You knew I would get an iPhone, didn’t you? Well I didn’t stand in line for one, although I did visit Robert Scoble, who camped outside the Apple store in Palo Alto the night before the iPhone launch with his teen-aged son. I thought that was a cool thing for a dad to do, so I paid them a visit. But then I raced home to my bed while they slept in their canvas folding chairs.
Instead, I sent for one online. I do as much shopping online as I can these days, and if I can buy shoes online, I can certainly buy a phone. One size fits all, right?
No, it doesn’t. Amazingly, the iPhone doesn’t “fit” me at all.
Which doesn’t mean it isn’t right for YOU. But you have to want your photos, your music, and YouTube with you, and be willing to trade off those companions for simple functionality.
First of all, I’m a lefty and the touch screen doesn’t work as well for me as it works for my daughter Chelsea, who is right-handed (and loves her iPhone). I can tell because her emails don’t come through full of typos and mine do. The auto-correct function on the screen seems to misinterpret me more often than not. Especially since I make up words. For example, I’m fond of saying “I yuvved that movie” to my family. The iPhone refuses to let me substitute “yuv” for “love” and forces me to say “tubbed.” If I’m trying to type while driving, this is life-threatening.
Also life threatening is the poor speaker and the lousy reception with the iPOD earphones, which forces me to hold the phone in my hand. Half the time either my business partner can’t make out what I’m saying with the phone on speaker, or I can’t hear him. And no, a lifetime of listening to loud music hasn’t made me hard of hearing (yet).
Worse is the way the iPhone uses my contact list to help me compose emails. No useful auto-fill. Admittedly I have 7500 contacts (yes, I’m in the process of de-duping and getting rid of the dead people) on my computer address book and that’s a lot to carry on a phone, but the Blackberry Pearl used to burp once or twice and then do just fine.
And when someone calls you and you miss the call, you can’t (or at least I can’t) take the phone number from my missed call list and add it to my contacts.
I do love the ring tones. I’m currently using “bark.” It’s not unpleasant, like the song snippets most people are using. In fact, most people don’t even notice it when my iPhone barks. I happen to be attuned to barking.
By far the worst feature is the battery life. I can’t figure out what drains the battery, but on a good day (a day where I use it for both calls and email) it’s finished by the end of lunch. I then have to run home and plug it into the charger, or plug it into my laptop. If I’m not near either of them, I’m SOL, so I had to order a car charger. I also had to order a bluetooth headset, to increase my chances of living another year. I nearly swerved off the road using the “slide to answer” function on my touchscreen when the phone rang in the car.
So I traded in all the great functionality of the Blackberry Pearl, which functioned like a mobile office, for the ability to drag my entertainment center to business meetings. So far, no one has asked to see my photo album (800 photos) or hear my 375 songs. Nor have I had the time or the battery to spend on YouTube.
So is it $600 down the drain? Not really. It’s a dude magnet. Every guy wants to play with it. I haven’t been spoken to so much in bars for a decade. So it’s a lousy phone, but a really good investment.