Tuesday, July 22, 2008

iPhone Bliss

OK, I admit, when the iPhone first came out last summer, I wasn't too impressed. Well, I was impressed in a way it was a whole new way of looking at phones/PDAs but there are many things I was skeptical about. The 1.0 software was also a bit lacking to be truly useful.

Now that iPhone 2.0 has come out, my opinion has changed. The AppStore changes everything. Sure, there are still things I don't like (I will always prefer a real keypad over some touch-screen keyboard). To me, the idea of expandability and killer apps is what's going to make the iPhone a real player in the phone/PDA market. Third party software has been floating around in the past year, but with the release of the SDK and Apple sanctioned third-party software, the sky really is the limit. Open source is the way to go, and I'm very impressed.

One such application is Stanza. It's an eBook reader for the iPhone/iPod Touch and it's really nice. Plus it has a huge catalogue of free books (many are already in public domain, such as Tales of Two Cities). Now, it's not possible, as far as I know, to add my own eBook content. If that functionality is available, I think the iPhone will be a very nice device as an eBook reader.

I also like the location services on the iPhone. Even without GPS, it gets the approximate location by triangulation and it's not too shabby. What's nice is that with Google Maps and other third-party apps, you can check weather, look for restaurants and shops around  you, and find information about the city you're at. Now that's super useful.

Basically, I'm a true believer of the iPhone now.  If anyone tells me, "It's just a phone" I would eagerly object.  It's not just a phone, not even a smartPhone. I've had my share of cell phones, PDAs and smartPhones, but none is going to offer what the iPhone will take us, especially at this price point (now I'm going to sound like an Apple salesman). Anyway, it really is like having a computer (without all the complexity) in your palm.

Very slick.   Steve Jobs and everyone at Apple: Good job.


10 comments:

ORION said...

I want the iphone if I can FOR SURE call in and out of Europe.
Also I want to make sure I'll salivate when it rings just like my blackberry...

Anonymous said...

It you have a Mac, you can download Stanza Desktop from lexcycle.com, which allows you to synchronize books on your computer with the iPhone. They also have a Windows version coming soon.

Ray Wong said...

thanks for the tips on stanza! Will look into that.

Orion: I am sure you can ring in Europe with the iPhone. It's a gsm phone. I can do it with my blackberry. But it's going to be expensive roaming. It's better to get a temp SIM card but the problem is you will have to unlock your iPhone first.

Ray Wong said...

and what does your blackberry ring like? Sexy voice of Sean Connery?

Joe Iriarte said...

Does the new iPhone let you copy and paste text? I seem to remember that the original could not. What about using an mp3 as a ringtone? (Again, something I'd heard the original could not.) Can the camera shoot video? How many megapixels? Is it still only AT&T? What's the interface like if I have a PC and not a Mac? How much memory does it come with? Can you put in an SD card? Does it have bluetooth? (Don't feel like you have to do any research to answer . . . I'm just wondering if you know offhand.)

How much does the new one cost, roughly?

It sure looks gorgeous. I do with it had a slide-out keyboard like my MDA.

Ray Wong said...

Joe: I'm not aware of the cut and paste capability and I'm thinking, not. It's not really for editing anyway, mostly for web apps and web surfing. Plus I'm not sure how cut and paste would work since it's all touch screen-based.

And yes, you can create your own ringtones using mp3 files. In fact, I just added like 10 clips to my collection from my own iTune library.

The camera is 2 MP still only, but there's a hack out there that takes 15fps videos.

Apple still has an exclusive contract with AT&T, which is actually not so bad since they're one of the only few carriers that offer 3G (instead of EDGE) which is at least 2x as fast. Also, it's possible to unlock the phone and use another carrier (even though Apple doesn't like it).

Also, because of AT&T's subsidy, you can get the iPhone for $199 instead of $499. That's a good bargain even if you consider the 2-year contract.

The interface is very Mac like, and extremely easy to use and intuitive -- what a SmartPhone should be. You should check it out and play with it a bit to see if you like it. It has the same interface as the iPod Touch, so if you can't get hold of an iPhone, just check out the iPod Touch.

It has 2 models: an 8GB and 16GB -- the 16GB is new. I find the 8GB adequate for most of what I do, plus all my music. Granted, I have a relatively small mp3 library. Some people have thousands of songs but I wonder why would they put them ALL on an iPhone anyway? You should definitely have a separate iPod for all your music need. This is a PHONE and PDA first and foremost. The iPod capability is just something nice to have.

There's no SD card slot and really, with 16GB of mem and storage, you don't need it.

It has bluetooth but it's only for headsets or something. I assume there will be external keyboards soon.

I'd like for it to have a real keyboard, too, but considering the form factor (it's really thin and light) and the efficiency of the touch screen, I actually thing it's good that they don't include a keyboard. That would make the iPhone too bulky. Right now, it's really slick, light, and gorgeous.

Plus it's so easy to use with so many Apps out there now. It's great.

$199 for the 8GB model, and $299 for the 16GB. That's with AT&T activation (you can't really buy one without an activation anyway -- because of the price, they require you to activate in store). But you can buy an after-market one for $599.


Now I REALLY have become an Apple salesman. Damn you.

Ray

Joe Iriarte said...

That's cool--and that is a good price, too. I'm not going back to Cingular/AT&T, but I'm sure some day the band and compatibility issues will be worked out.

Ray Wong said...

I'm not sure what band and compatibility issues you're talking about. As far as I know, the iPhone is a dual or tri-band GSM phone, if that's what you meant. As for compatibility, I'm not sure... it works with the PC and the Mac, and also the unlocked phone will work anywhere in the world with any carrier. I know of people who have unlocked phones with T-Mobile services.

Joe Iriarte said...

Sorry for being unclear. I was referring back to your comment, "they're one of the only few carriers that offer 3G (instead of EDGE) which is at least 2x as fast." It sounds like you're saying iPhones work better on AT&T anyway (which I had not known) and all I meant was, since I'm not switching back to AT&T anytime soon, hopefully at some future time other cell networks will work just as well with iPhone as AT&T's does.

Ray Wong said...

I see. Yeah, but sooner or later everyone will be on the 3G network, and then you can unlock the phone. But if you have no plan of switching to AT&T now, then it's not really a viable choice for you anyway.

Still, the phone itself is marvelous and we'll see more good things to come (imitation products, etc. etc.)