Wednesday, July 4, 2007

So, d'ya like the iPhone or not?

This is the ultimate question I'm trying to answer for myself (and my wife, the intended final user of the phone). We won't make a final decision until close to the end of the 14 day trial period.

But here's a quick interim report on what I like (and dislike) about the new WiFone:

  • "WiFone"? Yup, that means, so far, I have successfully made or received ZERO phone calls from anywhere inside or near my home. So mostly I've used the WiFi to connect to the Web for browsing and email. I have to get out of this AT&T "dead zone" here in the heart of residential East Lansing to use this slab as a real cell phone. Big minus for the "NoPhone"!
  • It is nearly everything the ads and hype have led me to believe (I don't know about your beliefs unless you comment). I don't feel duped or scammed by Apple -- and remember, this is the first Apple device I've bought. I haven't been this awed by a computer since I first tried out the Lisa in 1983 (I was pretty thrilled back in 1967 when I saw a teletypewriter communicating with a Burroughs 5000 all the way across the room, too! And again in 1973, when I made a telnet connection from my CRT in Lansing to an IBM computer in Ann Arbor at U of M and then back to a CDC 6500 at MSU and sent a file around the triangle and back again via the "Merritt Network"). The new multi-touch user interface puts real "smarts" in the smartphone.
  • It can't do many, many of the things my Sprint Palm Treo 700p already does -- things I do every day -- like, Pocket Quicken, Splash Shopper, ToDo List (!?!), take short videos, get to my favorite Web site in just 3 button presses (no bookmarks on the home screen), conveniently track notes in my diary, track my diet, back up to the Web over the cell network (automatically, every night), and probably several other things I do without thinking.
  • Wonderful as the iPhone interface is, the Palm interface is incredibly intuitive and smart, too, and has been evolving for years. I've already found myself wondering why things work (or don't work!) a certain way on the iPhone, while the Palm usually already "knows" just what you meant or anticipated what you wanted to do.
  • The WiFone camera is very, very good
  • The WiFone videos are stunning. (I plan an extended post just on the YouTube app.)
  • The Safari browser is a tour de force. It it fast, smart, and generally a pleasure to use. It makes browsing the Web on a phone-size device practical for non-geeks.
  • I don't listen to music much except whatever's on the radio (old school! classic jazz!), but the iPod functions may convert me into doing more. I ripped two CDs from my collection into the WiFone very easily and the sound is more than good enough for me.
  • The WiFone works pretty well as a tablet computer at my dining table (and, **ahem**, on the "throne" in the "euphemism"), or on the sofa or easy chair in the living room. I've read several Web pages, watched short video podcasts, read quite a bit of e-mail, and watched way too many YouTube videos.
  • Having fast internet in your pocket whever you go is very, very handy! While talking with old college buddies on Monday, I could quickly look up something and hand the answer across the picnic table in just seconds.
  • Not having a keyboard is somewhat of a problem, but I'm still adjusting. I remember the loud noises and controversy when Palm ADDED a keyboard going from the Palm Vx to the Treo. No judgments until trying it for longer.
So, there's a quick run down. [Old time radio announcer voice:] And stay tuned -- for more in the continuing saga of iPhone Lansing ...

No comments: