I wonder if the bite out the apple in the logo for one of my favorite brands is in anyway related to the whole forbidden fruit thing.
I think not, as it has been for a while. Yet Apple products excel in making their products desirable, must have items you can not live without.
Being a bit of an Apple fanboy I was excited about the news of the iPhone but refused to get one of the first gen versions. But desire got the better of me and once my contract was up, I would switch to o2 and get one. Yes, Apple may release a 3G version later this year, but there is so much speculation, why wait for something that is entirely based on rumors when I could be enjoying the internet in my hands right now.
I stand by my decision, yes it was expensive, but it is so awesome and something that do not treat as a phone, but more a mini Apple experience. They key draw to the iPhone was to have the internet wherever you are. Sure I could get GPRS on my old phone, and I did on occasion use it, but scrolling through never ending thin pages of two words per line websites was not a pleasant experience.
The synronisation of the iPhone is seamless. Once I set it up in iTunes (you do all the phone number transfer stuff in itunes as well as set up the payment for your contract and choosing what contact you want) it synced itself. All my mail accounts were transfered and i only have to allow the use of my iPhone to access the Mac keychain for the passwords. My calendar including my separate calendars at home at at work. We also use an Exchange type mailserver at work and as my iCal at work was set up to sync with it, this was also transfered to my iPhone. So when I update any of the calendars it all syncs together without any questions about merging etc including putting the info on the Exchange server for those who use Entourage or the web calendar.
I read an email on the phone and then it is marked as read in my main inbox on my desktop, i delete it off my phone and it is is removed from my desktop but still retrievable in the trash. Bookmarks are also transferred. This feature is great and compared to other phones where checking email proved to be quite problematic and resulting support calls is what makes me love Apple even more. The iPhone can also easily view (but not edit) PDFs, Word and Excel files sent as attachments.
The connection over wifi is obviously gonna be great, and it is. I was very concerned about EDGE, I had not heard good things about it. But when i tried and used EDGE it has been very good, when I tested it I got speeds of 200k, which is fine for surfing, emails etc. Sites are a little slow, but perfectly usable. I have yet to try EDGE outside London, that may be a different story.
It is also an ipod, I will continue to use my regular iPod for this as 16g is not massive, and just use the iPhone for few songs and videos (which look amazing on the screen)
Software wise it comes with all you need, and until June when Apple release v2 of the iPhone software, you can’t install your own software without Jailbreaking the phone.
After much research I decided to Jailbreak it. There are various ways to hack your iPhone, you can unlock it to other networks, activate it (fake a official connection to get the phone working) and jailbreaking. As I was on o2 I didn’t have to unlock or activate my iPhone with a hack, and a JalBreak is easy removed with a software restore.
(a side note is, iTunes keeps a whole backup of everything on your phone including recent calls and texts so that should you need to restore you quickly get everything back on it that you previously had)
There are lots of videos on YouTube showing you how to so this, and if you do it is at your own risk, a simple Jailbreak is fairly low risk, and when iPhone 2 comes out, will no longer be required.
There is a large community developing for the iPhone before Apple released the SDK a few weeks ago. Apps range from utter crap, to quite useful, everything is collated and installed via AppTapp which is put on when you Jailbreak.
My faves are:
- Mobile Chat – an instant messenger for the MSN, ICQ, Yahoo and .Mac
- Tap Tap Revolutions – a cool Dance Dance Revolution style game that reads your iTunes library and then downloads fan made game files for you songs, so you only download simple data and play the mp3 locally.
- Labyrinth – not a super game but you hold the iPhone face up and then tilt it to roll around a marble. Simple but shows off the accelerometer, this really surprised me, I knew it could tell if you were holding it portrait or landscape, but that is no big deal as most decent digital cameras have done this for years. But you get wii type sensitivity
Though not an app, the iPhone versions of Facebook and the BBC iPlayer are great. The iPlayer streams Quicktime files at fullscreen of it’s streaming library (most stuff from the last 7 days). And by adding these sites as bookmarks on your home screen, you get lush looking buttons for quick access to these services. It’s easy to watch something while cooking or on the pan.
The maps features is great, full Googlemaps and satellite views wherever you are, and a nifty feature to press a button and have the phone triangulate where you are based on the o2 transmitters. This has worked very well when tested. It even offers a route planner feature, but you have to tap the screen when ready for the next instruction. Not a GPS, but a useful feature, especially in London.
Gripes with the iPhone:
- The rendering of pages is a little slow, so if you are whizzing around a page you are often looking at the transparency grid for a couple of second or two whilst it catches up.
- The lack of MMS is very rubbish, I hold my hands up and say it’s a bit crap really. But MMS is not very popular in the US, and you can send a load of other bigger files via email. There are workarounds, the obvious example is that if someone sends you an MMS you simply get a SMS with a url to look at in your browsers. There is also a 3rd party app called Swirly to send MMS messages.
- Actual call quality is not great either, but to be honest I didn’t get this thing to talk to people, I used my previous mobile for mainly texts and the odd call. Volume is fine, but the speaker is not that great on the phone side.
- It gets very grubby, but when using it the grime is not noticeable, the screen is still bright and crisp and shines through the layer of finger grease. When you turn it off you can quickly see how dirty it has got. Nothing a quick wipe wont sort out though.
- It is an eye magnet, which is a bit of a problem because I won’t get it out in public (aye aye). But I wouldn’t get the other one out either, so no biggie there.
Typing is responsive, and the “predictive” text is very good, if you type fast and not care about pressing the right button and press other buttons it tries to guess what you wanted to type. Letting go and trusting this feature does make typing faster and easier. Flipping the phone on it’s side give you a much larger keyboard with more spacing between keys (though much less of what you are actually typing). Though this feature doesn’t work in Mail, only in Safari and Chat.
So to some up, I am pleased as punch with it. There are a few issues, but these were known and the advantages to having an iPhone greatly outweigh the disadvantages. It is a great little toy, feels great, and looks amazing. The interface is pleasurable to use (sometimes it’s just fun to swipe though your contacts really fast or Coverflow just because it feels so good)