Saturday, March 22, 2008

Jeebus phone plus one month

I've had my iPhone one month today, so I thought it was an appropriate time to look back at how we're getting along together, and whether I think this relationship is going to last (ignoring the fact that I'm tied into an 18 month contract).

OK… so let's do this in a 'good iPhone/bad iPhone' way. First up: THE BAD!

So as everyone knows this is Apple's first stab at a mobile phone. But that shouldn't be an excuse for any potential balls-up, because they had the established competition to look at, and look they undoubtedly did. That being the case, while there aren't what I consider to be any massive mistakes or missing features in the iPhone, there are a few … well, oddities. Let's review:

• Vibrate - I tend to leave my phone on vibrate all the time, because I get annoyed by loud ringtones, but the vibrate function on the iPhone is very quiet. Almost like it's afraid to alert you to the fact that there's a call or text coming in. I genuinely can't feel it if I've got it in a pocket, so I might have to relent and go for a ringtone.

• Case. So I spent my hard-earned cash on this beautiful phone, but to protect if from knocks and bangs I felt compelled to buy a hard case to put it in. Downer. I'm not too terribly worried about ruining the appearance of the iPhone by hiding it in a dull plastic case, but it's annoying that very few of the available cases provide easy access to the dock. The one I bought proved so difficult to squeeze the phone into that I've not dare take it out since the day I bought it, leaving the dock gathering dust on my desktop while I make do with the connecting cable trailing across the desk for syncing purposes. I can't help but think that Apple's missing a trick in not designing their own cases in their own inimitable elegant style. In the meantime, I'm thinking I might have to replace my existing case with one of the new Incase Sliders, which would appear to fit my requirements, but sadly don't seem to be available in Britland just yet…

• Notes. Not one of my complaints, but one that Scanner at work mentioned he found annoying. You can write notes on your iPhone, but unlike Mail, iTunes, iCal, Address Book, and iPhoto, they don't sync back to your computer when you connect your iPhone. This doesn't actually bother me, but I can see that it might be a pain for some people.

• Video. Another one that's not a biggy for me: the iPhone lacks a video camera. Meh. I think I read somewhere that it actually has the capability to record footage, but Apple just hasn't activated it in a software update yet. 

• Cut and paste. Yeah, you can't cut and paste text yet. A bit of a bugger if you want to copy some text and slap it in an email, but again, not a problem I personally have found myself damning iPhone for so far. I'm sure it'll come in a future update, anyway.

Um… so that's about it for the complaints. Will the good stuff outweigh the niggles?

Oh yeah.

• Gorgeous. That's how I described the iPhone from the first moment I used it, and it's a word that still sticks now. I'm still amazed at how incredible it is to use even after a month of using it. The touchscreen interface is just a joy to use - easy, intuitive, and slick. It really is like something sent back from the future, and instantly dates everything else I've ever used. No word of a lie - this is the finest piece of technology I've ever had the pleasure of using (yes, it's actually a pleasure to use it).

• Easy syncing. From the initial setup process to my daily sync of email, photos, and contacts, iPhone does it all without a quibble. It's best friends with my computer, something that can't be said of any mobile phone I've previously used. They might even be secret lovers. Rawr!

• Typing. The iPhone is literally a mind-reader. Say you're typing a text or email, and you've got massive sausage fingers that hit all the wrong keys on the virtual keyboard: not a problem - iPhone works out (faultlessly) what you want to say. It's so good that I've found myself writing an email on my computer, just pounding away at the keys and expecting it to self-correct all my mistakes for me (hopefully it's something that Apple will port over to their Mac Mail App at some point). Genius.

• Web and mail. Being able to check my email at any time has been a real boon, as has the ability to check the news, reply to blog comments, and, in fact, look at any webpage on the go. A lot of people have complained about iPhone being slow while hooking up to the internet on GPRS, but I can't say I've had reason to moan about it; it seems reasonably fast, so long as you're not looking at an intensely graphics-heavy site. So fast, in fact, that I couldn't see myself instantly swapping my current iPhone for the rumoured 3G version when it appears at some point this year. Similarly, I've found myself almost always within easy reach of the ever-so-slightly-faster EDGE network.

• Impending Apps. In a few short months, Apple will unleash the iPhone Apps store upon the world - at which point there will be hundreds - maybe thousands - of new applications (including games) available for the platform. Three words: Super Monkey Ball.

I kid you not.

• Software. The real beauty of the iPhone is that it's a growing, evolving platform. New software, bug fixes (if needed), and enhancements can be downloaded straight to the phone from iTunes. So the iPhone you might buy now has a number of enhancements over the iPhone you would've bought last year. And because the iPhone's interface isn't tied to a rigid screen and numerical keyboard like the vast majority of other mobile phones, it can theoretically change in any number of unexpected ways in the future.

So, um, I really could whittle on about this for hours (seriously, if you ever meet me, don't start me off on a conversation about how good the iPhone is - you won't get a word in edgeways). Of course, there will always be people who don't want an iPhone, or who don't like them, which is fine, and I'll quite honestly say it's not the right phone for everyone (the tariffs are a tad expensive, if I'm being truthful). But I love mine, and I'm glad I bought it.

And despite what you might think after reading this post I am neither a) on Apple's payroll, or b) Steve Jobs' bitch.


Dinah said...

Awesome! I'm so glad that you're still happy with iPhone. I can't remember the last time that I was so thrilled with something I yay (for you). My cell phone...I feel like it's a kid caught between two divorced parents, where I have to still deal with Bell Mobility even though they've screwed me over time and time again and I think they lie to me and make stuff up, so then I get angry with them but still have to deal with my phone.

Tara said...

That is one great toy you've got there. Okay ...Wii first for me then maybe IPhone.

I'm not sure I'm responsible enough to own an IPhone, though. I check my email too many times during the day as it is, I think having 24/7 access to it with the touch of my finger would be too much. ;)

T-Bird said...

You're totally making me want to get an iPhone now.

Either that or have a twenty thirteen birthday party with it, CyberPerve stylee.

Tim said...

Dinah - Does Canadinialand even have the iPhone yet? If it does, you should totally get one! It sucks that you're not getting the service you demand, and end up resenting your phone for for it!

Tara - Despite having two friends who have Wiis, I've still not played on one! And you should totally get an iPhone!!

T-Bird - Get one! Didn't they just launch in Australialand? You would not regret it, I promise.

I guessing if in Cyberperve land it's not my finger I'd be using on the touchscreen…

Inexplicable DeVice said...

... and the touchscreen would be just another name for something of mine!

Mwah hah hah hah hah ha!

Tim said...

Whoa! What happened to my last sentence there? It's all mashed up!!

Excuse me for crappy English.

Inexplicable Device - Instead of finger, think fist; instead of touchscreen, think face. Everyone's a winner!


Inexplicable DeVice said...

Well, I can't grumble with that - It's physical contact after all...

Tim said...

See - everyone IS a winner!

CyberPete said...

I don't like the fact that you need a plastic case for it. That's annoying.

Oh and do you have a MAC? Maybe that's why your phone and computer are lovers RAWR!

I wonder how well it works with a proper computer

T-Birdy: you can bring your iPhone to my party anytime. The same of course goes to Tim.

Tim said...

Well, technically you don't need a plastic case for it, but I just know that I'd end up dinking it if I didn't so I'm being cautious.

And yep, I'm a Mac-addict. I believe that iPhones work perfectly well with normal computers, despite the fact that's it's slightly akin to taking a Ferrari to be hand-washed by monkeys at a zoo.