The Times Review of the First iPhone: ‘Amazing’ but ‘Not Perfect’

For many, the iPhone wasn’t just a device, it was an experience. The Times’s Farhad Manjoo recently wrote about his introduction to the product.

It wasn’t the first smartphone, the first mobile computer, or the first anything, really.

But when I got my hands on the first iPhone in 2007, I knew it was unlike any machine I’d ever used before, and it would forever alter my tech-addled life. It turns out it probably altered yours, too.

In the early days, it was the simple things that were magical.

The internet in your pocket. Connectivity at all times — news, baseball scores, recipes. (How innocent we were.)

“Maybe all the iPhone hype isn’t hype at all,” Mr. Pogue mused in 2007. Even so, he continued, “some of the criticisms are justified.”

“There’s no memory-card slot, no chat program, no voice dialing,” he wrote. «The browser can’t handle Java or Flash, which deprives you of millions of Web videos.”

Other inconveniences: no video, no way to send “picture messages (called MMS) to other cellphones” and no third-party apps. (The App Store wasn’t born until 2008.)

Then there were typing woes. “Tapping the skinny little virtual keys on the screen is frustrating, especially at first,” Mr. Pogue wrote.

And what remains a constant bane for users: battery life.

“Apple says that the battery starts to lose capacity after 300 or 400 charges,” Mr. Pogue wrote. “Eventually, you’ll have to send the phone to Apple for battery replacement, much as you do now with an iPod, for a fee.”

No replaceable batteries? Times reporter Joe Nocera said at the time that this revelation “stopped me in my tracks.” He asked Apple how it planned to service its batteries, but he didn’t get a straightforward answer.

“It is about assured obsolescence,” Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group, a technology consulting firm, told Mr. Nocera in 2007.

As much as things have changed, some things really do stay the same.

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