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Apple / AT&T Wireless $399.00

http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/specials/iPhoneCenter.html 1-866-MOBILITY

As international travelers, we are always interested in new quad-band terminals, so we were eager to try the iPhone. The iPhone is not particularly large or small – 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.46 inches, and weighs in at 5.8 ounces. The screen is large and lovely, and while it takes a while to get the hang of entry, once you do it is no problem.

With any mobile telephone the three big questions, of course, are

1. How well does it capture and hold a signal in fringe areas (or other areas where there may be signal difficulties).

2. How does it sound to both the person talking and the person listening.

3. What is the SAR (we would prefer it to be under 0.5). It is 0.974.

Most smartphones, up til now, have been firstly a set of tools (the smart part) of one sort or another, with the phone seeming something of an afterthought. The iPhone follows in this tradition, and being the best telephone didn’t seem to be at the top of the designers’ list. And while on the question of design, we must note that the phone does not have interchangeable batteries: This means that when you travel in areas where charging is not an easy option, you may need to carry a backup phone with extra batteries.

Additionally, as business travelers, we tend to have camera phones taken away when we go into an increasingly large number of businesses. As with any camera phone, you will need to be prepared to voucher your iPhone and switch your SIM to a backup phone.

Less of an issue is the use of foreign SIMS. While ATT Wireless, unlike T- Mobile, apparently does not seem to wish to unlock their devices for use by international travelers, it appears that third party services can now do so, allowing you to use local SIM cards with the iPhone.

In fine, the iPhone is a pretty toy, and your kids, who won’t care about the phone part, will be delighted to get them as gifts. They are, however, an inappropriate choice for the international business traveler who actually needs a mobile phone.

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