Now that the madness of the iPhone launch day has gone by, let me add my own comment. Of course the iPhone is a beautiful physical design and has a pretty UI, but in general looking at the features it looks pretty weak compared with the Symbian phones recently launched by companies like Sony Ericsson and Nokia. Noteable failures seem to be that the thing can't do 3G voice and especially data, which means that it's doomed to be a very slow Internet access device. Also, is it really true that it has Bluetooth, but you can't use it to synch with your PC/Mac, but must always use a cable? What were they thinking?

Really only one thing jumps out as being a really interesting feature, and that is what they call Visual Voicemail. This loads the voicemails onto the iPhone itself so that you can browse through a list and listen to the voicemails in any order. Could be useful with telephony SPAM on the increase: one company trying to sell me a mortgage has had an automated system call me 5 times in one week.

Visual Voicemail seems to rely on having an Apple back-end server plumbed into the cellco network (currently only AT&T wireless), which means that all prospective European iPhone partners (Vodafone, T-Mobile and Carphone Warehouse) will have to have the same. But this begs an interesting question, isn't voicemail such generic feature for cellphones, that all the voicemail systems should already be interoperable? Using standard technology like IMAP, it should be possible for all types of smartphone to pull-off voicemails onto the handset, regardless of who provides the infrastructure. I expect the cellcos would see this as a negative, since it makes them even more of a dumb pipe. However, having generic voicemail servers should reduce running costs, and truthfully is it really a differentiator today? Does any cellco really have a voicemail system so desirable that it makes customers churn from another cellco?