reverse Stockholm Syndrome” took hold, with much sharing of snacks and talk about the local club scene. The AT&T store staff were really revved up; they got a briefing on the phones from an Apple rep at 4:30, and at 5:30 came out to let us play with some of the accessories (ear pieces, cases) that would be on sale with the phones. It wasn’t quite as posh as the scene at one California Apple Store, where the store staff treated those in line to coffee from a nearby Starbucks. We had to buy our own.

At 6 p.m. the doors opened and the AT&T store sold us the phones in sealed boxes in sealed bags. I brought mine home and activated it through iTunes in about three minutes. I’d had my landline forwarded to my old cell phone during the wait, and forgot to take off call forwarding, so my first clue that my mobile number from T-Mobile had shifted to the iPhone was when I started getting calls. The iPhone had synced my contacts from my iMac, so it recognized the callers and displayed their names.

Those of you who like Apple products will be delighted to hear that the iPhone takes user friendliness to astonishing new heights. Those of you who are sure the iPhone is an over-rated piece of crap wouldn’t believe a single thing I’d say about it, so I won’t bother. Really. This is a writing blog, not a technology blog.

From a writer’s perspective, the iPhone is not going to be a significant tool. The touchscreen keyboards (one for alphabet, one for numbers and punctuation) are fine for composing short text messages and adding info to a contact file. But you wouldn’t want to take notes or blog with them. The process is crystal clear, but the tapping is slower than with a traditional mini-keyboard.

From a business person’s perspective, an iPhone could become an essential. Today I found myself using the phone, the text messaging, Google Maps, and the web browsing capability as I headed off to brunch with Chris Barnes (another ex-Apple person) and then went in search of a store that sells Tom Bihn bags. It seems odd to call it a phone, because it feels more like having a computer in my purse.

Chris and I ran into Monica Guzman, who blogs about the Internet for the Seattle P-I, at brunch. We demo-ed our iPhones for her, and then Chris used the Apple website to locate nearby stores at which iPhones were still in stock. Monica’s off on vacation for a few weeks, but I’ll be watching her blog when she gets back to see if she’s iPhone-equipped!