iPhone: The ultimate guide

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Nokia, WinMo, iPhone, Android, Blackberry
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What is it?
A million sold in 74 days; 51 million sold since launch; four billion apps downloaded. The Apple iPhone was born as a uniquely fascinating mix of great features – multitouch, superlative integrationbetween browser, phone, email, media player and the iTunes Store – and with baffling omissions – cut and paste and 3G being two notable ones. Then 3G and the App Store were added, the iPhone became more a platform than a mere handset, and the smartphone game changed for good. Now, it’s got the same kind of brand awareness once enjoyed by Walkman or Biro.

Why you love it
With the potent combination of Android and improved hardware from a number of rivals, the iPhone can no longer be said to be in its “imperial phase”. However, it remains the benchmark thanks to its quite beautiful ease of use and its ever-expanding App Store.

There’s now an app for every occasion, a game for every train journey, and the iPhone 4 and iOS 4 keep the hardware and software improvements coming, subtly opening up new possibilities and keeping things running that little bit more smoothly. Success breeds success, and any major brand developing an app will look at the iPhone platform first before considering an Android, BlackBerry or Windows port.

What you don’t like
If you’re not able to upgrade to an iPhone 4, you may start to suffer from severe handset envy. The iPhone 3GS still looks good but its salad days are behind it, and it still has many of the flaws the iPhone was born with: relatively poor battery life, an afterthought of a camera and a high price. Even though the iPhone 4 is pretty much the best specced phone available, it’s by no means leagues ahead of the likes of the HTC Desire, and it’s likely to remain notably more expensive. We also resent the depressing peal of rumour and speculation that rings in each new iteration of the iPhone, but that’s a given, right?

What’s coming up?
The obvious next step would be to add FaceTime support over 3G instead of its current Wi-Fi-only incarnation. Next year should also see the first run-out of 4G networks in the UK, boosting mobile data speeds fivefold – HTC’s 4G-enabled Evo is already out and attracting plenty of attention in the States.

An iPhone 5 with 4G connectivity could do for mobile video conferencing what 3G did for mobile web browsing. If Apple is serious about popularising video chat – it’s been around since 2003 and never caught on, let’s face it – maybe it can also find an elegant way to stand the iPhone 5 on a desk, so video calls can be made without the need to have it in your hand…

App Store: The App Store
Number of Apps: 200,000
iPhone reviews: iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS

What iPhone says about you...
You value tactility, versatility, style and ease of use. You’re creative, not short of a few bob and you probably own other Apple devices.