After a month, the torrent of iPhone reviews has begun, so who am I to miss a chance to jump on the bandwagon. Actually, a reader suggested that I blog about the iPhone as a business tool, and I know that a lot of people out there either have one or are sorely tempted to get one. So, rather than lurking, sound off in comments. If you’re sick of the coverage, apologies and have a good weekend.
The day after the launch, I bought my wife an iPhone. As a long time Treo user, I knew she would be a great target user, and as a bonus, I’d get to fiddle with it. After a few weeks, she finally got sick of me messing with it and ordered me to buy my own, which I did. By this time, all the Apple stores were out, so she found me an AT&T store with stock. Buying an iPhone at an Apple store was very different than buying one at an AT&T store.
So now I have my own. I’ve read the reviews. Dave Winer’s review is a pretty representative of what I’m seeing. I am not in the same group as these guys, i.e. I never had a Blackberry or PDA with any network capabilities. I never saw the appeal of a tiny keyboard and tiny websites. I have a laptop. It has wireless. I’m not a belt clip phone guy, so I like a small phone that fits in my pocket. Loved my Razr.
So, I have a totally different perspective, and I love what the iPhone does for me. It’s essentially a sub-laptop that fits in my pocket, and it’s only marginally bigger than my Razr.
My top favorite features:
- I have Thunderbird configured on my Macbook to connect to my Oracle mail. The synch between the iPhone and Macbook moved all those setting over into the mail application.
- I easily added my other web mail accounts (Yahoo, GMail, Hotmail) so now I can monitor them all on the iPhone.
- Wi-fi makes it fast, especially at home.
- Contacts, calendar, photos are all moved over from iTunes.
- Web browsing is easy and intuitive. I don’t really mind zooming in and out to see things better.
Now, for the problem areas:
- No body likes the soft keyboard. It’s slow and cumbersome, but functional. The good news is that there are enough ways to save work (e.g. bookmarks) to make it less of an issue as you use the iPhone more.
- The volume on headset and speaker could be louder, and calls are a little tinny unless you’re holding it to your head.
- If you hold it to your head, your iPhone gets greasy, and it’s a hot potato if you’ve been using it. Facial burns are not a good thing.
- When mailing a photo, your message is automatically sent from the first account on your list of mail accounts. Oracle is my first account, since it was automatically brought over from my Macbook. I really want the ability to choose the mail account from which I send a photo (or whatever).
- I get annoyed when wi-fi asks me to connect to random networks, but I suppose I could turn that on/off when I’m in range of a preferred network. Just lazy, not Apple’s fault.
- I’m not a fan of Safari at all, so that’s a bummer for me. Plus, I’m not able to control its settings like I can on the laptop.
None of these things is a major issue for me, and overall, I love my iPhone. Sure, it doesn’t live up to all the hype, but honestly, what could have?
It’s equally good for work and personal use. I don’t really differentiate much anymore. It has a VPN client, but Rich tells me this isn’t likely to work with our concentrators. He did provide a nice workaround that allows me to browse inside the firewall, so if you’re an Oracle person and want more info, let me know. Safari chokes on on the web client for CollabSuite, so calendar is dead in the water unless you use the preview version of 10g CS. Again, mail me if you want details.
What I love most about the little guy is that it gets me interwebs on my phone in a useful way, wherever I go. So I can get intel when I want it. It’s an extension of my online life, which means I’m hardly ever off the grid anymore. Eh, I can live with that.
I recently checked out hacktheiphone, which is an excellent compendium of how tos for tweaking. Seems pretty hefty, but since the iPhone is essentially meant to be a black box OS X machine, the tips require a fair amount of sys admin type work. I’m hoping this will allow me to select my own ringtone. I miss that about my Razr.
I need to hear “Back in Black” when the phone rings.
What do you think about the iPhone? Sound off in the comments.
Update: I’m a dope. Hotmail is not supported, despite what I said. Apparently, even if you paid for POP3 access in the past, you’re out of luck now. I didn’t really dig around, so if anyone has Hotmail working (not in Safari, in the Mail application), update comments. We have at least one reader who wants to know. Thanks, Cyndi, for finding my error.