Seeing as most techies agree that Cupertino has pretty much created the Platonic ideal of a smartphone, most of the griping nowadays centers around the lack of revolutionary new features. The iPhone 5s has a new fingerprint sensor, a faster processor, and slightly better camera — all improvements, but nothing critics have defined as groundbreaking.
But oh, how cynical we've become. Let's take a little trip back to a simpler time, before the financial crisis, when Fergie's "Fergalicious" roamed the airwaves. We're talking about 2007 — the year the very first iPhone was released.
Here, a roundup of contemporary reviews from the very first iPhone.
Edward C. Braig of USA Today marveled at the iPhone's lack of a stylus.
The most remarkable thing about iPhone is what's missing: a physical dialing keypad and/or full qwerty, or traditional, keyboard. Instead, either a virtual keypad or keyboard shows up on the iPhone screen, depending on what you are doing — entering a Web address, for instance, or banging out a text message.
No stylus is provided. Your fingers control everything; you "tap," "flick" and "pinch." Finger-tapping takes getting used to. Best advice: Start typing with one finger before graduating to two thumbs. [USA Today]
David Pogue from The New York Times got poetic about the touchscreen.
Finally, you can enlarge a Web page — or an e-mail message, or a photo — by spreading your thumb and forefinger on the glass. The image grows as though it's on a sheet of latex. [New York Times]
Jason Snell of Macworld delighted in saying goodbye to the scroll wheel.
The iPhone's iPod functions are like no iPod we've seen before — but I'd hazard a guess that they closely resemble the look of iPods to come. Without a scroll wheel to use in navigation, the iPhone's iPod features take some getting used to. It took me quite a while to figure out how to toggle into and out of Shuffle mode. (The controls appear when you do a single tap on the screen.) [Macworld]
A glass display on a device even thinner than a Motorola Razr? CNN's Kent German and Donald Bell were sold.
We knew that it measures 4.5 inches tall by 2.4 inches wide by 0.46 inch deep, but it still felt smaller than we expected when we finally held it. In comparison, it's about as tall and as wide as a Palm Treo 755p, but it manages to be thinner than even the trend-setting Motorola Razr. It fits comfortably in the hand and when held to the ear, and its 4.8 ounces give it a solid, if perhaps weighty, feel. We also like that the display is glass rather than plastic. [CNN]
If only it was more like a BlackBerry, mused the staff of PC World.
For any feature that requires text input, the iPhone displays an on-screen keyboard that you can toggle between QWERTY text keys and numbers/symbols. It's still no match for the hardware keyboard you get on a BlackBerry or Treo, but it certainly beats any standard cell phone keypad.
So should you buy an iPhone? Sure, if you want to own a beautifully designed phone/Internet device/music player and are willing to put up with some occasionally exasperating problems. Everyone else, especially those who already rely on a PDA phone for messaging, should probably wait. [PC World]
Maybe you should just wait for the iPhone Nano, cautioned The Guardian's Anna Pickard.
While the big flurry at the moment is all about the launch of the iPhone, there are consistent rumours that the iPhone Nano can't be far behind. It seems a well-calculated guess, based on the company's previous business model of popping out a beautiful gadget and then pushing cheaper and successively dinkier ones behind it, like a set of technologically-pleasing Russian dolls. But as yet, there has been no official confirmation of the timescale until the next one. [The Guardian]
Finally, Lev Grossman of TIME predicted the future.
Look at the iPods of five years ago. That monochrome interface! That clunky moving touchwheel! They look like something a caveman whittled out of a piece of flint using another piece of flint. Now imagine something that's going to make the iPhone look like that. You'll have one in a few years, and it'll be cheaper, too. If you're not ready to think different, then think ahead. [TIME]