Friday, April 27, 2007

Apple iPhone's Slippery Secret


Just how slippery is Apple's (AAPL) iPhone?

Scattered reports from people who have put their hands on pre-release models say that its main problem is not the rumored battery life shortfall, but the sleek, slippery surface.

I handled one for about 15 minutes in January and didn't find it any more prone to flying out of my hands -- or my shirt pocket -- than an iPod. But others who have spent more time with it say different.

Alexandros Roussos recently interviewed a "tipster who had the chance to play with the device for a longer time than just a few minutes." He reported on MacScoop that its real-world battery performance would "surprise us," and, in fact, exceed Apple's posted specs: up to 5 hours talk/video/browsing, and up to 16 hours audio playback.

"Overall," he added, "our source found the iPhone awesome but he mentioned, as a sole negative point, that the material used on the device's case makes it feel even more slippery than the iPod and will probably require the purchase of a protective skin or case so as to avoid unintentionally dropping it." (link)

I must say that in my encounter with the iPhone during an off-the-record briefing in January, the image of the jewel-like device cracked like a $500 Humpty Dumpty on the sidewalk popped unbidden into my mind. So I asked the Apple executive who was demoing it (and who asked to remain unnamed), if he would mind dropping it on the floor.

"Sure, give me yours," he said.

We handed him the iPhone Apple had passed out for the editors to play with. He promptly threw it on the carpeted floor, where it bounced a couple times, came to a stop and kept on ticking. But would it survive a five-foot drop onto a concrete floor, we wondered?

"Buy one of your own and try it."

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