The iPhone's broken connections

The iPhone's broken connections For Steve Jobs and his touchy-feely telephone, it's been a bumpy ride, says Fortune's Brent Schlender.

By Brent Schlender, Fortune editor at large November 16 2007: 4:08 AM EST

(Fortune Magazine) -- Nearly five months have passed since Steve Jobs unleashed his flashy iPhone upon the world, and the sleek, do-everything gadget has met his ambitious initial sales targets and then some -- so far, more than 1.5 million have been sold.

And despite all the prelaunch hype and fear mongering, you don't hear many gripes that the novel, finger-driven user interface doesn't work, or that videos look crummy, or that the battery doesn't last long enough.

If anything, most of the iPhone's features have exceeded technological expectations, because in reality, it's a miniature Macintosh that happens to be a cellphone.

Still, the iPhone frenzy seemed to evaporate more quickly than it built up, and these early days have turned out to be what euphemistically might be called a "learning experience" for everyone involved -- the customers, its wireless service provider, and especially Apple (Charts, Fortune 500).

No doubt the iPhone will improve as time goes on, but it has become apparent that the business of designing, selling, and supporting smartphones is a lot trickier than selling PCs, even for a company as gifted as Apple. Little gotchas seem to pop up at every turn. Can Apple stop being a control freak?

What's so different about the iPhone? In an acronym: AT&T.


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Monty Solomon
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