Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Feel, The Features, The Bloopers - Part II

April 20th, 2008 - Resuming from where I left

7. Now lets talk about some Enterprise features like checking your mail a la using Exchange Sever, here is where the businessmen will cringe for the lack of "ActiveSync" support on this phone in this version and they should wait until June 2008 for v2.0. The iPhone supports POP3 and IMAP formats and so you can configure the mailbox on the Phone to Gmail, Yahoo, AOL and .mac. The iPhone does not not support OWA either by default and you will need to change settings on the Exchange Server do get it going. Now unless you are some BIG SHOT in your office, your IT is highely unlikely to do this for you. I have configured the Phone Mailbox to my personal Gmail and Yahoo, works like a charm. Now you can synch the iPhone to update your Contacts and Calendar appointments, set Reminders, use the Calculator, view .PDF and .doc files. But honestly, dont bother comparing it with Windows Mobile, you will be disappointed. I have become wiser over the years and I have started leaving work at workplace and so my choice for a Non-Enterprise phone.
8. Now for the browser, the Safari browser does render most of the pages neatly but again point to note, the iPhone does not support flash/java. Do I care? No. Do you care? I dont know. Surfing the Internet with options to zoom by just pinching the screen with your fingertips is a true third generation technology and engineering marvel
9. Talk about the keyboard, its visual on the screen, no accessories available to attach a physical one. Again, I hardly use the keyboard to SMS texts or anything similar. You gonna have to get used to using one hand or two hands and tapping the right key on the screen, I think its a big deal, with practise it becomes easy. Oh yea, no stylus by the way. Would Indians prefer using the chopsticks to eat rice? Exactly...I thought as much :) Use your hands man. I wonder if Steve Jobs has half-parents from India since he put so much emphasis on using our hands :)
10. The iPhone has a 2.0 megapixel camera and stores pictures on its spacious 8GB hard drive, no videos. I would have liked it to have the video feature but again its not like I cannot live without it. Now the iPhone does not have an option to add additional memory. Really, I cannot imagine myself crying for more than 8GB space on my phone. I could have probably wanted a memory slot so I could transfer some of my stuff from another source to the phone, when was the last time I did that? Never. I used the synch capabilities and that was more than enough.
11. Now for something that "I DO AGREE" is a true blooper, the Bluetooth capability, the Bluetooth is only to use the iPhone standard bluetooth headset-mic, no tranfer of data and no capability to stream stereo music on bluetooth music-headsets. Thats ridiculous. The headphone jack is also not universal and you will need an adaptor to first connect it to the iPhone and then connect your universal music headset. The Bluetooth is going to be high on the iPhone Agenda for v2.0, I can bet know what on it
12. Listening to music on the external speakers on the iPhone should be avoided especially if you are someone who has used a Sony-Ericsson phone in the past, it will be a heartburn, just use the headsets and you should do fine.
13. Now for the iPod features, if you are an Apple user, you should know they are arrogant and want users to use a format patented by them, like movies should be in a .mov format and music should be in AAC format, the Media Player should be Quick Time and so on. Similary, on the iPhone it uses its software iTunes to synch Movies, Videos, Contacts and even Ringtones. The pain is, the iTunes software just does a supported format upload, it does not convert anything thats Not-Apple. So you have to first download some third-party software to convert your .avi, .mpeg, .wmv, .flv movies and .mp3 songs in to .mov and .aac and then have iTunes upload it. Dont worry, the Internet is blessed with such third-party software, I'm using a couple and it works just fine with rich quality on the iPhone. I'll share the names in my later posts. But the effort is worth it, seeing is believing on the iPhone
14. On to the Phone and Phonebook, it is standard and you have everything you will need including Visual Voice Mail. What was missing was the phone's capability to Import SIM contacts. It also cannot access Contacts on the SIM directly, something that most of the phones in the markets are able to do, every Contact resides on the Phone Memory only and that comes from synching the Address Book on your Computer. Also, I noticed in the Recent History Log, it shows All Calls and Missed calls, Missed calls are marked in RED and you can switch views to see either All Calls or Missed calls. But I think it would have helped to have views seperately for Dialled calls and Received Calls as well, thats missing. It has something called Favorites instead of Speed Dial and that comes very handy. The Phonebook can be browsed by flicking your finger up and down or touching an alphabet on the sides. Dialling a number manually on the screen is also a pleasant experience, enjoy all the Phone features on the guided tour on the Apple Web site.
15. Customization is restricted to a point where you cannot have a system icon on the Home Screen (also referred to as Springboard) move, modify, delete. Ringtones available are so-so and nothing great to talk about. Again, something I'm least bothered about, I'm a creative guy but that doesnt have to be in everything I own. Some of the icons on the Home Screen may not be of any value to you like Stocks, Weather, Maps, iTunes and also remember the iPhone relies heavily on the Internet to update some these information. If you dont have a GPRS connection, forget about this phone. Installing third-party applications is a tedious task and just to find a folder on the phone, you have to run commands from a terminal window, it is so Unix based, Windows guys will hate it. To all my pink-friends (ladies) just coz someone gave you an iPhone, dont take it, you wont be able to put a pink ringtone without help ;)
16. This was funny until I got to know about it from a friend who also owns a iPhone, the iPhone stores all SMS messages as conversations, which means SMSs coming from a same number are all stored as one single conversation and if I have to reply to it that attaches to the conversation, like you were having a chat with someone. The problem is if you get different messages from the same number, there is no way to delete individual messages. You end up deleting everything that came from that number. Even funnier was the fact that if you get a SMS, you cannot forward it to multiple receipents, you only have an option to reply to that message. You can however, compose a message and send it to multiple receipents. Considering the number of genuine SMS that I end up getting or sending, I can live with this. But hey, I found a way to get around it and I continue to scour around to find solutions to other limitations as well, watch out for my post on "My iPhone Fixes". Some more missing features listed here...

Well, thats all I have been able to see, feel and gather so far in the last 1 Week of my purchase of the iPhone, hope this helps in making your decision easier. You think you know better than me, lets thrash it here :)

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