So, Apple finally released the iPhone. I didn't think they were actually gonna do it. What amazed me is that all the reports and rumors (and they were abundant) pretty much got all the details wrong. It's much better than anyone anticipated, and I want one. I've always said that phones should just be phones, and that extra features should not be the selling point, but honestly, this blows me away. Despite all the amazing features, Steve Jobs did say that the phone application was supposed to be the "killer app," because if you can't make phone calls, well then they shouldn't have called it iPhone. Of course, people will complain that the phone calls are of poor quality and the service is bad and they'll blame Apple for it, even though it's really Cingular's network (or AT&T, as they'll be called when the iPhone actually comes out). Undoubtedly, everyone will forget that every single cell phone every made sucks, and reception is bad and calls get dropped. Whatever. The damn thing has an accelerometer and a proximity sensor in it. It has to be worth it. Frankly, surfing the web through a wi-fi connection will be worth it even if the calls are bad.

Robbie Bach, of Microsoft's Entertainment Division, was of course the first to really criticism the iPhone. The quote was somewhat hollow and common-sensical, but oh well:

You have to find out what it’s great at. Is it great as a phone, or is it great as a music player. If it’s great as a music player, then it’s just another iPod trying to be a phone.

Even though I don't know of any iPods that are trying to be phones, I have to agree. You should find out. I will find out by buying one. And then, since I have an iPod already, I will watch TV and movies on it, and surf the web, and get directions, and play games, organize my life, instant message, play with the awesome touchscreen, and maybe occasionally make phone calls.

I don't make a lot of calls anyway, but I really do like the way they handled the phone app. It's quite intuitive and seems ridiculously easy to use.

Finally, for those of you (no one reads this, right?) who didn't watch the keynote announcement, I will explain where the price came from. The iPhone is not designed to compete with the RAZRs, Chocolates and low-end cell phones. It is competing with smartphones on the high end. All of my prices are before provider discounts, which will inevitably come to the iPhone as well.

The new Blackberry 8703e costs $499. The Nokia N95 is $699. The Samsung BlackJack is $449. The Blackberry Pearl costs $399. The Cingular 8525 costs $549. The Palm Treo 750 costs $649. An iPod nano costs $199 for 8 GB. Apple explains that it took the average price of a smartphone, which they calculated as $399, a bit on the low side. They then added the price of an iPod nano and came up with $599. Honestly though, the iPod nano does not have as many cool features as the iPod portion of the iPhone.

All that said, I think I'm going to wait until the next iteration, which will probably come out in about two years near when my contract with Cingular goes up for renewal.