I waited in line for about an hour at an AT&T store today, and bought one.
God-damn. This is absolutely the coolest, most intuitive, most functional piece of electronics I have ever seen. It’s not perfect, but my god…Apple hit the ball out of the park. Out of the freaking zip code. They are going to make a fortune.
The interface is as smooth and fluid as it is in the commercials. Hell, the commercials don’t do it justice. Everything “Just Works”. There was no hassle with AT&T sales drones in the store - I just walked in, gave them my credit card, and walked out with a sealed box. I got home, plugged it in, and iTunes popped up and gave me a choice of plans. I picked one, entered my old account information to transfer my number, clicked “Activate”, waited a minute (literally - all it took was a minute) - and it was done. The phone worked for outgoing calls immediately, and I got a message stating that my old number would be ported for incoming calls by 2 AM.
All my email accounts, bookmarks, etc. were transferred automatically. I could immediately read and send emails through all three of my accounts, including one which uses encrypted IMAP. The appropriate settings were extracted directly from my email app, signatures and all.
The screen is absolutely beautiful. It is blindingly bright, evenly lit, and high resolution. Text is crystal clear. The interface is absolutely amazing. You never find yourself wondering “How do I do this?” - it’s just obvious.
The keyboard does take a little getting used to, but once you do, it’s much faster than a conventional keyboard, because you don’t have to mash the buttons. The lightest touch is all it takes. The keyboard has intelligence built in - it knows the relative locations of keys and corrects typos automatically. If you’re typing a word that has only one reasonable completion (e.g. “indefatigable”) it secretly increases the size of the key that is next in the word so that it is easier to hit.
The internet over WiFI is great. Internet over EDGE is noticeably slower, but since we don’t get 3G out here in the sticks, that’s the state of the art at the moment anyway.
It’s not perfect - I found an odd glitch here and there. The screen gets smudgy. And it’s a little bit heavy. But who cares. It’s amazing. The hype was absolutely justified.