Apple’s iPhone 3G is pretty darn impressive

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 2:58 AM

When the first iPhone came out I dismissed it pretty quick because I was addicted to my AciveSync DirectPush on my Windows Mobile (WM) 6 device and because the ATT network it was tired to is just slow. All the while I switched my MP3 player over to an iPod Touch and fell in love with the UI & iTunes. Then, upon hearing Apple was adding support for 3G, a GPS receiver and ActiveSync support made me come back and check it out. I’ve read up, especially over the weekend and played with one in the local store. I also updated my iPod Touch to the 2.0 OS, the same one that the iPhone now runs on, to play with the new features. Suffice to say, I’m very impressed. The thing that I was really eager to see was the response from Microsoft. So far the only close competition that’s been impressive is form Sprint… can’t wait to see what WM7 has in store for us!

As a WM user for years now, I’ve known I could download & install apps via my laptop and also surf the web on a browser, but it never felt like a natural experience. I just felt like I always had to get through a bunch of stuff. I know many will disagree… it’s just my experience. But when it comes down to it, I’ve loved WM overall and loved the email experience.

What gets me is just how well information is surfaced to the user in the iPhone OS. after installing the phone, I was pretty surprised how quickly I pulled up a map & setup directions from my house to a friend in my address book. While I don’t have it on my iPod Touch, I got to play with SMS on the iPhone in the store… and I love the experience. It brings me back to the days of my Palm based Treo where I could see the whole dialog as it progressed… not just the last message at a time like WM does.

One more thing that I was really impressed with: AppStore. I’ve always been able to download applications for my WM phone… and you could get them from all sources. However Apple has just nailed the experience. Finding an app, either from the device, iTunes or the browser is a piece of cake. Installing them (only available from the first two, not the latter) is also a piece of cake. I picked up the Facebook & WeatherBug app right off the bat. With WeatherBug, I can quickly check out the radar for my area, or any are in the US. I know, I could do this on my current phone. Maybe it’s just the novelty of a new toy that’s impressive… dunno… but I don’t think so.

The keyboard did trip me up at first. I constantly complained about it and not being able to type my name quickly. I saw a video and read something about how to get used to it so I gave it a shot. After playing around a few times I just took a stab at writing an email as fast as I could, not stopping to fix errors. Results were impressive! So I timed myself writing the same thing on my WM phone & iPod Touch… a dead tie! Now THAT shocked me.

The only thing I’m not completely sold on is the email experience. At first Apple seems to have been a little unrealistic in a typical business user case. I have tons of folders… easily over a hundred. What I like is that I can now get email in ANY folder, not just the ones I configure to sync (like in WM). As I browse to it, the folder is sync’d ondemand. Would be nice if it fetched it ahead of time. The other disadvantage here is that there’s no exploding/collapsing of the folders. Yes, that means I have to see ALL of them. That really sucks. And guess what, sent items is at the very bottom (least I assume it is… I haven’t been able to scroll that far :P). For some folders I frequently access, I’d have to move them up towards the top… which is unfortunate. There are plenty of other Exchange ActiveSync issues on the iPhone, covered quite well here. He also complains about lack of document storage on the phone. Not an issue for me as I don’t touch that in my WM phone.

I’m seriously considering the switch. If I can deal with the email (thankfully something I get to test out on the iPod Touch via a WiFi connection), I might switch to the iPhone. With the exception of email experience & battery life, it is very appealing.

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