July 24, 2008

iPhone Review and Thoughts

Filed under: Digital Distribution, Gadgets, Information Supernova — Robert John Ed @ 3:02 pm

Well, let me see here.  I’ve had the phone for roughly 6 days now.  It’s a pretty big upgrade over what I had previously (that’s not saying much though).  Some thoughts:

  • The interface is amazing.  I hadn’t really touched the UI on the first iPhone, was just going off of popular public opinion about how awesome it is.  Scrolling is a breeze and FAST, navigation is extremely easy, it follows the same one button format as an iPod; the whole set up is just very intuitive, you want to look at something, you tap it.  You want to change something you edit it.  You want to start over you hit the only prominent button on the phone.  It was a leap of faith to purchase a phone such as this without actually using the features before hand.Since buying my iMac six months ago, I’ve found OS X to be essential.  It’s doubtful a Windows machine will grace my homes anymore.  It’s hard to describe why, but there are so many little things that make the OS more fun and easy to use.  There’s a lot of debate about this over the tubes, my assumption is that with a little more know how I could rig a Windows machine, or Linux machine to be similarly as rad.  But I’m a lazy pile of crap.  So I won’t be doing that.  The point here is that Apple had my trust to take a leap on a phone.  In fact, I did that with the iPod a few years back as well.  Kudos to them for garnering that trust and building on it with superior products.
  • The most useful aspect of the phone so far in has been the GPS.  Well, the maps function plus the GPS.  I’m a complete humunculus with directions in my head.  I have this little voice in my head constantly worrying I’ve taken a wrong turn or gone too far (usually incorrectly), and as such I’ll double back too soon or alter my path at imprecise moments.  This is only the case in places are routes I’ve not yet taken, but those are frequent.I needed a maps function.  And the GPS only adds to it.  I’ve used them both frequently through the last few days, in my car and on my bike…even on foot.  No longer shall I wander aimlessly, physically at least.
  • The phone feels a little cumbersome at first, but the more I use it the more that thought is negligible.  The screen is extremely bright.  Apple has created a gorgeous phone with an incredible amount of functionality to go along with it.I’m still debating whether or not to buy a skin/protective case of not.  Dropping this thing would be incredibly bad news.  It cost $388.xx with a protection plan.  Cracking the screen from a drop may not be covered in that.  Anything else would (malfunction, battery replacement, etc.) would probably be taken care of.  But I abhor the idea of covering it up or adding to the girth.  I’ll have to wait and see.
  • The iPod is an iPod.  But having a touch interface and coverflow is pretty nice.  I can’t get certain artists to sync to the damn thing (The Strokes won’t show up) but overall it has a nice crisp sound.  The iPhone also offers an external speaker, which is pretty keen, it allows for playing some music at a lower level.The functionality of iTunes allows for music ring tones.  Way awesome for a music lover such as myself, finally get to drop those annoying electronica alerts.
  • I’m going to have to get deeper into the application store at some point, but I’ll say this now:  it may be the most important aspect of the phone other than the display.  Getting apps and using them is as simple as pie.  I haven’t found any applications that are absolutely necessary at this point, but it’s a great idea, revenue model (for both publishers and Apple) and way to customize a phone.In the future, I believe that many phones and mobile devices will follow the trend of having a certain amount of space, then altering them to fit your needs via download.  It’s slick and, once again, the ease of use makes it viable for everyone.
  • The browser is OK.  I know that it beats out everyone else hands down.  Companies specifically build websites for the iPhone and it shows, some are incredibly well put together.  Yet it’s still not much fun or easy for me to use the internet the same way I do on this beastromatic 24″ screen.  So, while I do use the internet, it’s not a “surfing” tool.  It’s a utility as necessary.
  • Typing is far easier than I’d been given the impression.  Then again I do have incredibly sexy, slim fingers.  ;-).  Seriously though, it’s a breeze and although I do have some typos, they are often corrected by the predictive software.  No complaints here.I haven’t started to blog using this thing, but I’m sure I’ll eventually download the WordPress application and make some posts using it when I can’t make it to my laptop or back home.
  • The camera is surprisingly good.  It’s only 2 mega pixels, but the pictures are clear and, despite a bit of blurring when in motion, great for what they need.  When I’m going on excursions expecting to do a lot of picture taking, I’ll probably take the Canon Digital Elph.  On those occasions where a quick snap is needed, this will be perfect.
  • Battery power is still a bit of a question.  I’m not a heavy phone user, but I do rock out to the pod quite a bit, and using some rudimentary searches, GPS, Maps, Email etc. has been pretty normal for me when on the go.  I don’t think your average user should have any problem getting a full days worth out of the battery; those heavy users may run into some issues keeping it charged over long sessions away from home.
  • And of course the plan.  Well, I’m paying $69.99 for the lowest tier of phone minutes with rollover (I don’t use my phone all that much) with a $5 upgrade for 200 text messages.  This is stretching it.  I may have to upgrade the text messages depending on the next few months.  Minutes won’t be a problem.  Data is unlimited.  Which is chrondolicious.I’ve already had a few coverage issues.  On my way up to Aitkin, MN, it was pretty spotty.  When in the woods it was nonexistent.  This isn’t a big problem though.

Overall, the phone is fantastic.  There are still some issues, but for me they are nominal at best.  One a 10 point scale, I’d give the iPhone a 9.3.  That’s bound to improve as Jobs continually advances the technology.  They are ahead of the competition in terms of utility and a positioning stand point.  I just don’t see anyone catching up.  Although a Gphone has been rumored, and a free ad based model might be able to make some noise.  Rumors though.  Today, it’s the iPhone.

This phone (or newer versions) will eventually be the most used phone in the world.


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