BY WALTER S. MOSSBERG
When Apple rocked the cellphone world Tuesday by unveiling its
radical and gorgeous new iPhone, it was bad news for Palm Inc., whose
Treo smart phones will be severely challenged by the new iPhone when
it goes on sale in June.
I attended the iPhone launch event, and was able to use one for a
little while. That's too brief an encounter to allow me to write a
proper review. But I can say that it has the largest and most
beautiful screen I've ever seen on a cellphone, even though it's
incredibly thin. It felt great in my hand. It has a brilliant new user
interface; the handsomest email program and Web browser I've ever seen
on a phone; a full-blown iPod music and video player built in; and
even a cool new voicemail system.
The iPhone has some potential downsides -- it doesn't use a physical
keyboard, instead relying on a virtual keyboard on the screen, which
may put off heavy email users. It runs on the relatively slow EDGE
cellular data network, though that flaw is partly offset by the fact
that it can also use speedy Wi-Fi wireless networking. And, with a
$499 base price, it's expensive.
Still, the iPhone made my relatively new Treo 700p seem primitive in
many respects when I compared them side by side. And the Apple product
isn't Palm's only problem.