One weekend with the iPhone
On Friday night I got an iPhone, then Michelle and I put the device through its paces during a weekend trip to Indianapolis. Here’s my take, two days in.
Buying an iPhone was not easy. I concocted a genius plan (or so I thought) to leave work early and wait in line at an AT&T store near Cabrini Green. The thought was: this store should have decent inventory (being in Chicago) but not be mobbed (being um, not downtown).
I did okay on the latter assumption — we arrived at 5 p.m. and found only 60 people in line — but they ran out of 8GB iPhones quickly and we gave up.
Later on Friday night, I called the Michigan Avenue Apple Store (the very store I was trying to avoid!) and they had “plenty” of 8GB iPhones in stock. So at 11:30 p.m. I drove down there and walked in. At 11:40 p.m. I walked out with an iPhone.
Keyboard and EDGE
The keyboard is a joy to use. I’ve never used a Blackberry, so I cannot provide any comparisons, but the iPhone’s keyboard feels natural and it’s speedy enough for me. (The auto-correct features are essential!)
I don’t know if AT&T upgraded its EDGE network or not, but everything’s nice and snappy. Michelle spent a bunch of time in Safari and Google Maps, with nary a complaint about speed.
I had very high expectations for the iPhone, but a few features pleasantly surprised me.
The camera takes good-quality photos and is fun to use. (Check out my latest set on Flickr for a sample.)
Google Maps on iPhone is remarkably useful. I knew it would be good, but not this good. Very impressive work by Apple and Google on this one.
Of course, not everything is wonderful in iPhone land. A few features and design choices disappointed me.
Gmail support is built in to iPhone Mail, but Google Apps email support is not. That’s a pain.
Recessing the headphone jack was a seriously bad choice. Am I really going to have to get one of these dongles? Ugh.
iPhone doesn’t support manual management via iTunes. (I.e. you cannot drag specific music/videos from iTunes to iPhone.) This is a big problem for me — my iTunes library is on a Mac Mini at home, but my contacts, bookmarks and calendars are on my laptop. Now I have to designate one computer as the primary iPhone source and do some messy syncing between computers.
One of the recent iTunes updates adds the ability to manually manage music and videos on your iPhone.
It’s not my style to end with the bad news, so I’ll say this — I haven’t been this excited about a new technology product in a long time. After two days, the novelty is beginning to wear off and I feel good about the iPhone’s prospects as a practical and usable device for (at least) many months to come.