Five Months with My iPhone

Many of my friends who know I purchased an iPhone when it was first available have again been asking me how I like it, now that I’ve had it for a while. The short answer to that question is, “I love it.” Sure, it has its shortcomings, but it’s hands-down the best phone I’ve ever owned, it’s the best iPod I’ve ever owned, and it’s not a bad PDA. I love that I can carry just one device now. I don’t need to remember to take my iPod with me–I just need to remember my headphones (which I still sometimes forget).

I’ll answer some questions I get most often….

Have you hacked your iPhone? No. Hey, I spent six hundred dollars for this thing; you think I’m going to tempt fate like that?

Speaking of the price, are you sorry you bought your iPhone before the price drop? No. I tend to adopt interesting new technology early. There’s a cost associated with that. Sometimes that cost is an investment in a product that never really gets off the ground. Sometimes that cost is paying a premium for early access. I’d prefer the latter. I think the price drop, though earlier than anticipated, was the right thing to do. Plus, it makes room for next generation and higher-capacity devices in the line.

Speaking of capacity, do you find the 8GB of storage limiting? No. I use smart playlists to keep my iPhone up-to-date with new podcasts and my most recently-added and most-played music. I use standard playlists to ensure that I have a handful of tunes that I always want on hand and a couple of unwatched TV episodes. This way, I have exactly the right amount of content for traveling, commuting, or just sitting at my desk in an office environment.

Speaking of the office, I hear you can’t use your iPhone for corporate/professional communications. Is this true? Not necessarily. Have I tried connecting to an Exchange server yet? Yes. Was I successful? No. Luckily, that’s not my primary mode of communication. I’m in the fortunate position of working with an organization that uses Google Apps for Your Domain, which means that my corporate e-mail is Gmail. And now with Gmail’s new IMAP service, iPhone access to my e-mail account is better than ever.

Speaking of new stuff, what’s new on the iPhone since its release? One of the reasons I wanted an iPhone is that I knew it would be a platform that Apple could and would continually improve. Within weeks patches were released to address early problems. Then came the iTunes store, which is probably the cheapest mobile music store in existence: for the same price as on the desktop, you can buy and sync any songs from iTunes’ music collection. Apple improved messaging by adding the Blackberryish add-a-period-if-I-type-two-consecutive-spaces feature and improved iPod functionality by (finally) isolating podcasts from the Albums list. The home button has additional functionality, making it easier to manage songs in play when the phone is locked. In a nod to international travelers, they’ve made it easier to turn off all network communications to save on roaming charges. Finally, they’ve enabled video out from the iPhone connector, allowing me to playback video podcasts, TV episodes, and movies on external devices–on TVs, in hotels, in my car, etc.

Speaking of the iPhone connector, did you have to buy new cables and accessories for the iPhone? Yes, I did…and it infuriates me. For reasons that I can only attribute to greed, Apple has chosen to “chip” all iPhone connectors, ensuring that most existing iPod cables and accessories–despite using the same proprietary connector as your iPhone–will not work with the iPhone. This makes it necessary for you to buy new audio/video cables and accessories for your iPhone, even though there’s no technical reason why they shouldn’t work properly with your iPhone’s connector. Frankly, this is probably the only thing about the iPhone that really pisses me off.

Speaking of trailing prepositions, where’s your head at? [OK, well, nobody really asked me that, but…] If by “where’s your head at” you mean “overall, what do you think of the iPhone,” I’d say that I remain very pleased with this product and with my decision to purchase it–even at the introductory price. I now rely on the iPhone’s SMS, Maps, Phone, Mail, and iPod features every day for my basic personal and business needs. And despite my desire for Bluetooth stereo, wireless sync, notes sync, and some rudimentary form of positioning…it is undeniably the best phone I’ve ever owned.

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