I have been an iPhone owner and user from the moment the device became available in Ireland; or maybe I should say, from the moment it became available to me, as there were horrendous supply problems. This was the original model, and I took delivery back in March of this year. Before that I had been a Blackberry user. To be honest, I always loved the Blackberry and what it could do, but didn’t like its appearance so much, and more particularly, I didn’t like the style of the screen display. And I could never get to like it for internet browsing, where the functionality was somehow a bit weird. But I still was an enthusiastic user of the Blackberry, and had got used to very fast two-thumb typing.
When I got the iPhone I immediately loved the design and appearance, and was impressed with what it could do. The screen display, and the imaginative way it could be manipulated, was great. There were some niggles, however. The iPhone manual suggests that you should aim to do two-thumb typing also on the touch screen. I have to say that, for me at least, that’s not workable, and I wasted a lot of time trying to perfect this method. Now I use the index finger of one hand only, and it works well and is speedy. In the original model, I was hugely disappointed that I couldn’t load any non-Apple applications, in particular because I needed to be able to sync my calendar online with my Oracle calendar at work, and couldn’t. It was a nuisance that I couldn’t write a document for later transfer to my desktop computer. And the absence of real push email was a disappointment, though not a fatal issue for me. In short, the iPhone didn’t seem to care too much for someone who needed to use it as an office or work tool.
Some of this was remedied with the revised operating system later launched by Apple. And then, only a few months into my ownership of the iPhone, Apple released the new 3G version. I am a gadget freak, and I always have to have the latest thing. And again, getting the new device was slow, as demand significantly out-stripped supply, and you couldn’t even go on a waiting list. In the end I got one, and actually it was pure luck because the store I tried happened to have one left from a delivery only minutes earlier.
And so, what do I think of it? Yes, it’s much faster than the original once you are somewhere where you can get 3G coverage. The GPS feature is neat, though I cannot easily say whether it is something I’ll really use much. The growing list of available applications, including third party ones, is filling most of the gaps in functionality. I can for example now sync my calendar from anywhere. There are still some (now different) niggles, however. I am not absolutely sure about battery life. Much of the time it’s good, as good as with the previous model. And then suddenly, for some reason or reasons I have been unable to work out, the battery runs out of power quite quickly and unexpectedly. And when I make a phone call and want to hang up, sometimes I can’t, because the screen goes blank and nothing I do for a minute or so will bring anything up – I can’t even switch the device off. And then finally, I subscribed to MobileMe, and for the life of me I cannot make it work as a system for push email. I have no idea what I am doing wrong, but I am close to giving up on that feature.
But I imagine all that will be fixed – and overall I do love the iPhone. It is also simply such a beautiful device, and with me that counts for something. I suspect it will continue the extraordinary recent success story of Apple. And I suspect that the business community will start using it more and more.