The iPhone was finally released into the wilds of London today. I went into the Regent Street store with Bobbie (also from the Guardian) to listen to Steve Jobs speak to a fairly small audience. His media handlers seemed a little tense, but to be fair, there was quite a crush of journalists wanting access to Steve. He was very relaxed, and unfazed by the various curveball questions about other European launches for the iPhone, and the revenue division between O2 and Apple “We’re not going to discuss that today, but good question”.
After Steve had announced price and talked a little about the iPhone, he handed over to the CEO of O2, Matthew Key (far left in the photo), who gave his own – Apple polished – keynote segment. That was unusual, most guests on Steves stage just talk. The coverage for EDGE at launch, at 30% of the UK, isn’t great, but he also announced free access to 7500 hotspots, which helps the wireless coverage at least.
I hope and believe that the big change which iPhone will bring is to help grow the public, free wireless network, thus creating a new universe of web based mobile applications.
Steve Jobs mentioned that Apple.com will have a page showcasing the best web applications for the iphone, and apparently that will be on the site soon.
After the presentation we all got a chance to play with the phones. I love it. If anything, you can find your way into the apps so easily that the learning curve is about finding your way back out!
One small thing I noticed, and took the opportunity to suggest as a change (to Steve) is that currently there is a useful “.com” button on the keyboard for Safari. Why not have a drop-down menu on the key which offers others (eg .co.uk, .fr, .es etc) – perhaps localised for the most used in that market – with .com as the default. He thought about it a moment, then told me it was an interesting idea and he’d think about it. Thanks, maybe we’ll see that as a wee update sometime. . .
What a pleasant morning it has been, though I’d have preferred to have walked away with a phone in my hand!