It’s about time I did a boring iPhone blog. The BBC went mental on iPhones for a while, then they went mental on twitter, I’m on both, so I think I should go mental on one (and mention it on the other). People are consistently knocking the media (and notably the beeb) for the coverage of a product that isn’t really doing anything new. Everything the iPhone does was already possible on other phones.
I’ve had my iPhone for a few months now. I’ve commented on other blogs about how it may not be the best phone (it can’t hold a call in our own lounge for longer than 25 seconds) the best web browser (it can’t manage java/flash – in fact – many websites are now reverting to not using certain technologies to satisfy the iPhone’s browsing deficiencies) the camera is only 2 mega pixels, you can’t do picture messaging (until July, but a friend of mine has the new software and we still can’t work out how it works), you can’t forward text messages (which would have been very useful with all the superb swine flu/Maddie MacCann/Alan Shearer jokes going around at the moment) it will cost me £730 over 18 months (but I was paying £25 a month anyway and now I get so much more) it doesn’t do turn by turn GPS navigation (it can find me on the map though!) and you would be lucky if the battery lasts longer than 8 hours (but that is only because you use it ALL the time, as it is SO useful).
Useful. That’s the thing. What the iPhone manages to do, is make everything it does fit together, and make life easier. My last phone (Nokia n80) had Wi-Fi, and would do 3g browsing – (although 3 would have charged me a fortune to use the net over 3g) and was a pretty decent phone in itself. But none of it was particularly useable. 3 main (tiny) buttons for doing everything on the screen, and a pretty small screen at that, meant it wasn’t amazingly usable. Nothing seemed to communicate internally. I never fathomed out the music player (or how to get it talking to the computer).
The iPhone is usable. No need for a manual (although my Dad had taken his iPod back to the shop and got a refund as his episode of Mastermind winning/Sinclair Spectrum game writing brain couldn’t get round the easiest operating system in the world and put music onto the bugger.)
If you receive an email with a link to a website in it – you click on the link and it opens the browser. If the website contains a phone number, press it and it dials. If it contains an address, press it, and it shows you that address on a map. Press “route” and it will GPS locate you and show you the best way to get there, (by car, walking, or even public transport – the only thing that it doesn’t do is buy you a ticket for the train, but it will tell you how long the train takes!). you can then click on the map, and go back to the website for the business you are headed for.
The music player is amazing (obviously) and web browsing and the like work really well and really quickly.
Its sleek and feels nice, and has a shiny black back with a chrome ring round it, and a shiny black apple logo on the back. It slips into the pocket and even when listening to music on it, I forget I have it there.
So why are there so many accessories available for it which protect it from the elements? Several colleagues in the office have iPhones, and they were comparing the cases and protective shields they had bought, to keep their iPhones shiny and new looking. All very well, but I had to wonder who they were protecting it for?
What is the point of buying something so nice, so tactile, so small and light, and then putting it in a leather case, and putting an extra layer of plastic over the screen – or surrounding it in latex? If the designers had meant it to look that way, they would have sold it to you with a condom on (the phone – although mobile phone salespeople should use condoms as often as everyone else, if I was aware of them wearing one while selling me a phone, I probably would politely make my excuses and leave the shop...).
Remember the grandparents who left the plastic wrapping on the sofa, or worse – had a “best” room in which you must never enter? Who are they saving it for? If I have something nice, I want to use it. If you put it in plastic it may stay nicer for longer, but it will be in plastic. If I scratch my screen – so be it. If I have my phone on my desk and the back gets scuffed – that’s ok.
In 18 months, I don’t want to be able to trade my phone in for a better model, for someone else to enjoy my old phone in pristine condition, at the detriment of me ever enjoying it in that condition...
Sorry – I’ve gone off on a massive tangent before I even started talking about what I intended to talk about. That’s the way of these things though.
If you’d spent over 700 quid on something – you’d sing its praises too. If you had decided not to do such a thing (especially if you’d spent your money on a nice Samsung camera with a phone attached like the nice indian fellow at 3 told me I should) you’d be looking for an excuse to knock it too.