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iPhone impressions

So I’ve now had my iPhone for about a week, so it’s time to start talking about it. Because that’s what you do when you buy Apple products, don’chano?

What I Like

  • Apple has always been the king of the user interface, and this is no exception. The navigation of the phone is extremely intuitive, and for the most part things are where you expect to find them. I probably spent the first hour just jumping from app to app and being really happy with how everything looks, how responsive it is, and how easy everything is to use.
  • The switching of my number from T-Mobile to AT&T was painless and quick. When we left the Apple Store, they told me I could make outbound calls right away, but it might take up to six hours before I could receive calls. We drove home to pick up Larissa’s mom and go to breakfast at J. Christopher’s. While we were placing our order, I got a text message from AT&T telling me that the port was complete. After the horror story that was eloren‘s iPhone adventure, this was a very pleasant surprise. (I admit I feel a little bit guilty, as T-mobile has offered me very good service over the years and I had no complaints with them to speak of. But that’s the nature of the exclusive hardware contracts, I suppose.)
  • There is a Pandora Radio app for the iPhone. This delights me.
  • It makes a perfect good iPod. Since my iPod recently took a swim in the washing machine and didn’t survive the experience, it was nice to have my podcasts back in the car.
  • The App Store is full of many free, if often pointless, little utilities. It also has some useful ones, like UrbanSpoon, which helps locate nearby restaurants, and Showtimes, which does something similar for nearby movie theatres.
  • I can continue my practice of having pictures of my sweeties as phone wallpaper, which makes me happy every time I turn it on.
  • The web browser looks *fantastic*. Easily the best implementation of a web browser on a phone I’ve ever used. Reading and posting to LJ is extremely easy.
  • The phone is very slim, but it has a nice heft to it. It feels like a substantial object, and not a tiny plastic toy.

What I Don’t Like

  • There is apparently a bug when the most recent version of the iPhone OS and Windows Outlook with syncing. (I had to actually buy a new copy of Outlook, as my previous copy was from 2000 and refused to talk to the phone at all.) If left to sit and peculate, it will eventually finish syncing, but it takes far far longer than it should. This is being widely discussed on the various forums, so it’s obviously a software side problem rather than simply a problem with my setup.
  • With all the apps that are out there, there’s nothing that can be used to cycle the wallpaper at set intervals between a set of defined photos. This seems like it would be pretty basic (I have such an application for my computers.
  • The camera interface is awkward. (This is, to me, a minor gripe, since I don’t particular need a good camera phone. But on the off chance I do use it, it’s a bit clunky.)
  • No IRC client. Really? I’m somewhat stunned by this, honestly. There’s a couple of apps in development that may be solving this soon, but for the moment…c’mon guys, it’s one of the oldest chat protocols on the net. There’s no excuse.
  • No backgrounding. An app is either on or its off. You can’t run, say, AOL Instant Messenger in the background and have it make noise at you when a message comes in. It appears that there’s going to be some mechanism to simulate this with the new “push” features, but for the moment, its either foreground or off.
  • I can’t get the SSH client I purchased to work properly.
  • It seems to be that if you have the headset plugged in, and the phone rings, it only rings in the headset. I find this somewhat peculiar behaviour, since it means I can’t just leave the heatset plugged in and the phone nearby on my desk, because I may not notice it vibrating. (Probably time to replace my bluetooth headset.)

All in all, I’m very pleased with the purchase. What I don’t like are mostly minor gripes, and several of them will probably be solved by future software releases.

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8 Comments

  1. while i like the iphone’s UI better than almost everything i’ve seen, there are still a number of ways in which it is less useful than my last phone

    too many clicks for speed dial and redial
    pdf reader was saving my spot in 1.x, but is not in 2.0.1
    you can’t tell if you’ve got any messages unless you turn on the screen
    very difficult to use one handed, particularly if you have fingernails.

    • I haven’t looked at PDFs yet, so that one hadn’t popped up for me. I can see where it would be an annoyance. And yeah, it’s not really a onehanded phone.

      Still, by and large my complaints with the phone are annoyances rather than substantial gripes, so there’s hope that they’ll be fixed in upcoming releases. A message light would be nice, but that’s a hardware evolution and won’t be happening on this model, alas.

  2. I saw an IRC client today… look for “Rooms” (I found it while looking for chat apps).

    • Damn, doesn’t show up for me. Was this in the app store?

      Wait! There it is! 🙂

      Hm, should I spend 59 p?

      • Yes! And then tell me if I should spend the same afterwards. *blinks innocently*

        • Right, tested the client this morning.

          It works … OK. In that you can chat on an irc channel and it looks pretty normal. It does not accept *any* /commands, including /me and /topic, and it does not recognise those commands when sent from somewhere else.

          It does allow you to query other users and displays queries in the channel window, prefaced with who they’re from, in italics. The text input box shows you who you’re talking to, the entire channel, or whoever you’re querying.

          The app’s channel autojoin feature does not work, but it does remember the server you want to autoconnect to.

          It offers a feature that defeats the iPhone’s autolock, or a feature that allows you to stay connected to irc if your phone goes into autolock. However, if you get a phone call while this feature is turned on and you’re autolocked, it disconnects you from irc. I suspect you’d get disconnected if you were actively talking and a phone call came in.

          So, yeah. Like lots of iPhone apps, this release is seriously beta. But it does work.

  3. The one thing that drove me up the wall at first was that I habitually checked recent calls to get numbers to ring for home and J and etc. But I also keep a tidy contact list, meaning that J’s contact name stores home, work, and mobile (as does mine). The iPhone doesn’t tell you which number it called in the recent list-- just lists people by name. So if I click on J in the ‘recent’ list, I might find myself calling his mobile, or I might find myself calling home.

    I’m trying to train myself to go for favourites instead and to clear my recently called list as often as I think of it.

    • Yeah. I haen’t really had that issue, since I’m not in the habit of using the recent list for anything other than returning a call that I just missed (or saving a recent call to contacts when it was someone I didn’t already have.

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