Thursday, 9 October 2008

My iPhone, 1 month on

Aka: do they text or listen to podcasts in Cupertino?

All right, having had my iPhone 3G for just over a month now, here's what I have to report about it. One - it's still addictive. I use everything on it - the iPod, Safari, GPS - and I use it all intensively. And the simple, pure joy of being able to take a call while I'm listening to my iPod without the rigmarole of taking out the earphones and fumbling for my phone alone makes it worthwhile. That, and calling up recipes while I'm at the supermarket, checking for when the next bus is arriving (thanks, iSinGeo), the ability to sync with Google Calendar so that I always have a means of figuring out where I'm supposed to be, looking up the historical background of Rome on Wikipanion while I'm watching Rome, checking the baseball scores while I'm out and about - it's a marvel, and it looks good to boot.

Now, my list of annoyances and grievances. To be honest, before I got the phone I would have bet this list would include the lack of a physical keyboard, but that's really not been an issue. The keyboard algorithm is really, really good at guessing what I mean to type. But the iPhone is not without its flaws:
  • My biggest design bugbear: PODCASTS SHOULD NOT BE IN COVER FLOW. I don't know what drove this design decision, but the fact is, I like to listen to podcasts on the go, and whenever I inadvertently rotate the phone, it goes into Cover Flow, and suddenly I can't fast-forward or rewind my podcasts. If I'm listening to podcasts, I don't want to suddenly flip through my music collection. I can't imagine anyone who does - they're a totally different category of sound/music from songs.
  • Second most annoying thing: Safari crashes quite a bit. Some say the 2.1 software update solved this for them, but I still get the return to home screen quite frequently.
  • The ability to copy and paste would be very nice. At the very least, I would like to be able to copy and paste addresses and phone numbers from within e-mails into Contacts. As far as I can tell, the iPhone's default and only option when it sees a phone number in an e-mail seems to be to allow you to tap on the number to call it. I feel pretty stupid when I have to actually copy down a number with pen and paper in order to be able to save it or to send a text to it.
  • Actually, in general I don't feel like Contacts is well-integrated with Mail or Safari, and it should be. (I mean, I know that it's a phone, a web browser, and an iPod, but the iPhone should really link those parts together where possible.) Like, if I see a phone number in an e-mail or on a website, I really should be able to save it into contacts and/or send it a text.
  • Come to think of it, does Steve Jobs and the Apple UI team not use text messaging or something? I feel like some basic things that are very commonly done in other phones - sending business cards, forwarding SMSs, or saving a phone number that was sent in a text message (e.g. "her number is 6555 5555") can't be done on the iPhone. Which means more using of pen and paper.
  • For some reason that I might be missing, Maps occasionally needs me to type ", Singapore" after addresses to make it work. Minor annoyance.
  • WiFi reception is weaker than my laptop. Which means sometimes I'm using 3G to get data in areas of my place that I know are WiFi accessible with my laptop.
  • Not Apple's fault, but the fact that Wireless@SG makes you log in every &%#@ time you want to just check something quickly is really, really annoying and stupid. In the end it's usually easier to turn off WiFi when you're anywhere near Orchard.
  • And finally, since I'm bloviating... why does Calendar show me the right date on its home screen icon, but Weather and Clock only have some stylised icon? Not really a big deal, since 1) weather in Singapore is always roughly the same and 2) there's a time display already, but why not.
Of course, I'm hoping some of these are actually not flaws at all, but things that I just couldn't figure out from the interface. And yes, that was a long list up there, but that in no way negates the fact that I'm much happier with this phone than I've been with any other phone (and I have, in my house, a Nokia, a Samsung, two Sony Ericssons, and a Motorola, so I know from whence I speak - I can give you a list of the respective flaws of all of those phones). I just wish some seemingly obviously design flaws could be fixed.

By the way, I inadvertently figured out how to change the font of Notes from the twee-looking Felt Marker to a good solid Helvetica, or a reasonable fascimile thereof. You turn on the Chinese international keyboard (the Chinese handwriting recognition is shockingly good), type in your regular text, type in any one Chinese character into the Notes, and then delete it. The text remains in Helvetica.

Labels:





as for saving phone numbers in email to contacts, call the number, go to recent, find the number, tap on the arrow on the extreme right and create new contact. this is better than copying the number down on paper.


Post a Comment

Create a Link