John Rain, the Japanese-American assassin anti-hero of Barry Eisler's great series or novels, already has his iPhone, and they're not even on sale. I was reading Requiem For An Assassin, the latest in the series, which came out a few weeks ago. Rain arrives in Palo Alto from Asia, and needs to buy his tools, so he goes into a Cingular store (pre ATT) and buys an iPhone. He proceeds to use it for calls, and to monitor a GPS tracker he's put on someone's car. He does, of course, assassinate a Silicon Valley CEO while making it look like natural causes (his specialty), something I've often thought of doing at the end of interminable board meetings.
Fortunately, I met a friend last night who,as an important member of the press, already had an iPhone, and got to play with it. The key reviews (Baig, Levy, Mossberg, Pogue) all pretty much have it nailed. The virtual keyboard is not an issue, the screen is gorgeous, the hand feel and design is tops, and the lack of Exchange server connectivity and the use of only the slower part of the EDGE network are killers. If i got one (which I do not plan to in this version), I'd try and put a screen saver picture of a Scharffenberger dark chocolate bar on it, since it's about the same size, and just as sweet.
I'm going to see Steve Jobs' other debut this weekend, Pixar's Ratatouille, and just put my Blackberry on vibrate.