On to the full review of iPhone#2

On the Headset Front - I’m VERY PICKY when it comes to bluetooth headsets. I’ve tried SEVERAL! I keep coming back to my Jabra BT500. I don’t like the on the ear kind mainly because they’re not comfortable to me. This means that I probably WON’T be buying the Apple Bluetooth Headset. It’s the kind that goes in the ear and that’s the only thing that holds it in place. I’d have to try one before considering a purchase as I’ve been disappointed so many times in this area. The Jawbone had promise, but it just doesn’t fit well in MY ear either. So because it doesn’t go all the way in my ear, there is a volume issue. It also feels like it’s going to simply fall off sometimes. Again, these are my issues and you might be just fine with it. So I paired up my Jabra and placed a call. I called my sister and her first response was “you sound like you’re on a land line!” I couldn’t believe how clear it was. I would get static on the Treo if I simply moved the Treo to the other side of my body. The iPhone works GREAT with my headset. Get this, I was even able to adjust the volume on the iPhone and it worked over bluetooth. Keep in mind I’m scared and just not used to this working so well. I tried the unthinkable, after I hung up. I held the button down for a second on my Jabra and it redialed my sister. I passed out!


This would fall into the area of disappointment category. While the iPhone has 25 different ringtones built-in, they are kind of cheesy. Some are also not loud enough. I was really looking forward to using my own music which is already on the device as my ringtones. On my Treo I had different songs assigned to different contacts. While you can assign different ringtones to different contacts, the choices of ringtones supplied isn’t very appealing. Hopefully the rumors are true and Apple will allow you to use your own or convert your own tones. You should also be allowed to assign ringtones to groups of contacts. This way you would immediately know if family is calling, vs. friends vs. colleagues. Even if they don’t allow you to use purchased music, they should at least allow you to spin your own with GarageBand or other sound apps. Ringtones is big business, so I’m surprised that there isn’t a way to buy more (yet.)

Visual voice mail

This is a very welcomed addition to the world of wireless. This is something that Apple and AT&T collaborated on and gives you the ability to see your voice mail listing on your iPhone and then skip around to listen the messages in the order you want them in. I’m not aware of any other phone/wireless carrier that offers this. It’s really slick too. You can see exactly who called, call them back from the same screen and most importantly you can scrub the playback head with your finger to backup a message to hear something that you missed without having to go all the way back or some set interval.


The iPod portion of the iPhone is what separates it from any other phone out there. Sure your phone may play mp3s, but it probably doesn’t play the ones you bought from the iTunes store or give you your iTunes playlists. Apple has completely redesigned the iPod interface on the iPhone. The famous click wheel is gone. You can customize the screen buttons to the areas that you access most. You can watch your movies, music videos and video podcasts. Music does actually play through the built-in speaker if you don’t use the supplied earbuds/phone headset. The coverflow feature is pretty cool. My only complaint in this department is in the area of storage space. Storage on the iPhone is either 4GB or 8GB depending on the model you get. I have to say that while I can live in 8GB’s of space, 16GB would have been much better. I actually can’t believe that Apple would not offer a 16GB model. Especially considering how big video files and movies are. Perhaps they’ll come out with a 3rd model that does 16GB just like they came out with an Apple TV after the initial launch that has a 160GB hard drive (as opposed to the 40GB hard drive in the first model). The iPhone like the iPod is syncs the status of the content you play back such as movies and TV shows. So if you start watching a video on your computer in iTunes and then have to leave, sync your iPhone and go. When you start watching it on your iPhone it will pick up where you left off. This works in both directions.

GREAT NEWS on the multiple computer front! Blog reader John confirmed that you CAN sync the iPhone with more than one computer. For example, I want to sync the iPhone with my MacBook Pro for contacts, calendar and photos. However, I want to sync my music, video and podcasts to my iMac (which is our iTunes jukebox at home). I just figured this wouldn’t work and I’m happy IT DOES! I used my wife’s iPhone for this test. She doesn’t have much music on her iMac. However, all her playlists are on the iTunes iMac. So when I plugged her phone into the iTunes iMac and went to iTunes none of the items were checked in the tabs for the iPhone which is GOOD. I checked off the playlists she wanted and then when I hit apply I got a scary message that said that the iPhone could only be sync’d to one iTunes library at a time and that if I proceed it would erase the iPhone and replace its contents. What the message didn’t state was did this mean the music and video content or everything? So I did it because I could always re-sync it back to her computer if it didn’t work. After a few minutes the new content was all there AND her contacts, calendar and photos were still there from her iMac! YEAH! I also had to choose the videos she wanted because it’s all the iTunes content or none. You can’t do videos on one computer and audio on another. Same goes for podcasts and audio books. Thanks John! You rock!


