As a longtime Mac user, syncing with smartphones has always been an exercise in patience. Palm is nice enough to include Mac software with its Treos (or you can download it from Palm's site). The dashboard is clumsy, though, and not as easy to use as the Windows version.
RIM does not include Mac software with its BlackBerrys. Finding the software on the RIM site was no easy task, and installing it and using it was even worse.
There are a few third-party applications, such as PocketMac, that let you use your Mac with Pocket PC-based devices. While they work, they do not provide as seamless an experience as native Windows machines.
So, for the Apple users out there who've been frustrated by the lack of real support for the Apple platform, the iPhone looks to solve many of those issues by syncing with your e-mail, calendar, and contacts programs natively.
But the e-mail also says that an iTunes account is required to set up the iPhone. Does that mean it won't work until you get it home and hook it up to your machine? While some may think that requiring an Apple account is lame, I say it is to be expected. Most iPhone users are going to already have iTunes installed on their machines already anyway, as the iPhone's music-playing capabilities are likely among its many selling points.
Here's the text from the e-mail:
Contacts Since iPhone takes contact information from existing applications on your computer, Apple recommends using Address Book, Entourage, Outlook, Outlook Express, or Yahoo! Address Book to prepare your contacts for automatic synchronization with iPhone, and suggests you get phone numbers and e-mail addresses up to date. It notes that you can also enter contact information directly into iPhone, as well.
Calendar iPhone can import events from your current computer provided you use iCal or Entourage on the Mac, or Outlook on your PC, similar to the way it handles contacts. Apple suggests that if you don't already use one of these applications, you can start right now and be prepared, but that if you choose not to use a Calendar program, you can still enter appointments directly into the iPhone.
Email If you're using Mail on a Mac or Outlook on a PC, the iPhone will automatically sync your email account settings through iTunes. Most popular email systems, including Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, AOL, and .Mac Mail, work on the iPhone, as do industry-standard POP and IMAP systems. iPhone will also be able to automatically retrieve your email on a set schedule.
Photos Along with storing photos taken with its built-in 2-megapixel camera, the iPhone can also display photos synced to the device through iTunes. Photos can be imported from iPhoto on a Mac, or Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Photoshop Album, or any picture folder from a PC. While the iPhone can hold thousands of images, Apple suggests creating an album/folder with 50 to 100 of your favorite photos.
Music and Video iTunes is required to sync your music and video to the iPhone, so if you don't currently use iTunes, Apple recommends that you download it ahead of time and start a music and video library. It also suggests making a playlist of a few hundred of your favorite songs.
iTunes Account In order to set up iPhone, you need to have an iTunes account. Apple recommends creating an account ahead of the launch if you don't have one already, in order to save time. Note that iTunes is required to create an iTunes store account. If you already have an account, double check to make sure you have your account name and password written down and/or memorized.