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A Quick Look at the Apple iPhone

With so many mobile phones, media players, and electronic gadgets out in the market, do we need another high-priced, hyped-up gizmo like the iPhone to add to our shopping list? The answer might just be a "yes," considering Apple’s track record of rolling out excellent, lifestyle-defining products.

The iPhone is, first and foremost, a phone, and Apple made sure it works exceptionally well as one. Making and receiving calls has been described by early users as “pleasurable,” and the call quality is not bad.

Its sleek industrial design makes the iPhone comfortable to hold and use, even with one hand. The 3.5-inch display at 480 x 320 pixels is very readable, even outdoors in bright light. Apple added orientation-, light-, and proximity sensors that interact with the user and the environment. The proximity sensor, for example, switches off the display when you bring the phone near your face to answer a call, preventing you from interacting with the screen while the call is in progress. The display comes back on when the call ends and you move the phone away from your face.

Perhaps it’s the user interface that truly distinguishes the iPhone. Many other phones do the same things and offer the same features, but not quite with the same flair. The virtual keyboard takes getting used to, but is generally better than most touch screen implementations. The iPhone rounds off its robust feature list with its email app, a customised Safari web browser, a media player that looks like an iPod, chat-style SMS, a calendar app, a camera, and the usual collection of personal information management apps.

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