iPhone Impressions After Three Months

I’ve now had my iPhone for about three months and have been extremely satisfied with the purchase. Over the years I’ve owned many major brands of smartphones including the BlackBerry, T-Mobile Dash (Windows Mobile OS), and the SideKick. The iPhone handily exceeds any device I’ve ever owned and its all because of the applications and how they work together.

The iPhone ships with many useful apps as well as those that can be downloaded from the iPhone App Store. These let me perform many tasks I previously could only do with my laptop. Being able to have this much computing power wherever I go was the major selling point.

Email via IMAP is seamless, Google Maps with GPS has been invaluable living in a new area, my todo items sync with Things, iCal and Address Book work pretty much as expected, and the games provide enjoyable entertainment especially on long flights when I get bored. Pretty much anything you can do on a laptop, you’ll be able to find similar functionality on the iPhone via third party apps. I’m even able to use SSH to access and administer my servers.

There are only two missing areas I’ve noticed so far on a non-jailbroken iPhone – streaming video capture and support for other programming languages (specifically I’d like to run Ruby). I have read that streaming video via Qik is coming soon though.

I’ve also had phones with integrated wifi before, but the iPhone switches automatically, and so seamlessly, that I’m amazed. I’ll be on Edge or 3G in my car and when I walk in the house, I’m already on our wifi network.

Everything just works and that’s the beauty of the iPhone. There’s little hackery needed to get going, but the ability to dig in and really get stuff done is there for those who want to. Just like Mac’s OSX.

Many of the reported iPhone negatives revolve around two areas – battery life and the onscreen keyboard. I’ll be writing more about the battery life in the future, but with normal usage I get over 4 hours and about 21 hours of standby time. Considering the iPhone functions as a tiny laptop for me, this is superb! Do you ever hear anyone complaining about getting 4+ hours out of their laptop?

The keyboard did take a little while to get used to, but I now find that typing on the iPhone’s onscreen keyboard is much easier and faster than my previous BlackBerry and Dash. It’s also as fast as my previous favorite, the SideKick. Typing works even better in iPhone applications that enable landscape mode. My only annoyance so far is that landscape mode typing is not yet available in the email application.

In addition to purchasing the new device, I also switched from T-Mobile to AT&T. The basic comparison is AT&T has much better coverage (both Edge and 3G), but offers more expensive plans. For the same price (both including unlimited data), I had a T-Mobile plan with 1500 anytime minutes while the AT&T plan has 450 minutes with 5000 night and weekend. At&T offers a rolling 12 months of rollover minutes, so it still works out for me based on past usage.

If you’re on the fence between a BlackBerry, a Google Android device, or the iPhone, I can wholeheartedly recommend the iPhone. The much publicized drawbacks are really non-issues, but you won’t realize this until you have some extended time with the iPhone.

In upcoming posts I’m going to look at some of these issues as well as the applications that are truly making the iPhone an exciting computing platform.

Tom currently works in developer relations for IBM Watson. A serial entrepreneur, he's been the founder of numerous startups including Investify and StatsMix, a Techstars alumni company. Tom lives outside Boulder, Colorado and in his free time he's an avid rock climber, skier, and trail runner.

3 comments On iPhone Impressions After Three Months

  • There is one other very silly thing about the iPhone: no copy & paste. This doesn't bug me very often, but there are times when I realize it isn't there and I have to scratch my head: what was Apple thinking?

    Other than that, I completely agree with your review!

  • Well you won't convince me that recharging your battery every day is not often. Last month I went snowboarding for 7 days. I forgot my charger and even though I used my Nokia E71 as a gps device in my car for some time, and for the entire time used it as my only computer (mail, news, streaming stuff) I still didn't need to recharge it. The battery died on my way home. Let me repeat that: I got 7 days of moderate to intense usage without charging the battery even once. By comparison if I had iPhone I'd have to recharge it as soon as I arrived (after using gps for couple hours).

  • Odzyskiwanie, I think you're missing my point. 21 hours of battery life while using the iPhone as a computer (not just phone functions) is still impressive to me when my Macbook Pro can get at best 2 hours on a charge.

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