I have no self control. I have a perfectly good Cingular 8525 phone that does everything I need. I've set it up just right so it has a very useful feature set for how I work.

But the iPhone is just so damn sexy.

I told myself: just one trip to the Apple store. If they had a phone in stock, I'd buy it. If not, I wouldn't sweat it and I wouldn't order it over the internet. They had one in stock. I bought it, and that's where the saga begins.

The phone really is a ground-breaking device. It's not the features. The iPhone will lose a feature war with most any recent generation Blackberry, Palm or Windows Mobile device. It's the way the features it does have are so seamlessly integrated. It's the way the touch screen responds to even the lightest stroke. It's the industrial design of the case and the exactness of the engineering that went into it.

Design is sexy. This is a sexy phone from any aspect.

But there are key features missing, and there are bugs. My expectation of Apple is they will correct some of the bigger feature deficits and bugs with a firmware or iTunes update. If they do, they will have a serious contender in a market that could use a little design innovation. If they don't, it will still be successful but much less so than it otherwise could be.

What's broken? While some people have complained about applications crashing I have not seen widespread problems. The phone is quite stable for me. The only bug I have to report is a whopper, though. Try as I may (and I've tried for five or six hours every night since I got the phone) I cannot get the phone to sync with my calendar through iTunes. The best I have been able to do is this: I've deleted the offline OST cache file (all 229 megs of it) and reset the iTunes sync history - which, if you're listening Apple, causes the SyncServer app to crash each and every time. Then I start outlook, wait for it to rebuild the cache, and connect my phone. This will successfully transfer all appointments to my phone.

Nothing transfers after that. No appointments on the phone make it to Outlook, and no changes to my Outlook calendar ever make it to the phone. I've told iTunes to refresh all calendar data, but nothing.

It's not my calendar data. I removed all calendar data and save it to a PST file and the problem exists when I create simple "hello world" entry in Outlook. It does appear to be related to using OST files. If I open the above PST in a different Outlook profile I can make changes just fine. There really is no excuse for this to work as badly as it does. The Apple support forums are full of these problems and I have yet to see a response from Apple. I may have to call *gasp* tech support.

What needs to be added? For me, the biggest thing is it needs to support Exchange ActiveSync. Apple -- you can license the protocol here. Many companies don't expose IMAP. My only way of getting to corporate mail today is through Outlook Web Access using Safari. Implement both the mail and calendar protocols too, so I can get calendar updates without tethering to my laptop. Tethering to a laptop is so 90's.

The lack of any search or clipboard mechanism is also painful, as is not having a task list. The recurrence options in the calendar are limiting too, and I can't add attendees to calendar items. Windows Mobile 6 does a hugely better job of integrating calendaring and messaging functions. The iPhone is primitive by comparison, but the features it provides are very easy to use.

I thought only supporting Edge would suck, especially in a phone so dependent on Web 2.0 applications. I won't say it's even close to the 3G speeds I was getting from my 8525, but I did clock it at 177kbs which is really very good for Edge. It generally feels snappy. Edge hasn't been the deal breaker. The buggy calendar sync has been much more problematic.

In all, it's an impressive phone. It can't replace what I used to do with my 8525 but I would say that the fluid, almost emotional experience I get when I use it makes up for the lost functionality. If there are no upgrades in the coming months to fix the calendar problem and add ActiveSync support the honeymoon may be over, but until then this is the device in my pocket every day.