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Nov 23, 2008

iPhone Thoughts - Week #1

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OK, so if you are following my blog (if you are not - subscribe to the Mobile Spoon and change your life forever!) you know that even though I'm a long time WinMo user (and developer) - I decided to get myself an iPhone.

Why you ask? here is why...

So a week has passed and I thought it would be a good time to share my first impressions.

In General...

The iPhone is without a doubt - an Amazing Game-console... errrr, sorry, phone. Seriously, it's nothing like anything I've ever used. The cutting edge design, the quality of the screen, the perfect touch experience, but above all - so many innovative ideas in one device - amazing.

But, since I don't want you to think I'm such an easy target - I must tell you right now that it's not exactly a smartphone. Well, it is smart, of course, (probably the smartest of them all), but the phone itself is not exactly the best part of it... and mostly the productivity elements, you know - the ones that makes you feel more efficient when using this small gadget called a smartphone.

I am using the iPhone for only a week now, so things may change, but it feels to me as if it's more of an entertainment tool and less of a productivity booster.

 

The Good:

Screen:

Amazing. Forget about HTC devices, this is the real thing. No need to push the hell out of the screen to get some actions - just place it gently and things will rock and roll your way. This is how finger gestures should feel like. This is how finger friendly UI should look like.

The resolution is fantastic, the colors are great too. I love it.

Device figure:

Very elegant but too slim for me. I'm used to Palm devices, stocky, bold, not to say goofy, so heavy you cannot drop them. The iPhone is so slim that it always feels like it's going to fall. I put it under 'the good' as I assume most people will consider the design as a good thing.

Games and Entertainment:

I already managed to put my hands on some amazing applications.

From Face Melter (responsible of the photos in this post) to midomi (finds any song even with my horrible singing!) - there are a bunch of amazing tools which gives a great entertainment.

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There are plenty of games too. Some are very cool but I must say most of them are junk. And I find myself wasting too much time installing them and then removing (just like I am doing with windows mobile). Still, few games make me feel like I'm using a game console.

User Interface:

I will write another post about the user interface in the iPhone, as I think Apple gave us all a lesson in user interface design and usability.

I will just mention couple of things I found genius quality around usability:

- The selection magnifying glass (I wondered how I can move the selection mark without d-pad or a stylus - this is the best concept I've ever seen in mobile applications [picture below])

- Disabling the touch screen when bringing the phone close to the ear

glas 

(More about the UI in my next week's iPhone Thoughts post)

 

The Bad:

As I said at the beginning of the post, I miss a lot of functionality around productivity (or should I call it: my business needs).

Keyboard:

We keep talking about how virtual keyboards are bad for long typing. Today I tried the landscape mode of the keyboard while writing some notes to myself and I was very surprised to see I'm typing extremely fast with it. I still needs to figure out the algorithm there but it's much better than other virtual keyboards I've tried in the past.

I do, however, find it hard to type in the portrait mode, which brings me to ask: why on earth can't I use the landscape mode in all the applications? This is very frustrating! It smells like Apple made a huge mistake with this limitation. Huge mistake.

Copy & Paste:

Boring. You've heard it before. Just wanted to mention. Still missing.

PIM Applications:

iPhone doesn't come equipped enough with PIM and office tools. There are few applications included in the OS but it's not really enough. I like having my Tasks being managed and synchronized by my mobile, I like using the notes, and office papers. So far, I couldn't find a way to use word and excel files.

Every time I feel I miss that area of functionality I open a game and forget about itBig Grin. More updates on that once I find a proper solution/workaround.

Today Screen:

Call me a lunatic - but I actually like to concept of summarizing the important information in one accessible location. With the iPhone you don't see a snapshot of your day, you need to open the calendar, then the tasks list, then the email. Not nice. Not productive. Windows Mobile has it. Even the Android has it. iPhone does not have it.

Contacts:

Bad implementation.

The scrolling is fun but does not give an accurate experience when working with really long lists. The fast scroll panel on the right does not solve this problem for me.

I miss Palm's quick dial plug-in (in the Treo devices) or Blackberries lookup bar (you just type a letter and this filters the list easily). I actually find myself searching people for just too long. (tip anyone?)

Bad implementation. (already said that, but I find it really annoying)

Lack of administrative capabilities

Yes, I know what your thinking, but I need it. It seems like everything is hidden from me. I want to change the configuration, the layout, all the tweaks I'm enjoy doing. iPhone hides that from me. The idea is that people are not supposed to know those administrative things, which in general is good, but for some people is bad.

 

Coming Next...

In my next review I will cover additional areas such as the amazing Internet browsing experience that the iPhone has and some of the usability elements I liked.

As usual comments are more than welcome!

 

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4 comments:

amit said...

Disabling the touch screen when bringing the phone close to the ear

This is being done in new phones from HTC when the screen is turned off when taking a call. And in old ones which don't have this feature, well, if you use S2U2 then it gives an option to turn screen off when taking call.

Its same as locking the screen since in both cases you won't be able to press anything by accident but in Windows Mobile I think its better done by turning the screen off since that means it won't suck up battery uselessly while in iPhone a locked screen will prevent accidental touch for sure but still sucks up battery uselessly! :)

Gil Bouhnick said...

I didn't see it in the new HTCs yet, but here the nice thing about it is that it gets back on once you move the phone from your ear so you can click one of the 'speakers', 'mute', 'notes' options.

amit said...

I've read that its there in HTC Diamond, HTC Touch Pro & HTC Touch HD - the phones which have a light sensor. And I installed TouchFlo2D which devs at XDA-Developers extracted from latest HTC phones & installed it in my P3300 & it started turning the screen off when I took a call, so the functionality is indeed there! :)

Bubby said...

I've had a Fuze (Touch Pro) for a little over 2 weeks now. If you check out the message boards, people are desperately trying to get the screen to stay on while on a call. It is extremely frustrating to have to push the power button (a screen tap won't do it) to get it to come back on. Having it wake up when you pull it away from your face would be nice.

When the shiny started to wear off a couple of days ago, I briefly considered trading it in on an iPhone. Was I missing out? Then I remembered there was no cut & paste (still!) and that woke me up. Now seeing the comments about PIM and contacts further solidifies that I made the right decision.

If you want to see my take(s) on the Fuze, check out http://unclebubby.blogspot.com/2008/11/at-htc-fuze-review-hardware.html

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