Before we dive into today’s CyberNotes, we just wanted to point out that this isn’t the usual Microsoft Monday article. We’re taking a break from talking about Microsoft to talk about none other than a competitor of theirs, Apple. Over the last couple of months, we’ve received several emails and questions regarding the iPhones we purchased back at the end of December. Some of you have been wondering if we liked the phones, what we liked best, what we didn’t like, and more. Today we thought we’d answer those questions, so our CyberNotes Feature will be our mini-review of the iPhone. We’ll explain why we chose the iPhone in the first place, and what our favorite features are. We’ll also mention a few tips and tricks we’ve come across as well as a few improvements that Apple could make.
Two weeks after the iPhone launched, I wrote an article that included thirteen reasons I wasn’t buying an iPhone yet. On the list were reasons like cost, the lack of a GPS and a 3G network, camera limitations, issues with syncing, and more. Despite having created such a list, by the time December came around and Ryan and I were in need of new phones, after doing our research, we determined that the iPhone would suit our needs best. On December 28th, we walked into the Apple store and purchased two iPhones, something several months ago we would have never expected would happen.
Why the iPhone?
So why the iPhone? One of the biggest reasons was battery. Most of the phones we’ve had over the last several years have ended up with all kinds of battery issues. We wanted a phone with a solid battery life, and the iPhone offered just this. Apple says that the phone offers up to 8 hours of talk time, 6 hours of Internet use, 7 hours of video playback, or 24 hours of audio playback. They also say that it features up to 250 hours of standby time. Given this, it was hard to even consider getting something other than the iPhone.
Another big thing was the web apps. We purchased our phones in December and by that point we were able to see that web apps specifically designed for the iPhone were readily available from big name sites. This made it seem okay to have the slower Edge Internet Connection because the sites designed for the iPhone seem to load without hesitation.
One of my issues on my list of 13 reasons was the price of the iPhone. When Apple first launched the phones, they were priced at $599 for the 8GB version. Of course there was the big price drop not long after the iPhone launched and we paid $399 for the 8GB phone which is much more affordable than the previous price. Related to the price is the fact that the iPhone is an all-in-one device. We had iPods that we were able to sell on eBay to help fund the purchase of the phones. Now we have less to carry around because the iPhone includes an iPod which is convenient.
- Access to an advanced web browser. Safari (despite the fact that it quietly crashes now and then) is great and makes browsing the Internet on a phone enjoyable
- Visual Voicemail – it’s great to see who there are messages from before actually listening to them. Deleting a message is as simple as pressing “delete” on the screen
- IMAP email support
- Intelligent error correction system while you’re typing
- Google maps integration is great because you can get the satellite imagery, directions, traffic info, and more
- Cover Flow is nice for when you’re browsing through your music library. Viewing the album art does make a difference
- Automatic orientation sensor in Safari for switching between portrait and landscape modes
- Multi-touch provides intuitive zooming in photos and in Safari
- Long battery life (we get about 6 hours of usage and two days of stand-by before it needs to be charged)
- It’s great to have the built-in speaker so if you want to listen to music without the headphones, you can
- Option to create a “Favorites” contact list which is separate from your main contacts list
Tips and Tricks
- While using Safari, just double tap at the top of the browser (right below where it shows the time) no matter how far down a page you are and the browser will quickly scroll all the way back to the top.
- Tap and hold on a link and it will pop-up with a little bubble that shows where the link will direct you to
- While talking on the phone, you can still access the Notes by pressing the Home button. This is especially convenient for times when you need to scribble something down. Similarly, you can go back to your calendar and add an appointment while you’re talking to someone.
- The Home button has a customizable “double-click” action available in the settings. Here’s how it works:
- If you’re on the “slide to unlock” screen and you double-click the home button, it will show iPod controls under the time (rewind, play, forward). This means you don’t have to unlock your phone to pause your music or skip ahead to the next song.
- Everywhere else besides the “slide to unlock” screen, double-clicking will take you to your pre-set location that you’ve determined in your settings. We’ve set it to take it to our favorite contacts when we double-click.
- While typing, if you hit the spacebar twice, it will automatically convert the two spaces to a period followed by a space. This way you don’t have to switch to the symbols keyboard.
- Safari browser lacks Flash support
- No built-in messenger
- GPS support would be great in the future
- Automatic orientation would be nice in other applications that are included with the iPhone
- Higher quality camera with video support
- Better syncing support such as being able to sync Notes with Outlook or being able to sync bookmarks with Firefox
- Wireless syncing
- 3G Network
- Speaker volume (would be nice if it was louder)
Wrapping it up…
Overall we’re extremely satisfied with the iPhone right now and we believe that we made a good choice in choosing this as our phone and our media player.