Iphone road test. 2 Weeks in.

I’ve had my iphone 3G   for about 2 weeks now.  Like everyone else I was  just playing with the buttons, understanding the  way it works.  I then spent  huge amounts of time   downloading and  playing with the apps from the app store.

And of course  reading  the  reviews and the continuing hype that  the iphone 3g release had generated.

So,  what have I found  so far ?

Well to start,  the most fair in-depth review I’ve found is here http://arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/iphone-review.ars

ars technica mentions the  virtual keyboard – and I agree with the reviewers. at first i found it a bit  hard to use,  two weeks later I am  happily typing and usng the keyboard without giving a second thought.   the software intelligence  behind the keyboard fixes any errors i might make.    once you learn the iphone way its  “intuitive”.

The screen is absolutely great.   Its big for a phone,  and video and text  look  perfect. I’ve watched videos and  read   at least three ebook  novels using the screen and its  very capable.

Webpages are  OK.  the ability to turn the device sideways to use a wide screen aspect and the ability to pan and zoon makes reading even a difficult wwebpage  for a mobile device  readable  without too much drama.

Multi columns  in a webpage are easily  handled  and the zoon feature allows  you to  zoom into the content of a webpage and ignore the  google advertising thats usually ina column on the right hand side.

One week  in and  chris harvey posted a link to  TALO about  the FSF shrill warning about  the iphone : http://chris.superuser.com.au/free-software-foundation-5-reasons-to-avoid-iphone-3g

funnily enough I didnt feel oppressed.  –  I don’t buy music  – there’s plenty of free stuff around,  and even if I did, I know the tricks and utilities to  get it onto my iphone.    And i find iTunes  the most convenient  way  for me to  subscribe and manage my podcast/ vodcast subscriptions.

I replied to chris  on TALO with :

The iphone is over-hyped and  missing  some pieces of the puzzle, but  it  challenges all phone  makers to  raise the bar.

We will all benefit in the long run from the iphone.

and I expect the new iphone will be jailbroken just  like the last one, so  DRM ,  and application  control   wont be a problem.

BTW   there are a couple of things that are not correct in that article.

* DRM is not an issue – itunes will  rip any CD and put the content on the iphone.

* Mp4 is an open standard  as are AAC and h.264

* The Software Development Kit  for the iphone is free from Apple

* Apple will host  applications on itunes for free if the charge to consumers is free.

* There is a method where  enterprises can  deploy applications  to iphones  without going through the Itunes store.

* The iphone doesnt have to play  ogg and theora as AAC and h.264 are open standards. Utilities lke super C make conversion easy.

* The GPS  in the iphone can be switched off,   so  even conspiracy theorists can  rest easy.

if the iphone  is so evil no one would buy  one right?

following on from that I found a reference to chris’s blog post here : –


I havent read Kerry J’s blog before,  and i agree  with here on somepoints and disagree with others.

She’s right about the fact that   the media hype about the iphone was WAY over the top.  and apple seem to be masters of creating a  stir about their product lines.   But i dont know why she  target’s Apples hype  in particular.   At least they  do innovate, and do  bring products to the market   that  impress and delight.  I cant think of  another organization that can claim   the same.

We do agree  that Vista is a OS that  has very little of offer over XP.

I dont know why she’s so against Quicktime.  My experience with quicktime has always been positive.  It was  the  first and the best  multi platform video application ,  i can tthink of another application that plays  video, music, Virtual reality ( VR),  Midi,  and allows the user to do basic  cutting and pasting.  I’ve been using quicktime for years  and found it bette than Real player and Windows media player. About the only other player I find  holds a candle to it is VLC player.

Kerry J  then goes onto list the criticisms she’s found on the net.

The first one I’ve mentioned.

the next one  referrs to apple dropping the ball with mobile-Me.   despite having an iPhone, I have not used –  nor expect to use Mobile me, I’m not missing it either. ( of course I try it out at some-stage)

The next point she  mentions is the dataplans for the iphone.

The major reason I bought an iphone is because its a wi-fi device. I have wifi at home and at work.  I  have had the iphone for  2weeks and have 5.9 MB of 3G data despite having 250Mb of data per month with my plan.

The next article she references mentions the dismal iphone plans released  by vodafone, Optus and Telstra.

I agree.  Telstra and Vodaphone were smoking crack when they thought up their plans, the Optus ones were bearable but not great.

She then goes off  topic and discusses  a laptop sound issue ( which can be fixed with some sound utilities i believe)


So what are the real shortcomings of the iphone ? well before I give ammunition to the naysayers I think that  all of these  problems will probably be fixed in later releases of the firmware and if not, Jailbreaking and unlocking is always an option.

1. Safari needs flash. safari is a  good browser but it needs flash.

2.  iPhone apps  need a way to get data out of the sandbox.  As part of the security of the iphone  all applications are separated from the Operating system and other applications. this limits   apps in getting data back to you PC/Mac.  I have tried   a lot of the sound recorders for the iphone but only one allows you to email the recording back to you PC. ( no direct transfer)

3 Bluetooth  –  underutilized.

4 PDF’s – although safari will display them,  there needs to be a free app  that  allows you to read and manage PDF.  there are a couple of non free  apps that I have yet to try.

5 There needs to be a Tom-Tom app. Google maps is OK but Tom-tom is better.

6. The You-Tube app is a bit slow and clunky. it needs to be improved.

7.  Cut and paste!


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