I wandered by the Apple store here in downtown Bellevue, WA yesterday and today to check out the "scene" around the new iPhone. There was definitely a fair number of people hovering over the eight demo units they had near the door, but not so big a crowd that I couldn't sneak in to take a peak and even try it out. It is an interesting packaging of technology into a gadget, but I'm not enough of a gadget-geek technosexual to be tempted to lay out $499 plus $60 a month for this latest "cool" toy.
I tried out a number of the apps and the various touch screen "gestures", including the two-finger zooming and unzooming. It seemed to work as advertised.
The on-screen keyboard was fine for low-volume text like URLs or names.
Loading of Web pages seemed a bit sluggish, probably due to the limited bandwidth of AT&T EDGE service. In theory, you should get speedy page loading if you have Wi-Fi connectivity and maybe EGDE should be considered more of a backup rather than the primary Web browsing method.
Various reviews note both great features and shortcomings, but ultimately the value of the gadget comes down to the collection of features that are highest value to you personally. Or, maybe you simply need a hot new status symbol.
Personally, I did notice the fingerprint smears on the display. Not where the graphics was bright, but there are plenty of times and places where portions of the screen are dimly-lit enough to make the smears obvious. After I finished playing with the phone for a few minutes, the first thing I wanted to do was go wash my hands. Of course, if you buy your own phone you can keep the screen clean yourself.
I wouldn't say that the iPhone was flying off the shelves, but it was clearly "the" hot, cool, hip, new toy. I continue to expect that it will be a very successful product.
This probably ends my interest in the iPhone. I gave it the requisite 15 minutes (of my time) of fame.