My First 30 Days with the iPhone

I bought my iPhone a month ago. I have used it extensively since then. I have traveled the country with it and, I think, given it a fair test. I thought I’d report back on my experience with it.

picture of the iphone in someone's hand

I’ll start with the positive:

  • The interface is awesome. It is very Mac-like, which is to be expected since it is using OS X, Apple’s operating system. Still, whenever I demo it to someone, they are blown away. I think I sold two phones on my trip home from New York last week.
  • The e-mail application is good. It took some effort to get it to work with our Exchange Server, but it is now working. It would be better if it were truly “push e-mail” like the Blackberry, but, once you get used to it, it is fine—if a little slow (more about that in a moment). My favorite thing is that it displays HTML e-mail exactly like a regular e-mail client.
  • The keypad takes some getting used to. I don’t think it is as easy or as forgiving as the Blackberry, but it is decent, and I am getting better at it. The keypad tries to guess at what you are trying to type. The more you use it, the “smarter” it gets. I have finally graduated from typing with one finger to two thumbs.
  • Voice mail is simple and elegant. This application is Apple at its best. It is how voice mail should have been designed from the beginning. You can select any message and play it. With the push of a button, you can call the person back or delete the message.
  • I also like having the iPod built in. This saves me the hassle of carrying two devices (a phone and an iPod). I was nervous that 8 gigabytes would not be sufficient, but I am currently only using about half the capacity. While it would be nice to have access to my entire music library, the truth is that I only listen to a much smaller subset on a regular basis. The iTunes integration is also very nice.
  • I love having access to a real browser on my phone. Surprisingly, I use it more than I expected I would. (I almost never tried to access the Internet with the Blackberry browser.) It is very handy. It renders Web pages just as the Safari does on my Mac. I also like having one-button access to stock quotes and weather. I use these more than I thought I would, too.
  • Maps” is also a nice little application. Two weeks ago, I was in New York. I was on the street and wanted to find a bookstore. I typed in the name of a major chain, plus “New York.” Almost immediately, a map of the city popped up with all of the stores in the area. The nearest store was only a block away. I only wish they would add GPS functionality.

So, those are some of the things I like. Here’s what I don’t like so much:

  • Contrary to what the name suggests, the AT&T Edge Network is not cutting “edge.” It is slow and, frankly, I don’t think I get as good as coverage as I had with Verizon. In my opinion, AT&T is not pulling its weight in this partnership. People are buying the phone despite AT&T not because of it.
  • The battery life is okay but not great. I must charge my iPhone everyday, unlike my Blackberry, which could last a couple of days. On two occasions, I have completely drained the battery with heavy use. You don’t realize how dependent you are on a cell phone until it dies on you.
  • The camera could use an overhaul. No matter how still I try to hold the phone, it is difficult to get a shot that isn’t a little blurry, especially around the edges. I would also like to have a zoom feature, but perhaps this isn’t realistic on a camera phone. (This is my first camera phone, so I don’t really know what is possible.) I do find myself using the camera, so I suppose it is better than nothing. Still, I think Apple could do better.
  • Unlike the Blackberry, my contacts and calendar don’t sync wirelessly with the server. Instead, I have to connect my phone to my computer. The good news is that I have to do this once a day anyway to charge the battery. So far, this seems sufficient. However, if my assistant changes an appointment or adds a contact, I won’t get it until the next time I sync.

Overall, I’m glad I bought the iPhone. This is definitely a major leap forward in cell phone and mobile device technology. Apple has raised the bar and set a new standard. And with the drop in price, I think they might have a real shot at grabbing some significant market share. Regardless, Apple has proven once again that they lead the pack when it comes to design and innovation.

Question: Are you using the iPhone? What do you think?
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  • http://www.markpryor.org/journey Mark Pryor

    Your summation seems to fit my experience as well. While there a few drawbacks, iPhone ROCKS.

  • http://ljoyetree.bloggspot.com Linda

    I also have an iPhone, and I love it! I think it is one of the easiest phones I have ever had, and I love having my music libray with me on the iPod feature. I now can walk, listen to music, and answer the phone while exercising. I love the email and browser. I do find “Edge” a little slow, but it’s better than I expected it to be. Talk about feeling “connected”…I have never been so connected to my friends and family and that’s what my life is all about.

  • http://www.brandontoddwright.blogspot.com todd

    You know…the only thing I could think of after reading this post was:

    WHAT MUSIC DOES MICHAEL HYATT LISTEN TO?

  • Jorg

    Mike – thanks. I am eagerly awaiting the availability of the iPhone in Europe. Can you explain how you got it to work with your Exchange Server? Thx

  • http://emuelle1.blogspot.com Eric S. Mueller

    I can’t say I’ve jumped to get one, although it would be nice. My Pocket PC died on me last week, and I found a good deal on a Pocket PC phone. Now if only the vendor could get the right battery to me I could be in business…

    One of the hopes I hold for the iPhone is that it will show the Windows Mobile team what they SHOULD have been doing all along.

