Yes, a post about the iPhone…

by mike ~ July 18, 2008

So, I finally gave in and picked up one of those newfangled iPhones. I’m mostly very happy with it.  But here is a list of some things that I’m annoyed with about the iPhone so far:

1. Much like the iPod Shuffle, for no good reason, you can’t manage your iPhone from more than one computer. Well, you sorta can, with a lame “workaround”. You can manage, say, music and apps from one pc, and your contacts and photos from another, but that isn’t the most convenient.  And there is no good reason for it other than Apple saying “we say so”. I could sync my iPod Touch from more than one pc; why not its big brother? Simple asininity. Is that a word?  Sweet, it is.  This is probably my biggest peeve so far, besides #2:

2. Battery life isn’t great. If you use it more than not at all, it plain won’t last a full day. But I learned that Li-ion batteries don’t exhibit a memory effect, so just keeping it plugged in most of the time (whenever I can, basically) seems to work for me. Before I knew this, it would have died last weekend on my way down to NYC if not for a car charger, for example, just playing music while using GPS. I guess you get about 3.5 hours of “3G surfing time”, as it goes. Longer for just talk and stuff, but who doesn’t surf on this thing?

3. You can’t delete photos from the phone directly. Well, you *can* delete the photos that you took with its (mediocre, yet acceptable) camera, but not ones you sync from iTunes, much like music. It’s just annoying. Apparently you can delete videos directly, though. And you can delete apps right from the phone (though iTunes is sneaky about putting them back on next time you sync if you aren’t careful).  Generally speaking, I’d prefer to manage my “stuff”, whether it be pictures, music, whatever, myself, rather than being required to let iTunes handle them. Simple drag and drop, please?  Not a fan of forced protocols.

4. No MMS, just SMS. (i.e. no picture/video messages, just plain texting.) But you can email and chat (AIM) instead, so that’s not a huge deal, really.

5. You can’t sync both Exchange calendars/contacts AND another calendar/contact list. You can have more than one *email* account synced, at least. But I use the Gmail interface via Safari way more than the native mail app, because of the lack of contacts (my Exchange stuff is already in there). That seems to work better anyway.  Google plays really nicely with this thing.

6. I can has 32 or 64gb, please?

7. Video recording would be good.  It was available under the old firmware/phone with a jailbreak, so I know it can be done…

Those points being made, I’m still VERY happy with the phone. It rules. I haven’t gotten Super Monkey Ball yet, but only because it doesn’t have monkey golf, bowling, etc. – just races.  That isn’t nearly as fun! But some apps that I have downloaded so far, that mostly rule (and were all free):

  • Facebook – Very good interface, very useful.
  • Myspace – Nice, though not being able to have more than one account set up is a little annoying… I have to sign in and out each time I want to change.
  • AIM – Haven’t used it all that much yet, but it does what it says it does.  A pidgin/trillian-type client would be more useful.
  • WeatherBug – Many more features than the simple native weather app.  I like.
  • VoiceNotes – Free voice notes recording app, but only goes up to like 2:00 of recording time, and I don’t think you can sync the recordings to iTunes. No input level adjustment, either.  In a pinch, you could run a line out and record them, I guess.
  • Google – Location-aware searches rule.
  • Pandora – Free streaming music that you like.
  • Last.fm – Same idea, less control. No iPhone scrobbling yet.
  • Midomi – Lets you sing, hum, record from the radio, or type lyrics in and it tells you what the song is.  No kidding, that was my “killer app” that I thought of years ago and never learned how to code! D’oh!  Genius!  Tested it once on Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me”, and it got it right.
  • To Do – A neat to-do list, good for shopping lists, etc.
  • FiatLux – A flashlight that lets you choose white, red, blue, green, and color-changing light, with intensity adustment for all.
  • Save Benjis – Lets you enter a product and then finds prices online for you so you can comparison shop on the fly at stores.
  • PhoneSaber – A light saber thing that makes the appropriate noises if you swing it. Stupid, but funny.
  • Yelp – A location-aware “service” finder for stuff like restaurants, bars, coffee/tea, banks, gas stations (with prices), drugstores, etc.
  • Where – A suite of location-aware things to do stuff like find cheap gas nearby, find Starbucks (yuck), find out what mountain range you are looking at, find out what stars you are looking at (at night…), find any of your iPhone-toting friends who are also using “where”, and find “events” using “eventful” in your area.
  • iWant – Does similar location-aware finding of stuff.
  • vSnax – Free streaming video from CBS News, VH1, and a bunch of other niche categories. Sorta like a YouTube with corporate “channels”.
  • Jott – You record a short voice memo, and their service transcribes it and sets up lists for you. Free.

