Trying out the iPhone
So I had the opportunity to try out the iPhone for a day. Overall I was impressed, but there were some very basic features missing from many of the otherwise killer apps that I would greatly miss if I was to use the iPhone as my primary PDA and phone. Here is a brief summary:
|Browsing||Beautiful.||No copy and paste, so no convenient way to copy that phone number from a web page into the dialer. No support for flash or any other 3rd party extensions. No way to change the Google search default (that I could see). Slow over Edge — though much better over Wi-Fi. I found I like to browse faster than the rendering engine can keep up, resulting in waiting while the page that has already downloaded just draws to the screen.|
|Notes||Convenient, good auto-correct feature does a lot to make up for the non-tactile interface||No undo. And no select feature either. If you want to delete more than a few characters, you’ll hold down the delete key, end up deleting too much accidentally, and look for that missing Undo key, only to give up and accept data loss.|
|Nice to have a built-in app, especially when it connects to Gmail. Good to have IMAP support to make up for the poor “Gmail”-dedicated option.||When I added Gmail, all emails came in as Unread. No bulk method to mark them as read either, so I would have had to open each of 47 messages to mark them as read. Also no conversation view of email as Gmail on the web has — just the archaic individual message listing.|
|Overall Stability||The system was responsive most of the time.||Sometimes the whole screen would just freeze for several seconds for no apparent reason. It would not respond to the one button I could press or any touch on the screen.|
|Google Maps||Multi-touch makes this great.||I actually have found Microsoft Live Maps to provide a more accurate freeway traffic condition (don’t know why), so I would prefer to have Live Maps offered.|
|Voicemail||Of course I’m happy to see an app to visually make reviewing voicemails as easy as sifting an Inbox.||No cons here — except that I rarely have more than a single voicemail message waiting for me anyway, so I wouldn’t call this a killer app.|
|YouTube||Entertaining||Poor video quality — worse than a desktop computer it seemed. Slow downloads over the Edge data connection.|
|Weather||Convenient one or two touch access to weather daily forecasts.||Unlike the dynamic calendar button on the home screen, the weather button reports a static “sunny 73 degree” all day every day.|
|Camera||High quality. Cute animated shutter.||Issues pressing the “take picture” button not always taking the picture. It could cause you to miss the perfect moment for your picture.|
|Phone dialer||Nice interface.||I actually prefer the Windows Mobile Smartphone interface because it is more friendly to one-handed use.|
|Keyboard||I personally really like the touchscreen keyboard, especially because it affords more room for the beautiful display. Auto-correct makes up where mistakes occur.||Virtually impossible to use with just one hand. And yes, more mistakes are made than with a slide-out qwerty keyboard.|
Then of course there’s the closed platform problem, and I miss the voice-activated search I have on my Windows Mobile Smartphone.
Microsoft employment aside (since I tend to not let that get in the way of my personal purchase decisions), would I get an iPhone if I had $500 and a two-year contract I cared to get into? I’m not sure. If I did it would be for the mobile browsing experience and nothing more. That’s not worth $500 plus a two-year contract. Check out a recent post I did on Windows Mobile Smartphones for how I like to find inexpensive, very usable smartphones.