Both the iPhone and the Tilt are AT&T smartphones (at least in the United States), however, the overall main difference between the iPhone and the AT&T Tilt, according, at least, to the way the two devices are being marketed, is that the iPhone is being targeted more towards the consumer-user and the AT&T Tilt towards the business-user. Both smartphones, however, have excellent qualities appealing to both types of users.
Both the AT&T Tilt and the iPhone are touch screen smartphones, though the iPhone touch screen can be controlled by your fingers whereas controlling the AT&T Tilt touch screen requires using the included stylus. Beyond the touch screen, the iPhone has a single multi-purpose navigator button while the AT&T Tilt has several additional buttons.
Unlike the iPhone, the AT&T Tilt sports a unique screen design that allows users to slide out a full QWERTY keyboard from behind the main casing and tilt the display upwards so the user can view and control the phone similarly to the way one would a laptop or PC. The iPhone is a single candy bar unit with no sliding parts, though both the iPhone and the AT&T Tilt can be turned sideways for a widescreen view of the display screen as an alternative to the standard portrait.
The weaknesses of the feature-rich iPhone are in the way of the basic, essential functions of a smartphone - call quality and speed of the data network. Even though the AT&T Tilt uses the same EDGE data network as the iPhone, the Tilt has a wider array of wireless options available, including access to the 3G network, a feature the current generation of iPhone's cannot claim (though a 3G iPhone is reportedly in the works). Also, according to a perusal of online customer feedback, the Tilt also boasts superior call quality over the iPhone. Having said that, however, the iPhone has up to 480 minutes of talk-time whereas the max talk time on the AT&T Tilt is only about half that.
In the way of features, the digital camera on the AT&T Tilt is 3.0 megapixels while the iPhone's is only 2.0 megapixels. The Tilt includes a GPS but the iPhone does not. The call history on the Tilt is more substantial, indicating talk time duration and other details not available in the iPhone's call history. Likewise, the Tilt displays a distinction between calls received and calls made whereas the iPhone does not. The processor on the AT&T Tilt is significantly slower than that of the iPhone, with a much higher tendency to freeze up and necessitate a reboot. The iPhone has a much larger built-in storage capacity (at 4-8 GB) while the AT&T Tilt can only hold 128 MB.
The major sweeping difference between the two devices is that the iPhone runs on Apple's Mac OS X while the AT&T Tilt runs on Windows Mobile 6 Professional, which is tantamount to the difference between any Mac PC or laptop and the equivalent Windows PC or laptop. So the AT&T Tilt offers users, for example, the full Windows Office Mobile suite of programs (Excel, Word, PowerPoint) while iPhone users benefit from all the innovative software resulting from the newly issued iPhone SDK (software development kit). The bottom line here is that, since most computer-users classify themselves as either Mac-people or Windows-people, the decision as to which device is "better" really boils down to one's personal preference between Mac and Windows.
The AT&T Tilt sells for at least $100 less than the iPhone.
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