As expected, I got my hands on an iPhone 3G last week.   After one week of use, I thought I offer up some first reactions:

First off, this is a beautifully engineered device.  The form factor is very similar to the 1st generation iPhone, but they’ve added a bit of polish with the glossy backing.  While it is plastic, it really has a ceramic feel to it and doesn’t feel cheap.  Even after one year, the imitators of this technology aren’t even close to achieving the perfection of form factor and user interface that Apple has achieved here.

There are three key features for me that resulted in the upgrade being worthwhile.

1)  3G – browsing at high speeds is nice and thus far the 3G network has been up to the task.  Web pages load quickly and streaming media is possible, even when on the move.  For example, tonight I was streaming Pandora in my car during my commute home with no pauses or skips.

2) Simultaneous voice and data – one of the most annoying experiences on my old iPhone was when I would be browsing the Internet and when finished exit to find that I had a new voicemail.  The 3G iPhone is able to handle the receipt of the phone call while you are using the data connection and it is about time.

3)  GPS – this wasn’t really a killer component for me, but I was very curious to explore all the location aware utilities that would pop-up now that GPS was available on the iPhone.  I’ve found the GPS to be very quick to acquire signal and very accurate.  GPS combined with the application store has resulted in what will be some very disruptive technologies.

The other key feature which is available to all iPhone/iPod Touch users is the 2.0 software upgrade with third party applications.  The third party apps are the single greatest game changer on these devices.

There are a few things I dislike about the phone:

1)  No cut and paste. Come on Apple, this is a low priority only for you. Every review of the iPhone I’ve seen laments the lack of cut and paste.  Please don’t let this be the one button mouse of the iPhone world.  We all know how stubborn you can be, but this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

2) No background applications. I understand why Apple wants to control the sandbox the Apps are in, but it would be nice to have a few trusted applications that can run in background mode.  Namely, I’d like to see IM run in background mode and perhaps a few of the location aware apps as well.

3) MobileMe is a big disappointment.  Yes, I can use it to keep my calendar in sync in real-time and that is great, but I see no way to apply granularity to contacts.  I have 1000 contacts on my desktop.  I only want over the air syncing for my “cellsync” category which are the ones I need on my phone.  The others are just for occasional reference and Christmas cards.

Overall, I think this is an outstanding piece of technology and it is clear Apple has hit another home run.  I can’t wait to see what new applications are released in the coming weeks.  I’ll post my own wishlist soon.

BTW, I bought the white version.  White is the new black where this device is concerned.

Don’t forget to check out my CTU Jack Bauer ring-tone. It has been downloaded thousands of time a week since I posted it last December.