Three months ago I posted my Apple iPhone Review and detailed my initial thoughts of Apple’s entry into the cell phone market; now with a few months of usage I thought it would be a good time to write down some afterthoughts on what the iPhone experience is all about. First let me state that I have only personally used only three cellphones in my entire life: a Blackberry, a Samsung Blackjack, and an old style cell phone, none of which I personally owned. The irony of course is that back in college I worked at a major electronics chain store and sold cell phones as part of my job. Back then I use to sign up people for Motorola phones all the time. Somehow though I never really thought I would ever need a cell phone until now!
Most Used Features
Without a doubt, the feature that I use the most is Safari. I love being able to read my favorite tech news sites and blogs anywhere I go. Everyone is talking about how some day eBooks will become popular, but in reality the real medium is the news site and blogs that get updated daily and which are read more often than most newspaper columns. The iPhone allows you to do what you have always wanted to do, which is catch up on your favorite sites when you are away from your computer. In many ways it reduces the need for people to use their work computer for idle web browsing and lets people be informed anywhere they go.
I personally hate talking to people on the phone, so I prefer SMS texting to actually calling anyone. Sometimes SMS seems more fun than actually talking. I much more prefer to send coworkers a quick message than to actually bother them during a meeting or worse at home in their private time. The iPhone’s keyboard takes a little getting use to, but it soon becomes second nature and you find yourself quickly adopting to its limitations.
As a manager, you often need to catch up on email or learn more management skills, but lets face it there is never enough time in the day to do this. One trick that I use is to email myself anything I don’t have time to read to my GMail account and then later when I get stuck waiting somewhere with nothing to do, I pull out my iPhone and check my email. This way I catch up on everything I wanted to read eventually without interfering with my regular work routine.
Probably the feature I use the most that is not work related happens to be the camera. Like most people I have a digital camera and it is stuck in a drawer somewhere. The iPhone camera is nothing to rave about, but it allows you the freedom to take a few pictures of the family, especially when they least expect it. For the first time I actually I am using iPhoto weekly.
The biggest annoyance is the battery life, until you discover to live within the limitations of the iPhone battery. If you find your battery draining like mine, try the following tips:
- Turn Wi-Fi off when you know there are no access points
- Lower your screen Brightness
- Turn Bluetooth off if not needed
- Do not setup Mail to Auto-Check
- iPod: Turn off Sound Check
- iPod: Turn off EQ
- iPod: Turn off Volume Limit
- If you do not need to take any calls, enable Airplane Mode
The other problem that I use to run into is with Safari. At times Safari would just quit without warning trying to load a webpage. I think this is more of a problem with Safari 3 then the actual iPhone. Safari 3 in Mac OS X is still a work in progress and you will find that while Safari 3 improves on the previous version’s speed, it seems to be a lot more prone to long freezes and random quits. A good cure for this on the iPhone is to clear your cache and shutdown your iPhone completely. Once your power it back up, Safari seems to work just fine for a couple a days at least. The problem only gets worse if you switch constantly from Wi-Fi and AT&T.
Don’t Use It
Other than my kids who seem to think it is hilarious to watch SouthPark cartoons with Pokemon character voices, I really don’t use the YouTube feature much. The iPod part of the iPhone plays better video and unless you are connected to Wi-Fi, YouTube does not work very well at all through AT&T.