The iPhone has a 2 megapixel camera built-in. The shots are stored in the iPhone’s flash memory (4GB or 8GB). There is no camera flash, there is no zoom. There are no settings. It’s a point-and-shoot PERIOD. Cameras on phones haven’t impressed anyone. Every time I see someone raise their phone to take a picture, I always think to myself, “what are you going to do with that crappy shot?” So I didn’t really have any great expectations for the iPhone camera. As a matter of fact I often forget that my phone has a camera.

+++ To be continue soon +++

On to the full revie of iPhone#1

I decided to do my review of the iPhone separated by the areas of the phone itself. So here’s what I like and what I don’t like about each area of the iPhone:


“It’s the phone stupid!” The killer app on the iPhone has to be the phone. At the end of the day, it has to make and receive calls. It has to be loud enough and easy enough to use as a phone. One of the first things besides reception quality that is important to me is call volume. My cell phone has to be loud enough so that I can hear it in busy airports, walking down the street, etc. The Treo 650 was NOT loud enough which meant that I had to buy special software for the phone (Volume Care) just to boost the volume. So how does the iPhone stack up in this important area? So far so good. I’ve been making calls most of the day from the iPhone and the clarity and quality have exceeded my expectations. It’s loud enough, thank you Apple. I can navigate to my favorites and place a call with one hand. It still takes more taps than it should. You should be able to hold down the Home button to get to the Favorites screen (are you listening Apple, that was a great idea I just thought of?). The iPhone comes with a set of white stereo earbuds with an integrated mic. The mic also serves as a button to answer calls, end the current call, decline and incoming call, and do the hold features of call waiting. It also allows you to advance to the next song that’s playing and pause playback of audio from songs or movies. I don’t like earbuds for extended use. However, since they ingrate the mic, I’ll have to get used to them until a 3rd party solution comes out.


For the first few hours I completely forgot about the “pinch” feature which is where you move two fingers closer together to zoom in and apart to zoom out. I kept double tapping on a Google map thinking there has to be a better way. Then I remembered this important finger gesture and it was MUCH EASIER navigating and zooming in on the display. The icons are easy to press. The iPhone is VERY RESPONSIVE. Apple does a good job of magnifying the screen where it needs it automatically like trying to select a popup menu item on a website. Other than a faster way to get to Favorites, I don’t really have any complaints in this area. The User Interface is what lured me to the iPhone in the first place and it didn’t disappoint in this key area!

External Buttons

There are physical buttons for Home, volume, ringer silence (which is GREAT) and sleep/power off. They only stick out just enough to be used without being obtrusive. Great design in this area. No complaints.

Virtual Keyboard

This has to be the biggest area of debate when it comes to the iPhone. The competition and naysayers say that this phone can’t succeed because business users and PDA users are used to a keyboard with actual buttons for a tactile feel. Being a business user, I certainly had my reservations too. This is one of those areas that’s going to vary by user. Everyone has different size fingers. So I’m probably one of the worse case scenarios and a good test subject. I gotta say that I don’t love the virtual keyboard. It seems that so far I keep missing the keys on the right side. Nine times out of ten when I try to type an “o”, I hit the “p” instead. So I have to adjust and hit the key a little more to the left. Unlike the Palm, there is no calibration routine. This would be helpful so that the iPhone would know where you’re likely to hit the keys. The iPhone does offer to help by popping up the letters as you hit them so that you immediately see if you hit the right key or not as well as offering to auto correct/complete the word it thinks you’re trying to type. In my experience thus far the auto complete feature is lacking. It almost always guesses the wrong word and when it does guess the right word it usually does so right before the last character. To accept the suggestion you hit the space bar, but since it’s the last character anyway, you might as well just hit the last character.