Other stuff that I like, besides the obvious “internets everywhere”:

  • The voice quality on 3G is great. Speakerphone could be louder, but is good.
  • So far, AT&T’s coverage is good in the area (Albany, NY).  I wasn’t thrilled with leaving Verizon, whose coverage has no equal.  For example, I had no bars out in Northville last week, but a friend with Verizon had 1 bar, enough to make a call… but I sometimes couldn’t get a signal on VZW out there either, so I’m not that concerned about that one yet.
  • Visual voicemail RULES. Not having to call up, listen to the stupid automated menu that you can’t skip, and then listen to all your saved messages sequentially if you want to hear just one: VERY nice.  Almost worth the price of admission by itself.
  • Downloading apps over wifi or 3G is cool. You can’t download songs off the ITMS, but I never do that anyway, so it doesn’t bug me. But I could see how it’d be annoying.
  • GPS is pretty sweet and very accurate – down to which side of the highway you are on when on the thruway. There’s no “voice-directed” turn-by-turn directions, but you CAN get turn-by-turn directions via Google maps and you can manually “recalculate” directions from “current location” with a few taps.
  • If you have a phone # in an email you are reading, you can tap on it to call it. And then once that’s done you can save it as a contact. Pretty neat.

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9 Responses to “Yes, a post about the iPhone…”

  1. Lisa Says:

    I love my iPhone 3G and have downloaded most of the free apps!

  2. Graeme Thickins Says:

    Mike, great post — excellent advice and reviews

    check out the myLite app, too…not just flashlight and adjustable color
    across the whole spectrum, but strobe and trippin’ features as well 🙂
    cool video here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=dPfLUDCXb8I

    it’s moved up to the #14 most popular free app overall

    cheers,
    Graeme
    http://www.doapps.com

  3. seth Says:

    great post, great website.
    for whatever reason, the index page (mikegrosshandler.com) isn’t displaying your latest blog post, rather, it is displaying the one from yesterday, “Thing are progressing, slowly”, is that intentional?

  4. mike Says:

    thanks for the comments, folks! and yeah, seth, that is intentional, though i’m considering changing it. i’ve got the “main” page showing just items i categorize as “news”, so that it’s only the “newsy” stuff that gets posted on the main page, while everything else, including the news, gets posted on the “blog” page. does it make more sense to just have one place for it all? hmmm.

  5. Trish Says:

    Hi, This ‘Phone was also launched in the U.K. on the same day, but of course with a different server, have no idea how popular it is here as it is only avaible to purchase outright and not on a contract – which many U.K., customers use.
    Think it needs a little more attention paying to it from what i have heard and read.
    Now all you people who are leaving messages on here re the phone, why not go and listen to Mike’s fantastic music and his Band “The Velmas” on my space — they are one great band. So put your phones down and go and listen to some decent music:)).
    Mike also has his own music my space site as well, more great music!:).

  6. chris Says:

    Hey, my wife erika and I were the ones that waited on line with you at Xgates for the iPhone. I kept waiting for the part of the review when you would be like ‘the best part of the iphone are the super dope albany folks i met online.’ Heartbreaking. Your site is pretty sweet and i’m downloading the Station album right now.

  7. seth Says:

    that makes sense. You write about a diverse selection of topics, I can see how you would only want some of your posts making the front page. People can easily click “Blog” if they want to see the full spectrum of what your thinking.

  8. mike Says:

    trish – i’d be surprised if it needed any more attention – from what i’ve read, it seems to be everywhere, even in the U.K.! but yes, thank you – everyone SHOULD check out my music! 🙂

    chris – how’s it going? thanks for finding me online here and saying hi! hope you dig Station!

    seth – i’m thinking about how to improve the layout here, so hopefully it’ll make more sense soon.

  9. mikegrosshandler.com » iPhone Battery/Case? 2 rocks, one stone? Says:

    […] Incase reading my mind, or perhaps my blog?  I just caught this in my iGoogle Engadget feed:  […]

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