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I Got Me an iPhone October 29, 2009

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Reviews, Technology.
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Sure, I hemmed and hawed. Sat on the fence. Vacillated. Made up my mind one way only to change it just as quickly. But now all that is history: I finally took the plunge and got me an iPhone.

In a sense, it’s an early Christmas for me, if not entirely of my own choosing. My previous phone already needed to be changed (so soon!), suddenly resetting on its own and putting me through calls where the person on the other end of the line could not hear me at all. And while I set the wheels in motion accordingly, because of Globe Telecom’s [sarcasm]amazing[/sarcasm] customer service the iPhone arrived nearly three months later and after I’d incurred unprogrammed expenses elsewhere. All in all it wasn’t exactly a matter of indulgence: if I could’ve avoided it, I’d probably still put it off for later.

But enough preamble. I got me an iPhone! And what do I think of it now that I have one?

It has got to be the worst celphone on the market today.

I’m sure there’re fanboys ready to take me to task for such heresy, but to me the reasoning is simple: the iPhone lacks basic features other celphones readily offer. Can’t argue against facts. Want to wirelessly sync your iPhone and computer? Sorry, can’t do that. Looking to send and receive files by Bluetooth? Better luck next time. Need to send that business card by SMS? Thanks for playing. Add to this nonexistent battery life (really) and a virtual keyboard that makes composing messages a choice between doing so either slowly or inaccurately (no joke), and it becomes much too easy to empathize with the iPhone’s detractors.

If there is a silver lining, it’s that things can get better with the right tweaks to the firmware. Whenever that will be.

That said, this often frustrating mobile phone does have a couple of aces up its sleeve. For one thing, it is hands-down the most functional handheld Internet device I’ve ever had the opportunity to use. And it gets mad props for access to the App Store, possibly every technophile’s dream come true.

For me, multitouch makes all the difference for the iPhone-as-mobile-Internet-device. I’ve played with many an Internet-enabled gadget in my day, and the iPhone is head and shoulders above the rest. Its interface is simple enough, but more important than that, intuitive. How much so? Let’s just say I still get a kick out of easily zooming in on a webpage by just tapping on the screen, thereafter being able to continue on reading since the text is now perfectly, properly in focus. Frankly, it amazes me no one’s been able to implement anything as functional this successfully, and I have been perfectly happy casually checking my email and surfing the web at home without having to pull my laptop out of its bag.

Yet it’s access to the App Store that’s the real winner. Despite what some might think, it’s not all about the games; I’ve gone down that road before, and am also perfectly happy to keep my gaming on my consoles. It’s about the ability to customize an iPhone to do what you want it to do for a song (pardon the expression), and many times for free. In my case, the first order of business was to find my way to use the iPhone as a presentation clicker, which I was able to do by turning it into a wireless trackpad (showing this off to people never gets old). This was followed by an RSS reader (done!), Google Earth (sweet!), and a host of other apps I thought would be neat to have like Facebook, Tweetdeck, Instapaper, Photoshop, and HP’s wireless printing app, just to name a few.

And yeah, a couple of games, too, because I couldn’t help myself.

One of the funnier things to have come out of this iPhone experience is how it’s brought to light how much I’ve fallen behind as a technophile. Just to be able to use my new toy, I’ve had to update both iTunes and Safari on my faithul Powerbook G4. Then I decided to have a go at switching to full-fledged email by IMAP (which took some doing to figure out), leading me to update Apple Mail, too. In the end, I’ve probably taken my dated laptop as far as it can go — and realize that this below average celphone/amazing mobile Internet device masquerading as an iPod forever will be faster than that computer of mine from here on out.

What can I say? Technology is funny that way.

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