The virtual keyboard is usable. It does work and I’ve banged out some emails and web forms on it. It’s not as slow as I’m making it sound, but it’s not as great as Apple would like us to believe it is either. Your mileage will vary. Apple suggests that after you get used to it you’ll be able to type faster with two thumbs. While this may be true, I find the iPhone to be too narrow to hold and still have enough room for my two big thumbs to fit on the keyboard side-by-side. Luckily this is all software based and Apple can improve it with a free update. If you don’t like the keyboard on other smartphones, you’re stuck with it. I also find it odd that the iPhone doesn’t have a copy paste feature or the ability to add your own auto complete words. For example, I would like to type mgd and have it automatically put in MacGroup-Detroit, Inc. This is the kind of functionality I would like to see very soon in an update. There should also be some standard replies for email and SMS messaging. At first glance the keyboard didn’t seem to have a Caps Lock feature. However, thanks to blog reader Rich, he pointed it out to me in the Settings->General->Keyboard that you have to TURN IT ON! Not sure why you wouldn’t want that turned on by default, but at least it’s there. Lastly what I found a little disorienting was the fact that the virtual keyboard always displays as CAPS even though you’re typing in lower case (when the Shift or Caps Lock is not engaged). Since it’s a virtual keyboard, why not display lower case letters when typing in lower case and upper case letters when typing in upper case? This is especially important when typing passwords and you can’t see what you’re typing because it’s displayed as dots.


I’ve had such bad Bluetooth experience with the Treo, that ANYTHING would be an improvement. The first bluetooth device I paired my iPhone to was my car. My car has a 3rd party integrated bluetooth module in it that works extremely well. However, most smartphones don’t have the smarts to download the contacts to the car’s display. This was one thing that did work most of the time on the Treo. I could dial right from the radio’s display without touching my phone. I could also see the caller ID and answer the phone as well. While the iPhone does pair with the Argos, it doesn’t download the phone book. Argos does do firmware upgrades, so perhaps they’ll make their solution 100% iPhone compatible. My wife’s iPhone paired with her SUV and it DID download the phone book just fine. You usually have no control over this and it varies by phone/car. Most phones will download the favorites/speed dial list. Surprisingly the iPhone downloaded ALL of her contacts to her SUV. Since the iPhone is also an iPod it would be nice to have the music go over bluetooth as well. No chance of that currently. BMW announced that they will be the first automaker to fully support the iPhone in their vehicles. So you plug your iPhone into the dock connector in the glove box and you have access to your tunes on the stereo as well as your phone via bluetooth. Hmmm, I was thinking about getting a new car this year anyway, hmmm.

When I get iPhone

Let me start off by saying that while I’m a fan of Apple’s success and products, I’m not one of those people that blindly apologizes for their products no matter what. I’ll be the first to say that something works or it doesn’t. My friends and many of you come to me all the time because they want my HONEST assessment. So I wanted a couple of days with the iPhone to really take it through its paces and see if this new phone is what it’s hyped up to be. You must also understand that there isn’t a smartphone out there that I think is perfect. As a matter of fact before the iPhone there were basically 4 smartphone OS’s, Palm, Blackberry, Symbian and Windows Mobile. I stuck with Palm because it was the lessor of the 4 evils or the one that sucks least. Palm has a UI (user interface) that hasn’t changed much in several years. Basically zero innovation. However, there are thousands of apps to extend the functionality of the Palm OS. Blackberry doesn’t have a touch screen or tap screen. You have to do everything via the keypad/thumb wheel. Also the Blackberry’s I considered had no multimedia functions (camera, video, etc.) Symbian looked very promising, but I was frightened away mostly by EVERYONE saying how sloooooow it was and that there were very few apps for it. My friend Colin Smith’s phone locked up on him just last week right in front of me. Windows mobile seemed to have stability issues. My Treo would lock up (needing a soft reset) at least once every other day. Palm didn’t put enough RAM in the 650 and the Bluetooth implementation was pathetic (requiring special headsets to be compatible). I’ve complained about this for months. A PHONE SHOULDN’T LOCK UP! I was all set to dump the 650 and move on to a newer model back in January, but I decided to wait and go to the Steve Jobs Macworld keynote first. Well it’s a good thing I did, because that’s when the iPhone was first unveiled.

The reason that there is so much hype around the iPhone is simple. Most phones suck today! I don’t know a single person who loves their cell phone/smartphone. Everyone is different and therefore has different needs. No one device will satisfy everyone 100%. Apple decided to step outside the box and create something unique and FUN. Apple has a long history of getting UI right and the user experience right. So of course the idea that they were going to create a phone got a lot of attention, maybe more than they deserved. With that said, the iPhone is NOT perfect by any means. No smartphone is. No regular cell phone is either. It’s not the second coming or the cure for cancer. What I like about the iPhone is that it is BETTER than every other phone I’ve used and it’s actually fun to use and navigate. People want to quickly discount eye candy. Think about it. We love eye candy. We love animation. We love video. Otherwise we’d be content just reading text with no pictures, never watching a movie or TV and seeing everything in black and white with no color. We’re visual beings. So the iPhone is appealing because it uses and stimulates our sense of touch and sight. I love it when people yell, “it’s just a phone!”

