It has now been two weeks since I broke up a 12-year BlackBerry relationship to run off with Apple’s iPhone (AAPL). Here’s an update on how it’s going.
Those of you who read the first update may remember that, after the first few days with the iPhone, I had a litany of complaints and frustrations, combined with a few near-religious “WOW” experiences. Many of you were also astonished that I had yet to visit the App Store.
Well, I still haven’t visited the App Store. Not because I don’t want to–I’m eager to. I just haven’t had time.
I also haven’t synced the phone with my Mac. A few days ago, when it looked like I might have a few minutes free to do so, it suddenly occurred to me that the iPhone had come in a sexy rectangular box that wasn’t big enough for a CD with the syncing software. So how was I supposed to sync it?
Maybe the iPhone software doesn’t come on a CD, I thought. Maybe the software just magically appears on the Mac or iPhone! That sort of magic would be in keeping with several of the euphoric experiences I’d had in the process of buying and trying the phone.
But then I got worried. Where was the box? Had I inadvertently thrown away the cord that would allow me to connect the phone to the Mac? That’s when I discovered that the cord you use to connect the iPhone to the Mac is the same cord you use to charge the iPhone (you just remove a little thingie at the end). Cool!
So one of these days I’ll get around to syncing it.
In the meantime, here’s an update on my more recent happiness and frustration:
- Typing really is much better than I expected. This was my big worry about switching to the iPhone. No keyboard. After watching dozens of iPhone users hunt and peck their way to error-ridden emails, I dreaded the experience. But this fear has proven unfounded. I am now just as fast and accurate at typing on the iPhone as I was on the BlackBerry. In another week, I’ll likely be faster. (It turns out that actually depressing a key requires effort that isn’t necessary with the iPhone. With the iPhone, your fingers really can dance across the screen. You can do an OK job typing short emails with the phone held vertically…or you can lay it horizontally and fly.
- The charge cord is too short. As I complained last week, the battery life is horrible. If you’re really cranking–on a train or something–you’ll burn through the battery in a few hours. When I noted this last week, many of you were kind enough to send suggestions on how to preserve the battery life. Unfortunately, most of them sounded like, “Just don’t use the cool features you bought the iPhone for.” But I’ve learned to live with the lousy battery! I just carry the cord with me everywhere. When I enter a room, I shove people out of the way and stuff it into a wall socket. A pain, yes, but it gets me through the day. And this is where I have another beef with Apple: If the only way to make it through the day with your iPhone 3G S is to keep it plugged in all the time (or not use it), why on earth did Apple only make the charge cord three feet long? It should be at least six feet long, so you can plug it in on the floor and leave it on your desk.
- The calendar syncing is inexplicably hard. We have a serious Mac guru in our office. He’s one of those freaks who waits in line for three hours every time Apple launches a new product. He has taught me just about everything I know about my iPhone, including what was happening when all the Home screen icons suddenly started jiggling one day (This allows you to move them, he explained. I had apparently caused them to jiggle with a double-click.) I asked the Mac guru how to sync the iPhone calendar with my Google calendar. Syncing email had been easy, so I figured this would be a snap. “You have to use Exchange,” he said. What? Exchange? Wasn’t Exchange a Microsoft product? And, more importantly, why didn’t the iPhone and Google Calendar just sync automatically together? Did Apple seriously expect the millions of folks who use iPhones to maintain TWO calendars? (Or use Entourage)? The guru didn’t know.
- BlackBerry email notification is better. Sorry, the red light on the BlackBerry is cool, and I miss it. With the iPhone, you either have to be annoyed by sounds telling you new emails have arrived, or you have to swipe the screen and actually check your email.
- Email performance is WAY BETTER now that I’ve switched to GMail. Sorry, Yahoo. I love working for you (TechTicker host). But I just couldn’t deal with the misfiring email boxes, bad SPAM filter, server errors, et al, anymore. I suspect you’ll get around to fixing these someday, and when you do, I’ll consider moving back. But in the meantime, I had to switch to Gmail (which I’m annoyed by for other reasons–what’s with the “conversation” format?). Gmail works much better with the iPhone.
- My iPhone email and Gmail mailboxes still aren’t synced. When I erase messages on the phone, they don’t erase in the mailbox, and vice versa. (This was always a great feature of the BlackBerry). Last week, several of you said I could make the boxes sync if I switched from POP to IMAP. I thought I did that by switching from Yahoo to Gmail. But in any event, the boxes still don’t sync. I’ll chat with our Mac guru about that. In any event, since Gmail’s SPAM filter is much better than Yahoo’s, I don’t get so much crap email. (Also, for some reason, with my Yahoo account, I got ALL email on my iPhone–all regular email AND all SPAM, even the stuff that had been filtered out.)
The Bottom Line:
I’m still happy I bought the iPhone. I’m gradually learning to use it. I LOVE the Internet (even though the “S” in “3G S” should stand for “Slow”). And if all of your raving about the App Store is any indication, I haven’t even gotten to the really good part yet.
Looking forward to that!
See Also: The Truth About The iPhone
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