Jeff Carlson's column in Saturday's Seattle Times Personal Technology page is on his iPhone, a year hence. His opinion largely matches mine, which is that the iPhone is the best small portable tech device I've ever had.
Jeff is the classic early adopter, and he bought the phone at full fare when it came out. I'm a big believer in staying away from the cutting edge, as I've mostly been burned when I've not obeyed my own sensibility (witness the Drobo debacle). I also couldn't stand the hype surrounding this device when it came out, which kept the recalcitrant anti-cool part of me from wanting one.
But you know what I still keep saying? The hovercraft and those futuristic gizmos from the Jetson's cartoons, about how the future was going to be, about now? The iPhone is the first arrival from that world. It pains me to no end to mimic the Macinista's, but it's really that cool.
Jeff's first rave about the phone is the same as mine—ubiquitous Internet access. That I don't have to fire up the laptop to check my email on the road is a huge boon. I do some web surfing on the thing, but I haven't delved into the world of mobile-friendly websites, and Jeff's column gave me some great ideas to pursue.
I have no idea what he's talking about though with Twitter, a concept whose functionality utterly eludes me. Why would I want to know what coffee someone in my “social network” just ordered? I really don't get this one—can someone explain it to me? Or am I really just that old now?
I've also never considered the possibility of watching a movie on an iPhone. Isn't that what theatres are for? I'm also one of those dinosaurs who has never made an iTunes purchase either, and I get supremely annoyed when I plug in my iPod or iPhone into the wrong computer, and my entire music library is deleted from the device (I've since learned to check the “manual sync” box on everything I can find that has one).
Other annoyances. Battery life is abysmal, though I'm coming from an old, monochrome phone which seemed to hold a charge for months, apparently. With the iPhone it's pretty much a daily routine to plug it in, particularly if I'm on the road and using the web features a lot. I dearly wish there were a way to organize my email into folders with a POP account, but even more, I wish there were a way to delete the 80 messages a day all at one go. Right now it's a one-at-a-time chore. If my iPhone sits anywhere near my computer, the speakers pick up an interference hum. Yet if I'm charging my iPhone from the computer, it's sitting right by it.
I think there is a chip in the thing that detects the age of the person using the phone, and makes using the keyboard progressively harder the older you are. I've had this phone for months now, and I can barely complete a simple Google query without two or more misspellings from hitting adjacent keys. As you can guess, my email replies from it are extremely curt.
I've had two occasions now where my address book/contact list has completely vanished. Whether it's an iPhone thing or a Macbook problem I don't know, but I've detected the problem both times when my contacts had vanished on the phone. I have a .Mac account, but I don't know how to control the sync directionality (and a Mac doesn't ask you, it just assumes it's smarter than you are) and I've been afraid of spreading an empty address book throughout my whole data set. I now carry a backup on a flash drive when I travel.
What has been a nice surprise is that my cell phone bill didn't go up. It's actually lower than on my old Verizon account.