Archive for May, 2010

When Pigs Fly! (Day 44)

jobs-unicorn[1] It’s been awhile since I posted on my “switch to iPhone” journey.  In fact, it’s been roughly 37 days since my last entry.  I’m still alive, my iPhone is still kickin’, and I haven’t been mocked into hiding…yet.

Actually, it’s pretty funny because an event that occurred earlier week was *exactly* what I had been expecting, and yet has happened quite infrequently thus far.  Basically, a co-worker was in my cubicle, my phone rang (and I had to grab this call), and while I’m answering my iPhone, his eyes get wide.  He mouths the words, “YOU…got an iphone?”.  I nod “yes” while continuing my conversation.  The mocking was implied and brief, but ended there.  He’ll probably end up with an iPhone too someday soon.

So, the ridicule has been relatively light, which is somewhat unexpected.  What has gone as planned is that my “utter Apple hatred” has diminished quite a bit, and I find myself feeling much less aggravated at Apple-based coverage, seeing people carrying iPhones, and all that jazz.  It’s a good thing, actually, and part of what I was shooting for – to be less emotional about technology.  No one needs to care that much.

HAS IT ALL BEEN FLOWERS AND BUTTERFLIES?

butterfly and flower_248_tcm4-20860 How can I best sum up my iPhone experience thus far?  In a word: uneventful.  I mean that in a good way.  Whereas my Android experience was wrought with aggravation and times of “oh, I guess I can’t do that”, the iPhone is stable, clever and easy-to-use.  In fact, my biggest emotion in all of this hasn’t been frustration at what Apple has been able to achieve, but rather baffling disappointment at what other phone OSes (and vendors) have NOT been able to achieve.  Honestly, it’s sad.  For all of the success that the Android platform has managed, that whole world is a mess, in my opinion, and is only getting worse with each new Android phone, modified branches of their OS, and sub-standard performance.  It’s ugly.  These phone vendors have had years to get their act together, but don’t seem to be able to.  Personally, my hope is in the next version of Windows Mobile – Windows Phone 7 – which I’m very excited about.  A nice phone + my beloved Zune Pass = one happy camper!

But you probably don’t care about that stuff.

One of the most important things to remember about testing a phone (or any platform, for that matter) is “time”.  Spending 1-week with a device really doesn’t give you an accurate representation.  I would run into this time and time again as members of the XDA forums would tout how a new ROM for their Android phone was “rock solid and fast as heck” – and this after using it for 30 minutes!  Heck, even my posting on my iPhone experiences after 7 days of usage wasn’t entirely accurate.  At this point, though, having used the iPhone for a month and a half, I feel like I know this phone fairly well.

Let’s talk about that.

GIVE US THE STRAIGHT SCOOP

I can sincerely say that the iPhone is a very stable phone, and I’m thankful for that because I’m still using a method of “unlocking” that requires me to connect to a computer when I reboot the phone.  Ugh.  Thankfully that hasn’t been an issue.  Best that I can remember, I haven’t restarted my phone in the past 4 weeks, which is great.

iphone_sadNote: just as I was typing this blog entry, my phone kinda…freaked out.  Pressing the phone button (to call voicemail) gave me a blank screen, and then I received a “sad iPhone” graphic which was followed by a “safe mode message”.  I was able to recover without restarting the phone, but the timing was absolutely classic!

Other sticklers for me are “performance” and “performance-over-time”.  Thankfully, the iPhone performs quite well in general, though that is to be expected since the processor is one of the fastest currently used in mobile phones.  Still, the OS must be taken into consideration as it has to load/unload memory on a regular basis, and in that regard the iPhone OS is surprisingly capable.  Now, I have found that the phone is “chugging” more than it used to – and I see it most often in the screen animations, which can chop from time to time.  Certainly a phone restart would resolve this and make it feel “fresh” again, but that wasn’t really my point, was it?

Of course, stability and performance don’t really account for much of anything if the phone itself isn’t very usable.  The iPhone is, of course, the “king of usability”, or so you could argue.  Spend a few minutes with the phone, and you’re ready to use it in most any fashion.  Still, it’s not perfect.  One of the biggest grips I have is with the Mail application that, for whatever reason, thinks you need to see your folder view before your Inbox.  Switching between my Yahoo! Mail and my Exchange mail, for instance, is a series of many clicks.  If I’m in my work Inbox, as an example, I have to click back to the folder view, back again to my accounts, click on my Yahoo! account, and then once more to get to my Inbox.  That’s fine and dandy, I suppose, except that most of us spend 98% of our time in our Inbox.  It ought to be the default location when I click on an account within Mail.  Hopefully the 4.0 iPhone OS will fix this, but we’ll see.  For most things, though, the current iPhone is far more useable than most devices on the market.  Kudos to Apple for that.

iphone_notification There are some obnoxious things, too.  The iPhone likes to “push” information to you – new email notifications, Facebook updates, text messages, and so on.  Personally, I like to have *some* information pushed, and the rest I’ll check when I get around to it.  In this case, I have my email checking automatically on an hourly basis, with no notifications aside from the homescreen badge stating “9” unread messages, or something like that.  Unfortunately, the Push Notifications live up to their pushy name with screens like the one to the left.  I see that screen almost every time I launch the Words With Friends app.  I’ve connected with iTunes, of course, but it didn’t help.  I could turn off the Push settings as well, but I don’t really want to.  How about a “don’t show me this message ever again” option?  Nope.  For that matter, I really wish that the iPhone would never, ever mention iTunes unless I was in the Music app (which I don’t use).  The tether that this phone has to iTunes is ridiculous, if you ask me.  That said,  you’ll never, ever get Apple to change that.   Such is the nature of the beast.

THAT’S ALL FOR NOW

So… just a passing update on my iPhone use.  All is pretty well, though I do have my eye on those soon-to-be-released Windows Phone 7 devices.  Not until they’re out on T-Mobile, though, so I’m in iPhone-land for a bit longer 🙂

Thanks for reading.

(Note for full-disclosure:  I began writing this post on April 30th, but finished it and posted in on May 3rd – in case you’re wondering why the day count/post-date doesn’t quite add up.)

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