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Walt Mossberg Shows College Leaders His New iPhone

Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal’s personal-technology columnist, picked up his review copy of the Apple iPhone this morning, and he gave his initial impressions of the much-anticipated gadget to college leaders during a speech at The Chronicle’s Presidents Forum.

As he pulled the phone from his pocket and explained what it was, oohs were heard from several audience members.

“I don’t know whether I’ll give it a good review or not,” he said, noting that he will use the phone for the next couple of weeks before writing his review. “I can already see some things I don’t like about it. I see some other things that I do like a lot about it.”

He said a crucial question was whether the iPhone’s touch-screen keypad is an adequate replacement for the keyboards on BlackBerries and other advanced cellphones.

“They are claiming that through clever software they have figured out a way for this to be actually far more accurate and efficient than you think it will be, and I’m testing that proposition,” he said. “And I can tell you that in the first hour it works a little better than I thought, but I’m still not sure it works as well as a regular keyboard — and the first hour is not a very fair test, so I’m going to keep going at it.”

Mr. Mossberg named cellphones as one of the top three technologies to watch at the moment, arguing that the era of the PC is ending. “The PC’s been a big deal. It has peaked.”

“This is the next level or elevation of the cellphone,” he said of the iPhone. “Not because it’s better or necessarily better than your Blackberry … but this runs a real computer operating system” and therefore can offer full-featured e-mail software on the go.—Jeffrey R. Young

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