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First Impressions

So I've been putzing around with the iPhone for a couple of days now and for the most part, I'm loving it. Mainly because the UI is just so easy and fun to use. For what it can do, it does it very well. It's obviously missing a couple of features here and there but the majority of them are software related so hopefully they can and will be resolved in the future. It's obviously been reviewed all over the place on the Interweb so I won't bother going in-depth but basically it's one slick gadget that Apple put out here. There's a reason why every single Apple Store I've been to have had a healthy-sized crowd gathered around the iPhones on display; fondling, poking and playing with them. The UI just entices you to do something with it.

As for the much-maligned EDGE network, all I have to say is that I'm coming from an unlocked Palm Treo 650 running on T-Mobile's GPRS network. Safari + EDGE beats Blazer + GPRS into an unrecognizable mess. It's no contest. EDGE speed is perfectly adequate for the times that I use it, namely during my commute where I'm not exactly in a rush anyway. I did notice today that AT&T runs a couple of WiFi hotspots throughout Manhattan. It would have been nice if the iPhone cellular plans also included free access to those spots. Safari still needs a little bit of work though. I find it chokes on pages with a lot of data, like my My Yahoo page. And would be nice if they put in more plug-in support.

The much-argued-over onscreen keyboard works a lot better than I expected and I was pecking away at it at about the same speed as my Treo keyboard in less than a day. The trick is to not get too hung up on if you're actually typing every letter correctly and let the predictive input do its thing. It's pretty accurate for the most part. The lack of tactile feedback isn't as big of an issue as people seem to like to make it out to be as the visual feedback is effective enough. The only thing that still gets me is the location of the key that switches between alphabets and numerals/symbols which they stuck in the lower left hand corner. I'm used to the Shift key being there (it's located above this keyboard-switching key on the iPhone) so I often wind up switching the keyboard when I just wanted to switch cases. But besides that, I have no problems typing with two hands on it. Not exactly two thumbs though, more like my left thumb and my right index finger. Hey, whatever works.

While the look and feel of the UI is very nice and polished, it does feel like the iPhone was rushed to market a bit as there are some things missing here and there from the functionality. Nothing critical and probably addressable through download-able updates but somewhat off-putting at times. Like no copy/cut/paste. Or no Reply-To field in Mail. Or no To-Do List. Hopefully a lot of this minor stuff they'll be able to remedy soon.

Oh right, and the earphone plug. So far this has been the only "What the hell?" moment for me. As far as I can tell there's absolutely no reason for them to have made it as recessed as it is. Major pain in the ass. Then again maybe I'm just pissed cause I just sold off 2 earphones that DO work with it (V-MODA Vibe and Etymotic ER-6i) to get one that doesn't (Etymotic ER-4p). Argh. And the Belkin iPhone Headphone Adapter is crap. It does its job but it also sticks out a good 2 inches which is aesthetically horrid. I'm hoping Etymotic comes out with a new set of earphones that will work with the iPhone. Or maybe release something like the announced Shure Music Phone Adapter. V-MODA already has the Vibe Duo made for the iPhone which has a microphone but mysteriously lacks any controls.

Despite my overall fondness for the iPhone, I occasionally feel like I need to take a step backwards in time and pick up a Palm PDA to supplement it. The Treo's a bit too bulky to carry around with the iPhone so will probably try to get rid of that and pick up a cheap T5 or TX. That'll probably hold me over until Apple finally resolves some functionality deficiencies. Mainly for SplashID, which I've become so heavily reliant on as my second storage brain. I haven't looked at Palm's PDA line in years and was somewhat surprised that the remnants are about 2 years old. Apparently the standalone PDA market really is dying a slow death.

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Comments (4)

Nice! I'm curious for two things - does Clipperz work on the iPhone? Also, can you check out WebShell and see how well it works?

kaige:

For the to-do list, have you considered self-hosting a wiki?

Ben:

Clipperz does not work and the test server for WebShell is down. =p

Ben:

WebShell, while slow, does seem to work.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 4, 2007 12:44 PM.

The previous post in this blog was All in a day's work....

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