Interesting tips and factoids gathered about iPhone!

“When browsing a web page in Safari on an iPhone, one tap of the top status bar (signal strength, time, etc.) brings you back to the top of the page, complete with the URL field visible.”
–Dan Moren

Airplane Mode … disables all wireless functionality (phone, EDGE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) but lets you use the iPhone’s non-Internet applications.
–Dan Frakes

If your iPhone freezes…
Reset: Apple’s first reset tip, which is pressing and holding the Home button for about six seconds. This quits any application that may have locked up the iPhone.
Reboot: Press and hold the Home and On/Off for about 10 seconds until the Apple logo appears.
–Christopher Breen (edited by LB for length)

In Safari on the iPhone, holding your finger down on a link pops up a balloon displaying the underlying URL. Also works on HTML messages in Mail. Holding your finger on a link shows you where the URL is really going to take you.
–Dan Frakes

There is a great tip from David Pogue on the The Missing Manual website about how to type punctuation without having to switch back and forth between the letters and the number/symbols keyboard. Basically, you hold down the “.?123″ key when you are switching to the numbers keyboard and rather than letting it go, you slide your finger to the punctuation that you want to type and then release it. After release, the letters keyboard returns. Click here to read the full keyboard punctuation tip at the Missing Manual site.

That is all I have for now. Maybe I will write again if I notice more things, find some cool apps, or if Apple releases software updates that adds new features.

HOT! Apple iPhone Review !

[Updated 4:37PM 7/11/07] Greetings irrational fanboys and Apple haters! Ten days and 12,000 ~13,500 words later, our stone-cold look at what it means to own an iPhone is done. Before we get to the in depth hands-on, here's the verdict I'd give any good friend: Wait to buy the iPhone.

Wait for What?

Look, I'm not saying wait for version 2.0. You don't need new hardware to love the phone; version 1.1 should do it. Wait until Apple updates the software. That was a hard to write, since I'm thumbing through my own iPhone like a teenager with his first Playboy. This is what the phone of the future will look like, and Steve Jobs and Apple should be proud. iPhone of 2010 aside, this model must be judged on what it is today. Like every other journalist will tell you, its multitouch UI, browser and iPod are all pants-worthy. But as the honeymoon sets, I find myself left with a phone that could be more functional. I could make comparisons to high-end Nokia or Helio phones that have endless lists of wonderful features like GPS, YouTube video uploading and more. But only a douchebag would tackle the iPhone for lacking esoteric tricks; things that belong on a Wish List for v2.0. That's not what I'm talking about.

So what's your main problem with the iPhone?
The real elephant in the room is the fact that I just spent $600 on my iPhone and it can't do some crucial functions that even $50 handsets can. I'm talking about MMS. Video recording. Custom ringtones. Mass storage. Fully functioning Bluetooth with stereo audio streaming. Voice dialing when you're using a car kit. Sending contact info to other people. Instant friggin' messenging. Sending an SMS to more than one recipient at a time.

I checked the apple store iphone availability link every morning. Finally, on saturday, the dot was green. it was still only 8am and apple store opened at 9. We got there around 8:30 and there was already a line outside. I got on line while k parked the car.

About 5 minutes after we got there, an apple store employee walked down the line handing iphone shaped tickets to everyone. The ticket was a guarantee of 8GB iphone availability if purchased by 10am. We didn’t even have to stay on line, but stayed anyway. Less than half an hour later, me and K walked out of the store with a pretty iphone bag containing a beautiful well designed iphone box. I was kind of in shock.

We went across the street to the cingular store to add the iphone data plan ($20/month for unlimited data and visual voicemail). They let me log in to my itunes account from there and activate the phone so they could make sure the att account end of things went correctly. It did. Before we left the store, my iphone was working and my motorola was dead.

When I opened the box, there was a beautiful shiny iphone packaged in a very neat and elegant way like most apple products are. On the way home, I took photos, called my folks, and surfed the web. Don’t worry, Karen was driving ;)

The screen is beautiful. The video quality is amazing. The sound is clear. The screen gets lots of fingerprints on it, but you can’t notice them unless the phone is off or sleeping. A small cloth was included to wipe it. The cloth did an okay job, but the one that came with my case was much better and wiped off every smudge.

I could open a Word doc in email with no problem. The wifi speed is relatively fast. The edge network connection is more like dialup, but definitely usable. It is amazing to be able to look stuff up from anywhere that a cell phone signal can be had. This is something I think will come in very handy. I can look up directions from google maps when I get lost. I get lost a lot.

