Review: iPhone 1.0

I cracked. Didn’t even last a week. I tried to resist, but every day I went to the apple store to play with an iPhone. The 8GB models were continuously out of stock. Usually the 4G models were too. It compelled me. Like the iMac did nearly 2 years ago, and like another mac most likely will at macworld 2008.
iPhone 1.0
I checked the apple store iphone availability link every morning. Finally, on saturday, the dot was green. it was still only 8am and apple store opened at 9. We got there around 8:30 and there was already a line outside. I got on line while k parked the car.

About 5 minutes after we got there, an apple store employee walked down the line handing iphone shaped tickets to everyone. The ticket was a guarantee of 8GB iphone availability if purchased by 10am. We didn’t even have to stay on line, but stayed anyway. Less than half an hour later, me and K walked out of the store with a pretty iphone bag containing a beautiful well designed iphone box. I was kind of in shock.

We went across the street to the cingular store to add the iphone data plan ($20/month for unlimited data and visual voicemail). They let me log in to my itunes account from there and activate the phone so they could make sure the att account end of things went correctly. It did. Before we left the store, my iphone was working and my motorola was dead.

When I opened the box, there was a beautiful shiny iphone packaged in a very neat and elegant way like most apple products are. On the way home, I took photos, called my folks, and surfed the web. Don’t worry, Karen was driving 😉

The screen is beautiful. The video quality is amazing. The sound is clear. The screen gets lots of fingerprints on it, but you can’t notice them unless the phone is off or sleeping. A small cloth was included to wipe it. The cloth did an okay job, but the one that came with my case was much better and wiped off every smudge.

I could open a Word doc in email with no problem. The wifi speed is relatively fast. The edge network connection is more like dialup, but definitely usable. It is amazing to be able to look stuff up from anywhere that a cell phone signal can be had. This is something I think will come in very handy. I can look up directions from google maps when I get lost. I get lost a lot.

The touchscreen is fun, especially the pinchy thing where you can zoom in or out. I started out slow on the keyboard, but can type much faster now. Still using one finger, but I have read that typing with 2 thumbs can be much faster. There is a good video on the apple site about the keyboard.

One very cool thing that the video mentions is that the iphone will dynamically resize the letter tap zones for the most likely letter, and make the adjacent letter’s tap zones smaller.

Something that is essential to know is that you can zoom in on the text and cursor on the screen by holding your finger down in the area you want to magnify and moving the cursor. This makes it MUCH easier to move the cursor to where you want it to be.

Word prediction is much better than it seems at first. The trick is not to doubt it and refrain from backspacing to fix your own errors. Sometimes that is necessary, but most often, the keyboard will guess what the misspelled word was supposed to be, even though the guesses it makes while you are typing are not even close.

Word auto-complete sucks. While the late guessing of correct words works okay for typos and spelling errors, it is terrible for completing words. Sometimes it doesn’t guess the word until the last letter, making it useless, or even worse, guesses the wrong word on the last letter. In that case, you have to cancel the suggested word or it will replace your correct word. Easy to miss this if you are looking at the keyboard instead of the message. To auto-complete a guessed word, tap the spacebar on the keyboard. To get rid of it, tap the word on the screen.

I am loving the Notes app. For the non-mac people, an app is the same thing as a program. Usually, I have about 10 random scraps of paper in my back pocket, and another 100 or so on my desk, all containing information that I want to remember, but will most likely never see again. The iphone offers a very easy way to keep notes in one place.

This past week, I have been taking notes about things I have been noticing and learning about the iphone. For the most part, I think this is the coolest phone I have ever had or ever seen. I am very lucky and happy to have it. Even still, there is definitely room for improvement.

I knew going in that this is a version 1.0 product, so was expecting things to be missing or broken. I don’t think anything is broken. Some of the things that are missing surprise me very much and I am guessing (and hoping) that at least some of them will be added in a software update.

Some things that are glaringly missing:

  • Text select – This is so basic. It is hard to believe it is not possible. I have checked, and it really is not.
  • Cut/Copy/Paste – See text select.
  • MMS (multimedia messaging – text messages with pictures) – Basic mobile phone feature.
  • Notes do not sync with anything on the computer. Very strange. I should note — haha, note. that’s funny 🙂 — that you can email a note easily, so it is not that hard to get it on your computer, but syncing seems pretty basic.
  • You can not add attachments to email. I think it would be better to include the ability to email pictures, notes, and other attachments directly from the mail app, while still keeping the option to email them from the pix and notes apps.
  • No Select All option for email messages (or anything else). There is no way to delete a bunch of mail at a time. Why?

Not glaring, but still missing:

  • Voice memo – probably glaring to anyone who was used to using it on their old phone. It is kind of weird since there is an included recorder for setting voicemail greeting.
  • There is no video recorder.
  • No included games.

Other random gripes:

  • Some things take too many clicks. Navigating through different email accounts really needs to be streamlined. It would also be nice to have a period and comma key available on the same keyboard as the letters for text apps.

