Being a mobile company, it’s vitally important we get to test the new and shiniest phones, which is why I will never buy a Motorola, don’t think the N95 is as shiny as many people appear to think, and how I got to borrow the Office iPhone for a while.

The Office iPhone was bought when we launched last autumn and is a US model with the hack so we could use it in this country and install applications on it. I didn’t use many third party apps, simply because doing so was more complicated than I could be bothered to do. I look forward to the day we can develop for it easily, though.

The Good

The interface is shiny and spinny and nice. It is one of the nicest phone UIs I have had the pleasure of using. Things transition between states – often ignored in interface design – rather than instantly changing to other things.

The SMS interface, which is laid out roughly like an IM session, is a revolution someone should have thought of years ago, it’s a very simple threading implementation, but makes dealing with SMSs as a form of conversation – rather than alert – much easier.

The orientation-aware interface is very well done. It flips only when its obvious that you want it that way up.

Safari works very well, though the inability to edit (You can only append or replace) URLS was a bit annoying. Google Maps was very nicely done, and I do like the use of the multitouch interface for pan and zoom, I think they could have done more with multitouch, though.

The less good

On the opposing side, the SMS interface makes dealing with SMSs that are actually alerts rather than conversations – daily updates, calendar tasks, SMS warnings, Twitter – a little less intuitive, and I’d like the ability to say “display messages from this contact individually”.

I didn’t get on with the keyboard very well, possibly it takes practice, possibly my fingers are too big.

The iPod bit… sucks. I hate to say it, but it does. The new interface makes the way I use playlists more difficult (I tend to flip though my oversized music collection adding stuff to an “on the go” playlist. Previous iPods let you do this from any playlist, artist or album list. In the new interface you can only add to On The Go from a dedicated full track list), the recessed headphone socket is incompatible with my headphones. You can’t operate it while its in your pocket, because there’s no tactile feedback for the volume or track changing interface, you have to bring it out and look at it. Coverflow’s useless unless you have art for everything. As a replacement for my 5th generation iPod, it wasn’t wonderful.

The ugly

I will, however, be buying one. Not because I want one, although it’s a nice enough device I don’t believe it’s worth £300 and a new contract.

No. I will be buying one because some enterprising bastard pinched the borrowed iPhone from my pocket on the tube home on Monday night, and it falls to me to replace it. Which is, of course, the big problem with having and obviously shiny, obviously expensive device that you have to bring out of your pocket to operate.

I’ll stick to my Z310i for now.