Home Tech Apple Macfilos Archives: My first iPhone, the shape of things to come

Macfilos Archives: My first iPhone, the shape of things to come


From the Macfilos Archives

This article was first published ten years ago on the new blog, Macfilos.

   Image: Apple, via iMore where you can find a full account of the introduction of the iPhone 3G in 2008
Image: Apple, via iMore where you can find a full account of the introduction of the iPhone 3G in 2008

Having been out of the country until last week, I wasn’t among the early birds standing outside O2 to buy an iPhone on July 11. Now I’ve got my mitts on one–a shiny black 16GB model–I am absolutely delighted. Fortunately, while away, I had my iPod Touch in my bag and I was able to use wifi to explore the Apps Store and try out twenty-odd useful productivity applications, including the wonderful Omni Focus. All my apps installed immediately on the new iPhone when I connected to iTunes and the whole process of buying, registering and starting to use was quick and painless. My only gripe is that the data I had stored in non-syncing applications such as Bloomberg (for stocks and shares) remained on the Touch and had to be re-entered on the iPhone. 

Despite my liking for new gadgets, I resisted the original 2.5G iPhone. I felt Apple had made a big mistake in not offering a 3G (third-generation) phone in the first place. I suspect the relatively lack of 3G services in the US led Apple to believe that they could get away with 2G, even when speeded up a little by the EDGE standard. Clearly many people in Europe and elsewhere in the world were not so impressed. 

But now there is no excuse for resisting the iPhone. The new model is everything the original should have been. The Apps Store on iTunes is brilliant and contains hundreds of useful applications for download. Most are cheap, less than £5, and many of the most useful items are actually free. Many applications (such as OmniFocus, the Splash wallet series, and my family history program) synchronise with desktop versions so you can keep up-to-date information on both platforms. 

In my view, though, the wonder of the iPhone (as with the Touch) is the web-browsing facilty. Having struggled for years with Windows Mobile, Symbian and other phone operating systems, I find the iPhone browser absolutely wonderful. For the first time on a mobile it is possible to do some serious web browsing without jerking from frame to frame. You can even see the whole page in miniature to help with navigation. Frankly, it is so usable it’s a pleasure to spend time reading the news, checking facts and simply ferreting around in the ether.

So, for the moment, full marks to Apple. It’s been worth the wait.


  1. You enthuse(d) about the apps, Michael ..but remember: when the iPhone was first launched, app writers were restricted to merely creating add-ons to the Safari web browser; standalone apps weren’t allowed by Apple, as Apple didn’t want third-party application developers to get access to the iPhone’s operating system.

    So apps were “sandboxed” into being just extensions of the web browser.

    What a stink ensued, and Apple, or Steve Jobs, was shamed into providing access to the full extent of the iPhone’s capabilities, especially through the stinging parody of Apple’s own “Think Different” PR video “Here’s to the crazy ones” ..which simply featured a rolling list of app developers who were denied access to the phone’s operating system.

    After that, Steve changed his mind ..and so we have the stupendous range of apps which we have today.

    Here’s the original, with narration by Richard Dreyfuss:


    And here’s the version with Steve’s original – but discarded – narration:


    And here’s just one of the versions which shamed Apple into letting app developers out of the sandbox:


    • David B.
    • I suppose I was pretty gullible in those days. I out off buying the iPhone until 2008 because of the lack of 3G in the first phone. But I was a graduate of various Company, HP, Psion and Treo “PDA”s and endured all the horrors of trying to synchronise with, first, Windows and then with the Mac. My first iPhone was a revelation after all that and I haven’t looked back since.

      • Oh, I got the first iPhone – just as I got the first iPod – as it was SUCH a revolutionary product. It was the first ever phone with a touchscreen and reconfigurable ‘soft’ keys, instead of all the mechanical buttons of previous ‘smart’ phones like the Nokia ‘Communicator.

        (The only – seeming – advantage of the Communicator over the iPhone was that the Comm could receive and actually send faxes. But faxing really died out at the moment when the iPhone arrived, and so it was really no loss.)

        I had a couple of Psions – oh, and a ‘MicroWriter’, which was a terrific device: write anything with just six – was it? – keys!

        When I finally finished with the publishers I used to work for, I had a mobile phone in my pocket (a ‘Technophone’, I think: the first ever cellphone in London ..it pre-dated the British Telecom ‘brick’), and a mobile (Epson 8-line-display) computer on my lap, and a Mark II Psion Organiser (contacts list) in the other pocket, and the local park became my office.

        Now I do ALL of that on my one (small-ish?) iPhone. Who doesn’t?

        • David B.
  2. I can understand why the iPhone 3 was a wonder in 2008. My own feeling is, though, that Apple is not the ‘champion’ it was once perceived as. Now many functions no longer work and the constant changing around with so called OS or iOS updates is more than a little annoying. Now iTunes will no longer recognise my iPad and iPhone (with the last software in case you ask) and I can no longer sync my devices with my iMac. Apple keeps changing things with no apparent improvement in quality and you can no longer do things you could do before. The main objective is, of course, to sell subscription services, in particular cloud real estate. Apple needs real competition to keep it focussed on what made it the richest company on the planet. At some point consumers will cry halt to the constant reach into their pockets for things they do not really need or want.

    Mike, I know that you are a fan of all things Apple, but speaking as a somewhat less interested Apple user, it is impossible for me to view the company as nothing other than a cynical exploiter of its customers’ loyalty.



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