Photo via Flickr: Fr3d.org
I hit up the Apple store over the weekend and purchased an iPhone 3G, and my initial review is this – I love it.
Now, I am not one to get excited over every new technology. I have always owned Apple computers, not because they’re cool or beautiful, but because I’ve never known anything else.
First came the crappy old model I inherited from my dad in 1995 or so, when I had just started high school. I don’t remember the model; I do remember that it had about a 10″ screen and was clunky. This was back when the rainbow apple logo was still slapped onto their computers. I wish they’d bring it back – old school!
Image: Mac User Forum
Next came the first incarnation of the iMac – those colorful bulbous contained computers. I had the pink – sorry, strawberry – model. This was in 1998, the year they were released.
My next iMac was what I lovingly call the E.T. model, the one with the swivel neck attached to a dome base. It had a 17″ screen and I LOVED it. In fact, I didn’t want to sell it when I got my next upgrade.
The model I am with now is a 20″ iMac, I believe it’s the most recent model. I dig it, but I still miss my E.T.
I consider myself to be an Old School Apple User, and trust, I don’t think this makes me better than anyone else. Not the 16 year old after the iPod touch, or the 60 year old upgrading his 1997 Dell laptop to a MacBook. The coolest thing about entering an Apple store is that you will always, without a doubt, see a mixed crowd. Men and women, every age and race, people from various income-levels, geeky fans and newcomers….they’re all there. And they’re usually all happy, even in what my dad likes to call “controlled chaos.”
Which brings me to the customer service. I was talking with the guy who was helping me with my purchase, and I asked him if he was required to know a lot about Apple products before being hired. “I knew nothing,” he said smiling, “Apple doesn’t care if you know anything about their products, they care if you can deal with customers. The first thing they told me is that it’s easy to teach someone about iPods and MacBooks, it’s much harder to teach customer service skills.”
See, this is why Apple is genius.
Anyhow, I’ve digressed. Back to the subject at hand, the iPhone.
Historically, I’ve used my mobile to make/receive calls and text. That’s it. I didn’t play games, download ring-tones, listen to music, use the Internet, and I never cared for mobile calendars/scheduling software.
“So, why buy an iPhone?” my guy asked.
For starters, I had lost my iPod, which I primarily used in my car during my insanely long weekday commute. I also hated my Blackberry Pearl with the energy of a million gigabytes. The keyboard was frustrating, so I never used it. This meant an end to texting. The Internet connectivity sucked and when it did log on it was incredibly hard to read. So, I was paying $30 a month for a data plan I wasn’t even utilizing. I figured than since I disliked my current phone and needed an iPod, I might as well kill two birds with one (very expensive) stone.
Those were reasons enough for me, and as it turns out, the iPhone has proven to be even MORE useful than I had initially imagined. It’s less of a phone than it is a teeny tiny computer that you can make calls with. Perfect, because I unloaded my laptop in order to justify buying it!
I got a half-hour tutorial at the store and was sent off, nervously clutching my phone in its hot pink condom of a case. I didn’t do much with for the first few hours, except push a few buttons and call my parents. Then I dove in, first installing some free applications (apps) – Facebook, UrbanSpoon, eBay, OpenTable, AIM and Pandora. I started to explore some of the factory-installed applications like YouTube, the camera and contacts list. I assumed I would have a jump on the interface because I am so accustomed to the Mac OS, but it’s so intuitive I can’t imagine anyone having a problem with it. And, as my guy told me, “if you ever need to get out of where you have landed, just push the main button, which is the only button. Easy.
Email is snap. If you have a Gmail account, you just punch in your username and password and all of your folders are imported. I assume it’s just as easy for other browser-based email programs.
The browser (the phone comes installed with Safari) is, in a word, awesome. I never thought I would use the web on a mobile, and while I obviously prefer my computer, it’s easy to browse on the iPhone. Zooming in and out on a screen is a quite easy, and you can turn the phone horizontal for easier reading/viewing.
Last night I paid for my first application, called Newsstand. It’s basically Google Reader for my phone. In fact, I was able to import all of my URLs from my Google Reader account, which was great.
I had read a lot of complaints about the iPhone keyboard, mostly having to do with it being too small for big fingers. Even if you have small fingers, you’re bound to mistype quite a bit until you become accustomed to the sensitivity of the board. Frankly, after the hell that was my Blackberry Pearl condensed QWERTY keyboard, the iPhone board is heaven.
This morning on my commute into work, I had my first chance to plug in my iPhone and listen to Pandora. While DRIVING! And that, my friends, makes the iPhone worth every penny.