After a Few Months on the iPhone

I’ve been using my iPhone as my primary cell phone for a few months now and figured now is a good time to give my overall thoughts so far.

Overall I like it, it’s been a dependable phone and I haven’t had to reboot it once so far (any system that lasts more than a week with me without crashing and burning is pretty damned solid). This is the first computer (face it modern smart phones are just small computers) I’ve owned that has ever made it past week one without some kind of major operating system crash. Much of this could be contributed to Apple’s insanely tight controls over what you can and can’t down on your phone but it also requires a pretty solid operating system as a good foundation.

Using the phone has been pretty bloody simple. When it comes to interface design Apple is usually pretty solid. There really isn’t anything included with the phone that requires actions to operate that I would consider not being obvious. With that said having a nice dedicated back button ala Android phones would be a nice addition. I do think Apple is trying to cram a bit too much functionality into the single home button. Currently the home button will take you back to your list of applications, bring up the task manager when double-clicked, and bring up the voice controls when held down. I know Steve Jobs hates buttons but really some other system should be thought up besides using the single front facing button for everything.

I still think the multitasking system isn’t well thought out. Only being able to run certain services in the background really limits the types of things you can do. My main gripe comes from the fact an IRC server can’t run in the background for more than 10 minutes (an application can request up to 10 minutes to finish up doing work when you tap the home button) because there is no service for keeping a network connection open in the background. For the most part though you really don’t notice the lack of multitasking as most phone apps really have no need for it.

The number of available apps is rather insane. This would be a great thing if Apple actually had a decent method of searching for new applications. When you search for anything popular you may be that app you’re looking for but it’s equally likely you’ll get a list of unrelated apps that used a name purposely selected to show up when people search for more popular titles. This is also a problem on the Android Market and frankly both Apple and Google need to find a way to fix this shit.

Likewise using iTunes for everything is fucking retarded. Why am I using a media player to sync my phone and install applications on it? The name iTunes implies media functionality, it doesn’t imply syncing with a phone. There is an application in OS X called iSync that implies syncing devices with your computer, why not just use that? Hell iTunes is used to sync books, music, podcasts, apps, notes, calendars, e-mail accounts, and practically everything else on the planet so why doesn’t Apple just change the name to iDoFuckingEverything? This isn’t that big of a deal but it does go against Apple’s usual attempt to at least try to be somewhat logical with what applications do based on what they name it.

The antenna on the iPhone is retarded. Yes “holding it wrong” in your left-hand will cause your signal to drop. Apple did a short campaign showing this was a problem on every phone but they kind of missed the point. My Evo 4G will lose signal strength as well, when I grip the top of the phone. Who the Hell holds their phone by the stop of the device when talking on it? Nobody. Who holds their phone in their left hand when talking on it? A lot of people. And that there is the main difference.

Even though the antenna design is stupid at least the phone feels solid. Although making the back out of glass was a poor choice in my book (come on glass isn’t durable when it comes to dropping and people drop cell phones all the time) it does make the phone feel like it could take a bullet. Nothing on the phone flexes, creaks, or otherwise gives the impression of poor construction. I do appreciate the amount of time Apple’s industrial designers must have taken to ensure the phone doesn’t feel like a cheap piece of crap.

The number of accessories available for the iPhone is pretty damned impressive. Then again when you’re talking about a phone that everybody and their grandma is practically using I guess this shouldn’t be surprising. In the sea of stupid accessories there are some really neat ones that I find useful. My favorite are the video-out cables that are available. These cables are either AV or composite cables (depending on the ones you buy) that allow you to display movies on your phone onto a standard television. Being all my movies are on a computer it’s kind of difficult to bring them over to friends’ houses as they usually don’t have a computer plugged into their television. With the video-out cables I can load them onto my iPhone and play the movies are other peoples’ houses via my phone. Simple things like that do make my day a little nicer.

One of my biggest gripes about the Evo 4G was the simple fact the battery life was measure in hours. There is no way I could get through two entire days on one charge with my Evo but I can do that pretty easily on my iPhone. Then again I could swap a dead battery in my Evo for a fully charged one whereas Apple doesn’t allow such useful functionality on their precious phone. Trade offs I guess (although I’d say it’s more stupid design decisions by Apple).

Overall I recommend the phone as it’s a pretty damned solid platform, unless you actually like customizing your phone. Apple doesn’t allow you many freedoms with their devices but what is there works well. Android allows you far more customization of everything, Hell you can replace the default phone application. Likewise when the iPhone you take what you get and realize you’re not getting anything else until the next phone is released where many manufacturers are releasing Android phones meaning if you want little things like 4G you’re likely to find a vendor who provides it.

Yeah I like the iPhone.