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.