Wednesday, October 03, 2007

some love for the iPhone

With all of the negative articles that have written about the iPhone 1.1.1 upgrade and iBricks in the last week, I thought I would write about my experience with the iPhone over the last three months.

On Thursday after the iPhone launched, I walked into the Apple Store in the Arden Town Mall in Sacramento and bought an 8GB iPhone. I have been using cellular phones since the late 1980's. As I have mentioned before, I have had 6 phones in the last 9 years. I get about 18 months out of a phone before it is pretty beat up. On the average, I have probably paid almost $400 for each of those phones.

I could not be more happy with my experiences of the last three months. This includes:

  • The activation of the iPhone using iTunes exceeded my expectations. Although I had a lot of trepidation due to the reports from the first weekend, I was able to activate the iPhone, including switching my number from Sprint, in less than 10 minutes.

  • I then synced all of my contacts and phone numbers out of Outlook on the iPhone. In less than 30 minutes, I had the iPhone activated, all of my contacts loaded and I was off and running.

  • Each of the version upgrades (from 1.00 to 1.01 to 1.02 to 1.11) have been painless.

  • I have added custom ringtones. About 165 of the 750 songs that I have purchased from iTunes over the years can be made into ringtones. I find the ringtones creation features and functions in iTunes to work smoothly.

    My last phone was a Sprint Samsung A900. Sprint charged me $2.50 to use a downloaded ringtone for six months. Owning the song and a ringtone with my custom characteristics that I can use on the current and future iPhones seems reasonable for $1.98.

    My son is an musician with songs on iTunes. I believe that artists should be compensated for their material.

  • Using Flickr's functionality, I am using the camera in the iPhone to post pictures directly to my weblog.

  • After the 1.1.1 upgrade, I used the iTunes Wifi store to purchase, download and play a song (Into the Night by Santana featuring Chad Kroeger). I have cruised the Wifi store on a number of other occasions and will definitely make additional purchases.

    [I have stopped at Starbucks and got a cup of coffee and the song of the day card over the last several days. I think that one mistake that Starbucks and Apple made is that they should have set up a way to redeem the Starbucks songs for the day on the iPhone through the iTunes Wifi store from any hotspot. I would find a place to connect and download the song so I could listen to it on the way home...]

  • Before our trip to New Mexico in August, I downloaded Roving Mars from the iTunes and loaded it on the iPhone. When I finished my book on the plane on the way home, I watched about half of the movie on the iPhone. After we got home and I synced back to the iTunes ecosystem. I was able to start watching the video on my iTV right where I left off.

  • Every morning, I update a playlist titled 1 Morning Drive with about 20 podcasts from NPR (national and local-WFUI, KQED, KCRW and KXJZ), APM, PRI, ESPN, Scientific American, CNET and others. My youngest loves the PRI's Geo Quiz. I mix a couple songs into the playlist. I start the playlist on the iPhone when I get in the car on my way to work and pick up where I left off in the playlist on my way home.

  • I use a bluetooth jawbone ear piece. When the phone rings in the car, the music fades out, I tap the ear piece to anwer the call. When the call is over, the music fades back in. [There is some GSM feedback that I have not completely eliminated.]

  • I use the iPhone to connect to the Wifi networks at home and at work for web browsing and mail.

  • I use Safari with the iPhone versions of Facebook, Pocket Tweets and Meebo as well as a number of other web sites.

  • I have the iPhone connected to my Gmail account. [I do wish I could figure out a process for deleting emails on the iPhone and have them deleted from the inbox.]

  • I took a number of my favorite photos and moved to the iPhone to use with the contacts and as backgrounds.

  • I like the way that the SMS application keeps the messages grouped by caller. It allows you to maintain a thread of the conversation.

  • The visual voicemail which provides a scrolling list of the messages is great!

  • I have used almost all of the different cell phone carriers over the last ten years on personal and work phones. It is my personal opinion that the demonization of AT&T is overblown. It my experience that the quality of voice service varies depending on where you live. Each carrier has strengths and weaknesses. You pick a carrier with a good network where you live and work. In my experience, the customer service of all the cellular carriers is poor at best.

This is just a quick brain dump of my experiences. I understand the desire to want to explore the hardware and software and add the functionality. I respect the frustration that has been expressed by some users by the 1.1.1 upgrade. Nevertheless, while it is not perfect, this is a remarkable device.

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