I was watching a couple of professional geeks reflecting on their three week experiences with the iPhone on the CBS News, this morning, and it was brought out, as far as I could understand, that that it didn't have WiFi, so that all Internet traffic had to be handled through the much slower cell connection. Not only did this frustrate the one who (relatively) panned the item because he sometimes needed instant access to data, but it showed to be inferior to some similar devices which can access the Internet either way. (I forget the acronym for this feature.)
It does have wifi.
The big data drawback is that it uses a less than state of the art cell data protocol the speed is a lot faster than dial-up but less than slower DSL. On the internet it currently doesn't support java or flash so some sites and nifty stuff on those sites won't display.
I wouldn't dare buy a first gen iPhone. The first iPod shipped November 10, 2001. Four months later a larger one shipped and then four months after that, the first model price fell $100 and at the high end the first touch sensitive controller made its debut. Nine months later they came out with thinner models with higher capacity. In another six months capacity was increased again but price points for top and bottom models stayed the same despite the improvements. Four months later the lower priced iPod mini comes out. Six months later the top models are made smaller and thinner. Three months later an iPod with a color screen capable of displaying photos ships. Three months later the first Shuffle is released and a month later capacity for the Shuffle increased and regular iPods made thinner AGAIN. Four months later all regular iPods now have color screens. Three months after that the most popular iPod ever, the mini, is ditched for the Nano. Four WEEKS after that, the video iPod is released. Finally 12 months without change and the shuffle is updated to the new metal look, smaller size and capacity increased.
One thing I've learned from watching Apple is that they release a product and its usually a bit better than the competition overall but will have some nagging annoyance or lack some feature that keeps it from just being the absolute best on the block. Then Company X will leak that they are shipping a just as good model or one that may be a bit better in storage but not as good in interface and just before their catch-up model comes out Apple releases the next version that cures some short coming or adds the got have it feature you never knew you wanted leaves the other side still lagging behind.
I figure in 12 to 18 months Apple will have taken the feedback from the iPhone and be on version 2.5 or 3.0 and have it tweaked to Borg assimilation levels where people beyond the usual geeky early adopters have to have it.
Apple despite its shortcomings in some areas (they don't make machines that moderately skilled people can DIY repairs on easily, they have never been good at making a budget entry level computer, they are lousy at dealing with the needs of large corporate buyers) has certain things it does very well. They are great at making stylish machines. They are great at user friendly products. But their best skill is when they have an advantage is staying ahead.
The rumor/speculation has been that Apple slowed its pace on the new version of the operating system OSX and has even removed some features planned for the new release because they felt Microsoft hadn't closed enough ground with Vista to warrant some of the big changes. They will likely hold some changes (including a new file system that drastically improves reliability and speed of huge drives) for the release that will likely ship in the Spring of 09.