Tuesday, 23 October 2007

I've touched an iPhone

I know it's not exactly news, but I hadn't had a play with one until today.

I'm in San Francisco for CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment and on my wander round to get my bearings, I happened to find myself in an Apple shop.

It is lovely. Size wize it's bang on. The UI is pretty easy to navigate, made a few mistakes but that's probably more hangups from the Windows and Nokia interfaces I'm used to. The slidy finger thing with pictures, the auto rotating when you move the device around, all very cool.

The feature I was really keen to try was the keyboard, to see how good the iPhone would be as a messaging device. So I clicked on the SMS icon (top-left on the main menu, the most prominent position) and attempted to write a message.

It would appear I don't know where the ends of my thumbs are. I very quickly got very frustrated, constantly having to correct what I was attempting to type. I gave it a few goes but wasn't really improving.

Without any tactile feedback, it's very hard to be accurate. Protuding buttons give your thumbs something to home in on, allowing you to slighty correct before you press the button. With the flat screen approach you don't get that.

I understand that there are trials being undertaken with tactile response from touchscreens. Interesting, but it's going to need to allow you to feel that your in the right place before you press, rather than just letting you know that you've pressed something that you may or may not have wanted to press.

So for me the jury is out. In the European market I feel it my struggle if other people have a similar experience. I would imagine texting is far more important to the target segment in UK, Germany, France, etc. than in the US. Couple with that with the lack of 3G support and my money is on most people waiting for version 2.

But then again, it is lovely.

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