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The ultimate iPhone’s here

After basking in the glory of cultic proportions for over a year, the biggest wow gadget of recent times is officially here. An exclusive first-look at the iPhone 3G that launches in Delhi today. Ashish Bhatia reports.iphone gets rivals

india Updated: Aug 21, 2008 23:39 IST
Ashish Bhatia

After basking in the glory of cultic proportions for over a year, the biggest wow gadget of recent times is officially here.

The Apple iPhone 3G in its newest avatar comes pre-loaded with impeccable pedigree, promising performance and a plenitude of publicity. But is this attractive attention grabber really the ultimate convergence device?

All about the machine
Capacity: 8/16GB flash drive
Price: Rs 31,000/Rs 36,100
Cellular/Wireless features:
UMTS/HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz)
GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
Wi-Fi (802.11b/g)
Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR, Assisted GPS
Camera: 2MP; Photo geotagging
Battery life
Talk time: 10 hrs (2G), 5 hrs (3G)
Standby time: 300 hrs
Internet: 5 hrs (3G), 6 hrs (Wi-Fi)
Video: 7 hrs. Audio: 24 hrs (Max times)

In many ways, yes. The iPhone is seamlessly knitted together by arguably the slickest and most thrilling, graphical, feathery, multi-touch user interface ever conjured till date. It offers incredible and intuitive functionality on a brilliant and overwhelming large, vibrant display.

It flaunts excellent connectivity options spanning the 3G, Wi-Fi and cellular ambit that allow you to stay hooked to the World Wide Web quite effortlessly. Then, it exhibits very decent location acquisition via its in-built GPS abilities and its Maps application.

And ah, how can anyone forget the iPod-like audio/video capabilities inheritance that has already altered the way the world listens to its music.

Over and above all this, the second edition of the new iPhone goes beyond being a personal communications and multimedia device.

By developing support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, push (for email, contacts, calendar), and VPN protocols etc., the iPhone has thrust itself into the enterprise, corporate and business environments.

To top that, opening up the phone to third party application development has resulted in over 600 downloadable applications for the iPhone.

These (free as well as paid) programs encompass everything from entertainment to gaming, to news to productivity, social networking to weather, sports to travel and more. And it is something that never been done before.

On the face of it, as cellular technologies currently stand in the India, tom-tomming the big bandwidth, high-speed 3G moniker seems a tad premature at this stage. Also, as there are several 3G phones already ensconced in people’s pockets, how they stack up on a head-to-head remains to be seen.

Surprisingly, some of the niggling features that were missing in the iPhone 1.0 continue to be overlooked. There’s still no copy-paste functionality, no MMS sending, no Flash capabilities, no A2DP (stereo Bluetooth)... But despair not, there’s hope yet; the next firmware upgrade impending in September could change some, or all, of this.

Yes, at Rs.31,000 and thereabouts, the iPhone dangles a hefty price tag. Hefty enough to fracture a fairy tale for almost everyone.

Yet, if you take your eyes off its $199 pricing in the US and judge the iPhone purely on the heft of what you’re acquiring in terms of a gizmo, perhaps the picture won’t look so disappointing after all. After all, when has Apple ever sold sundar, tikaoo maal that was sasta — especially in India?

Woefully however, the carrier lock-in story for the handset continues... You won’t be able to swap Vodafone to Airtel to Idea willy-nilly –– or when you are travelling abroad, to Matrix to SingTel. You will have to stick to that very Voda/Airtel SIM you’ve plugged into iPhone even in your wanderlust. That, for a 31K phone, is a mite distressing.