Best designed features of 3GS

Just got the iPhone 3GS after two agonizing years of using my first gen iPhone on the notoriously horrendous AT&T EDGE network (I think my 9600 Baud modem for dialing into Prodigy in 1988 was faster). Now i finally have 3G! Definitely faster although spottier coverage (tsk tsk AT&T). The 3 key features that I found to be just superbly well-designed are the following:

1. Cut/Copy/Paste: Well, it took forever but finally the one feature that is basic to every other phone device is now in and it functions beautifully. Truly the embodiment of damn good interaction and visual design, incredibly well-thought out: the gestures, the visual cuing, the appearance of options, and overall experience. Sure Blackberry and WinMobile devices may have it but does it perform as satisfyingly and smoothly via touch gestures?

2. Trimming a video: Yet another example of exceptionally well-thought out interaction design, with just the right number of interface elements and not too much. No feature creep. Just trim by sliding your finger and see the video strip expand the frames. Sure there’s some adjustment as you try to get the exact pinpoint but I found it fun and engaging, not frustrating actually. If another company did it, it would have all kinds of wonky UI overhead and controls I bet! And goofy effects and 3-step wizards and…and…and.

3. Voice control: Again, beautifully done. Just hold down the Home button and say “call [contact name]”–no training at all! (or play a song, ask who is the artist, etc. I’m sure the vocabulary will expand with each OS release) And I love the visuals: a nicely animated screen that shows the various voice commands floating by as a rich typographic experience, and the visual feedback of your voice as soundwaves as you speak, indicating the command is being captured, with a voice speaking back to confirm. (Although, I do wish that voice were more smoothly human, not like the old 90’s era Mac voice…)

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