    As for charging, I put my cell phone on the battery charger every night. Lithium-ion batteries like a trickle charge, and I’ve never had a battery fail me from being charged at every turn. The batteries that die are the ones that I allow to discharge one too many times. My current cell (Sony Ericsson z525a) doesn’t really need to be charged every night, but I charge it anyway.

    I’m glad you like your iPhone. Apple definitely is good at design and usability. One of the things I hate about the Windows Mobile platform is that far too many features and limitations of it are dictated by the enterprise and by the telcos, often leaving people like me who just want to use the darn thing in the dark. Apple does tend to respect the consumer more.

  • Bobby Maxwell

    My thoughts exactly. The most frustrating is the short battery life. My prior phone would last 2-3 days also.

  • Moe

    I agree with your report. I do get around 2 days of use with mine, since when I’m in the office, I’m always connected anyway. I love the Maps application, weather, stocks and the internet. What made the deal for me was the iPod integration and calendar, contacts, email capabilities. Now, I don’t have to carry a phone, iPod, pda with me. This is version 1, imagine what the future holds.

  • Mark

    Michael,

    As someone who uses GTD – how are your working around the lack of “tasks” on the iphone?

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    Mark,

    I plan to write on this soon, but the short answer is that I am using a Web-based application called Vitalist.com. Check it out.

    Thanks,

    Mike

  • Salim

    Michael,

    I also use my IPhone for work and I use to use it until the battery could go no further for me.

    A tip to extend your battery life by 2-3 hours is to go into the settings, brightness, and set the brightness down. The lower you put the brightness the longer your battery life will be.

    If you play around with the brightness bar you will see that you can get it at a satisfactory brightness and save you tons of battery life.

    Great review on the phone and good luck.

  • http://thehudson.wordpress.com Chad

    Michael,

    I have an old LG phone with the camera, and it does have zoom function 1x or 4x. I am surprised they didn’t include that in the iPhone.

    I have been holding off on the iPhone because I am extraordinarily happy with Verizon. That is a pretty major feet with today’s communication companies. I don’t know if you did this intentionally or not, but nice integration for Cingular/AT&T marketing in your article!

    “Apple has raised the bar.”

    Just struck me as funny. Power of marketing truly works.

    Thanks for the excellent posts.

    Chad

  • http://www.studiosmith.blogspot.com Barry A. Smith

    Michael

    I’ve been using http://www.zyb.com to sync calendar and contacts with my dinosaur ROKR and you might try that. I like it because I break phones more than I ant to admit and by syncing to Zyb,I will never have to thumb them back in ever again.

  • http://www.colleencoble.com Colleen Coble

    Do you have to keep rubbing it in?? I’ve yet to see one in the, er, flesh. I was hoping Mr. Superman Allen Arnold would have one here at the ACFW conference this weekend but he seemed to be clinging to his Blackberry. And okay, I’d even settle for one of those in my little backwater.

    Great post, as always,Mike! It just makes me more eager for one.

  • http://www.markpryor.org/journey Mark Pryor

    I’m on vacation and have had to use the iPhone camera a few times when I left my main camera at hotel and we have been blown away by the sharpness and clarity that mine has produced.

  • http://www.colleencoble.com Colleen Coble

    I saw my first iPhone at the ACFW conference this weekend. Oh my gosh, it was so beautiful! And thinner than I expected. Lighter too. But oh so cool. I didn’t want to let it go.

  • Anonymous

    Have you actually read Balzac?

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    No, I have not read Balzac, other than this quote that someone hared with me.

  • Relentless Bill

    Michael,

    Thanks for your objective review of the iPhone. As a Technology Expert, I read it with great interest. Thanks also for not being one of these fawning suckers who arrogantly strut around showing off their iPhones to anybody who’ll pay them any attention at all.

    Case-in-point: I was sitting in a bar last summer (at the height of the Jobs/Apple/iPhone mania), minding my own business sipping a beer, when a young, hipster approached, looked down at my clearly superior Treo and asked, “You have a Treo, eh?” “Yes,” I responded knowing full well what was coming because it had happened to me before. Then, like some traveling salesman opening up his trench coat, he whipped out his iPhone like James Bond.

    “Oh,” I groaned bored out of my wits, “You’ve got Job’s latest device.” “Yes, let me demo it for you!” he shouted with delight. “Nope,” I firmly said picking up my smarter-phone and left in a whirlwind before he could stammer out another Apple deviant device sales word.

    This is the brilliance of the megalomaniac Job’s control over the great-unwashed Apple legions: He’s got a built-in sales force for his own product: his customers.

    He and Apple will never succeed however for a number of reasons: 1) Jobs can never get around the perception that he stole his foundational technologies from Xerox PARC in order to found Apple when the real tech genius, Wozniak might’ve come up with better on his own; 2) Apple will never stop shooting themselves in the foot by being greedy and over-charging for their products. Even if they’re technologically superior, Apple always builds-in a >45% profit margin thereby exceeding most potential consumer’s price threshold; and 3) Apple never seems to recognize their fundamental mistake 3 decades ago … which was their insane decision to keep everything Apple proprietary.

    The results? Apple has less than 4% of the world’s computer market. Tragic!