I’m still a more-than satisfied iPhone user. Odds are this isn’t likely to change. If anything, the more I use it and get used to it, the better the experience becomes.
That said, I can’t honestly say the iPhone isn’t without it’s faults. In fact, Let me jump right into a couple of areas I think Apple can do better in:
- Built-in camera. In all fairness, I was using a Nokia N95 before I switched to the iPhone. When it comes to mobile phone cameras, there’s not much out there that can compete with the N95′s built-in camera. I’m talking about a phone with a up to 5 megapixel (2592 x 1944 pixels) camera, Carl Zeiss optics, Tessar lens, MPEG-4 VGA video capture of up to 30 fps, digital stereo microphone, flash modes: on, off, automatic, redeye reduction, video resolutions: up to VGA (640×480) at 30 fps, video file format .mp4 (default), .3gp (for MMS), white balance: automatic, sunny, cloudy, incandescent, fluorescent, scene: automatic, night, color tones: normal, sepia, black & white, negative, vivid, zoom: digital up to 10x (VGA up to 4x)… And I could go on. All of that and a phone. Now, one could honestly say, “Well why not just buy a video camera instead.” We have a very nice video camera in our home, and we use it (though not enough because of time, of course). However, it doesn’t fit in my pocket. With my N95 I couldn’t count the amount of times I quickly grabbed it to capture something my youngest daughter was doing, or some nice scene I was in the midst of. With the iPhone I get 3 megapixels, autofocus, tap to focus (which is actually pretty cool), video recording, VGA up to 30 fps with audio, and no flash. From what I’ve read, this is actually a step up for the iPhone compared to the first camera. Nevertheless, it simply can’t compete to the Nokia N95′s camera. Heck! Not many built-in mobile phone cameras out there can still! If the iPhone had such a camera it would be pointless for other mobile phone makers to even bother producing a product. At least that’s what I think.
- Battery life. The iPhone is actually a mini-computer with a built-in GPS, camera, running wi-fi and Bluetooth, is multi-lingual, push mail capable, and fits in your pocket. Any device that does all that and is that size is going to drain the battery. With all of the bells and whistles blowing full-out, I can easily go through my battery in a day. When I leave home I try and remember to deactivate the wi-fi, but I keep my Bluetooth going for my Bluetooth headset, and seeing as my calling plan offers unlimited data, I don’t tend to turn off the 3G function. Like other iPhone users, I have iPod cables and docks at work and home (Okay. We all know that by now I’ve bought enough Apple equipment to have plenty of cables for this. Heck, I’ve purchased 4 iPods alone in the last several years, so my supply of iPhone cables is pretty good) just in case my juice runs low. In the past I would’ve thought this a bit of a pain and quite tedious. That was before purchasing an iPhone. Those who don’t own one will think me a bit silly. That’s okay. I understand. I was there too. But it’s really one of those things where you have to experience it for yourself. It pretty much falls in line with owning a Mac. They just work, and work well. Funny how those strange folks in Cupertino manage to pull this off time and again… Regarding the issue of battery life, there now seems to be a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. The mophie Juice Pack Air is both an iPhone case and an extra battery. It’s recommended by Apple and seems like a pretty viable option in that it’s nowhere near as large as I thought it would be. Of course, I plan on checking out one in person at an Apple store before considering purchasing one though.
Now let me answer some common questions folks tend to have regarding switching to an iPhone:
- What’s it like SMSing/texting with it? I was one of the folks who thought I’d never get used to not having the tactile feeling of some type of keyboard beneath my fingertips. Even with my N95 I could float across its keypad rather quickly. If there was anything I was sort of hesitant about it was this. Nevertheless, the iPhone’s intelligent keyboard turned out to be all Apple said it would be. The biggest part of everything was forcing myself to actually trust the darn thing to learn my habits. Once I let go, things just got easier. Check out their video to see more of what I’m talking about.
- How will switching to an iPhone impact me if I speak another language? This is no problem either. First, if you speak another language, changing from one language to another for the entire phone is quite simple. In fact, rather than bore you with the steps, I’ve found a YouTube video that shows you exactly what I mean. (The gentleman in the video is obviously a representative for a company that produces an app called Shake; nonetheless, out of all the videos I looked at, this one offered the best video quality, so I chose it). As far as switching keyboards, the iPhone intelligent keyboard video above covers this toward the very end of the clip.
- Syncing. If you’re a Mac owner, syncing will be the very same wonderful, flawless experience you’re used to. It will be done via iTunes, taking the pertinent information from your Mac. The screen that offers the configuration settings should look like this:
As you can see in this particular case, I am also offered the choice to sync (or not by unchecking the box) with my Yahoo! and Google contacts, as wells as the calendars I selected in the Calendars area. If you are not a Mac owner (poor you! ;)), I hear that Google Sync is a pretty decent alternative that also offers push mail (and if you have an iPhone push mail is something you want). Have a look for yourself and see if it’s for you.
- Cool Bonus. One thing that I also dig quite a bit, especially as a MobileMe user, is the ability to Find My iPhone. This allows me to literally find out where on earth my iPhone is or at least in the vicinity of. For example at this very moment my iPhone is here:
If I was somewhere else and concerned about the information on my iPhone, I could send a message, play a sound, lock it using a remote passcode, or send a remote wipe command that would delete all media and data on the phone. I like being able to do that. In fact, I like it a lot.
In the next post I’ll get into some of the apps I like as well as what it’s like using a phone that’s locked to one provider (how American yet UNAmerican!). For now I think I’ve provided you with enough to chew on for a bit.