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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Fredrik Jonsson on July 10, 2007  · 

My hope is that before the iPhone comes to Europe Apple has fixed at least some of the things you so rightly mention.

1. The same excellent language support that Mac OS X have.
2. A better camera and the ability to upload video and pictures to my blog.
3. Freedom to use any SIM card you like
4. 3G

One of the things that surprised me most about alla the iPhone reports from USA is the hi prices they seem to pay for using there mobiles! The dollar is really low wich makes it even more weird.

Thanks for writing a very interesting blog!

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skynet on July 10, 2007  · 

Has the Iphone been tested in the Fon testlab?
Is it FON compliant?
Can it connect to FON_AP?
Can it connect to MyPlace easily using default WPA/TKIP
or will it have to be downgraded to WEP just like the Sony PSP & Nintendo DS?
Is Fon Labs going to create a connection manager as it did for the Nokia (and didn’t for the Windows Mobile)

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Mariano on July 10, 2007  · 

Reading your review I can conclude that iPhone is good but not enough good comparing with Blackberry and N95.
You have made a couple of amazing comments like: “it does not have GPS” or “it lacks Web 2.0″…Do you want a phone or need a all-in-one-super-gadget-phone? Let me resume what I supposed to be a good phone for you:
Phone, Blog update, Camera, Web 2.0, Wifi, GPS, UMTS, Film your own movies, Your unread Mails, Your own Photos, Your documents, Your wife (only if you click Wife button), Your sons, Skype, Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, Photoshop, a back up of the FON OS…. etc…etc…etc…
I believe that we lost the concept. A phone is a phone and it could have some gadgets, but no all existing gadgets.
Why we need a super-gadget-phone, but not a super-gadget-camera or super-gadget-notebook?


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Alberto on July 10, 2007  · 

Great Martin. You are really on the mood!

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Charbax on July 10, 2007  · 

It’s great that it comes with such a crappy EDGE network, that’s a million iPhone users that will be very hungry for FON WiFi hotspots. Just too bad it doesn’t do VOIP over WiFi, no smooth IM software is on there, the screen size and resolution isn’t good enough for browsing in my opinion since in the default view text is unreadable and it’s not practical to zoom in on everything. For browsing, the screen should be 4″ diagonal and 800×480 resolution for websites to be readable. Javascripts should be fully supported as well as flash, this iPhone doesn’t seem to have full AJAX Javascripts support and it might never be powerfull enough to display flash animations and flash video. What’s to be seen, is if Apple will activate an iTunes music and video store over WiFi (cause over EDGE it’s too slow to download music and videos), if that happens then iPhoneros thirst for FONspots will be very huge.

For today, those are not phones but I believe they are better WiFi pocket devices:

– Archos 605 WiFi (audio/video-on-demand and better browser over WiFi) and Nokia N800 (better browser, skype and better open source Linux apps to use over WiFi)

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Teemu Leinonen on July 10, 2007  · 

It looks that nothing has change. All this reminds me of the very old joke: “if operating systems were airline”.

“Windows Airlines: The terminal is neat and clean, the attendants courteous, the pilots capable. The fleet of Lear jets the carrier operates is immense. Your jet takes off without a hitch, pushes above the clouds and, at 20,000 feet, explodes without warning.”

“Unix Express: Passengers bring a piece of the airplane and a box of tools with them to the airport. They gather on the tarmac, arguing about what kind of plane they want to build…”

“Mac Airways: The cashiers, flight attendants, and pilots all look the same, talk the same, and act the same. When you ask the questions about the flight, they reply that you don’t want to know, don’t need to know, and would please return to your seat and watch the movie.”

It’s what phones have become.

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skynet on July 10, 2007  · 

Mariano : if you just want to “phone” with a “phone”…then buy one of 38 euro’s…it will give you voice & sms
But if you pay 2000euro’s …then you expect something more than just Voice & Sms …

where is the time that people said… “i don’t need a mobile phone…”

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pau valiente on July 10, 2007  · 

Martin, we want the iFon!

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Martin Varsavsky on July 10, 2007  · 


I believe that with not too much more work the iPhone will get to be a more Web 2.0 device, a device in which you are the protagonist which is in any case what phones have traditionally been.

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Jordi - FON on July 10, 2007  · 

Steven, not yet tested in the labs, but I can tell you all engineers at Fon are anxious to get our hands on it as soon as .Martin brings it to Spain!

Martin told me he has connected to Fon with the iPhone without any difficulties using the safari browser.

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