Last week, I finally joined the 21st century and got an iPhone. My mobile contract was up, and it seemed like a natural progression from the iPod Touch. I’d already considered some alternative smartphones like the XXX and the YYY, but niggling concerns about Mac compatibility and screen resolution singled out the one choice I could make.
I don’t actually talk on the phone much. It’s just a function of the way I operate socially that I’m a minimum-spend telephony user. As such, I haven’t really noticed anything outstanding about this function of the device. That being said, I do like the “conversation” view of text messages, and the easy integration of the Address Book.
I’ve read a number of complaints about connectivity and the iPhone. Overall, I can’t say I’ve run into them. Occasionally I’m forced to reboot the thing when it can’t get on to the net via 3G, but I’ve found that’s mostly a problem with the “dialling” in, and that giving it a moment can clear it up. I suspect it’s more a function of my carrier than the iPhone.
Mobile Safari makes web browsing almost as good as a real PC. It renders things well, and is pretty speedy.
I’ll go into what apps I’m using in a later post, but for now I want to mention an interesting phenomenon: my Twitter use has increased due to actually having a good interface while on the move. My venerable Nokia 6110 just couldn’t make Twitter a good experience, but the large screen and easy keyboard make Twitter much more accessible. Likewise for Facebook.
Finding an app in the App store, however, is a royal pain in the butt. It might be cheap, and it might be useful, but if I can’t find it, there’s no point. Apple really needs to address that.
When I got my first iPod (a venerable 1st-gen Shuffle), I swore by the earphones. They didn’t distort, they produced a decent quality sound. Naturally, they eventually broke down, but by then I was using my Nano, and quietly moved on to in-ear buds. I hadn’t realised until trying the earphones that came with the iPhone how much a difference in-ear makes to sound quality. I find that with the classic whites, I am constantly pushing them further into my ear to capture more bass.
It’s a shame, because I want access to the remote control and microphone on the iPhone buds. Instead, I’m going back to my in-ears.
The built in camera is pretty good. The touch-to-meter function is a godsend in variably lit conditions, and helps deliver relatively clear photos. The only drawback is the lack of flash. Of course, one photo with a flash would probably deplete the battery, so I guess we can’t have everything.
This is probably the iPhone’s weakest suit. I seem to be unusual amongst mobile phone users in that charging my phone is a habit. I just plug in when I go to bed and don’t have to think about it. Nevertheless, all previous phones that I have owned have not actually needed that discipline. The iPhone on the other hand is at least 50% down at the end of every day. I don’t even consider myself a heavy user, given that I have internet access at work (and am actually working most of the time), so I can see this being a major problem for most people out there.
Overall, the iPhone is a solid consumer-grade smartphone. It integrates well with the Mac’s iCal and Address Book applications, though the lack of task management feature does get on my nerves. Nonetheless, most of my experience with the iPhone has been great. The only real downfall is the lacklustre battery life. I now carry a charge cable with me wherever I go.