After One Week With an iPhone

The iPhone. Loverly.

On June 29th I followed Twitters, read blog posts and saw flickr images as thousands of people stood in line and bought their iPhone.

Although I would have loved to been a part of the fun, there were three reasons I wasn’t in line that day: (a) I have never been an early adopter, and have always waited for at least the second generation product. (b) $600 was too much for me to spend guilt-free on a cellular telephone. And (c) I still had 80-some-odd days left in my current non-AT&T contract.

Now that the iPhone was on the shelves Paris Hilton started to get pushed down as iPhone screamed across all the headlines, Diggs, and permalinks. Everyone who had or hadn’t doubted the hype, they were all discovering that it was more amazing than they anticipated. It really was that cool.

Then – two months later – Steve dropped the price by two Benjamins. That very day I went to the Apple store and bought a first generation iPhone. Unfortunately I had to wait for 16 days for my current contract to end so I could port my number fee-free upon activation.

I used to take my PowerBook everywhere and have used it virtually every day since I bought it nearly three years ago. Last week it got the least amount of attention ever.

Now, after a little over a week of iPhone usage I would like to say that my life really has changed. I have always said I just want a phone that makes calls and does TXT, but after having access to my Calendar, my email, my music, the Web and beyond. I am shocked at how much fun it is to be productive and not always stuck in my office.

The iPhone is more than I had thought it would be. The way it works, thinks and feels is incredible. In no particular order, here are the things I like, dislike, am confused by or have noticed about my iPhone in some capacity.

  • Visual Voicemail: For years I have been horrible at checking my voicemail. I always just call the person back without listening to their message. (This is partly due to the fact that most voice messages go something along the lines of, “Hey Shawn, this is Hank. I was thinking we should really meet up sometime to go get steak. On me of course. I’m free next Thursday at Noon. Friday at 5. Saturday at 2. Or Sunday at 3:30. Also, do you know a good place to get my transmission fixed. It’s been acting funny. So call me back, OK? Talk to you later. Oh, and my number is 555-5555.” Then you have to listen to the whole thing again to catch the phone number, only to call them back and have the same conversation again just as it was on the voicemail. They should just say “This is Hank. 555-5555. Let’s get steak. Call me back.”) Back to the voicemail problam. Eventually I will accumulate 8 – 10 new voicemails only to have the last one be an important one with a feeling I ought to listen to it. I then suffer through 7 non-applicable messages to get to the one I thought would be important only to discover it wasn’t. Visual Voicemail eliminates every one of these problems. I can listen to my voice messages out of order. I can tap and drag for fast-forward or rewind to any part of the message. I can delete without listening, etc. This is one of my favorite features. In fact I love Visual Voicemail so much I keep a few old messages on my phone simply for the sake of demoing Visual Voicemail to others.
  • The Keyboard: I wish landscape keyboard was supported in more than just Safari. Primarily in Mail. It is much easier to type on, although it does take up most of the screen making it hard to see the text field your typing in. I am still getting used to a tactileless keyboard, but the iPhone is doing an outstanding job at learning words I commonly use (like “shawnblanc”) and common mistakes I make. Having a QWERTY keyboard has made texting a blast.
  • Hahlo: My online Twitter client of choice. Its smart and fast – even over EDGE.
  • SMS: The iPhone is my first camera phone. Something I have always looked forward to in a camera phone was sending picture text messages. I’m still waiting. The iPhone doesn’t send or receive images over SMS. What a bizarre omission.
  • EDGE: As long as you’re not on driving on the highway, EDGE is not that bad. According to the iPhone Network Test I average around 175kb/sec in Kansas City. A mere pittance compared to the 700 – 800 I get at home, but often times EDGE is faster than my network at work. Having the ability to check email, twitter, and waste time on the internet from nearly anywhere I want surely must be a milestone in the history of our planet.
  • The Screen: 160 ppi is incredible. Pictures are sharp and crisp. Text is clear. White is bright. I’m curious if anyone else with an iPhone noticed that the cleaning cloth doesn’t really clean. It sort-of pushes around the finger-prints and oil? The best way I have found to clean my iPhone screen is with my jeans. Seriously.
  • The Inter-Application Workflow: Is amazing. The way the phone works with itself. I am still telling stories about the first email I got with a phone number in it asking me to call someone and how I just had to click on the number to make the phone call. Clicking on a YouTube opens up the YouTube app. Etc. It is all just incredible. The iPhone really is a joy to use. I don’t mind that I can’t whip-flip through everything without looking. I want to hold the phone and tap on it.
  • The iTunes WiFi Music Store: Very cool. Very easy to spend money.
  • The Nod: When I see someone else with an iPhone I want to say ‘hi’ to them and show them my phone. But I haven’t figured out a way to do this without imagining that I’m coming across as lame. So instead I just say, “Hey. Nice iPhone.” But I try to say it in such a way as to sound different from all the people that say that to them who don’t own iPhones, and to sound like someone who does own an iPhone. But it never works. Oh well. Life goes on.

There are surely more than a dozen other little details I have noticed which prove the inteligent design of the iPhone. But most importantly, the iPhone has taken my work life and my home life and seamlessly merged them into an enjoyable environment that actually has made me live with less stress throughout my day.

After One Week With an iPhone