Apple today released the most comprehensive demonstration of the iPhone to date. The 20-minute long iPhone guided tour shows off many of the features of the much-anticipated device in more detail than ever.
The video really shows off how compact the iPhone is relative to the demonstrator’s hand. It’s really not much bigger than a 5G iPod from what I can tell. It also looks like it’s very good at detecting where you’re trying to tap on the screen, even if you have pretty big fingers like me. Everything in the video demo is silky smooth, with no stutter or jerkiness.
The video demonstrates everything from how to turn the phone on and off, to how to look up contacts and set up 3-way conference calls. The demo also shows off the Visual Voicemail application which lets you quickly jump between voice messages in any order you’d like and jump around the recordings using your fingertip. No more “press 7 to delete message” voice menus, thank God!
iPod mode lets you quickly jump between album, artist, playlist, cover flow and video views, and the screen shows off some beautiful large album art. And damn, that cover flow view is looking slick. Moving between the playlists, cover flow and video modes shows off the beautiful landscape mode. And accepting phone calls during iPod listening is automatic, fading out your music, connecting you to the call, then fading the music back in when your call is over. The photo album application probably takes advantage of multi-touch most, allowing you to zoom in and out of images by stretching them with your fingers.
Safari looks pretty slick too, and includes a sync feature that will pull in your current bookmarks from your PC. Web surfing is about as intuitive as you can get in a device this screen. I’m still a little reticent to say that the small screen will be ideal for the web, but it’ll do in a pinch.
The video also shows off the E-mail interface, which crams in a full-fledged attachment capability, with the ability to read Microsoft Office and PDF documents right on the iPhone. The E-mail application is nicely integrated with other applications, and automatically launching Safari when you tap a hyperlink, or dials phone numbers you tap on in a message.
The built-in widgets also look nice, including weather, stocks and news reader applications. The Google maps tool on the iPhone is just as easy to use as the web interface that we’re all familiar with and includes turn-by-turn directions (unfortunately no GPS, though.) It even has a live traffic overlay which lets you see how busy streets are before you head out to your destination. The maps tool is fully integrated with Google search, showing off the locations of businesses that you might be looking for. Business listings are also integrated to the phone, so you can click directly on the phone number in a business listing, and initiating a call.
Finally, YouTube is just what you’d expect, including a video search, browsing and widescreen playback capability. You can also send videos to friends via E-mail.
As cynical as I can be, I have to say when you see it all in action, the iPhone really is a beautiful device. For years, Apple has always been a user interface God in my book, and they certainly look like they’ve delivered again.
You can view the entire 20-minute walkthrough video in all its high-resolution glory here.