    Keyboards for some apps are specialized and smart. For example, the safari keyboard includes period, slash, and ‘.com’ keys.

  • No way to choose which widgets appear on the main screen.
  • Safari does not remember the zoomed screen size so I have to rezoom on every page.
  • The screen does not always rotate from portrait to landscape view on the first try.

3rd party apps!

The way Apple has set up the iPhone to work with 3rd party apps is to run them in safari. To use an app, just go to the app’s url. If you like it, you can bookmark it for easy access.

There are also a few launcher type apps that act as a main bookmark page that is only for your third party apps and prettier to look at than regular bookmarks.

There is a big list of iphone apps here: iPhone Application List and another here: appleopolis.com. You can skip the login on the second one. No login for first one.

I am currently trying out mojits.com, which is a launcher type thing for iphone apps that you access through safari. Hard to tell if I like it because I only tried using it for 5 minutes.

I was pretty impressed with a shopping list app called OneTrip. OneTrip makes it easy to make a shopping list by offering prewritten selections that are organized by category. There is an option to add your own things to each category.

I also added a bejeweled type game, a movie time finder, and an app called iActu that brings the content of 6 popular newspapers in a cool looking newsstand style. When you click on a paper, the newsstand goes away and the news is displayed in an easy to read way.

WordPress iPhone Theme and Plugin by Content.Robot – automatically reformats your site’s content for optimized viewing on an iPhone. Thank you content.robot! I am using it on LBnuke, with the only modification being changing the blue to red to match the site.

Other interesting tips and factoids gathered from around the web:

From iPhone Central at Macworld.com:

“When browsing a web page in Safari on an iPhone, one tap of the top status bar (signal strength, time, etc.) brings you back to the top of the page, complete with the URL field visible.”
–Dan Moren

Airplane Mode … disables all wireless functionality (phone, EDGE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) but lets you use the iPhone’s non-Internet applications.
–Dan Frakes

If your iPhone freezes…
Reset: Apple’s first reset tip, which is pressing and holding the Home button for about six seconds. This quits any application that may have locked up the iPhone.
Reboot: Press and hold the Home and On/Off for about 10 seconds until the Apple logo appears.
–Christopher Breen (edited by LB for length)

In Safari on the iPhone, holding your finger down on a link pops up a balloon displaying the underlying URL. Also works on HTML messages in Mail. Holding your finger on a link shows you where the URL is really going to take you.
–Dan Frakes

There is a great tip from David Pogue on the The Missing Manual website about how to type punctuation without having to switch back and forth between the letters and the number/symbols keyboard. Basically, you hold down the “.?123” key when you are switching to the numbers keyboard and rather than letting it go, you slide your finger to the punctuation that you want to type and then release it. After release, the letters keyboard returns. Click here to read the full keyboard punctuation tip at the Missing Manual site.

That is all I have for now. Maybe I will write again if I notice more things, find some cool apps, or if Apple releases software updates that adds new features.

7 Replies to “Review: iPhone 1.0”

  1. I got mine yesterday. Activating and syncing was simple and straight forward. It operates as expected for me. It’s a Mac, so it is intuitive, no instructions are needed and apps are seamless. Graphics are unbelievable. Love how my bookmarks on safari (which are too numerous for me to duplicate on my own) were imported. Very autist friendly activation I must say.

    Complaints: AT&T. 8 gigs is TOO small for my needs, but I knew that going in. Would love to have about 500 gigs, but that’s not going to happen. Hey, for $600, couldn’t they have thrown in a case? Firewire 400/800 would be nice in future editions for faster syncing but syncing was acceptable with USB 2.0.

    Conclusion: lovin’ it. But, now it is causing me to lust for the 2.0 version.

  2. Sorry beast! It never occurred to me that you didn’t know. I am short on logic this week. At some point, I was imagining showing it to you at wordcamp, which obviously means that you saw it because you were there in my imagination with me. Just another reason to get a beer if you ask me 😉

  3. hey christschool. I think it is autistic friendly in general, even after the activation because the interface is so graphical. Shiny helps too 🙂

    They should definitely throw in a case for $600! I was already lusting for 2.0 before I got this one. That is why I was trying to hold out, but since I couldn’t, K will inherit this one when the time comes 🙂

  4. Lori, Since AT&T would not let it’s employees get an iphone at a discount : ( , I am curious on how you like the download speeds. This is not on our UMTS until 2.0. I can’t believe that it does not have MMS. I will hold out till I either get an iphone at a discount or that 2.0 comes out. For now my crackberry does me fine.

  5. Hey Ed, the download speeds are great when there is wifi and very similar to 56K dialup modem with the Edge network. Definitely usable, but not recommended for anyone who wants a full time high speed connection.

    The lack of MMS, along with some other things, is very strange. I can’t really say I miss it because I can send and receive pictures through email, but still it is kind of nuts that it is not included on an expensive ‘smart’ phone. I wonder if they will fix that with a software update.

    Bummer that you guys can’t get a discount! I saw some on ebay that seemed like good deals, but maybe too good to be true.

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