Archive for May, 2009

iPhone Review

May 4th, 2009 No comments

The last entry was about how I caved in, went against my anti-Apple stance and got an iPhone.  While I still hold my stance on that most Apple products are crap, I do like this one.  After a month of use, I can now have a pretty solid opinion of the phone so this post is intended as a review.

There are two things that really make the iPhone great: the interface, and the apps.

The Interface

The interface is clean, visually appealing, and very easy to use.  The large LED touch screen makes reading the options and navigating through them a breeze.  So much so that even my Dad wanted one almost purely for this reason.  He was sick of dealing with the tiny, hard to navigate, hard to read menus of the cheaper phones.  The interface on the iPhone was a welcome relief for him and he’d probably have one too if he could have gotten Mom to cave.  (Ohh well.  he can have my phone if the next generation iPhone is worth upgrading to.)  The phone is a platform where there are no standards on how an interface should look thus every manufacturer has something different.  They all work but, none of them compare to the iPhone.  The interface on the iPhone is robust and intuitive, a combination that you just don’t find on most phones.  If they sold a version of the phone that didn’t require a data package thus all internet features wouldn’t work without WiFi, I bet they’d easily sell millions purely because of the interface.

The Apps

While the interface is great, the apps are what really gives the iPhone its power.  Everything on the phone, and I mean EVERYTHING, is an app.  The iPod software, an app.  The clock, an app.  The calendar, an app.  The camera, an app.  Even text, mail, the phonebook, the phone, even the settings themselves are really just apps; they just have access to more

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Yeah I Bought an iPhone

May 2nd, 2009 No comments

Well I’ve gone and done it. I never thought it would really happen, but it did. A little over a month ago I was sucked in and got an iPhone.

Anyone who knows me knows I am by no means an Apple fan. In fact I downright despise Apple and their superb marketing that gets every moron on the planet to buy or at least want their inferior products.  To me Apple has always been about looks over actual Apple iPhonefunctionality.  Yes, the casing of the product does look nice but, the software is crap.  They remove so much of the customizability in order to make everything idiot proof and in doing so they make any advanced operation either impossible or a real pain in the ass.  To make it worse they’ll charge you a large price premium over what are functionally much better products from their competitors. To this day I still hold this point of view however, for one product I do make an exception.  The iPhone is Apple’s one unique piece of hardware that I just have to admit is a great product.

Back when the iPhone first came out I thought, "ohh god another crappy product from Apple that everyone is gonna go ape shit over." As people lined up in front of the stores and hailed it as the "Jesus Phone" my hatred for it only grew (Anyone who camps outside a store to be the first to get any product seriously needs to get a life IMO).  As time went by the hype died down, but the sales continued to climb. It picked up again when the 3G came out, but not to the point where it just plain annoyed me like it did with the first generation.  I still hated it because it was Apple, but after it became the #1 selling phone on the planet I thought maybe there’s actually something to this.  Around this time I was getting due to be eligible for a phone upgrade and the iPhone had been out long enough to prove its worth so I started giving it a look.  I heard about all the cool things it could do and how it actually had a GOOD internet browser on it so I became intrigued.

Up until the iPhone, there had been several "smart" phones before, but none of them really seemed to pull off the portable computer aspect in a way that really worked.  They were all too business oriented containing tons of features that I would never use and while they had the ability to browse the web, their interface for it sucked balls and thus would also probably never get used. If it couldn’t do it well then there was no point in getting it thus for the longest time all I wanted in my phone was the ability to make calls, something the free phones could do just fine.  The iPhone was the first "smart" phone built for the consumer that could not only browse the web, but supposedly could actually do it well!  In fact I had heard it could do a lot of things well so I thought, "maybe this is the first one worth getting," and I started to price one out.

Using AT&T’s site I put a plan together to see what it’d cost.  Ehh.  It’s way more than my calls only plan and I had never really tried the phone out so I couldn’t really justify it so I just let the idea sit.  A few months later everyone on my family plan was eligible for upgrades so I started looking at phones again.  I was pretty set on getting the LG Shine as it seemed to be a basic phone with the additional features I actually wanted so I thought this will be a nice upgrade over the crappy free flip phone I had.  A few days later my buddy then goes and gets himself a new phone. He convinced his parents to buy him an iPhone so of course I had to check it out for myself first hand.  After playing with it for a good 2 hours I was convinced.

I was just amazed by everything the phone could do! I knew it could do some cool things, but I didn’t realize to what extent.  Maps, GPS , weather, news, social networking, and more!  The entire knowledge of the internet in the palm of my hand where ever I go!  This was no meager step up in abilities over a normal phone.  What I was holding was truly the next generation of portable communications device!  It did it all and it did it well.  I couldn’t believe it.  I didn’t want to believe it.  Apple had actually made a good product!

I spent the next two weeks debating with myself whether to get it or not.  While it was an impressive machine, it still did cost a lot.  Cost aside though, there was also the fact that I’d be going so against my stance on Apple products that it felt hypocritical to get one.  But after seeing what it could do, I no longer just wanted an ordinary cell phone.  Anything less would feel like settling for disappointment so I rationalized the decision with this: This platform, the phone, is unique.  One where the normal conventions of what an electronic device should be do not apply.  While truly all that a cell phone really needs to be is just that, a phone, with so many different phones available the definition of what a cell phone is has become blurred.  It is no longer about being able to make calls but about being able to communicate in every way possible.  It’s about being able to cram the ability to do as many things as possible into a single device and the ability to do them well.  When you look at cell phones that way, the iPhone is really your only choice.  A couple of product demonstration videos on Apple’s site later and I was sold.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I’ve had the phone for about a month now and I’m still really happy with it.  It’s great being able to lookup the phone number to anything right from your phone and to be able to get directions where ever you are without having to seek out a computer or Wi-Fi hotspot.  Access to email at anytime is also great and the interface to everything is so clean.  I don’t think I’d ever be able to go back to a regular phone again.

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