The iPhone is Perfect

by Hadley Stern Jul 03, 2007

Many words have been waxed about the iPhone since people first got their hands on them last Friday. After waiting 15 hours in line and using the iPhone for a couple of days I wanted to add my opinion to the voices out there.

John Gruber got it partly right, except for the 95 percent part. The iPhone is 100% perfect by any measure of the imagination.

Sure, there are details that are missing, GPS, 3G, video recording. But all these are mere details. When looking at the iPhone as a whole, when using the device as it is designed, now it is clear it is a perfect piece of design.

There is a precedence for this from Apple. The first perfect product they made was the original Mac. It was a stunning revelation for anyone who used it for the first time: a completely new paradigm for navigating what is now known as the Personal Computer. The original Mac didn’t do a bunch of stuff we expect from computers today, but what it did do was break down the barriers about what a computer would be.

Fast forward to the iPod. It, too, when it was first released, was a perfect product. Yes it has evolved over the years, but when it first came out (although it took some time for people to see it) it was also a category-changing product. No it didn’t have an FM tuner…but that wasn’t the point. The point was that it tackled the digital music player challenge in a way that no product had done before it and no product has since.

This brings us to the iPhone. After using it for a couple of days it is clear that this device changes what it means to be a mobile phone. It is light years ahead of anything else out there in terms of design and functionality. The new stylus, the finger, is something no one else has done before. It is a new way to interact with digital devices and it works.

Many people will draw up lists of what is missing in the iPhone. These are the same people who dismissed the iPod because it didn’t have as many “features” as the competition. These people don’t get it. Design is about making decisions about not only what to include, but what to leave out. Steve Jobs has once again shown that an organization led by a strong advocate for design can indeed create products that aren’t me-too. They are perfect.


  • There is no such thing as perfection… you can always do better and I am sure the iPhone will get better over time via both software and hardware updates.  That said iPhone 1.0 is an extremely compelling product and I am very happy to be able to own one.  Mad props to all the people at Apple that made this thing come together so well.

    Ray Fix had this to say on Jul 03, 2007 Posts: 21
  • I think I know why Apple went 2.5 G only, see when they were with IBM and Motorola making PowerPC chips there was the G3,G4 and G5. But there was no G2.5. Apple may come out and surprise us with an experimental G6 network.

    Tanner Godarzi had this to say on Jul 03, 2007 Posts: 70
  • Perfect? It’s useless to me without voice dialing. It takes 4-6 steps to make a call on the iPhone. My cheap Moto - one push of a button as i say “office” will take me to my secretary.

    Beautiful, yes. Fun, yes. Innovative, yes. Productive, no. Perfect, it has a ways to go.

    It ain't over had this to say on Jul 03, 2007 Posts: 6
  • My cheap Moto doen’t work with voice dialing… But that’s because the radio is on, TV is on, The wind noise in the car with the sunroof up, the rev of the Bugatti next to me… It’s more of a “NEATO” feature that few actually use or are able to use. I don’t live in a sound chamber. Dialing it is another bitch as I’m constantly hitting the back button.

    I don’t own an iPhone yet (had better things to do then stand in line but I probably should have) but I’ve used one for a couple days. Marvelous. Easy, honestly my 2yr old son picked it up in less than a minute. He loves watching youtube video’s of Roadrunner, Pingu and Discovery channels Top Ten’s. While he can’t spell yet I type it in for him and were off. He gets a kick out of the flip thing and for 5 mins that’s all he did watching the RoadRunner toons.

    So a Phone that is a phone, an internet appliance and a way to pass the time with absolute enjoyment and ease AND it itegrates with my life. The iPhone is a hit hands down. While others complain it doesn’t make coffee or tell them where there at (look around you got there didn’t you) it can tell you where the nearest coffee shop is and how to get there as well.

    As with everything it’s not for everyone. But it fits the ideal device for most and the plans are actually cheaper than Voice plans with data.

    Also I’m not sure how many of you that have them noticed but side by side with my LG CU500 the iPhone has better service (bar counting) and drops the calls alot less. Moto’s are still good (best when compared to any other phone out there but the iPhone), but even the iPhone was better at signal strength. It works in my basement! Both the Moto and the LG have no signal there.

    xwiredtva had this to say on Jul 03, 2007 Posts: 172
  • Ray is right, there is no such thing as perfection. After reading Engadget’s extensive, solid and fair review here

    one can certainly state that Apple would better not have too much vacation granted to the development team right now. What struck me the most was the apparent lack of Mac integration, of all things, apart from Bookmarks & Music. Personally, I do not use Mail but Eudora, nevertheless one would think it a given that the iPhone syncs with Mail. It does not. And no BCC? Pardon? Also, while it does sync with iCal to some dodgy degree, there apparently is no support for color coding different calendars. Which is simply outrageous. But maybe you will not miss this feature too much since on this giant screened phone there is no week view for the calendar anyway to give you an overview of how much “red” or “green” appointments are coming up the next couple of days. The keyboard seemingly also needs a little improvement here and there, such as basic punctuation easily accessible. I am especially keen to see how Apple will solve the “issue” on European iPhones, with the plethora of special characters needed on a regular basis. Not even a word should be lost about the lack of copy’n'paste, the inability to share data with other phones via Bluetooth, or the crash-happiness of some apps. Apple seemingly made enourmous efforts on some fronts, while simultaneously ignoring some very basic issues that amount to a serious pile of “are they serious?!”-type flaws.

    All in all, it is most obvious, that although Apple produced a pretty slick 1.0 overall, there is a dire, dire need for improvement. In this regard, the iPhone’s brilliance lies within the very basic design. By taking almost all the buttons away, Apple made it impossible to permanently screw up the interface. Everything on the iPhone is easily revisable, and that is what makes it possible to push it closer - to “perfection” - with as little as a software update.

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Jul 03, 2007 Posts: 371
  • The iPhone is Perfect-John Gruber.- Perfect words to describe Apple and its products. I am sorry, but yeah, many people just do not get it. Quality and Simplicity are two factors that Apple uses to gives us products that just work. Nothing comes close to it, and its cost is relative.

    jaqatam had this to say on Jul 05, 2007 Posts: 1
  • “My cheap Moto - one push of a button as i say “office” will take me to my secretary.”

    Yeah, and after it asks me if I mean “Oscar” ten times, I could have made the call on the iPhone.  My wife’s name is Amy and my phone thinks I am saying either Sammy or Gary-very frustrating.

    I have a Motorola e815, and as someone above said, you have to have near bank vault silence for it to function accurately.

    TexasAg03 had this to say on Jul 06, 2007 Posts: 17
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