The few of us here at PINT that were lucky enough to get an iPhone have all had it for about a week now. With some of the initial purchase hype subsiding, it’s a good time to step back and share some observations of what we’ve seen and experienced the past 7 days.
Certainly one of the most notable things is that AT&T’s EDGE network speeds seem to have improve big time. After the initial purchase, many customers were met with speeds that were trickling in at a dial-up level, if even that. Now the iPhone is running on EDGE at a much more usable level; actual web browsing (as opposed to just staying on one site) is now possible, and the Google Maps application seems to be downright snappy over EDGE. It’s not broadband, but it’s not half-bad for an Internet you can literally use just about anywhere.
Speaking of just about anywhere, one coworker who will remain unnamed, spoke about a “friend” who upon hearing about the iPhone was most excited to use it for one thing in particular: web browsing in the bathroom. Yes, with newspapers of old circulating less and less, a man in the men’s room may have a new best friend: iPhone.
From our experience, people shouldn’t be afraid of taking the iPhone anywhere. Having dropped it a few times now, we’ve found the device to be quite durable. No question that the first time you drop it, it’s a terrifying experience, but as long as it’s not out of a 10th story window, you should should be fine simply picking it up and moving on your way as if you had dropped anything else in your pocket.
This first week hasn’t been all good news however. When using Safari on the iPhone fairly heavily, there have been quite a few times where the application will just quit without giving you any error messages! This can be scary stuff in browsing the Internet, where no matter how annoying IE’s alert windows may be, at least they let you know what you or they did wrong that caused the meltdown.
Likewise the occasional unexpected quit will occur during prolonged use of the iPhone’s iPod functionality while simultaneously using one or more of the other applications. Advanced multi-tasking may not be a strong suit, but again lets remember that this is a cell phone.
Something else that is interesting is the rise of the /iphone sites. In their commercials, Apple makes very clear that browsing on the iPhone shows you the “real” Internet and not the mostly text-based mobile version of the web. While browsing the “regular” Internet works fine, people are starting to realize that given the size of the screen on the iPhone – about 3.5 inches – sites loaded with a lot of tiny links can be hard to navigate. This is why we’re starting to see sites such as Digg’s iPhone page; by simply appending /iphone onto the regular digg.com URL, you are taken to a special version of the site which breaks down the page into only the needed elements in order to use the site. With less clutter, story titles and the Digg buttons are able to be made much bigger which makes them much easier to hit on the iPhone.
Another /iphone site is Apple’s own movie trailer page. Going to this site and clicking on a movie name on a computer browser usually brings up a page which asks you which resolution you’d like to watch the trailer in. On the iPhone because the screen is small, there is no need for such variety. Just like with Digg, if you append on a /iphone to the movie trailer page URL it will take you to a special version of the page which has a iPhone-compatible trailer ready to go upon a simple click of a play button in the lower right corner. Hitting this button expands the trailer to take up the entire iPhone screen during playback – it’s seamless. It should be noted that unlike the Digg iPhone site, this Apple Trailers iPhone site will only show up when browsing on the iPhone (using browser sniffing) – otherwise it simply redirects you to the regular trailer site.
After one solid week with the device, it’s clear that the iPhone is still very much a keeper and every bit the game-changer that we initially thought. Yes, there are some hiccups in the software – but it is software, it can be upgraded and fixed. One thing you still can’t deny is the device’s ability to draw a crowd. Many of us using the device out in public still get swarmed by interested onlookers. The iPhone “haters” can say such a purchase is dumb all they want, we think they’re pretty dumb for not getting one.
[photo under CC from flickr user r3v || cls]