iPhone: Reviewing the reviewers

iPhone: Reviewing the reviewers
The iPhone reviews are in from the so-called "VIP" journalists: The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg, The New York Times' David Pogue, Newsweek's Steven Levy and USA Today's Edward Baig. The verdict? Overwhelming praise for a superb/revolutionary/beautiful device and quite a few jabs at the less than adequate AT&T EDGE network the handset runs on.

"The New York Times's home page takes 55 seconds to appear; Amazon.com, 100 seconds; Yahoo, two minutes," Pogue noted. "You almost ache for a dial-up modem."

The Journal's Mossberg had a telling complaint about the iPhone's touch screen keyboard: "Tapping the skinny little virtual keys on the screen is frustrating, especially at first," he said. "The BlackBerry won't be going away anytime soon." Mossberg's quibble with the keyboard could have been overcome, in my opinion, had Apple sprung for tactile feedback like that featured in the LG Prada phone. 

USA Today's Baig, however, had little trouble with the touch screen keyboard, but found it hard to watch videos from sites like USA Today because of the iPhone's lack of Flash and Windows Media support.

Newsweek's Levy was by far the most effusive in his praise for the device: "It's a superbly engineered, cleverly designed and imaginatively implemented approach to a problem that no one has cracked to date: merging a phone handset, an Internet navigator and a media player in a package where every component shines, and the features are welcoming rather than foreboding."

Foreboding, indeed. So what's my firsthand impression of the iPhone? Well, I couldn't tell you that, could I? In fact, each of the latest handsets available in the U.S. has graced my desk during the past few years, save one. And in its place is a cardboard cut-out of the iPhone, which you too can print out and assemble from this website.

"Superb," "revolutionary" and "beautiful" should be the hollow rhetoric of an over-reaching press release, not the keywords of the only four hands-on reviews (by journalists) of the most-hyped mobile phone ever. And snappy video "reviews" of the phone, which do more to entertain and promote than truly analyze, are equally embarrassing to trade journalists. For shame. But I must say, that Visual Voicemail looks superbly revolutionary. -Brian