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.
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.