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Reviewing the iPhone review -- 5 years later

Mark Hattersley | July 3, 2012
It's five years since the original iPhone launched (in America at least -- we had to wait till November in the UK) and we thought it'd be interesting to look at our original review of the iPhone, and see how our predications passed.

We'll stand by that any day. The amount of attention Apple put in to the original iOS interface absolutely made the device what it is. Apple nailed the iPhone interface right away, and completely changed the way we thought about mobile devices. The interface is what sold the device - so much so that it got away with missing out on a lot of technical features in the first iteration.

Perhaps the only real oversight was that we said "most calls sounded good, although the speakerphone is faint" although over time we noticed just how bad the iPhone was for making phone calls. Much worse than rival handsets. There was some suggestion that networks deteriorated call quality because they gave more bandwidth over to providing data services, but we're not sure if we just didn't pick up on it in the review. Call quality on the iPhone is much better now but in retrospect we could have made more of the issue.

We also pulled it up on the camera, which again was an area where the iPhone was poor. Although this didn't really bother us too much at the time. We were still using digital cameras for photos and being able to take snaps on a mobile phone still seemed like a novelty, rather than a key feature.

Mark Hattersley, editor in chief says "in all we gave it a surprisingly harsh review, which given the fact I used it relentlessly for the next 12 months, to the point where people started making fun of me, seems a little hypocritical. I still think it was the best investment I ever made. Just so far ahead of its time, and I remember almost everybody wanting to see it in action. But telling people how much it cost and seeing the shock on their faces was a wake-up call."

We're glad we gave it four stars given how many Apple sold. The iPhone 3G was much better though, and the 3GS was the point where Apple truly nailed-it. And, of course, when Apps were introduced it became a whole new ball game.

Oh! And we still think the original iPhone was a beautiful piece of kit. Truly stunning to hold and in terms of looks it wasn't bettered until the iPhone 4 came along.


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