Everyone and their mother (in the States) has written about the iPhone by now. But few from outside the States (like me) have written about the iPhone. The main reason is that the iPhone is locked with the Microsoft of telecoms, giant AT&T who in USA faces very little competition and keeps growing and growing but it´s not as global as Vodafone so the iPhone equals At&T equals USA for now. This takes me to the first problem about the iPhone, namely that Apple sold its soul to AT&T. So I had to sign with AT&T to get the iPhone to work and AT&T has a somewhat absurd plan that if you want to call international and not totally be ripped off and if you want to roaming you have to pay extra monthly amounts twice on top of the $60 per month plus taxes which is their cheapest plan. Bottom line you can´t get an iPhone with international capabilities without committing to spend the incredible amount of $1800 over 2 years plus $550 for the phone. Now if you are American AT&T does have something that is nice but probably would not have passed regulators in Europe (you know, Americans invented telecom competition, the rest of the world followed, Bush America unfortunately retreated) and that is that with an iPhone it is free to call anyone else with an iPhone as well as anyone else who is an AT&T customer. So after you pay the fixed monthly fortune, so long as you don´t call much abroad you will probably won´t pay anything extra and you will get all the low speed data you can eat. The iPhone comes with a very low speed data GPRS service and WiFi (which it is great news for Fon as iPhoneros will be desperately seeking WiFi). Ok, end of the rant. From now I promise to be positive about the iPhone (something that would make sense considering the fortune I committed to this device).

So what´s great about the iPhone? Are you a guy? Ok, here it goes, the iPhone is like a sexy woman with amazing skin that you love to caress (women readers pls reverse genders, gay readers pls adjust accordingly). Yes, it´s all about the skin. The iPhone is smooth, sensitive, great looking and that´s 50% of its appeal. The other half are: an amazing integration with a Mac (I use a Mac). A Mac is to the iPhone what a racquet is to a tennis player. Or to turn it around, I don´t understand how people who don´t have a Mac can truly enjoy an iPhone. In my case it was perfect, in less than 15 minutes I had my music, my contacts, my email configurations and unread emails, my pictures from iPhoto, everything, the integration was shockingly perfect. Another big plus of the iPhone is that it comes with a lot of cool features to make your life better, you can choose favorite contacts so if you have over 2000 like me you don´t go crazy finding them, as an iPod the iPhone is an even better iPod (only negative is that earphones as design fall of my ears, do I have weird ears or what??).

But I can´t end this poorly written, totally idionsynchratic review without giving you some more negatives so here they go. If you mix languages when you type you are screwed. The iPhone not only discriminates against non Americans by only being available in their country but it discriminates against Spanish speakers who are in America (if they have Spanish as a language I apologize, I had the iPod for a few hours and I could not find it). So the predictive writing that is supposed to help you as you thumb your way through the sexy yet flat keyboard gives you all sorts of useless americano words when you are a latino and want to schmooze in your language (I am a Jewish Latino and yes we do exist Steve!). Plus whether you are a latino or an americano the iPhone is damn hard to type on when compared to a Blackberry or Sidekick (it is better than all other phones without keyboards like the N95). The iPhone has the unique combination of being by far the best handheld device in which to read and view stuff but the worse in which to input stuff in. The iPhone wants to show you who IT is but it does not want to turn you into a protagonist: with the iPhone you cannot film, you can take bad pictures, you cannot enter text easily, the iPhone seems to be the first spectator phone that I have seen. When you are connected to WiFi for example the iPhone is a pleasure to surf on, I would say the best surfing on the net, it is also incredible to watch Youtube videos on. But what the iPhone lacks is the Web 2.0 functionalities, the famous Time Mag thing that the Person of the Year is You, you is not You with an iPhone. Other negatives is that the iPhone is bad for any serious blogger who likes to add images and videos.  And as opposed to both the Blackberry 8800 and the N95 which I have been carrying there´s google maps but no GPS. Also I could not find Google Talk in the iPhone and I use it both in the N95 and the Blackberry 8800. No Skype either which Windows Mobile has. Also both Blackberry and Nokia have downloads and the iPhone has no downloads, not even a simple chat client. And I could not find how to move icons around, how to set your favorite songs as your ringing tones, how to adjust the volume and change songs from the earphones as the N95 allows you to do.

Here´s a long video about the iPhone in Spanish that is not only about the iPhone. This was shot on my first date and it has more romance than substance.



Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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