I’ve had the iPhone 3G for a week now and have come to one inescapable conclusion:
I need to buy a watch.
The iPhone 3G is well designed and easy to use. The screen is larger than my old BlackBerry Pearl but not too large. The built in applications are generally okay but a little on the “more is less” side. For example, the e-mail client is very functional. I am able to have my mail delivered using my own SSL based SMTP AUTH relay (open SMTP relays are criminally stupid) and the client works well with my own IMAPS server. Using IMAPS I get full access to my mail folders on my phone (finally!) via an SSL connection. I can view attachments such as PDF and Word documents with ease. But the e-mail client looks sparse and drab. It works well but could be spruced up a little.
The web browser is Safari, plain and simple. It’s good but given the screen size I find myself visiting websites that support the iPhone directly. Both CNN and Newsweek have good mobile websites and all of Google’s web sites are built to work well in the iPhone.
You can’t run multiple applications at the same time, so instant messenger is pretty much useless. The only thing that will run in the background is the iPod application for playing music. That works out for me since I read RSS feeds in Google Reader while listening to music.
The built in assisted GPS is great and I have enough apps that will let me find the nearest you-name it store. I have not played with Google Earth on my phone but I’m told that it is insanely good and fun to play with.
Applications are plentiful and readily available from the app store. The price ranges from free to around $15, with most being less that $3. I can recommend TouchTerm as an adequate ssh client and everyone should buy the addictive Bejeweled 2 game. The free Facebook app is really easy to use. I have not been tempted to jail break my iPhone because I have no need to. Except for IM, everything I want to do works. Why hack my phone?
The video capabilities is surprisingly good. If you have a collection of videos on your PC (oh, for talking purposes, say English subtitled Anime) you can convert them for using on the iPhone with WinFF. It’s a GUI wrapper for ffmpeg and works well. One thing to watch out for is the audio. Set the optional arguments in WinFF for “-async 1” and this will fix any audio sync problems.
My old phone only went as fast as EDGE so to me the 3G network is really fast. On my first day using the iPhone and firmware 2.1, I took the LIRR train to the office. I listened to the radio via the 3G network using an iPhone app. I had to restart the stream twice but that’s pretty good for a 55 minute train ride. In Manhattan I listened to the radio via the 3G network all week as I walked to Penn Station.
The iPhone 3G comes with an A/C adapter and a USB cable. No software CD, no docking station, nada. That’s generally OK as iTunes is available on Apple’s web site and you can buy lots of accessories.
Tonight I went back to the Apple Store and bought another USB cable and an Air Jacket set. This contains a clear hard plastic case that protects the shiny back of the iPhone and a film for the LCD cover. I’m using the anti-glare one and it works really well. No residue and all I did was clean the screen with my lens cloth and used the pre-installation film for picking up any dust. This second visit to the Apple Store makes it official; I am now one of the Apple Undead (a repeat customer).
Oh, and the reason I need to buy a watch? With my old BlackBerry I would use it as a time piece. The iPhone is slightly too large to keep pulling out of my belt clip to do that. So I need to buy a watch.