iPhone Reflections

As you know the iPhone eventually arrived and I have used it for 5 days now, so I thought I would share my opening pictures and initial thoughts.

If you read my initial impressions you will know that I immediately saw it as a ‘fun’ device rather than a ‘serious’ tool. By that I meant that it was fun to have, but not necessary, or if I am honest particularly useful. I would go so far as to rate it as 8/10 for fun but 4/10 for usefulness.

Now before everyone jumps down my throat, let me give a little background!!

I am more than aware that my current position is, while not unique, certainly not the target market for Apple.

  • I do not commute to work
  • I typically spend upwards of 8 hours a day in front of a Mac
  • The culture in Spain is totally different from that in the US and UK

On the other hand though, I have run several companies – at one stage 3 at one time of which one was in Spain and two in the UK – and have tried pretty much every PDA, Smartphone, iPAQ type device over the last 20 years.

I am a big fan of gadgets, but even more so for gadgets that actually improve or enhance tasks, life etc.

I point the above out purely to demonstrate that my view of the iPhone is not based solely on my current position, but on my previous experiences as well.

First the good bits

Without doubt it is a very cool looking device that has been very well put together. It has that tactile quality that makes you just want to hold it and fiddle around with it. The screen is amazing and the touch controls work amazingly well (not so well with sweaty hands though as I found out while running).

I particularly like SMS and the way it retains and displays the history of the ‘chats’ a la iChat.

Photos and Video are what this baby was made for – showing them off that is. The quality of the display, the scrolling, zooming, landscape and portrait are amazing.

The phone is pretty good, although it is pretty easy to call someone by mistake with the sensitivity of the screen. I find it really hard to select the letter to jump to in the address book, but that isn’t a huge problem. Unlike iCal the synchronization with Groups in the Address book is really good.

Mail is really good, but would be better if you could rotate the screen as you can with photos, video and Safari

Safari is good enough. Any device this size is going to have limitations but the quality is great. I would strongly advice anyone that has a blog to look at iWPhone as a means of making your site more user friendly for the iPhone user.

iPod is great, just nowhere near enough storage. I think that this will be the case until they get to at least 32GB personally.

The not so good stuff

As a general point I find the continual return to home page very restrictive. The ability to move backwards and forwards within an application is really poor

Where is iChat? I am sure I am not alone in that I communicate more now via instant messenger than email, and the ability to kill a few minutes on a chat or quickly ask for some vital information off a contact would be extremely useful.

The calendar is very limited and uninspiring. Why sync with iCal and give you the options to select which calendars you sync with, but not allow you to enter new iPhone entries into individual calendars and show by colour? And as for not syncing with the To Do list that just about renders it useless in my view!!

NB – I will be interested to see what happens when I get round to syncing it with Leopard as the To Do integration in mail may just save this feature!

The camera is very poor quality with no options whatsoever. Fine for a bit of fun but in no way a practical replacement for a ‘point and shoot’, so virtually useless. And of course no video taking ability just cements how poor this is.

Battery life is at best adequate

YouTube is somewhat laboured in the way you gave to navigate and how many iPhone users really need Stocks, Weather and Maps. They are all perfectly fine though, just not especially innovative or creative, and again navigation is a major flaw.

Third part applications

I have installed three so far:

Apollo IM – which is about as good a IM app as there is for the iPhone and looks pretty cool, but is fundamentally useless. It crashes all the time and anything you try and type beyond one line disappears behind the on screen keyboard. Also, there is no way to rename the buddy list, so you get stuck with the names that people give themselves! That is a real pet hate of mine.

iFlickr is a pretty cool way to upload your (crap) pictures to your Flickr account directly, but as you can’t name them, add a description or group them without actually logging into your account via Safari it has very limited uses. Fun yes, useful for the blog for example nope!

PDFViewer, seems OK, but only installed it in case I needed it and to fill up the screen with icons.

Now I know that the iPhone isn’t a replacement for a notebook (for example) but I feel that for the price and hype it should be able to take on more of the workload. It really is fun to use, but for someone that has no need to buy the current Starbucks track (in fact I am totally opposed to tempting people into these impulse buys – let then tag it and make the buying decision from their own home, but how many tunes are going to be bought on impulse and never listened to?!) I just think that the profile of the target individual is somewhat prescriptive by Apple and it isn’t a profile that reflects me, or that I want to be.

So in reality it is a OK phone that has a few really good fun things added as far as I am concerned. Well OK in that the phone works perfectly well, I still don’t like the form factor as a phone, too wide to hold.

I am happy that I have it and I wouldn’t want to put you off BUT I think you should approach it from the perspective that you will be buying it for yourself, not for what it can do for you!

Select Photos

Arrived at last!

A little plain possibly?

Initial Impression – loved the silver

As you would expect, neatly packed

Ready to insert Movistar SIM

AT&T SIM out

Exceptional Screen

A good width and weight

No problems at all

Full Flickr set

Learn about Phone Systems

The iPhone has its ups and downs, but when it comes to copy machines or the local small business phone systems

you want the products to be as problem free as possible. There a lot of phone system terms to understand before making an investment, but once your good to go you’ll have a phone system that works for you.

4 thoughts on “iPhone Reflections

  1. Chris Marshall Post author

    Forgot. Although it is meant to be an ‘iPod’ it doesn’t get recognised by VodooPad which sucks as I love having the VP notes on my iPod.

  2. Chris Marshall Post author

    Doesn’t look like the mail.app sync is going to help with the To Do list:

    Syncing notes to your iPhone won’t work either. Well, not entirely. The notes Mail.app keeps are actually just HTML email messages in a special folder, and if you use IMAP it will sync that special notes folder to your server. So in theory, if you have IMAP and you access your IMAP email through your iPhone or other device, you can view / edit those notes. But no, they don’t sync to the notes your iPhone’s native notes app keeps.

  3. Dunks

    I am increasingly thinking that Apple has not released what I want – an iPDA. They have absolutely hit the nail on the head with a great video ipod (that just needs more storage) and a very cool phone with a some great features and an iPod thrown in to the mix.

    What they haven’t produced is a killer smartphone (yet) or a great PDA and in fairness they haven’t purported to either. Unfortunately this is an itch a lot of us have need of being scratched. Maybe they will release an iPDA or maybe the functionality will improve in the next iterations.

    It’s amazing how many posts I have read about ways to make the iPhone into a smartphone or the iTouch into a PDA so hopefully Apple will take heed!

  4. Chris Marshall Post author

    I agree!

    For me I can’t really see the point of the Touch in that IF you are in the US for example you can get an iPhone for the same price as a Touch (allbeit less capacity) so on the basis that the neither has enough capacity to sync all your data so it really makes no odds if it is 8 or 16, then you may as well have the iPhone as an option as hacked it doesn’t require a different carrier contract (so long as you are on a SIM of course).

    Mac on the other hand has totally the opposite view – has no desire for an iPhone now he has the Touch 🙂

    But back to your point and the basis of my post – I don’t see the iPhone as anywhere close to a fully functional business PDA.

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