Jul2008 18

Now that I've been using the iPhone on a daily basis for a week, I thought it would be wise to put my review out, considering some of the misinformation I have read (and heard) elsewhere or other reviews that are written by people who don't even own one.

So, what's in the box ?
What first appears to be a set of standard earbuds is actually a hands-free device, which has small microphone, which can also be clicked. This clicking enables you to answer / hang up on phone calls.Other than that, you get a sync cable and a wall charging adapter.

iPhone - In the Box

iPhone Calls

Phone Calls / SMS
The iPhone works perfectly as a phone, as it should. The keypad is easy to use and sending SMS message has never been so easy (I'm not a fan of T9 predictive). The one drawback is the contacts on the Mac. This is the first time I've used Address Book and man, that app sucks. It doesn't even feed off iPhoto. This is how you get a photo from iPhoto into Address Book.

1. Find the photo you want in iPhoto.
2. Right click, Show File to display it's location in Finder.
3. Copy that file and save it somewhere else (like the Desktop) as Address Book can't delve into iPhoto's Library.
4. Then you can add it to Address Book.

That workflow sucks and should be addressed. Should be easy enough, as most other apps have a media browser. I'm curious to know what Windows users use as their Address Book ? Outlook ? if it's installed I guess.

Two other drawbacks - you can't set a custom Text Message tone or a custom Calendar Alert.

On my Mac, I have my Apple Mail client setup to work with my GMail account, the iPhone just syncs up, giving me the ability to take my email with me wherever I go. Finally, I'll be able to keep my email up to date. I use to do this with VersaMail on my Palm, but it was nowhere as polished an app as the mail client on the iPhone.

At work, I've also setup my Exchange Server and it works perfectly, push email and all.

iPhone - Email

Web Browsing
Without a doubt, Mobile Safari is the best web browser on any mobile/PDA device. In saying that, it does have some drawbacks. You won't be able to play any Java, Flash, SVG or save passwords for login sites, however, it scales brilliantly and is a breeze to use. Turn the iPhone horizontal for the best web action.

iPhone - Sideways

Video Podcasts
This is definitely one thing I was looking forward to and they do look fantastic on the iPhone. However, there are issues. If you are watching a podcast and you pause it, and then your iPhone goes to sleep, when you awaken it -- your audio and video will be out of sync and as yet, I haven't found a way to get them back into sync. I'm surprised this bug is present, given Apple's history of iPods, I would have thought they would have had this nailed by now.

Also, if you watch one podcast after another and have the iPhone in horizontal mode, for each podcast you play, you have to "shake" the iPhone so it then knows it's on it side ie. it doesn't remember that it *was* horizontal. Slightly annoying.

iPhone - Video Podcasts - Loaded

App Store
Now this is both the most important update to the iPhone and the one that needs the most work. There are a number of issues with the store at present (and the apps within) such as apps that crash your iPhone, stupid, useless apps or ones in foreign languages. I'm all for foreign language apps, there just needs to be a filter for it. Much like people who's native language is not English, I would think they would want the ability to filter English apps too.

Interesting to note, Apple has managed to surpass 10 million downloads from the App Store. So, it would appear these apps are highly sought after. Also, it would appear that Apple are looking at the apps in their store. Originally, there were over 300 apps in the Entertainment section, as at today there are 121. Clearly, they've cleaned up this section and also added new sections such as Books, for those crappy AppEngines apps that were clogging up other categories.

App Store

I'm not overly a fan of the pricing that developers are putting on their apps either. For starters, you can't demo an app, so why would I put money down on something I haven't tried. Another issue pointed out by a friend of mine is, you can't get gift copies of an app for say, writing a review. I hope Apple addresses both of these issues shortly. Until then, I'm only looking at the free apps and so here's my favourites:-

Top Free iPhone Apps
1. Remote - control any of your iTunes libraries. I tested this on both my Mac and PC and it works a treat.

2. Twitterrific - nice looking Twitter client. Ad supported and sometimes crashes but still good. On first load, you get everyone's tweets, but then after you get you + friends.

3. Tomatoes - Rotten Tomatoes movie ratings in the palm of your hand. Awesome.

4. VoiceNotes - Record voice memos. I use to do this on the Palm, so good to have it on the iPhone.

5. Currency - Shows up to date Currency values. Looks good and easy to use.

6. Facebook - nice app that conforms to Apple's standards in iPhone design.

7. MySpace - Can't have Facebook without MySpace.

8. MoPhoTo - Access your Flickr account.

9. midomi - Finds music based on you singing it or saying the name. Works with commercial music -- didn't find one Drum n Bass tune :(

10. SpeechCloud - Voice-activated calling, except you need to be connected to the net in order to use it.

11. LocalPicks - Uses the GPS to find food places around you.

For Sh*ts n Giggles
1. PhoneSaber - light saber sound effects come from your iPhone when you wave it around. May the force be with you.

2. iPint - Beer-based Gaming. Virtual beer. Mmmmmmm.

3. Scratch - Scratch preset samples. Kinda works okay.

4. More Cowbell - The infamous SNL sketch with Christopher Walken. I gotta have more cowbell !

5. BMI - See your Body Mass Index by dragging out your height and weight on a Giraffe in shorts.

Links You'll Want

RSS Feeds

For all the issues I've pointed out, you would think I don't like this device, but on the contrary, I do. Also, I have faith in Apple. They do fix bugs. They've proved this with things like Apple TV and OS X. Other mobile vendors such as Nokia would have us believe, if you want a new feature or fix, you have to buy a new phone.

My iPhone is replacing two devices I use to carry around with me -- my Nokia phone and my Palm LifeDrive -- and that in itself, is definitely worth the price of admission.

The Palm LifeDrive was originally $899 AU, I got it for $699 AU on a good deal.

The iPhone was $729 AU (no plan) with a $400 credit, making it $329 AU. I'd say that's an awesome deal when you compare that with the Nokia N95, which sells for anywhere between $516 AU (second hand) to $1,448 AU (brand new).

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