The touchscreen is fun, especially the pinchy thing where you can zoom in or out. I started out slow on the keyboard, but can type much faster now. Still using one finger, but I have read that typing with 2 thumbs can be much faster. There is a good video on the apple site about the keyboard.

One very cool thing that the video mentions is that the iphone will dynamically resize the letter tap zones for the most likely letter, and make the adjacent letter’s tap zones smaller.

Something that is essential to know is that you can zoom in on the text and cursor on the screen by holding your finger down in the area you want to magnify and moving the cursor. This makes it MUCH easier to move the cursor to where you want it to be.

Word prediction is much better than it seems at first. The trick is not to doubt it and refrain from backspacing to fix your own errors. Sometimes that is necessary, but most often, the keyboard will guess what the misspelled word was supposed to be, even though the guesses it makes while you are typing are not even close.

Word auto-complete sucks. While the late guessing of correct words works okay for typos and spelling errors, it is terrible for completing words. Sometimes it doesn’t guess the word until the last letter, making it useless, or even worse, guesses the wrong word on the last letter. In that case, you have to cancel the suggested word or it will replace your correct word. Easy to miss this if you are looking at the keyboard instead of the message. To auto-complete a guessed word, tap the spacebar on the keyboard. To get rid of it, tap the word on the screen.

I am loving the Notes app. For the non-mac people, an app is the same thing as a program. Usually, I have about 10 random scraps of paper in my back pocket, and another 100 or so on my desk, all containing information that I want to remember, but will most likely never see again. The iphone offers a very easy way to keep notes in one place.

This past week, I have been taking notes about things I have been noticing and learning about the iphone. For the most part, I think this is the coolest phone I have ever had or ever seen. I am very lucky and happy to have it. Even still, there is definitely room for improvement.

I knew going in that this is a version 1.0 product, so was expecting things to be missing or broken. I don’t think anything is broken. Some of the things that are missing surprise me very much and I am guessing (and hoping) that at least some of them will be added in a software update.

Some things that are glaringly missing:

  • Text select - This is so basic. It is hard to believe it is not possible. I have checked, and it really is not.
  • Cut/Copy/Paste - See text select.
  • MMS (multimedia messaging - text messages with pictures) - Basic mobile phone feature.
  • Notes do not sync with anything on the computer. Very strange. I should note — haha, note. that’s funny :) — that you can email a note easily, so it is not that hard to get it on your computer, but syncing seems pretty basic.
  • You can not add attachments to email. I think it would be better to include the ability to email pictures, notes, and other attachments directly from the mail app, while still keeping the option to email them from the pix and notes apps.
  • No Select All option for email messages (or anything else). There is no way to delete a bunch of mail at a time. Why?

Not glaring, but still missing:

  • Voice memo - probably glaring to anyone who was used to using it on their old phone. It is kind of weird since there is an included recorder for setting voicemail greeting.
  • There is no video recorder.
  • No included games.

Other random gripes:

  • Some things take too many clicks. Navigating through different email accounts really needs to be streamlined. It would also be nice to have a period and comma key available on the same keyboard as the letters for text apps.

    Keyboards for some apps are specialized and smart. For example, the safari keyboard includes period, slash, and ‘.com’ keys.

  • No way to choose which widgets appear on the main screen.
  • Safari does not remember the zoomed screen size so I have to rezoom on every page.
  • The screen does not always rotate from portrait to landscape view on the first try.

3rd party apps!

The way Apple has set up the iPhone to work with 3rd party apps is to run them in safari. To use an app, just go to the app’s url. If you like it, you can bookmark it for easy access.

There are also a few launcher type apps that act as a main bookmark page that is only for your third party apps and prettier to look at than regular bookmarks.

There is a big list of iphone apps here: iPhone Application List and another here: appleopolis.com. You can skip the login on the second one. No login for first one.

I am currently trying out mojits.com, which is a launcher type thing for iphone apps that you access through safari. Hard to tell if I like it because I only tried using it for 5 minutes.

I was pretty impressed with a shopping list app called OneTrip. OneTrip makes it easy to make a shopping list by offering prewritten selections that are organized by category. There is an option to add your own things to each category.

I also added a bejeweled type game, a movie time finder, and an app called iActu that brings the content of 6 popular newspapers in a cool looking newsstand style. When you click on a paper, the newsstand goes away and the news is displayed in an easy to read way.

WordPress iPhone Theme and Plugin by Content.Robot - automatically reformats your site’s content for optimized viewing on an iPhone. Thank you content.robot! I am using it on LBnuke, with the only modification being changing the blue to red to match the site.