The Functional Hermit

musings from a homebody

Hermit Essentials: The iPhone 3G

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Everything I need (no comments about my wife's tablecloth please...)

My life now fits into my pocket (no comments about my wife's tablecloth please...)

After alluding to the iPhone’s usefulness in previous posts and with the release of the latest software update (2.1), I figured it was a good time for me to give it an in-depth writeup.

As you may have guessed, I’m not a huge fan of the telephone in general. It was years before I got a cellphone and would never keep it on my person. Instead, I’d stash it in my messenger bag or in my car and set it on vibrate which I’d never hear. Because of this my coworkers would grumble that I was never reachable when not in the office. The iPhone has made such a big impact on me that I now actually keep it on me at all times, though I don’t necessarily answer it that much. My wife jokes that it’s a very fancy device for me to not take calls with.

What I love most about it is that it’s very much like having a pocket-sized version of my computer. No longer do I fire up my computer just to check e-mail, Google something, see the weather forecast or add a movie to my Netflix queue. This is a huge convenience but to be honest, it was exactly what I expected before buying.

Here’s a few things I didn’t expect:

Just follow the glowing blue dot.

Find the glowing blue dot and you're never lost.

-The maps and GPS are incredibly handy. It gives you live tracking of your location and though it doesn’t give you verbal instructions, you can definitely follow your path along any route. Recently I spent the night at a friend’s place on the Jersey shore. I’m not at all familiar with the area and needed to get on the freeway at 4:30 am. I just fired up the maps, plotted my route and then made sure the glowing blue dot followed along. It couldn’t be easier.

-I am now a texter. I did on occasion before the iPhone but now, I realize how easy it can be. Bottom line, it’s a lot easier and quicker to read a text than to listen to a voicemail. Now I’m not saying it’s going to replace voicemail. But each has their purpose and I’m now fully on board with both. It also shows you texts with a person in chat/IM form so you can follow everything communicated more like an actual conversation.

-The App Store is incredibly addictive. I saw all the hype about it and didn’t think I’d be all that into it. Boy, was I wrong. Mind you, I’ve only dug into the free apps at this point but I’m sure I’m bound to pay for some in the future. My favorites so far…Shazam. You start it and hold it up to anything playing a song and in a few seconds it tells you what the song is, who sings it and what album it’s on. If it’s available on iTunes you can link to the song and buy it. Now, this is more for cool/play factor more than anything but I can’t stop showing it to people. Pandora is a great way to listen to music for those of you who haven’t tried it yet. Basically it lets you create your own ‘stations’ that play music it likes based on your feedback/input. I also prefer WeatherBug to the included weather app. The Flashlight app has been used to illuminate dark areas a few times already. And VoiceNotes lets me record things on the fly. So far I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of all the apps.

-For some reason the sound from this iPhone blows away the sound of all my previous iPods. I don’t know if it’s the (included) headphones or if it’s something else, but the sound is far better than I expected.

-Watching movies and videos has been great. The picture’s better than I anticipated and when on planes, that’s been great. Again, it’s much easier watching it that way than it is to pull out my laptop.

-Notes has been incredibly useful. No longer do I ever forget what I need at the grocery store, thus saving me unnecessary potential interactions with the dreaded general public.

Of course, nothing is perfect and there’s a few things I’m not so crazy about. Here they are in no particular order:

-You can’t send MMS texts. In other words, it’s text only and you can’t send pictures. When friends have tried to text me a picture, I get nothing, not even an indication that someone tried to send me a message.

-You can’t record video, only still images.

The dreaded Flash error screen...

The dreaded Flash error screen...

-As useful as Safari and the mobile web is, you can’t see anything that utilizes Flash (though my understanding is YouTube utilizes Flash and that does work so go figure). That’s probably the biggest drawback for me as it doesn’t quite live up to the web experience they seem to promise. Flash is everywhere on the web.

-My 3G coverage has been less than desired and when on the 3G network I’ve dropped a lot of calls. The new update is supposed to fix that and if so, all the better. So far, I’ve definitely noticed an improvement.

Bottom line, I’m pretty picky and I’m happy as can be. I will tell you that I came across an acquaintance lately who got one and told me he was utterly unimpressed. When prompted for more info, it became clear he had no idea what its capabilities were and he simply expected to buy one and be blown away. That’s plain silly and uninformed to me. Just like any purchase, it’s wise to do some research first. He doesn’t use it for anything but the phone so I don’t understand how it would be any different from his previous phone (besides the visual voicemail, anyway).

It’s always nice when things are consolidated and now when I leave the house, all I need is my wallet, keys and iPhone. Anything that helps me travel light is always a good thing for me.

If you have any other thoughts, input, complaints or anything else for that matter, please don’t hesitate to share them. I’d love to hear other people’s take on this.

Written by the bee dub

September 14, 2008 at 5:56 pm

5 Responses

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  1. […] esbandido put an intriguing blog post on Things I Love: The iPhone 3GHere’s a quick overviewThe iPhone has made such a big impact on me that I now actually keep it on me at all times, though I don’t necessarily answer it that much. My wife jokes that it’sa very fancy device for me to not take calls with. … […]

  2. […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

    Things I Love: The iPhone 3G

    September 14, 2008 at 7:18 pm

  3. […] Go to the author’s original blog: Things I Love: The iPhone 3G […]

    Things I Love: The iPhone 3G

    September 14, 2008 at 7:39 pm

  4. I have a first generation iPhone, and my biggest complaint is that you can’t drag MP3s straight into the phone from iTunes, but instead have to create music folders to sync up with. I’m not sure if this has been corrected on the 3G, but it forces you to take an extra step to get your music on the iPhone, and it annoys me.

    Wee Willie Perkins

    September 16, 2008 at 11:28 am

  5. Hey Wee Willie,

    A good point to bring up. I tend to agree that this is fairly annoying, but I did discover (at least with the 3G) this is only the case when your settings are set to automatically sync your music. If you check the ‘manually manage music and videos’ box, then you can drag and drop to your heart’s content. Hope this helps you out on your first gen, though granted, drag and drop in any mode would be most ideal. If you get a chance please let us know if this is the way things work on yours, I’m curious if that would be a difference between the first-gen and the 3G.

    esbandido

    September 16, 2008 at 12:49 pm


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