After the much-awaited launch of Apple's 3G iPhone on Friday and announcements by Vodafone and Airtel regarding its introduction in India in September, the Indian customer is waiting eagerly for what is currently the world's most wanted gizmo. So what does Apple's new baby have that its peers don't?
An important thing about the iPhone is that it stands out in comparison with other smartphones not for what it does, but how it does it.
The distinguishing features of iPhone can be summarised as sleek design, brilliant display and an innovative touch screen interface. The most important of these is the sleek, button-less and lineless design that makes the iPhone a beauty to behold among the cluster of smartphones in the market.
The 3.5 inch display is the phone's highlight - the 480x320 pixel resolution offers brilliant colours, sharp graphics and fluid animations. It also makes the iPhone an excellent handheld gaming device.
The iPhone's menu interface is intuitive, eye-catching and easy to use. The bright icons look stunning on the dark background and the fluid animations are a treat to watch.
The iPhone uses only a touch screen and though it is not the first phone to rely solely on a touch screen, the intuitive way it is implemented stands out and one does not miss a stylus.
The touch screen uses multitouch technology, which allows one to move the fingers in a variety of ways to manipulate what's on the screen. For example, while viewing a picture one can zoom in by bringing one's fingers together and then pulling them apart and to zoom out by doing the opposite. Similarly, in the web browser, you can move around the web page by sliding your finger or zoom in with a double tap.
The phone has a motion sensor, which enables it to adjust the display's orientation automatically when the phone is flipped on its side while using the music/video player and the Internet browser. Another sensor turns off the display automatically when you lift the iPhone to the ear for a phone call.
The phone also has all the features of an iPod. An important feature is the capability to install third party applications or 'apps' that would add a number of additional functionalities. Hundreds of free apps are expected to be available soon on the Internet.
The new iPhone's important novel features can be summed up in two words - GPS and 3G. The GPS allows the use of location-based services such as navigation and 3G provides high Internet speed. With support for three 3G bands and both UMTS and HSDPA networks, the iPhone 3G can use high-speed networks all around the world.
An important new feature for corporate users is the support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync. This would enable access to e-mails, calendars and contacts, allowing them to access their official emails on the iPhones.
The support for custom-designed enterprise applications allows companies to create customised applications for their business needs. To deploy their in-house applications, companies can synchronise the applications with iTunes to authorised iPhones.
The new iPhone is also slightly slimmer, lighter and offers more battery time than its predecessor. However, it lacks some basic features that other smartphones provide.
The phone has only a two megapixel camera, which lacks a flash and can't shoot videos. It also does not provide multi media messaging (MMS). Another thing missing is stereo Bluetooth headset support. The iPhone also doesn't allow copying and pasting of text and cannot play Flash animations on web pages.
If one compares the new iPhone's features with those of smartphones such as Nokia N95 or HTC Touch Diamond, one finds that many of its individual features are bettered by these phones.
For example, many latest smartphones offer 3.2-megapixel or higher resolution cameras and that too with flash and video recording.
But where the iPhone scores is in offering a sleek, stylish and overall user-friendly package that has made thousands across the world queue up for days in front of Apple stores to lay their hands on it.